Great Audiophile Gift Ideas For The
2016 Holiday Season
Audio-Technica AT-LP60-USB & U-Turn Orbit Basic Turntable
I'm glad that these days there are lots of people, especially young music lovers, listening to vinyl. What pains me, though, are some of the turntables that they are purchasing to listen to these records. Those sub-$100 turntables from Crosley and some look-alike models made by other manufacturers might look awfully tempting, as their built-in-a-suitcase and other retro designs seen to suck lots of buyers into purchasing them. But they are, in a word, garbage. Me and my friends call these turntables "grinders", as that's what these ‘tables are doing to the grooves of one's precious records. Of course, I'd love it if every newbie went out and purchased a brand new $399 Pro-Ject Audio Systems Debut Carbon turntable fitted with an Ortofon 2M Red phono cartridge. But that ain't gonna happen.
So, if one knows a budding analog junkie, a perfect gift would be the $119 Audio-Technica AT-LP60-USB that is available on Amazon.com. This turntable is not only a belt-drive model, but it is fully automatic, so if one falls asleep or otherwise passes out before a record ends the tonearm will lift itself up off the record and place itself back safely on the tonearm rest. It also comes with a built-in phono preamp with a USB jack so one can burn records to a computer for listening on the go or just adding a track to a playlist. This turntable might not sound as good as that Pro-Ject Carbon model, but at least it won't trash one's records. There are of course some alternatives, and manufacturers such as Pioneer, TEAC, plus one belt-drive model I came across made by a company called 1byone make decent, sub-$150 alternative to the crap being sold by Crosley.
If one can spend a bit more, one can take the advice one of the holiday gift suggestions of 2014 and perhaps consider the Orbit Basic by U-Turn. At $179 I've recommended it to several of my friends, and every single one of them is a very happy record listener thanks to this simple belt-drive turntable. If one visits their website, they'll see that the Orbit comes in a variety of colors, with options as to cartridges, USB output, and their very low cost phono preamps.
Recommended by Enjoy the Music.com's Editor Tom Lyle