I just caught word of this ambitious project the other day by Boston start-up group U-Turn Audio. Despite how late to the party I am (this made the rounds on CNET, USA Today, and Stereophile several months ago), I had to post something about it here as well.
Vinyl records have been making a massive resurgence in recent years. Traditional audiophiles have always preferred the format and can justify the purchase of an expensive turntable. However younger, budget-minded people are now also flocking to vinyl in droves, but have few affordable options available to them when it comes to a turntable. Sure, you could buy a plastic, generic deck (probably made in China) with bells and whistles, but the sound and build quality will be compromised.
Enter U-Turn Audio. They’ve conceptualized, engineered, and figured out how to mass-produce a great-looking belt-drive turntable for $150. Knowing the turntable market well, there has NEVER been a turntable designed for audio quality that sold at this price range. Lower-end audiophile decks generally start at a price point almost double this. Called the Orbit, it is a great looking deck that will be manufactured right here in the states with the highest of quality control.
This being a site devoted to dance music, I know a lot of DJ’s are probably reading this and thinking “But it’s belt drive! I’ll stick with my Technics 1200 K THX.” The Orbit isn’t a deck designed for spinning records, it’s designed for straight playback. All high-end audiophile decks are actually belt drive. This is because the belt absorbs the noise from the deck’s motor, and the playback speed is actually a bit more accurate than direct drive (which is prone to occasional wow and flutter).
Without getting too far into the technicals, check the video out above, visit their website for more info, and have a look at their Kickstarter. Donate $150 and you’ll get one of the first decks they manufacture shipped right to you, donate more and they’ll custom build one for you! Right now they’ve FAR exceeded their goal, and wish them the best of luck getting their product off the ground.