I was sent the 1byone Belt-Drive 3 Speed Stereo Portable Turntable with Built In Speakers by 1byone as a review unit so I will review it as honestly as possible.
As a musician, I always sought out the highest quality music I could find. 320 kpbs, FLAC, ALAC, WAV, PCM were all fantastic for music, but I always heard a lot about the premier quality that vinyl records offered. There seemed to be a consensus that vinyl was the best quality you could have for music, provided you had a clean vinyl, good turntable, and good speakers. After the resurgence of vinyl in the late 2000’s to the early 2010’s, portable record players started popping up everywhere. Enter the 1byone Belt Drive 3 SpeedPortable Turntable, a clean record player packed into a nice casing with speakers inside. I saw the side panel with the headphones in, 3.5mm in, and was very intrigued by the product as a whole. Let’s get right into it!
Packaging and Build Quality
The packaging for all of 1byone’s product has been quite sparse, which is a relief. They are packed well enough for the product to be secure, and in this case, it came with foam on the bottom to support the suitcase design, but compact enough where you do not have to go through twenty barriers just to access the product. After unwrapping the product, I was greeted by a sturdy record player housed inside of what seems to me is a wooden box wrapped in denim. The design of the outside shell is really clean and I love the look of it. The denim feels nice and the rubber feet on the bottom prevent the player from sliding around on my desk. The speakers are inserted on the front of the case on either side of the handle, which is also quite sturdy. There is a latch on the front of the player to prevent the product from falling out, and it keeps the turntable secure. The latch surprisingly enough feels strong, I was expecting the latch or the handle to be a dud since many products tend to have latches that break after even the slightest use.
As stated before, the side panel is where you get to plug everything in. For starters, you can connect your headphones directly into this turntable via the 3.5mm jack onboard. Next to the headphones was the DC in for the power source, and next to that, the Line Out. The purpose of the Line Out is so that you can connect the turntable to your speaker system for louder music and so that you are not subject to using only the speakers. Lastly, the Line In is available if you’d like to connect your iPod, Smartphone, or laptop into the turntable for some convoluted reason.
The inside of the turntable is also really well built in my opinion. The tone arm has a holder on it that prevents the needle from physically touching the ground, a great feature since a clean needle can make a world of difference when it comes to how the vinyl is heard. Right of the needle is a small control panel that has three features. The first being a lever for the tone arm to raise and lower it once it is out of the tone arm holder. The lever is pretty solid and safely lowers and raises the tone arm. I noticed the lever does get loose, but it locks in place at the top and the bottom of the ridge, which is all that matters to me.
Below that is a RPM switch. Vinyl records are meant to be played at specific RPM’s, or Revolutions Per Minute, in order to be heard properly. This switch has the three most common speeds, 33 RPM, 45 RPM and 78 RPM. My Donna Summer’ single ‘Dinner With Gershwin’ had to be played at 45RPM, while the self-titled Rage Against The Machine vinyl had to be played at 33 RPM. The final feature that is on this panel is the AUTO STOP ON/OFF switch. When the switch is ON, it will stop the record when it is complete, and it will not stop the record when the switch is OFF, pretty straightforward. Next to the top of the tone arm is a 45 RPM adapter that should be used when an album needs to be played at, you guessed it, 45RPM.
The build quality on this product is incredible and I really like it. The one thing I do dislike about the structure of the vinyl is that I cannot close the turntable with a vinyl in it, it sticks out. I dislike this because I want to prevent dust from getting on the vinyl while it is in use and this table prevents that.
I first tested this turntable with the onboard speakers, but I eventually did test them with my JBL LSR 305 Stereo Speakers. The onboard speakers are okay, but they are nothing to phone home about. I have heard the Rage Against The Machine vinyl is 128 kpbs, 256 kpbs, 320 kpbs, ALAC, and FLAC so I have a pretty good idea as to what this album is supposed to sound like and what sounds I can hear in the ALAC and FLAC versions, that are really deeply hidden in the 320 kpbs counterpart. When I turned the turntable volume to just above “On”, I could generally only hear the cymbals. Once I moved it to 3-4 I was able to hear the full band and it sounded pretty good for what the speakers are. Once I reached 8-10, it seemingly started to distort a bit and it didn’t sound nearly as refined. The onboard speakers are definitely the low point of this turntable.
I then plugged in my headphones to see the quality of the music through my headphones (this was using the onboard speakers, they were unplugged from the JBL). There was a bit of a speaker leak. I turned the volume to around 7 for the turntable and held my ear to the onboard speakers and noticed that I could still hear music through the speaker. I do not know if it is just this unit, or if this is a known issue, but I don’t think I was able to hear the full soundscape through the headphones. I was disappointed with this, but realized that I would seldom plug my headphones into to listen to vinyl.But, how did they sound when I plugged them into the JBL LSR 305 speakers? Absolutely amazing and crisp. The vinyl really shined when it was plugged into the speakers and the turntable instantly redeemed itself to me in my eyes since the table is always right next to the speakers. The quality was absolutely superb and I began to understand why vinyl is often times touted as the premier sound quality.
The last thing I tested out was plugging in my phone to the turntable to listen to some of my music that I do not have on vinyl. I will admit that music did sound good through the speakers, but again, nothing to call home about. They can definitely be improved to make the turntable all the more desirable.
Overall/ Final Thoughts
I like the turntable. It is a great introduction into the world of vinyl and has a lot of great features in addition to a solid build. I am still disappointed in the flaws that this turntable has though such as the speakers themselves, sound leakage, and the fact that I cannot close the vinyl while it is playing. The later of the three is the one that irks me the most, with the other two being bearable since I will seldom listen to the table through headphones. The product as a whole is great and 1byone really did a great job with this product. If they release a second version with upgraded speakers and a closeable lid while a vinyl is being played, it’d be a top contender for a great record player for an affordable price.