Electrohome Kingston 7-in-1 Vinyl Record Player | $200 | Amazon
You know a person is either affable or insufferable when you find out they listen to vinyl. The tell is whether they also have a music streaming subscription. Those who refuse to engage in 21st-century technology fall into the latter box. I, for one, used to enjoy both until a few years ago when my ex-roommate hoarded all my records at his place and never gave them back after I moved out. (The turntable itself has since been discontinued but its modern-day equivalent is the upgraded Sony PS-LX310BT.)
That was 2017. Since then, I’d lived my best vinyl-free life until March of this year when Electrohome sent me their 7-in-1 turntable/Bluetooth/3.5mm jack/AM/FM radio/CD player/USB combo. Basically, any way you want to listen to music, this thing’s got you covered. Included in that mix are *checks notes* THREE methods of playing music from your phone so don’t worry if your vinyl collection isn’t up to snuff just yet.
Mine is admittedly pretty lean—while I used to have a whole catalog of albums to flip through, I now own the quintessential /mu/-core Neutral Milk Hotel’s In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, Kendrick Lamar’s Good Kid m.A.A.d City, and hilariously, the soundtrack to the movie Bohemian Rhapsody. And while this may sound like a story I made up to cover my ass, that last one showed up in the mail a few days ago with zero warning. I DID NOT ORDER IT. If you know who sent me this album, whether as a prank or promotional stunt, please send tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sure, it’s cliché, but In the Aeroplane Over the Sea always brings me back to a simpler time, back when I thought Neutral Milk Hotel was “underground” and also ska for some reason. Good Kid m.A.A.d City makes me nostalgic for that one time in college I got way too drunk on a weekday and zonked out to a copy my roommate had lying around. In other words, these albums call to mind specific junctures in which I heard them playing faintly in the background. However, that’s not to say I won’t belch, “I LOOOOOVE YOU JEEEESSUS CHRRRIIIIST” at the top of my lungs when the King of Carrot Flowers Pts. 1 & 2 hit. No promises.
Before I get too in the weeds of which albums sound the best after four cups of jungle juice, let’s get back to this turntable. First off, it’s huge, but don’t think of it as just a music player; at 13.5 x 17.3 x 12.25", the Kingston 7-in-1 is furniture, home decor. It’s meant to spruce up a house or apartment that’s simply missing something. Maybe you have a side table with nothing on it. Well here’s something to fill that space, with music and refined vintage a e s t h e t i c. Unfortunately, as I’ve lamented numerous times on this website since I started working here, we do not have that problem in my 500-sq. ft household, so it instead clutters our dining area even more. But that’s a me problem, I’ll admit.
After testing it out extensively, mostly while cooking or doing chores, I’ll contend versatility is the best reason to own the Kingston 7-in-1 turntable. For enjoying albums you don’t own on vinyl, Bluetooth, aux-in, and CD playback support add layers of utility analog turntables lack. A transit screw makes it possible to move or travel without risking damage. The included 45 adapter opens up a world of 7" records you can spin. On paper, Electrohome’s record player is a shoo-in, that is until you consider the built-in speakers. I won’t lie, the sound quality sucks!
Apart from lending itself perfectly to decorative framing, the main benefit to vinyl you’ll hear most from collectors is the uptick in sound quality compared to CDs and streaming. Because vinyl is pressed in a lossless format, it doesn’t have to be compressed to meet digital storage requirements. The gains aren’t automatic though. You’ll need the right speakers for the job, and these are simply not it. For what it’s worth, RCA and aux out make it easy to hook up an external speaker. Since we already have a Sonos Move, I plugged that in using a 3.5mm audio cable I ordered on Amazon specifically for this review. Just like that, problem solved.
At the end of the day, the Electrohome Kingston 7-in-1 record player is a vintage throwback centerpiece first and a music player second. If nostalgic kitsch accurately describes your sense of style—and you have space to prominently display it—this turntable is for you. If not, consider one of these formidable alternatives. As much as the sound quality disappoints, let’s face it, most record players lack built-in speakers altogether. And, to be clear, you don’t HAVE to buy an external sound system to blast your tunes, they’ll just sound kinda flat if you don’t.
As for the albums I’m picking up next, here’s the top 10 on my wish list, in no particular order: