Time to break out those dusty records! Not so you can impress your friends by scratching them up while DJing to some alcohol-induced slouse party, but to sit back and absorb all of your favorite tunes of the past. Most still say that records remain undefeated as digital audio formats strive to live up to the analog formats that came before–which I completely agree with. So sit back, relax and listen to gold!
Ok, the turntable we are talking about today may not deliver gold, but it will indeed play your records. Today we bring you the “Classic Wood Turntable with USB” by 1byone. A turntable that features a USB port where you can plug in thumbdrive and record the contents of your records with. Pretty nifty if you have some records that aren’t available in any other formats.
1byone’s turntable is your basic turntable, nothing fancy in terms of quality. You’re not going to rush out to buy the best stylus/needle for it or anything. The stylus is replaceable, but you better have precision in doing so since the wires involved are so small. It’s simply an affordable turntable to play those records with. Nothing audiophile or to boast about. It simply works.
So, let’s talk about the good (besides the price). This is your typical 33/45/78 3-speed turntable. You grab a record, load it on, hit power and drop the needle into place. Walla, your record is now playing. It offers an RCA-out so that you can connect it to your stereo system and also features a speaker on the bottom side of the unit so that it can playback your records solo, without any additional equipment required–and does so pretty well. The underside speaker mostly focuses on your mids to highs than anything else, but it is enough to enjoy instant access to your records when you need it. It offers a decent level of volume, but does distort when you reach higher levels.
The USB functionality of the turntable is also pretty slick. All you do is turn the unit on, load a record, drop in a thumbdrive into the USB port located at the controls. Drop the needle onto the record and press the “Phono-Rec” button once. The blue LED light will begin to blink showing that it is recording. Once you are finished, you simply hit the button again and it ends. You now have an MP3 saved to the drive.
How does the recording sound though? Magic question of the hour. Sadly since nobody here has any records at home except for me (and my collection is carefully stored away and I refuse to play them), I had to track down whatever I could find to test the unit with. It isn’t the best record as it’s been sitting around for quite a long time, but I got my hands on Beethoven “Appassionata” and “Pathetique” Sonatas by Arthur Rubinstein. Dusty and a little scratched up, but still plays fine enough to get a general idea of what to expect from the unit. I recorded a short 40 second clip to MP3 using a standard thumbdrive–nothing fancy–and here is the result:
So as you can see (hear), it doesn’t sound that bad at all. Especially when the unit, wait for it, will run you just shy of $100. So yes, if you are an audiophile, you’d do best to walk away as it wouldn’t be what you are looking for. It would be the weakest link in your chain. However, if you are anyone else simply looking for a solution to play records with and not looking to spend thousands for an audiophile rig, here’s an option for you.
You stick on a record, you drop the stylus down (well, gently place it down) onto the record and you have music. No stereo system? No problem! It plays on it’s own.
So let’s kick it up a notch. You can also use it as a speaker solution for your mobile devices as well. The turntable has a 3.5mm aux jack on the back–your standard headphone jack that just about every mobile device uses. For when those times that you aren’t looking to play a record but listen to your favorite iTunes playlist instead–and want to use the turntable as a speaker–you’re set.
Taking it up yet another notch, the turntable also features Bluetooth built-in. How many can say their record player support Bluetooth? Now, to be fair, I think the aux and Bluetooth feature list is kind of odd as you normally by a turntable for the sole purpose of playing records and nothing else. However, who can argue with options? There is nothing like having the option to do just about anything, regardless of how you are set up. It seems 1byone felt the same way about it as someone on their development team said: “You know what? I think this turntable needs more features”.
Our biggest like is the fact that you can record your records to MP3s on a thumbdrive. A nifty solution that I see a lot of novices jumping on who simply want to get a digital record of their collection.
Of course, consumers like myself who do spend all the time and money into an audiophile setup and rare record collection, wouldn’t be using this. We would spend $1-3k+ on a brilliant turntable with a brilliant stylus so that we can get the most out out of our collection with. In some cases, like mine, we wouldn’t even want to play a lot of the records, in order to maintain their condition., This turntable however, isn’t targeted to my style of listener. This is for novices and consumers who simply need an affordable solution, especially one with options.
The construction is a mixture of wood and plastic. Nothing to brag about or anything. You won’t find any fine oak or Hawaiian Koa wood in the mix. Just pressed wood and plastic. The stylus is their own, to be replaced by their own replacement cartridges. Again, nothing fancy or anything. Just a basic solution with an affordable price. The replacement cartridges for example, are only $11.99.
It is available in two different colors, including black and brown, both wood and plastic in design.
Although I wouldn’t buy one myself as I am a reference-level listener, I do like the unit as an option for those simply in need of a solution they can afford. It plays records just like it should. It records them to MP3 without any additional equipment in the mix, which is great–and the files turn out just how you’d expect them. There is no delay in the recordings or function.The built-in speaker on the bottom is great for when it isn’t located near any stereo solution and doesn’t sound bad as long as you aren’t looking to blast it too loud, else it will distort.
It has a good visual appearance, although I’d assume the brown model might offer a better presentation than the black in some scenarios.
If you are a novice listener or simply need an affordable solution to play records with, this is a great start. The price is low, so it won’t break the bank and it does what it’s supposed to accomplish.
*Average price is based on the time this article was published
- Vinyl-to-MP3 recording
- Bluetooth and Plug and Play
- Built-in stereo speakers
- Selectable 33/45/78 RPM speed settings
- Traditional style, solid wood appearance
- Flexible dust cover for long-term protection
Are you a manufacturer or distributor that would like us to test something out for review? Contact us and we can let you know where to send the product and we will try it out.