December 21, 2015
Earlier this year the RIAA released the latest sales numbers brought in by music medium and, surprisingly, vinyl music is beating out ad-supported streaming options. For the first half of 2015 vinyl album and EP sales generated $221.8M and 52 percent increased year-over-year. As for ad-supported streaming services, they only grew 27 percent with $162.7M in the first half of the year.
As vinyl records regain and continue to retain their value, more people are purchasing record players again. The 1by One Portable Turntable is an entry-level portable record player, and is specifically designed to be visually appealing and affordable. We put it to the test to see if this is the player for you.
- Belt-Driven (not ideal for DJs, obviously)
- Three speeds: 33, 45, and 75
- Added adapter for the 45s
- Headphone jack
- Automatic off
- Weighs about 7 lbs
- Two front facing speakers
- RCA out to connect with external speakers
- Auxiliary input for use with smartphones and MP3 players
For a portable record player, it’s difficult to set expectations for what kind of sound quality it should produce. Although this features two front-facing speakers, overall the sound is a bit lackluster. The volume level is mediocre, but my biggest concern is the lack of bass. However, it’s common for record players to require a preamp to achieve line-level sound. Another concern is the wobble caused by the platter, which oddly enough does not cause the record to skip but could cause issues in the future.
Using the RCA out and into a speaker system does resolve the shortcomings of the built-in speakers, but clearly those are not portable as well. The alternative option would be to use higher-quality headphones in lieu of a speaker system. Realistically record players are not really designed to be portable, and when directing the speakers from the 1by One towards your head the sound carries well.
The turntable’s design makes it unique and interesting, and from my perspective looks better than many of the vintage options with the ugly dust covers. The unit has three options: denim, black, and robin egg blue.
The review unit is black, and although the outer leather is clearly a pleather or faux leather, it’s aesthetically pleasing. Within the case things get a little bit more flimsy, as the platter is a thin plastic and the way it’s housed feels a bit loose. However, it’s durable as we put it through a few drop tests and the functionality remains the same.
Pros and Cons
- Light and portable
- Plays most vinyl record types
- Though not loud, sound quality is decent
- Aesthetically pleasing design
- Appears to be durable
- RCA out and Auxiliary input for other devices
- Low sound output
- Little to no base from the speakers
- Need is not replaceable, likely prolonged use will damage records
- Records have a wobble for some reason, but does not affect sound
As an entry-level record player this unit is reasonably priced. Although there are certainly cheaper models, doing a quick search shows them to have sub-par qualities for casual listening. This is also a great deal better than trying to buy a vintage record player which will likely have some wear and tear on it.
Would buy for casual listening at home. Just don’t expect to play any music with deep bass unless you have external speakers.
Would not buy for a hipster. Besides not being vintage, the sound quality just isn’t there and record players really were not designed to be portable.
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