Teenage Engineering gets in a lo-fi groove with the PO-80 Record Factory
Back in 2020, designer Yuri Suzuki teamed up with Japan's Gakken to launch a dinky little box that allowed young music-makers to cut a vinyl disc in a matter of minutes and play it back through the same device. Now Suzuki has partnered with Sweden's Teenage Engineering for an update.
The PO-80 Record Factory comes in kit form for home assembly, and very much rocks the look of a child's toy. Once put together, the PO-80 works much the same as the Instant Record Cutting Machine before it.
An audio device like a smartphone or MP3 player is cabled into a 3.5-mm audio jack and the cutting arm on the left is lowered onto a spinning 5-inch blank disc to create the funky grooves in "ultra lo-fi sound." Users can also compose a song using any Pocket Operator music machine and feed it into the PO-80 directly.
Would-be producers could take advantage of an online mastering tool to "help you get better sound quality when making records for your PO-80" – though the end result certainly won't impress label executives looking to sign the next big thing.
Over on the opposite side to the cutter is a chunky tonearm for playback through the unit's built-in speaker (or external speaker connected to the output jack) at 33 or 45 rpm. The device can also play standard 7-inch vinyl as well.
It's a bit of fun, and also educational – though isn't recommended for music-makers under 12 years of age. The PO-80 kit is priced at US$149 and comes with a spare cutting needle, six blank vinyl discs, a USB power cable and other bits and pieces.
A replacement cutting head costs $15 and a 10-pack of blank vinyl comes in at $30, so production costs could soon mount up for regular groovers.
Product page: PO-80 Record Factory
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Nostalgia for cassette recorder/player would get you hi fi.
Yet the child using the unit is what about 5 years old?