Despite what some might say was a shaky start (the first ever CD album being Billy Joel's 52nd Street), the Compact Disc quickly replaced vinyl as the music lover's format of choice. When digital music players hit the street a few years later, it looked like the groovy black disc was destined to go the way of Amberol cylinders and cassette tapes. But vinyl is making a comeback. So to stay hip to the beat, you may need to find a replacement for your long-discarded record player. Audio systems manufacturer TEAC has announced a new hi-fi separate turntable named the TN-300 that embraces both the analog and digital worlds.
The crackle and hiss from its grooves may fly in the face of the clinically clean and perfectly precise sounds of digital media, but the 12-inch vinyl album remains a popular choice among music lovers. According to Official Charts Company data, vinyl sales in the UK this year are set to break the magic million barrier for the first time since 1996, though at only 2 percent of all format music sales, it's still regarded as something of a niche sector. And it's one that TEAC hopes to tap into.
The TN-300's heavy MDF plinth, contributing to an overall unit weight of 4.9 kg (10.8 lb), is said to help keep unwanted resonance to a minimum. Its die-cast aluminum platter topped by a heavy duty rubber mat is driven by a high-torque DC motor and Neoprene belt. The straight balanced tone arm with manual lifter and an included Audio Technica AT-95E moving magnet cartridge combines with anti-skating technology for optimum tracking accuracy.
Many modern hi-fi amps don't come with a phono stage for turntables any more so TEAC has built one directly into the TN-300. Called the Phono Equalizer, it means that the unit can be connected to any line input without worrying about having to buy a separate preamp (though if your amplifier does have a phono stage, the one in the turntable can be bypassed).
The TN-300 also has an included USB port and TI analog-to-digital converter to cater for digitizing album collections for playback on modern portable music players.
The TEAC TN-300 is available in glossy black, red, cherry or white for a recommended retail price of £299.99 (US$399).