March 24, 2023

Welcome to the 15th edition of Record Roundup, my semi-regular feature covering the breaking news in the world of turntables. We may be in the dog days of summer, but there’s a lot going on in this space as manufacturers continue to cater to more and more music lovers who prefer records over other formats. Today, I’m going to highlight four versions that will interest fans of listening to music on vinyl.

New Limited Edition + RECORD PLAYER All-in-One

All-in-one audio systems with integrated turntables are very popular. They allow you to listen to records in tight spaces without having to buy and connect a series of components. It’s especially exciting to see (and hear) a version aimed at a more musically appreciative crowd. One of the first I reviewed was the +RECORD PLAYER, which I describe as a system with “killer sound,” with its Pro-Ject turntable, four drivers, 100W amplification, Bluetooth streaming, and multiple listening modes.

PLUS AUDIO has announced that its upgraded +RECORD PLAYER SPECIAL EDITION will be available in a range of limited editions in modern colours and fabrics, like the white shown here (coming in October, but Available to preorder now). The same great design and powerful sound output, limited-edition color scheme and special edition version offer two key upgrades to its integrated Pro-Ject turntable: a carbon fiber tonearm and an Ortofon 2M Red MM cartridge.

The SPECIAL EDITION version is $200 more than the base model, with a list price of $1,999.

Technics SL-100C Direct Drive Turntable

In early August, Technics announced an affordable, iconic direct-drive turntable. The new Technics SL-100C shares the looks and key features of the company’s more expensive models (the award-winning SL-1500C and the popular SL-1200 series since the 1970s), including a coreless direct drive motor and an S-shaped phono arm. The $999.99 SL-100C features an Audio-Technica VM95C moving magnet cartridge with a tapered stylus.

Crosley’s Newest Shelving System

A pair of new audio systems from Crosley wasn’t seen in any of the announcements made at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2022) in January. I missed these in the wave of new product launches, but that omission has now been rectified.

The suggested retail price for both the T160 and T-170 is $189.95. Both are retro-style shelf systems consisting of a turntable and a pair of matching stereo speakers. Two-speed turntable with aluminum tonearm and pre-installed MM cartridge, aluminum turntable and automatic operation. In addition to rotating vinyl, the Crosley system can also be used to stream Bluetooth audio.

Fluance Ai81 Elite Active Floorstanding Tower Speaker

Canada’s Fluance is one of my favorite audio brands of late. The company offers a range of eye-catching turntables that cover everyone from beginners to enthusiasts. Before entering the turntable market, Fluance was primarily known for its speakers, and continues to excel there as well. Of particular interest to new turntable buyers are the Fluance powered bookshelf speakers. With this pair, any turntable with a built-in preamp can be plugged in directly, creating a compact audio system with true stereo.

The idea of ​​skipping the space requirements and cost of a separate amplifier or receiver is popular among turntable owners.The challenge is that powered speakers are almost always bookshelf speaker. Some listeners are looking for more “charm”.

If you’re in this camp, you’ll be happy to hear Fluance’s latest release: the Ai81 Elite powered floorstanding tower speaker. These offer all the traditional benefits of powered speakers. They come with a powerful 150W amplifier and support Bluetooth streaming. As a floor-standing speaker, the MDF cabinet houses dual 6.5-inch braided fiberglass drivers, neodymium tweeters, and a downward-firing bass port. The driver and amplifier configuration is designed to provide ample volume, punchy bass and accurate imaging. If you want lower frequencies, you can use the subwoofer output. You can also connect other audio sources using the dual RCA jacks and optical input.

This Fluance Ai81 Elite Active Floorstanding Tower Speaker Might just be the ultimate powered speaker choice for vinyl lovers. They’re $499 individually, or you can buy them in a package, including a $1,096.99 version built around the flagship RT85N turntable with a Nagaoka cartridge (check it out here) and a phono preamp.

Missed the last Record Roundup? You can read it here about IKEA’s new turntable and the reasons for the record price surge.

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