Monoprice spins out feature-packed but affordable turntables
Carefully removing a 12-inch vinyl record from its sleeve and placing it on a turntable platter to consume around 20 minutes of music before having to get up, flip it over and play the other side might seem a laborious pursuit in a landscape where a seemingly infinite number of tracks can be lined up using a smartphone, but vinyl record sales are on the rise.
Those new to getting in the groove will need to add a turntable to their wants list but likely won't want to fork out a small fortune for an audiophile-grade model from a top-tier brand. California-based etailer Monoprice has released three new units that balance a good mix of features with budget-friendly pricing.
The new Monolith line up starts with the US$199.99 600045 model, which comes with an Audio Technica AT-3600L Moving Magnet cartridge at the end of a straight carbon fiber tonearm with adjustable counterweight and anti-skating.
The belt-drive turntable rocks an aluminum platter, supports playback at 33.3 and 45 rpm, features cooked-in Bluetooth connectivity so that listeners can tap into wireless speaker convenience should they so wish, and there's a USB port too for cabling up the system to a computer and converting a vinyl collection into digital format using Audacity software.
Should your living room hi-fi amplifier lack a phono stage, the Monolith turntable can switch between phono preamp and line level output. This system comes in glossy black, and is supplied with a hinged dust cover.
The other two offerings share much with the 600045 model, but come with a much better cartridge – the AT-VM95E features an elliptical stylus (rather than a conical one) and is reported to offer "excellent channel separation and low distortion for outstanding tonal quality." The 600046 turntable is available in a walnut finish while the 600047 comes in glossy black. Both are priced at $249.99.