Five of the Smallest Portable USB Record Players and Turntables
Vinyl is one of those technologies with a timeless charm. Despite the move towards digital audio technology, LP records are still being produced regularly and have a real following. Not everyone has the room for a full-blown hi-fi setup, however. A portable USB record player is a wonderful way to enjoy all that vinyl has to offer while still saving space and money.
Many portable USB turntables are so portable they can be tucked away in a cupboard or closet with no difficulty. Some of them are actually smaller than the records themselves! There are some models that include speakers in the case itself, so you can play your music anywhere in the house. Because vinyl is making a comeback there are a lot of models on the market, but they’re not all perfect, and choosing randomly can be hit and miss.
I’ve written this article to review five of my favorite portable record players and turntables. We’ll look at some of the best models and brands on the market today, explaining the pros and cons of each one. Before we get to the reviews, I’ll briefly touch on some of the common features on portable record players and USB turntables today, so you’ll know what features you might want to be after.
Portable USB Turntable Features you Might Want
While portable USB turntables have small and convenient size in common, they have different features depending on the particular model you’re looking at.
What you'll find in this article...
- Five of the Smallest Portable USB Record Players and Turntables
Here are a few of the options you’ll find on different players. You don’t have to have every available feature to be happy with a player, but you should make note of your needs and make sure the product you’re considering has what you’re after.
1. Built-In Case:
A lot of portable USB or Bluetooth record players need to be easy to set up and put away. A great way that some brands are achieving this is by placing the whole turntable and electronics inside a closable case, like a suitcase. They’re awesome because they are easy to move around your home and they look super tidy when not in use. They fit really well in a funky, retro or modern household.
2. Built-In Speakers:
Not all of them have this option, but built in speakers on a portable USB record player are an awesome feature… as long as they have a good sound quality. You can actually get a pretty amazing, full and robust sound from some of the better mini portable USB turntables if you shop carefully. In ‘case’ style players, they are often built into the lid. Sometimes the speakers are removable from the player so you can have a little setup when in use.
Since we live in a world of wonderful technology, wouldn’t it be nice to sync up with your other devices? USB portable turntables do have the ability to hook up with your computer and convert vinyl to MP3 or other audio formats, but a few of the more feature rich ones have the ability to double as an iPod dock or audio device, letting you play your non-vinyl Lp music through the speakers.
Crosley Collegiate Portable USB Turntable
The Crosley Collegiate is a sweet portable USB record player with a retro inspired look. It’s a three speed so it’ll play just about whatever you have, and the stylus is pretty decent quality for the price.
It’s a belt driven turntable (to be expected at this price point) not direct drive, but it’s a smooth spinner all the same.
Behind that retro look aluminum front grill are two hidden speakers, giving you full stereo sound in this small package.
When it’s not in use there’s a semi-opaque hard plastic cover that fits snugly and keeps it all clean and dust free. It has a small leather handle for toting it around.
It’s got the obligatory headphone jack, and the USB functionality means you can also preserve your vinyl in MP3 format by hooking it up to your computer.
For under a hundred, this Crosley Radio is a nice portable USB turntable that’s worth a hard look.
Ion Audio Player with Built-in Speaker
It’s hard to believe that this tiny little portable USB record player could house so much, but the Ion Audio even comes with built in speaker.
The lockable dust cover fits in place and there’s a handle to easily carry it around.
It has all the USB functionality you could ask for, and it has the built in speaker for listening portability; it even runs on battery power if you prefer.
With your home system, you can easily use the line output to connect to external speakers, and you’ll be surprised how good this mini USB turntable can sound. It actually has a line input too, so you can convert to MP3 from other sources like tape players or what have you.
It will even sync up with iTunes with the included software. It plays at 33 and 45 RPM. Definitely one of my picks for the best miniature record players today.
Crosley Keepsake Portable Turntable
This gorgeous record player with portable and USB features is a treat to look at. Crosley has designed it to look like a vintage suitcase, and it’ll look perfect in your home. I love it because when it’s shut it doesn’t look like an electronic device at all. The built in speakers offer stereo sound, and the full USB function lets you convert your vinyl to digital in a snap.
It’s a three speed player, and it comes with a headphone jack and your standard RCA outputs so you can hook it up to your external speakers if you like. Need to move it? Just close it up and use the built in handle, it weighs only about 15 pounds or so.
Whether you want a statement piece, want to preserve your music collection in digital form, or just want a nice portable USB turntable to use on occasion, this is an excellent product to consider. Read the reviews to see what other buyers have to say about it.
Vibe Mini with Vinyl Archiver
If you’re truly concerned about saving space, it doesn’t get much better than the Vibe Mini record player with USB connectivity. This model doesn’t come with the built in speakers that other models sport, but for that reason it saves a ton of space. It’s a belt drive system that actually has very even spin and a remarkable sound quality.
It’s a mini portable USB turntable that is small enough to store easily when it’s not in use, and I think it was developed primarily to rip vinyl into digital form. That said, it’s got the necessary line out to hook up to any speaker setup, so you can use it with your home audio system if you like. It makes a wonderful ‘wow’ piece and you’ll get a ton of comments. People won’t believe it’s a record player!
Pyle Retro Record Player
The Pyle Retro is similar to products by Crosley, but it’s definitely unique. For having built in speakers, this is one of the smallest portable USB and Bluetooth record players you can find, and it’s light to boot.
You have full three speed controls, full stereo dual speakers built into the bottom of the case, and a belt-driven automatic turntable.
There are line outputs on the back / bottom of the suitcase like housing, and it actually has a rechargeable battery that can be charged by either plugging in to the wall, or by using a computer USB port while it’s connected.
It’s even been update to use Bluetooth connectivity.
It’s nice to find a portable USB record player that frees you from the cord! Obviously it’s a gorgeous item and it will garner a lot of comments from friends.
Other Mini Portable USB Turntables:
Here are a few more miniature / portable USB record player options you might like. I particularly like the one that mounts on the wall, which could make a good statement piece in your home (and it’s a pretty decent record player in its own right too).
As you get into the nitty gritty of finding a player that suits your unique needs and tastes, be careful with unknown brands, and be sure to read customer reviews carefully.
Also, be sure to manage your expectations. Most of these portable USB turntables are great, but they’re not a top end high fidelity system. The speakers won’t blow you away with their sound quality, and they aren’t inlaid with rich mahogany. They’re intended to be simple to use, convenient and provide a decent sound quality.
If that’s what you’re after, you won’t be disappointed.