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Victrola Vintage 3-Speed Review

A very inexpensive model that sounds like a very inexpensive model
Victrola Vintage 3-Speed
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Price:   $60 List | $51.22 at Amazon
Pros:  Inexpensive
Cons:  Poor sound quality, difficult to use, low quality construction
Manufacturer:   Victrola
By Max Mutter and Steven Tata  ⋅  Dec 5, 2017
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29
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 7
  • Sound Quality - 40% 2
  • Component Quality - 25% 3
  • User Friendliness - 25% 3
  • Vibration Resistance - 10% 6

Our Verdict

The Victrola Vintage 3-Speed is a suitcase-style record player that is easy to move from place to place, but that is really where the good points end. It was the worst sounding model we tested, isn't particularly easy to use, and is built from low-quality components. If you're looking for a low budget turntable and can afford to spend a bit more, we would recommend doing so. Even models that are just slightly more expensive can offer vastly better experiences than this machine.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award  Best Buy Award 
Price $60 List
$51.22 at Amazon
$400 List$279 List
$279 at Amazon
$199 List$129 List
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Pros InexpensiveExceptional sound quality, high quality construction, easy to useGreat sound, high quality construction, easy to useGood sound quality, fully automatic cueingInexpensive, good sound, fully automatic operation
Cons Poor sound quality, difficult to use, low quality constructionSusceptible to skipping if bumped, expensiveExpensiveSomewhat prone to skippingDynamic range is a bit stunted, little adjustability
Bottom Line A very inexpensive model that sounds like a very inexpensive modelGreat for audiophiles that want the best possible listening experienceGreat sound quality and user-friendly features will please vinyl veterans and newcomers alikeA solid performer that offers the convenience of fully automatic cueingA great and budget-friendly entry point to listening to music on vinyl
Rating Categories Victrola Vintage 3-... Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Audio-Technica AT-L... Audio-Technica AT-L... Audio-Technica AT-L...
Sound Quality (40%)
2.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
Component Quality (25%)
3.0
9.0
8.0
6.0
7.0
User Friendliness (25%)
3.0
8.0
9.0
8.0
5.0
Vibration Resistance (10%)
6.0
6.0
6.0
5.0
6.0
Specs Victrola Vintage 3-... Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Audio-Technica AT-L... Audio-Technica AT-L... Audio-Technica AT-L...
Cartridge Innovative Technology ITRRS300 Ortofon 2M Red Audio Technica AT95E Audio Technica AT91R Audio Technica ATN3600L
Drive Method Direct Belt Direct Belt Belt
USB Compatibility No No Yes No Yes
Operation Manual Manual Manual Fully Automatic Fully Automatic
Platter Material Plastic Aluminum Aluminum Aluminum Aluminum
Mat Material Plastic Felt Felt Rubber Felt

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Victrola Vintage 3-Speed was the least melodious of all the turntables we tested, and also our least favorite overall.

Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Performance Comparison


The Victrola Vintage 3-Speed earned the lowest overall score of all the turntables we tested. Below we discuss all of the tests we used to determine those scores, and how the Victrola performed in each.

Sound Quality


The Victrola was the worst scorer in this metric, earning just a 2 out of 10. No matter what we did it created a lot of distortion, which in turn made everything sound very muddled. The dynamic range was also the narrowest of any of the models we tested, giving the music a very thin and lifeless quality. Overall we would much rather listen to a low quality Pandora stream on a cheap Bluetooth speaker than listen to the Victrola. The other model that we tested in this price range, the Jensen JTA-230, sounded slightly better, but not much.

We found the Victrola's sound quality to be quite disappointing.
We found the Victrola's sound quality to be quite disappointing.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Component Quality


The Victrola's construction quality directly corresponds with its low price, earning it a low score of 3 out of 10 in this metric. It uses a flimsy plastic platter with no sort of soft mat material to reduce vibration and protect your records. The tonearm is metal, but is thin and quite flimsy. Its outer suitcase is fairly sturdy, but all the parts actually used to make music are not.

The Victrola packs down into a nice suitcase, but the components...
The Victrola packs down into a nice suitcase, but the components that actually produce music are of a relatively low quality.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

User Friendliness


The Victrola was again a low scorer in this metric, earning a 3 out of 10. It can automatically detect what type of record you're playing and adjust the speed of the platter to 33, 45, or 78 rpm as needed. Beyond that, nothing is particularly easy. It has almost no adjustability, no tracking force adjustment, no pitch control, no nothing. This makes it hard to tinker with the sound, and its sound could use some tinkering. It does have a cue lever, however it didn't seem to work too well, so we had to resort to hand cueing most of the time, which took a very steady hand because of the flimsy tonearm.

The Victrola requires hand cueing, which may be intimidating to some...
The Victrola requires hand cueing, which may be intimidating to some newcomers.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Vibration Resistance


This is the one area where the Victrola was at least average, earning a score of 6 out of 10. It was able to withstand some fairly solid bumps to the table it was resting on without skipping, but we were able to get it to skip with a very strong bump.

Value


Though the Victrola is quite inexpensive, its performance is so poor that we wouldn't consider it a good value.

Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Conclusion


The Victrola Vintage 3-Speed is a very inexpensive record player, but unfortunately its performance very much reflects that low price.

Max Mutter and Steven Tata