Once we finished testing the Jensen JTA-230, we concluded that shopping in the bargain basement for turntables isn't really worth it. Sure the Jensen looks kind of nice, but the music it produces sounds quite bad. We've listened to Pandora through cheap Bluetooth speakers and had a better listening experience than we did using the Jensen with a set of nice speakers. If you happen to have some old records lying around and just what to see what's on them, the Jensen is an inexpensive way to do that. However, your experience would be vastly improved by getting the slightly more expensive but still reasonable Audio Technica AT-LP60BK. Its sound is far superior and is much more worthy of those high quality vinyl records.
Jensen JTA-230 Review
Cons: Poor sound, difficult to use, flimsy construction
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|Pros||Inexpensive||Exceptional sound quality, high quality construction, easy to use||Great sound, high quality construction, easy to use||Good sound, fully automatic cueing, great vibration resistance||Good sound quality, fully automatic cueing|
|Cons||Poor sound, difficult to use, flimsy construction||Susceptible to skipping if bumped, expensive||Expensive||Expensive||Somewhat prone to skipping|
|Bottom Line||A tempting low price, but sounds inferior to listening to mp3’s on cheap speakers||Great for audiophiles that want the best possible listening experience||A great all-around package that is a perfect first turntable||Good sound with the added convenience of automatic cueing and top notch vibration resistance||A solid performer that offers the convenience of fully automatic cueing|
|Rating Categories||Jensen JTA-230||Pro-Ject Debut...||Audio-Technica...||Fluance RT81||Audio-Technica...|
|Sound Quality (40%)|
|Component Quality (25%)|
|User Friendliness (25%)|
|Vibration Resistance (10%)|
|Specs||Jensen JTA-230||Pro-Ject Debut...||Audio-Technica...||Fluance RT81||Audio-Technica...|
|Cartridge||Jensen 222NDL||Ortofon 2M Red||Audio Technica AT95E||Audio Technica AT95E||Audio Technica AT91R|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Jensen JTA-230 was quite underwhelming in our testing as it was difficult to use and didn't sound very good. We would strongly suggest spending a bit more on the Audio Technica AT-LP60BK if you're looking for a budget record player.
The Jensen JTA-230 was one of the worst overall performers in our testing. Below we detail all of the testing results that led to that low score.
The Jensen JTA-230 was close to the bottom of our sound quality scoreboard, earning a 3 out of 10. This bested only the other sub $100 model we tested, the Victrola Vintage 3-Speed. Almost everything we listened to on this turntable sounded somewhat muffled. It also had a very narrow dynamic range, making the music sound thin, weak, and tinny. Overall we much preferred listening to mp3's than listening to records played on this machine. Spending a bit more on the Audio Technica AT-LP60BK brings much sharper clarity and an impressive dynamic range. We feel this upgrade is well worthwhile.
The Jensen JTA-230 only lists for $50, and it shows. It received the lowest component quality score of any of the models we tested, a 2 out of 10. It uses a flimsy plastic platter with no soft material to insulate the record from vibrations. The tonearm is also flimsy plastic, as is the majority of the player body. For comparison, the Audio Technica AT-LP60BK has a solid aluminum platter with a felt mat, and a metal tonearm.
The Jensen also fared poorly in our user friendliness testing, sharing the bottom score of 3 out of 10. It does automatically identify what type of record you're playing and adjusts its speed to 33, 45, or 78 rpm as needed, but unfortunately that is where the convenience stops. It has no tracking force adjustment and no cue lever. This means you have to move the tonearm and set the needle to the record yourself. In general this isn't a difficult skill to master, but in the case of the Jensen the tonearm is a bit sticky when it moves around, making things a bit difficult. It also means you can't adjust the tracking force if things aren't sounding right. It does offer digital conversion, which is nice. Unfortunately the resulting mp3 files sound like the Jensen does, which isn't so good.
The Jensen was again at the bottom of the leaderboard in our vibration resistance testing, earning a score of 3 out of 10. In our testing it skipped if we even grazed against the table that it was sitting on, while all the other models were able to withstand at least moderate bumps without skipping,
Although the Jensen's list price of $50 is very low, its performance is correspondingly poor. This makes it a bad value. If you want a budget record player and can handle spending another $50, the Audio Technica AT-LP60BK is an infinitely better value.
The Jensen JTA-230 offers a shoestring price point but fails to provide solid enough performance to be worth even that low price.
— Max Mutter and Steven Tata