Once thought to be a dead medium, vinyl has experienced a resurgence among music fans. However, starting your collection isn’t as simple as buying a turntable and some records. Speakers, cables, amplifiers, all of the necessary equipment can add up quickly. Furthermore, they tend to take up quite a bit of space and require you to have some cable management skills. However, there are devices that will allow you to start collecting wax easily and more affordably: Bluetooth record players.
Why Opt for a Bluetooth Turntable?
Vinyl purists may balk at the idea of a Bluetooth turntable. The most common retort would be the fact that the audio transmitted and received over Bluetooth suffers a degradation in quality. While this is technically true, we would argue that most people would find the difference pretty negligible. Traditional turntables require a certain degree of know-how and patience to set up properly. Counter weights, cartridges, pre-amps: if you don’t know what you’re doing, your first foray into vinyl may end up being your last.
So why would you opt for a Bluetooth turntable? The answer lies in its inherent simplicity. Many turntables with Bluetooth connectivity can be set up and ready to play your records in less than five minutes. Simply pair your favorite Bluetooth speaker to your new Buetooth-enabled turntable, and you’re ready to go.
1. Audio Technica AT-LP60XBT
Audio-Technica has a long history of making affordable turntables aimed at consumers. With the AT-LP60XBT, Audio-Technica hopes to make vinyl-collecting easy with a simple setup and wireless functionality. The AT-LP60XBT boasts ease of use, making it a good choice for those who are unfamiliar with turntables. The belt-driven deck is fully automatic, meaning all you need to do is pop a record on the platter and hit the Start button. In addition, the AT-LP60XBT can be wired to your existing speakers thanks to its built-in pre-amp, or it can be used with Bluetooth speakers or headphones.
The design of the AT-LP60XBT leaves a bit to be desired. It comes in a matte black or silver finish that is stylish enough; however, the use of lightweight plastics make the deck feel a bit cheap. This also extends to the plastic dustcover and the tonearm. This isn’t to say the AT-LP60XBT is poorly made – just that the materials used are not as premium as those found on other more expensive turntables. The Audio-Technica AT-LP60XBT is one of the more affordable units on the market at around $150.
2. Sony PS-LX310BT
Sony’s PS-LX310BT is a fully automatic turntable that is very much aimed at the entry-level market. All you need to do is lay your vinyl on the platter and hit the Start button. The deck takes care of the rest. Some vinyl aficionados may not like the automatic raising and lowering of the tonearm, as these folks prefer to manually lay the needle down. However for those who are just starting to explore the world of vinyl, or those who simply prefer the convenience, the PS-LX310BT allows you to enjoy your music without the hassle.
Design-wise, the Sony PS-LX310BT takes its cues from the minimalist aesthetic adopted by more expensive decks. It is made out of a lightweight plastic, which makes it feel a bit cheaper in comparison to some of the more premium offerings. Its price tag reflects this at roughly $200. If you’re looking for a user-friendly turntable with sound that punches above its weight, you should consider the Sony PS-LX310BT.
3. Akai Professional BT500
One thing we know for sure: the Akai Professional BT500 is one attractive turntable. Combining wood with metal, the Professional BT500 is bound to get some attention. It sports a walnut finish and aluminum control knobs and tonearm. In keeping with a minimalist design, the Bluetooth and volume controls are hidden along the front of the unit. In addition to Bluetooth connectivity, the Akai Professional BT500 also sports a USB port on the back of the unit. This allows users to easily convert their vinyl collection into MP3s if they wish.
With a plinth made of wood, the Akai Professional BT500 is one of the heavier turntables available at a hefty 16 pounds. That being said, the heavier base provides good noise isolation. While the Akai Professional BT500 certainly looks expensive, some reviewers have complained that the sound quality isn’t quite as good as others in the same price range. That being said, for the casual vinyl record listener, the Akai Professional BT500 looks great and is user friendly.
4. Pro-Ject Juke Box E
The Pro-Ject Juke Box E is a turntable made for the modern era. The Juke Box E is a little different from the other Bluetooth record players on this list, primarily because this deck doesn’t transmit your vinyl via Bluetooth to a speaker. Instead, the Juke Box E has a built-in Bluetooth receiver. This allows you to stream audio via Bluetooth from your phone or PC to the deck, which acts as a receiver for the connected speakers. This unique feature, combined with an integrated phono stage and amplifier to power speakers, makes the Pro-Ject Juke Box E an instant hi-fi system. You can even play your CD collection through the dedicated line out!
While it is the most expensive turntable on this list at $500, the Juke Box E is an all-in-one solution for your audio needs. Simply plug it in and connect some speakers, and it’s ready to play all of your vinyl, CDs and digital streams. Furthermore, the Juke Box E boasts a sleek design and premium components that could easily pass for a much more expensive unit. For years Pro-Ject has been catering to analogue audiophiles who have heaped praise on the company for its robust sound. The Juke Box E follows in that tradition while offering users a versatile listening experience in a tiny package.
Which one of the Bluetooth record players do you like best? Let us know in the comments below.