Are Victrola Record Players Good or Bad? Check Here

james williamson author James Williamson
  April 2nd, 2024

Well, looking at the booming vinyl industry, a lot of people want to enter the vinyl world, but they don’t know where they should start.

Normally, they start looking for a way to enter the vinyl world, which doesn’t take a huge dig in their pockets.

And, the most affordable record players in the market are these suitcase record players, i.e., Victrola and Crosley.

Well, I admit that the design and color of these record players are awesome, and they give us that vintage and modern vibe together, but are Victrola record players good or bad? is a question that comes to the mind of many people.

In this article, we are not only going to share the answer to this question, but we will also share the facts behind the answer so that you can make a better decision.

Well, we want to share our opinion on behalf of the whole vinyl community, so we did a lot of research online, had a conversation with many people in the vinyl community, including beginners, and then drafted this article in which we will first share the answer to your most important question, and after that, we will share multiple facts that support my answer.

Are Victrola Record Players Good?

victrola record player

The answer is no. These record players are not considered good by a lot of people in the vinyl community due to multiple factors, and in this article, we are going to talk about all these factors and also share how these record players can affect your vinyl journey.

Reasons Why Victrola Record Players Are Bad:

Here, we are discussing the Victrola VSC-550BT-TQ The Journey suitcase record player. We are not talking about Victrola turntables, which are quite good. If you don’t know the difference between a record player and a turntable, then you should check out this article.

So, here are the facts:

1) Platter

victrola smaller platter

The Victrola VSC-550BT comes with an undersized platter that is built with thin and cheap plastic. This platter is good for a 7-inch record, but if you place a 12-inch record on top of it, then the edges of the record will be outside the platter, i.e., in the air, which is not good in any case, and it might also cause record wobbling issues.

2) Ceramic Cartridges

victrola record player cartridge

Well, the ceramic turntable phono cartridges are not considered bad, but they require a higher tracking force to output accurate and refined sound.

As you know, a higher tracking force is responsible for reducing the life span of the record as well as the stylus. On the other hand, the most popular cartridges, i.e., moving magnet and moving coil, require less tracking force to produce better sound quality and they are also more durable than ceramic cartridges.

3) Stylus

victrola record player stylus

All over the internet, it is mentioned that the Victrola VSC-550BT has a ceramic stylus, or some people also call it a ceramic needle.

Well, I don’t remember seeing a thing called a ceramic stylus, it should be a sapphire, ruby, or diamond stylus. This record player doesn’t mention their needle type in their description or manual, so trust me, if they are using a diamond one, then they should have mentioned it because a diamond stylus is considered the best stylus on the market by almost all audiophiles.

So, this record player might be using the sapphire stylus as seen in other suitcase-type record players. And, let me tell you, these sapphire stylus are known for their bad quality sound production and wearing out more often.

The average life span of a sapphire stylus is around 50 hours of playing.

4) Tracking Force

The tracking force adjustment is one of the most important aspects of any turntable or record player setup. If the tracking force is very low, then your stylus won’t stick into the record grooves, and it can even jump on the surface of the record, which is known as the record skipping problem.

On the other hand, if the tracking force is too heavy, then it forces the stylus to run deeper into the grooves, which eventually damages the record grooves as well as the stylus.

And, as we have already discussed, ceramic cartridges are used in this record player, which needs a higher tracking force. Thus, these record players have a higher tracking force, which ranges between 4-6 grams, so your record will wear out faster than ever.

Now, you must be thinking about what the recommended tracking force is. Right?

So, let me tell you that the tracking force depends on the cartridges. Some cartridges need 2g force and some need 1.8g force, but anything over 3–3.5 g will damage your records and stylus for sure.

5) No Counterweight Dialer and Anti Skating:

victrola no counterweight dialer and anti skate settings

Victrola The Journey record player doesn’t have a counterweight dialer or anti-skating features, which are two of the most important components of a turntable, and the perfect adjustment of these two can boost the sound quality a lot.

You will get a tonearm balanced and anti-skating settings set from the manufacturer’s side, and you can’t adjust them according to you.

6) Vibrations

This record player is very much prone to vibrations. We have talked about the vibration isolation technique, and we have discussed the techniques to reduce vibrations on a turntable setup in which everything is a separate unit.

But, in this all-in-one record player, you will get a turntable, phono preamp, amplifier, and speakers built into one unit with the least vibration isolation techniques followed, so you can imagine how much vibration can reach your stylus while playing, and these vibrations can cause sound distortion issues.

7) Cartridge Alignment

Azimuth setup using free protractor

The cartridge alignment techniques help the stylus to track the grooves properly and reduce sound distortion. However, the alignment techniques require a counterweight dialer and adjustable headshell, and both of these are not available in the Victrola the journey record player, so you can’t calibrate the cartridge.

8) Bad Quality Of Speakers

victrola record player speakers

The quality of the speakers is very bad. I have seen several people talking about this online and offline, and trust me, nobody likes the quality.

Well, some suitcase record player owners did a debate with me and said that if you don’t like the speakers, you can always use external speakers because this unit supports external speakers through RCA cables, which destroys the concept of an all-in-one unit.

9) No Dust Cover

victrola record player

We have discussed many times that vinyl records are made from a material called PVC, which is a natural insulator, and the static charge is built on it when it interacts with the air around it, record sleeves, hand touches, and much more.

So, when we are playing, there is no option to cover the setup, and we also can’t close the suitcase lid because our record is already over the surface, due to which we are forced to leave the record player open while playing, and the static charge built on the record keeps attracting dust particles inside the record grooves, which is not a good thing.

Well, these are some major factors, due to which we suggest you reconsider your thought of buying this record player. Now, let’s talk about how these suitcase record players can mess up your vinyl experience.

How Victrola Record Players Affect Your Vinyl Experience?

These record players can affect your vinyl experience in these ways:

Sound Quality:

The record player is built with cheap quality materials and components, i.e., sapphire stylus, ceramic cartridge, bad-quality speakers with the least vibration isolation techniques followed, and all these things combined output a very bad sound quality.

Damaged Records:

As we have discussed above, these record players have ceramic cartridges with a sapphire stylus, which needs a higher tracking force to produce better sound.

And, due to the higher tracking force, your record wears out faster than ever, and your stylus will also get damaged.


The build quality of these record players makes them more prone to encountering issues like not turning on, not spinning on, and much more.

Can Make You Quit Vinyl World:

We are not making this point out of nowhere, this statement is true. I have seen people buying these record players, playing their records on them, and then leaving the vinyl world, saying our digital music sounds better and is a lot cheaper too.

Well, I don’t blame them because they have never experienced the real sound quality that a complete turntable setup outputs.

They bought this record player due to the vinyl trend, but their mistake is that they bought something that isn’t considered good by people in the same community.

I have read multiple user reviews on online e-commerce platforms where people received a faulty product, and the first thing they are doing after receiving the product is troubleshooting, either requesting a refund or asking for a replacement.

Or if their journey has started better, but soon they will face problems like a stylus worn out, as a sapphire stylus can last up to 50 hours of playing and their records start sounding bad because high tracking force has worn them out.

All these issues combined can make any newcomer leave the vinyl world without even knowing how the vinyl record sounds on a complete turntable setup.

How A Person Should Start His Vinyl Journey:

Well, I always recommend people buy an entry-level turntable with a built-in preamp. You can go for an Audio Technica LP60X turntable along with a pair of active speakers.

These products will cost you a little more than a record player, but trust me, you won’t regret spending some extra bucks on something worth your money.


We have answered your question, “Are Victrola record players good or not?” in the most descriptive and simple words possible. I hope you have understood my point, and this article will help you make a better decision.

If you have any questions, then you can ask me by commenting below, and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

james williamson
About Author: James Williamson

I have been a music enthusiast since childhood and I love talking about music bands, artists, vinyl, and music equipments. I have launched TurntableWave to help people avoid the mistakes that I had made while entering the vinyl world. In my free time, you will find me fishing or playing basketball.

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