Though digital music accounts for much of our tuneful consumption these days, some physical formats – like vinyl – are enjoying something of a comeback at the moment. But you'll need more than a smartphone and a healthy mobile data allowance to enjoy them, amplifiers, speakers and turntables are generally a must. There are all-in-one systems too, like the Kozmophone, which looks to the past for inspiration and injects a distinctly retro design with some bang up to date technology.
The Kozmophone's basic design is a nod to the phonograph invented by Thomas Edison in 1877, a device that could reproduce audio recorded onto a rotating cylinder, and subsequent disc spinners throwing out tunes through a horn speaker. But there are a number of modern twists that separate this Kickstarter project from the crowd of record-playing gear already on the market.
There are already some turntables that can send Bluetooth audio to an external speaker, but the Kozmophone wirelessly transmits to a 30 W horn-shaped speaker docked in its 360° rotating tower. This speaker includes a Li-Pol battery for up to 12 hours of cable-free playback per charge and can be undocked and carried around the room. And as the Kozmophone features an integrated amp, the turntable can be hooked up directly to passive speakers via RCA connectors for a more traditional setup – no need for an external hi-fi amplifier or phono pre-amp.
The cylindrical tower is home to holographic display inside a transparent pyramid for something interesting to look at while you listen, with users able to select animations from a companion app or create their own custom holograms. The housing serves as a headphone stand too, includes a hidden compartment for stowing away a vinyl cleaning kit and can wirelessly charge a smartphone placed on top. The system also rocks ambient lighting, again controlled through the app, to help set the mood.
As for the turntable itself, the makers say that they're aiming for high quality components to satisfy the needs of those new to vinyl and audiophiles looking for something a little different. There's an adjustable curved tonearm with counterweight that packs an AT91 cartridge, an aluminum platter with strobe for checking spin speeds, and 33.3 and 45 rpm speed selection for playing albums or singles.
If all of this looks pretty attractive to you, then you'll doubtless be disappointed that the Kozmophone is not available to buy just yet. It's live on Kickstarter until July 31, where pledge start at US$249. As with any crowdfunding campaign, risk is involved but if all goes to plan, shipping is expected to start in December. The video below has more.
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