on February 3, 2016
Received the unit a week and a half ago, and I am enjoying it, immensely. Haven’t listened to my records in nearly 10 years, maybe longer. It’s a decent unit for a decent price, although nothing super-fancy, it does the job, as many allude to in their reviews. I bought the USB unit so I could transfer my record collection to digital .mp3 files, and found one disadvantage: the Audacity software has to be added to when you get it, by internet downloading of a program from a company called – of all things – Lame, although with a little investigation, I think I have found a way around that, so I can download it onto a CD-R at my local FedEx Office location and take it home [I am not online, yet, at home, but will be soon].
It needs to be set on a solid surface so it doesn’t skip when you walk across the floor, et cetera, but for the price I am not complaining about that: any turntable we could buy may have that problem, if the unit is not on a solid surface. The sound is good, although not perfect. Remember, these are records we are talking about, not CDs, and some of mine date back to 1969. Cleaning the records before playing them helps, in most cases, although some surfaces seemingly remained dirty by definition, and skipped, or the needle became stuck, no matter what. I don’t expect perfection out of a $150.00 turntable. It is, however, much better than the units I saw and considered before I saw this one, so again, this is far better than some of the Crosley units, and the Jensen units, I looked at. The automatic start and stop without having to mess around with trying to find the right spots to drop the tonearm helps, especially so if your hands have a tendency towards being a bit shaky or unsteady. It is not – however - an automatic “changer,” and only one disc can go on the spindle at a time. Despite its limitations, which I found to be negligible, I remain pleased with the unit.
Summarily, the limitation of needing an internet connection, or getting the “Lame” software to be used in conjunction with the Audacity software at a place where you can download it, or download it onto a CD-R disc, is a minus, however, over all, a decent unit for a moderately priced investment. I’ve already purchased a replacement stylus [needle], and a replacement turntable belt, should I ever need them, for about $22.00 plus tax and shipping. I rate the unit four and half stars, however, as there are no halves here, I’ll have to go with four stars, as I believe no unit you can purchase is perfect, unless you spend $$$$$, which this man doesn’t have, and cannot afford. For the casual listener, though, it does the job adequately, and sounds pretty good, especially so considering the age of some of my vinyl!!
An additional caveat:
The Audacity software disc that comes with the unit may not match the pull-down menus in every computer [I have Windows 10], and so I had a computer-savvy buddy install mine, as the sound device grouping on my PC had to be gone through to find the correct choices to make the software work as it is supposed to. If you’re a computer/IT guy, you’ll probably have it up and running in less than half an hour, however, my buddy took about an hour to get all the settings correct to make the Audacity program work, and – as mentioned above – you’ll need the internet, someone who has the internet, or – like I am planning – a local FedEx Office store, a little spare time, and a CD-R to download the Lame software to make .mp3 files, as it requires the Lame interface to make .mp3s. This is the same limitation I had with the ION Duo Deck; needing the internet to make the files needed for an .mp3 player, and the software companies like Audacity and Lame should make it easier for those of us who don’t have the Internet at home to use the equipment, and not have to run out and make a disc to download somewhere else, just for .mp3 files. Hopefully, in a few years, all this will be a moot point, however, at the present time [February, 2016], this is what we have to work with, so we have to grin and bear it, or at least to some extent, anyway. If we want something that’s gonna have all the bells and whistles, we will have to invest a lot of money, but for absolute basics, this is a pretty-good unit for the price I paid.