Stephen Ying – known professionally as DJ QuestionMark – has developed an all-in-one turntable system in a box that's designed to get those new to vinyl spinning and scratching in minutes. The Spinbox should also appeal to tinkering types, as it comes as a build-it-yourself kit. Following a successful crowdfunding effort in Taiwan last year, Ying has hit Kickstarter to help his project go global.
"I've been DJing and collecting records for over 10 years," said Ying. "When I spoke with people about vinyl, I found that many were interested but felt that setting up a turntable system was too complicated or expensive. I decided to create a more approachable way to experience vinyl – a turntable that's fun, affordable and easy for everyone to use."
Rather than having to buy a hi-fi amplifier, and possibly a phono preamp, a pair of speakers, cables and so on before spinning your first record, the Spinbox takes a Crosley-like all-in-one system approach, with the added draw that it also offers a chance to satisfy your inner tinkerer as it will come in the form of a kit that you put together yourself – in as little as 30 minutes.
The outer shell is made from water-repellent cardboard, which will come in black, natural or marble styles, but can also be personalized to suit a user's style using nothing more than a few Sharpies. Components in the box include a pair of full range speakers, two circuit boards and a plastic core module that is home to the tonearm and belt-drive turntable. The Spinbox supports playback of 33.3, 45 and 78 rpm vinyl, and is powered via micro-USB, from a wall socket if available or portable battery pack if not.
It's not meant to rival high end turntables like the Technics SL-1200 or the much cheaper AT-LP5 from Audio Technica, but as an easy and fun way to get into vinyl – though its maker does claim the Spinbox speakers are high fidelity. The use of a ceramic cartridge is a rather surprising choice though, given Ying's day job as a DJ, but maybe not so much given the entry level, portable nature of the turntable.
The Spinbox is reported sturdy enough to allow for DJs to get their scratch on, has a tonearm lifter for precise stylus placement, and users can opt to connect external speakers to the system via a line out port, and there's a line in jack for feeding in tunes from an external music source. There's a screwdriver supplied with the kit, and it can be put together without having to break out the soldering iron so is therefore a good fit for maker newbies.
The Spinbox Kickstarter has secured funding from more than 1,500 backers as of writing, with more than a week left to run. Pledges start at US$99, and if all goes to plan shipping is expected to start in November. The pitch video below has more on the project.
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