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Victrola Vintage 3-Speed Review

A very inexpensive model that sounds like a very inexpensive model
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Price:   $60 List | $43 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
#8 of 9
  • 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 strongly recommend getting the Audio-Technica AT-LP60BK instead. It provides a vastly better listening experience, better construction, and a user-friendly interface for $40 more. If you want a record player but don't want to spend as little as possible Jensen JTA-230 is a bit better than the Victrola, but still doesn't' sound very good.


Compare to Similar Products

 
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Star Rating
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Pros InexpensiveExceptional sound quality, high quality construction, easy to useGreat sound, high quality construction, easy to useGood sound, fully automatic cueing, great vibration resistanceGood sound quality, fully automatic cueing
Cons Poor sound quality, difficult to use, low quality constructionSusceptible to skipping if bumped, expensiveExpensiveExpensiveSomewhat prone to skipping
Bottom Line A very inexpensive model that sounds like a very inexpensive modelGreat for audiophiles that want the best possible listening experienceA great all-around package that is a perfect first turntableGood sound with the added convenience of automatic cueing and top notch vibration resistanceA solid performer that offers the convenience of fully automatic cueing
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Rating Categories Victrola Vintage... Pro-Ject Debut... Audio-Technica... Fluance RT81 Audio-Technica...
Sound Quality (40%)
10
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2
10
0
9
10
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8
10
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7
10
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7
Component Quality (25%)
10
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3
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6
User Friendliness (25%)
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3
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8
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9
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8
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8
Vibration Resistance (10%)
10
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6
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6
10
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6
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8
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5
Specs Victrola Vintage... Pro-Ject Debut... Audio-Technica... Fluance RT81 Audio-Technica...
Cartridge Innovative Technology ITRRS300 Ortofon 2M Red Audio Technica AT95E Audio Technica AT95E Audio Technica AT91R
Drive Method Direct Belt Direct Belt Belt
USB Compatibility No No Yes No No
Operation Manual Manual Manual Manual Fully Automatic
Platter Material Plastic Aluminum Aluminum Aluminum Aluminum
Mat Material Plastic Felt Felt Rubber Rubber

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.


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. In comparison, the $100 Audio-Technica AT-LP60BK provides good clarity and a dynamic range wide enough to give music an emotional depth.

We found the Victrola's sound quality to be quite disappointing.
We found the Victrola's sound quality to be quite disappointing.

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. If you can upgrade to the Audio-Technica AT-LP60BK you get a solid metal platter, a nice felt mat, and a much sturdier tonearm.

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

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. Again, upgrading to the Audio-Technica AT-LP60BK makes things much better as you get more adjustability and fully automatic cueing.

The Victrola requires hand cueing  which may be intimidating to some newcomers.
The Victrola requires hand cueing, which may be intimidating to some newcomers.

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 lists for just $60, its performance is so poor that we still don't feel it is a good value. If you're looking for a good value per dollar, you'll have to spend a bit more on the Audio-Technica AT-LP60BK.


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