Jensen JTA-230 Record Player is the big brother of the JTA-220 and JTA-222.
The 3 models are very close in price range and ratings, but I prefer the JTA-230 overall.
If you’re new to vinyl or you want to breakout your old dusty vinyl collection, the Jensen JTA-230 could be just what you’re looking for.
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It’s an entry level record player so it’s not going to give you high fidelity sound, but if you’re not too fussy about this and you’re on a budget, this record player might just surprise you.
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It’s a portable unit which makes it super easy to move around the house and even takes it along when you’re on the go. And you’ll be able to convert your vinyls into a digital format using the USB interface and free software.
This record player also comes with a tone and pitch controls, which is an extra that most entry-level record players lack.
So, if you’re shopping around for a self-contained record player and considering all its features (which I’ll get into next) as well as the extra controls it’s a good little record player in its price range.
Features of the Jensen JTA-230 Record Player
Before you spend any money on a new record player, you need to know what you can expect. Getting to know the important features and how you can get the best out of the unit, will make choosing the best one for your needs so much easier.
So let’s look at the most important features this record player has to offer.
Just about all the self-contained record players are able to play vinyls cut at 33, 45 and 78 RPM. There’s an adapter that comes with this record player for playing 45’s.
An added benefit of the Jensen JTA-230 record player is that the pitch controls will even allow you to play vintage records cut at 80RPM by giving you more control over the speed.
This is a cool feature that is not available with other entry-level record players.
Bigger is better when it comes to all-in-one record players because more size means more power. The Jensen JTA-230 has a plastic build and it’s not one of the biggest units on the market and it is flimsy to a certain extent.
It’s worth mentioning here that the feet of the unit is made of non-skid rubber, but you can easily add more stability by attaching self-adhesive felt pads under each foot.
This will also help to protect any wooden surface the unit is placed on. The dimensions of the record player are; 13.4 x 13.8 x 6.4 inches and it weighs in at around 5.5 pounds.
This record player is a belt driven unit, meaning the platter is connected to the motor via a rubber belt. The upside to this is that the belt acts as a shock absorber and dampens the vibrations resonating from the motor.
The down side to a belt drive is that the platter speed is not as accurate as of that of a direct drive unit.
Jensen made a good choice to include pitch control with the Jensen JTA-230, which you can use to make finer adjustments to the speed rotation of the platter.
The record player is almost completely manually operated. So you’ll have to cue the tonearm at the beginning of the record.
This is a handy feature for cueing specific tracks but users with a less than steady hand might find this a drawback.
The unit does have an auto stop function which means once the final track is finished the motor will stop turning the platter. This is great if you have a habit of falling asleep while playing music since it reduces the wear on your vinyl.
Because it’s not fully automatic, you’ll still need to return the tonearm to its place.
It’s worth noting here that the auto-stop function does not work as reliably when playing 78’s since the tone arm jumps back and forth meaning the motor will keep running.
Cartridge and Stylus
Like all self-contained record players, The Jensen JTA-230 comes with a ceramic cartridge that can’t be upgraded. In terms of upgrades, the only thing you could probably do is find a better stylus, but the rest is stock standard and no upgrades can be done.
With all-in-one record players the size of the speakers are important to consider. Again, the bigger the better. The Jensen JTA-230 comes with two smaller speakers than the Crosley Nomad for example.
If you consider the overall build of the unit it makes sense that the speakers are smaller to avoid the stylus from picking up too much vibration.
But despite their small size, they give decent sound output even at top volume without distorting the sound. It also has a tone control, this will cut the highs creating more base depending on which way you turn the knob.
The positioning of speakers on a self-contained unit is another important factor to consider. Record players with front-facing speakers are the best because the sound is more direct and rear-facing speakers are less ideal.
This record player comes with speakers on each side of the unit. Although they are not front-facing they still give reasonable direct sound and it’s still better than rear-facing speakers.
There is also a headphone jack and RCA jacks so you have the option of connecting it to external speakers that will provide even better sound.
The record player also comes factory fitted with a built-in preamp so it’s literally plug and play, you don’t need to add external speakers but it is a good upgrade.
One of the reasons I prefer the 230 to the 220 or 222 is because there are no silly extras to the Jensen JTA-230. Extras like an AM/FM radio or a CD player means more moving parts.
The more moving parts there are the more likely you are to hear vibrations. Ideally, you want as little vibration as possible, especially since this is an entry level unit with limits.
After all, you’re buying this record player to play vinyls, if you want to play CD’s or listen to the radio you can use your computer or phone for both.
Jensen made a good choice to make this unit just for vinyl playback and ripping and keeping things as uncomplicated as possible.
USB and Connectivity
The Jensen JTA-230 has a USB interface. So you can copy your vinyl tracks over to digital format and listen to them on your favorite device.
It’s as easy as hooking it up to your PC and using the free Audacity software included. The software version on the CD included might be an older version, but since Audacity is open source you can just head over to their website and download the latest version.
The USB interface is also a great option to use if you’re considering external speakers. You can easily hook it up to your computer speakers for better sound or you can use the RCA jacks for the same purpose.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Can I hook this up to better speakers if I need to?
This record player can operate in a couple of ways. You can hook it up to your PC via USB and play it through your computer. You can play vinyls through the built-in-speakers.
Or, you can plug it into a home audio system using the RCA output jacks. There is a switch on the unit that allows you to switch from a magnetic cartridge and ceramic cartridge.
Can the cover close while playing records?
The platter of this record player is smaller than the standard kind and you’ll see on un-boxing that there are cut-outs in the cover.
This is so that the cover won’t get in the way of a spinning record and you are able to close the cover while the unit is in operation.
Is the needle plastic or metal?
It’s not plastic. The stylus is diamond-tipped and comes on a metal cantilever.
Is the digital conversion possible with a Mac?
Yes, you can easily convert your vinyls using Mac or Windows.
Should You Buy The Jensen JTA-230 Record Player?
The Jensen JTA-230 Record Player will not give you high fidelity sound but it’s pretty reliable and the manufacturer gives great service and a 90 day warranty.
Features like a 3 speed transmission, tone and pitch controls and built-in-speakers that give an excellent sound with no distortion even at top volume.
And the option to hook it up to external speakers are all factors that make this record player a good choice considering the price.
If you want something self contained that you can use for casual listening with decent sound and digitize your vinyl collection all at an affordable price, this record player should be on your short list of choices.