Vinyl records have made a comeback, or perhaps more accurately, an emergence among many young music lovers within the past few years, as USA TODAY reported late last year.
But as more audiophiles discover the warm, crackly sound of records, many face the difficulty of buying a quality, affordable turntable.
Ben Carter, Bob Hertig and Peter Maltzan, founders of U-Turn Audio, think they have the answer.
Friends since high school, the trio was unsatisfied with their modern-day turntables. So, last year, the friends joined forces under the name of U-Turn Audio and have created a minimalistic, $150 turntable they call “The Orbit.”
“It occurred to me [that] we were listening to a crappy USB turntable, and it’s the most popular model on the market right now,” said Hertig, a senior mechanical engineering student at Northeastern University. “So I started building my own turntable. It’s not really that I’m an entrepreneur, but it’s that I want to create something that I love and can use.”
Unlike other turntables in that price range, the Orbit does not have extra features, like a USB port or built-in speakers.
Instead, the focus is on audio quality, Hertig said.“In the price range we are targeting, almost every turntable has a low-quality cartridge and needle that does damage to—and shortens—the life of the record it plays,” said Maltzan, a senior at the Berklee School of Music.
Still in the preliminary stages, the turntable was funded by a $2,500 grant from Northeastern University’s Prototype Fund. Soon, the group hopes to create the beta version of the Orbit funded through the group-fundraising website Kickstarter, Maltzan said.
The three use their respective strengths to run the company, Hertig said. Hertig builds the prototypes, Carter manages the business side of things and Maltzan is the marketing director.
But the three share their belief that vinyl is a musical experience superior to MP3s.
“The convenience of the digital age has allowed for such an impersonal, backburner-type relationship between most people and their music collections in a way that the vinyl format would never allow,” Maltzan said.
Perhaps it is because of this impersonality that many young people are drawn to vinyl records, Maltzan said.
“There is no denying that young people are increasingly turning back to vinyl,” said Carter, a 2011 graduate of Cornell University. “For anyone raised on digital music, listening to vinyl for the first time can be a life-altering experience. People who have not given vinyl a chance have no idea just how good listening to music can be.”
Vinyl records were the fastest-growing musical format in 2010, with more than 2.8 million units sold, according to sales tracking data compiled by Nielsen SoundScan.
Finding a suitable turntable was a challenge for Gabi Markovich, a senior at Missouri Southern State University.
“Turntables can be pretty pricy, so it’s important to look around and know what you want,” Markovich said.
She started listening to vinyls four years ago when she stumbled upon her father’s record collection. She said older music was produced for vinyls, and that listening to the original form was preferable.
She agreed with the founders of U-Turn Audio that many students and young professionals are becoming interested in vinyls because they find them “retro and cool.”
But U-Turn Audio believes it is not just a response to a fad, as the company’s website states: “It’s not a vinyl revival. It’s a vinyl renaissance.”
Powered by Facebook Comments