And that definitely extends to record players.
The problem with vintage models is that they lack modern features and components.
That is why models like the Portable Wireless LP Belt-Drive Record Player With Built-In Stereo Speakers from Wockoder are such a hit. They look vintage on the outside, but are anything but on the inside.
- Belt-driven motor
- Wireless connectivity (Bluetooth)
- Plays all three-speeds
- Low price
- Compact, lightweight design
- RCA outputs allow connection to active speakers or receiver
- The plastic panel that the tonearm attaches to is somewhat flimsy
- Sound quality is good for the speaker size, but less so than our top picks
- Cheap cartridge, though good for price (you can upgrade it later)
They give you all the features that are standard in modern record players and wrap them up in a gorgeous retro package.
And when it comes to this particular turntable, you get it all at a great price, too.
So what’s the drawback?
Well, there are a few. When you pay this little, there are obviously some sacrifices. Let’s take a closer look and see what they are.
Wockoder Record Player Review: Overview And Features
There’s something about vintage turntables that casual listeners and audiophiles both find appealing. If you don’t have to have the real deal and you’re happy to have a vintage-inspired model with some modern features, then this is the turntable for you.
While it’s true that higher-priced reproductions will come with more top of the line features, the manufacturer has done a great job of including important features that you’ll find yourself using on a daily basis, and all without hiking up the price.
Wockoder’s latest model isn’t all about flash and big sound. Instead, its pure vintage style takes you back to a classic design and a great setup that will make a nice addition to an existing audio system. Or it’ll work great as a standalone.
But don’t let the vintage design fool you. Inside, this model is packing some great modern features including wireless capability.
Despite its lightweight, compact design, this is a turntable that’s built tough. It comes with an included clear cover which you can use at all times to keep both the platter and your vinyl free from dust.
Dust can negatively impact sound clarity, so you always want to clean your player regularly, but a dust cover means you have to do it less often.
The tonearm and stylus are both stock. They perform well, but the serious audiophile may want to upgrade them later down the line. If you’d like to learn more about upgrades and the basic mechanics of a record player, read “How do record players work?”
Like many other models in this price range, it supports three speeds and three record sizes. Speeds include the standard 33 1/3, 45, and 78 RPM. In terms of record size, you can play your twelve, ten, and seven-inch records.
Improved Shock Absorption
The base of the turntable is equipped with a spring that’s designed to improve sound quality by providing shock absorption. Shock absorption can help prevent the tonearm from skipping, but most models don’t come with a base designed to remedy this issue. Instead, you usually have to purchase shock absorbers separately.
Vibrations that occur when you play a record can easily be transmitted via the surface of the deck, creating a type of audible rumble. In some cases, this will cause the stylus and tonearm to jump out of the grooves.
Some audiophiles recommend placing the turntable on a heavier piece of furniture, such as a dresser or a quality record player stand, in order to reduce the vibrations, but changing the turntable’s location isn’t always enough.
Fortunately, Wockoder is one step ahead.
The addition of the spring located at the base of the platter can help to minimize vibrations and prevent skipping, in most cases. If you do still have an issue, make sure the turntable is level. If it’s not level, tracking will not be the only issue you run into.
Many people focus on leveling the base only, but I recommend checking the platter as well. If the platter isn’t level you may need to take the rubber platter cover off and use some shims to level it.
The manufacturer also has a recommended range for their stylus, which you can adjust to set the tracking force. If it’s set incorrectly, this can also lead to tracking issues.
If you’re not sure how to go about this last step, you can use a gauge specifically designed to measure tracking force. You’ll use this to measure the tonearm’s downward force.
Then you adjust the tonearm’s counterbalance so that the tracking force is set to one half. Slowly increase the tracking force until the tonearm stops jumping.
The built-in speakers are moderately loud, but not loud enough to rival a full audio setup. If you’re using this model as a standalone player then you may need to hook up some external active speakers via the RCA outs
A great set of floor standing speakers is best for vinyl. You can also connect those to a stereo receiver. However, the internal speakers are more than loud enough for bedroom use.
Since this model is Bluetooth ready you can hook up external devices including MP3 players, smartphones, or tablets.
This one features adds so much versatility. Not only can you listen to more music than what you have in your vinyl collection, but you can digitally stream the latest tracks from your smartphone, iPad, or any other type of smart device.
If you want bigger sound than what the built-in speakers offer, you unfortunately can not use Bluetooth speakers. The Bluetooth only goes in, not out. Your only option is to use active speakers through the RCA outputs.
That said, no turntable in this price range offers Bluetooth output. I’m not sure why that is, because it would be a very useful feature.
Combined with the base designed to reduce vibration, the belt-driven motor will also do its part to minimize skipping. An elastic belt is attached directly to the motor and the platter. This results in precise, fast, smooth movements.
The platter rests on top of a bearing and is isolated from the motor, working to reduce vibration. The belt drive benefits from this setup since the bearing allows for both rotational and linear movement.
Belt-driven motors are very precise and the preferred type of turntable for many audiophiles for that treason. They are more reliable and lower maintenance compared to direct drive motors, which are usually found in higher priced models.
Since the design also helps to reduce vibration, the result is a much cleaner sound. For many audiophiles, motor noise reduction is a priority. The sound is much clearer the more a turntable’s feedback noise is reduced and the manufacturer has managed to accomplish just that.
For the price, the turntable’s sound quality is impressive. The ability to hook it up to an external pair of speakers is also a plus.
In terms of aesthetics, it features the perfect mod, vintage look, that’s simple but classy. The top of the turntable is clear so you can see your vinyl spinning, even when the lid is shut. The lid itself is designed to cut down on dust and debris coming into contact with the platter and your vinyl.
This model is also very beginner-friendly, taking just five minutes to set up. The controls are pretty basic, so you’ll have no problem playing records, even if this is your first turntable and you have no idea how to use one.
The player’s three speed options and soft drop arm allow you to play vinyl of all sizes. The size of the speakers may be small but they’re somehow still able to offer a crystal clear sound that will make your vinyl sound richer.
However, there is one issue that can be frustrating. When you turn the turntable on, you’ll have to deal with the Bluetooth pairing message each time. Unfortunately, you cannot disable this feature.
Comparison To The Competition
This is a standalone model. While it’s portable due to its light weight, it’s not quite as portable as the suitcase turntables that have risen in popularity in recent years.
Models such as the Victrola Vintage 3-Speed Bluetooth Suitcase Turntable allow you to pack it up and take your vinyl collection with you, wherever you go. Like the Wockoder, the Victrola also features Bluetooth connectivity, so you can wirelessly play your music from any type of Bluetooth enabled device.
Quality-wise, both setups are pretty square in regard to sound and extra features such as a 3.5 millimeter aux-in line and an RCA output. But unlike this turntable, the model by Victrola doesn’t come with built-in shock absorption, which is a feature that would be especially helpful in a portable model.
This Wockoder model provides a better, more stable sound, but if you’re looking for a way to play your vinyl when you’re away from home, then the Victrola suitcase turntable is the way to go.
Wockoder Turntable With Speakers Review: Conclusion And Rating
The Wockoder Record Player With Built-In Stereo Speakers is compact, portable, and includes a couple of built-in speakers that offer a clear, smooth sound that any audiophile or casual listener can appreciate.
The shock absorption spring is a nice touch and helps minimize vibration and skipping. The wireless connectivity adds versatility to the setup, but it can be frustrating to deal with the pairing prompt each time the turntable is switched on. It’s definitely a bug the manufacturer needs to look into.
Aside from that issue, I felt that this vintage-inspired model is one of the best record players that come with built-in speakers on the market. I gave this model a Top Record Players rating of 4.5 out of 5.