Why Suitcase Record Players Are Really THAT Bad

Suitecare record player

If you’re picking up record collecting as a hobby, you’ll want to avoid suitcase record players. We’re here to help you choose the right kind of turntable so that your records stay healthy. 

Are Suitcase Record Players Good?

Suitcase record players are affordable and space-efficient. They also often connect to modern speakers through a cable or wireless connection. However, they are a bit problematic in the long run. 

Designers prioritize portability when developing suitcase record players, which is antithetical to the nature of vinyl records. Records are large and bulky media that are best enjoyed in a dedicated listening space. A record player that attempts to be portable compromises quality. 

Do Suitcase Record Players Damage Records? 

Yes, suitcase records can damage your records. These record players lack some key components, and the ones they have aren’t very good. Here’s why a suitcase record player can damage your records: 

Poor Stylus

Suitcase record players often use a ruby or sapphire needle, whereas better record players use diamond needles. Ruby and sapphire are more susceptible to wear and tear. A damaged needle is more likely to jump out of the groove and scratch the record. 

No Counterweight

Suitcase turntables usually lack counterweights, thereby limiting your control over the pressure the needle and arm put on the record. Too much or too little pressure can damage a record while creating excess noise. 

No Platter 

Most suitcase record players lack sufficient support under the record. The record spins on a platform smaller than its 12-inch diameter. Without proper support, the record wobbles in the air as it spins, leaving room for the needle to fall out of the groove or for the arm’s pressure to crack the record. 

Sound Quality Concerns 

Settling for less when it comes to the stylus, counterweight and platter creates excess noise beyond the charming crackle that many listeners love. 

The sound quality concerns also apply to the record player’s output features. Many suitcase record players have small built-in speakers. At their best, these speakers sound thin. But they can also cause greater issues due to their proximity to the record. 

Two things can happen when a speaker is too close to a record. One, the needle can actually pick up the sound coming from the speaker, creating a nasty feedback loop. Additionally, the speakers’ vibrations can knock the needle out of place, resulting in skipping and creating the potential for damage. In an ideal world, you’d keep your speakers as far from the turntable as possible. 

Are Suitcase Record Players Bad: The Verdict 

Yes, suitcase turntables are bad. While they may be a fine option for beginners who need a reason to begin building their collection, they’ll do more harm than good in the long run. 

Find a Record Player Worthy of Your Collection at Record Head 

Vinyl records have unique sound qualities when compared to digital media, which makes them popular among music fans. If you’re building your record collection, you’ll benefit from skipping the suitcase record player in favor of one that will treat your records with love. 

You can shop online with Record Head or visit our West Allis, Wisconsin, storefront to find affordable record players and accessories that will preserve your albums. We also have an extensive collection of vinyl records for sale, so stop in to see what you’ll find.