Broken vintage record player reborn as a portable MP3 cabinet


[Julian] picked up an old record player that was sitting in somebody’s trash pile, and brought it home to see if it could be restored to working order. When he got it home he discovered that it didn’t work at all, so he and his wife decided to modernize it a bit.

In an effort to simultaneously reunite himself with his music collection and piss off audiophiles/antique collectors in the process, he gutted the radio and began rebuilding it to serve as an MP3 jukebox. Once the innards were removed, his wife refinished the cabinet and gave the front grill a new cloth cover.

An old PC was installed inside the cabinet, along with a set of relatively cheap (but better than paper cone) speakers. A pair of custom cut plexi panels were used to cover the computer, while providing space for the monitor and Apple wireless keyboard + trackpad [Julian] uses to manage the jukebox.

The refurbed record player came out looking quite nice, and although it likely raises the ire of several different groups of purists, we think it’s pretty cool.


  1. Mike Bradley says:

    I can understand some of the purists, but I like it!

    And I dont see how this is any different than the 70’s TV’s that came in big wood cabinets to look like to 50’s TVs? Just my 2cents

  2. Steve says:

    This iss a very clever idea. I would have spent more time refinishing the cabinet as it’s a fairly nice piece of furniture with a few coats of varnish along with the new grille cloth. Now I know what can be done with those smaller LCD displays I see at Goodwill.

  3. tehnoo says:

    Yeah, that gives me tons of ideas that I’ll probably never get out of my head.

    Nice project! :)

  4. John says:

    Put a mirror on the inside of the lid and you can watch your video collection from the couch.

  5. M. McLeon says:

    Now that is freaking awsome

  6. steven-x says:

    Not sure why the purists would be upset, as it was going to the landfill anyway.

    I had a larger one that I considered updating with a MP3 player, as it had an aux in. I ended up junking it after collecting a few usable parts.

  7. William Hightower says:

    Nice Mod. Give me a lot of ideas too. Oh I am going to tick a purest off to no end.

  8. N0LKK says:

    Purist has to be synonym for conservative, conservatism has never moved mankind to the next reality, so screw purists. ;) I like Julian’ or his Lori’s wordplay with the title of their web page [Mod]ern portable console. A beautiful refinish of the cabinet. MP3′ are best suited for small portable music player with limited storage capacity. The such a large cabinet & the low cost of HDD there’s no need to limit oneself to MP3 if they can rip the files off the CDs they own to store on the HDD for convenient playback. Then again the music I buy is mostly of past artists, hit on bargain priced CDs.

    • echodelta says:

      Here here, why CD,s? Those paper cone speakers may have been up to the clarity of high definition audio. Classic rock, jazz etc. suffer on CD reissues yet alone “remastered”.
      This is the terabyte age not the kilobyte days.
      It’s also the loudest within one or two Db of max.
      Still tastefull use of a so so hifi cab mid century. Just bring in all of modern tech.

  9. I’m an MP3 purist, and am offended that you made this great piece of technology look like a dinosaur.

    (well, not really, but the phrase “it likely raises the ire of several different groups of purists” kind of implies the existence of non-vinyl purists)

  10. 34 says:

    This all looked reasonable until I got to the part where it said “wireless keyboard”. WHY WIRELESS? From the looks of it, it’s not going anywhere (not like you’re gonna be typing blindly from across the room with it)! So why have an extra thing that requires battery changing?

  11. drew says:

    if it was working and you gutted it.. you need to be shot

    if it was broken, but like needed that wire reattached… you need to be shot

    but… if it was broken… used for scrap parts (in the past) and destined for the landfill…. then this is a cool project and I would totally like one in my house.

  12. Hirudinea says:

    When I saw the picture I was reminded of ’40s TVs, back then some tubes were so big they mounted then verticaly and reflected the picture off a mirror, like in this pic…

    So if Jules and the Missus stick a mirror on the lid and MythTV in the computer they can have a ’40s style TV plus MP3s. Or he dosn’t like TV how about fitting a USB turntable in it, sure they’re cheap but it fits the look.

  13. WonkoTheSane says:

    Audiophiles hate mp3 because it’s “lossy” ie it throws away most of the sound in compression techniques.

    Rerip your audio to FLAC
    and please an audiophile.

  14. KillerBug says:

    It looks pretty nice overall…and I won’t even complain about the blasphemy of the upgrade because they kept the old finish…they didn’t ruin the outsides with sanding and fresh varnish.

  15. ferdie says:

    I like very well made of high-tech stuff in an old case
    only the word portable does not seem to really place them.
    since it is quite a large piece of furniture and not very portable

  16. LeJupp says:

    For purity, he should have put this inside the box:

    The world’s first real-time MP3 encoder.

  17. Tom says:

    Great restoration job. If you want some software designed for jukeboxes (as opposed to iTunes) check out AlbumPlayer. There’s a free trial (the full version is cheap) and it has a great support forum where the developer posts regularly.

  18. SteveM says:

    Add a touchscreen monitor and hide the keyboard/trackpad.

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