can you play a record without a record player

How To Play A Record Without A Record Player

It’s not always possible to carry around a record player. They’re big, heavy, expensive and fragile if you were to carry them around with you every day.

So what happens when you want to listen to your records without a record player nearby?

Can you play records without a record player?


There are three ways to play your vinyl records without a record player:

  1. All-In-One devices like the RokBlok or LOVE Turntable
  2. Converting your records to a digital format
  3. Picking up “needle talk”

Here we explore each method, and what you need to listen to your record collection on the go!


4 Devices That Play Records Without A Record Player

New technology, such as the RokBlok and LOVE Turntable, combine a stylus, needle and speaker (or wireless speaker receivers). These all-in-one devices pick up audio signals from the grooves on your record and amplify them via speakers, making them loud enough to hear.

However, there are huge differences in the quality of devices like these, with one being commonly known as the “Vinyl Killer” which we review below.

LOVE Turntable

LOVE is the latest in modern record player technology, bridging the gap between listening to vinyl records and the practicality of digital platforms. It plays your record like any record player would with the option to connect to bluetooth speakers or standard 3.5mm connection. It also connects to your smartphone, enabling you to switch songs, replay and pause at the click of a button.

Record Runner

The Record Runner looks like a toy VW bus that has a stylus underneath with a small set of speakers on the top. It is powered by a 9V battery and when placed on your record, it ‘drives around’ your record in the same way your vinyl spins around and plays audio. Originally made in Japan, they became popular as cheap gifts but if you’re thinking that it sounds cheaply made then you are correct. Unfortunately, the record runner has another name: The Vinyl Killer, for reasons that should be obvious. We don’t recommend using one for this reason.


RokBlok, like the LOVE Turntable in many respects, allows you to simply sit the device on your records to play music through speakers. It recently surpassed it’s $50,000 benchmark on kickstarter and is in early stage development. We’ll review it once it comes out so keep an eye on the homepage!


MWM has announced a new product called Phase that sits on your turntable and allows you to DJ audio files without the use of a needle. Instead of using a needle to pick up audio data in the grooves, Phase wirelessly translates how much the record is manually moved (think of a DJ spinning records), into a digital timecode. This is then read by digital audio software like Traktor to replicate a vinyl ‘scratching’ sound even if the song that is playing isn’t from the vinyl itself.

It’s important to know that the Phase only senses you scratching and how much you move the record by (in seconds as a timestamp) and converts that signal to the song you are playing digitally. In effect, this actually doesn’t play your record, it just uses your record as a tool to tell the audio software how much to skip the song up or down to emulate the DJ scratching effect of old school DJ’s.


How To Convert Your Vinyl Records To Digital Formats

You can convert vinyl records to digital formats using a pre-amp or turntable with USB connectivity and connecting it to a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) Ableton Live. However, if you want to retain the full audio quality within your record, it is important to convert your records to FLAC or other lossless format as ensures you retain the full audio signals instead of compressing them when converting to Mp3.


Is there any point in converting records to mp3?

The main reason to convert records to MP3 is to listen to your songs on-the-go that might not be available to stream on platforms like Spotify yet. If you prefer not to use streaming platforms by personal choice, this allows you to listen to albums you have bought without relying on them.


Needle Talk: What Is It And Is It Bad?

Needle talk is when you hear the audio of a spinning record, even when there is no speaker connected. This is happens because the audio signals are still being picked up by the tiny electromagnetic signals within the record player cartridge.

Needle talk isn’t bad or dangerous. In fact, it is necessary as it is these signals which get amplified by speakers. You could think of all audio played through your speakers as amplified needle talk.



It is possible to listen to vinyl records without a record player but there are only two ways to do this without losing audio quality.

  1. Converting your vinyl to a lossless digital format like FLAC.
  2. Using new gadgets like the LOVE Turntable to spin your records and send the audio signals to wireless speakers.

Other gadgets are available that offer similar gimmicks but low cost but they have been widely known to damage vinyl’s so we don’t recommend using them.

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