A new Kickstarter has popped up for a portable turntable with a detachable Bluetooth smart speaker. Called DUO, the hybrid design turns the idea of a traditional record player into a compact, multi-functional system.
It’s a bright, fun-looking unit that sort of looks like if IKEA expanded its Teenage Engineering line to include a sewing machine. The top portion has the turntable, which has a reduced platter size that’s only 3.2 inches in diameter — one fourth the size of a standard platter. It uses a belt drive and the company says it has a “unique rotational stabilization” to help minimize vibrations and has a wow and flutter of less than .9 percent. (Wow and flutter is how much distortion there is when a turntable plays a record — generally a high-quality turntable has a wow and flutter rate of under .10 percent.) The player also comes with an Audio-Technica AT3600L cartridge and a tonearm with a spring instead of a counterweight that delivers a tracking force of 2.5 grams.
As for the speaker, it has a range of 10 to 15 meters and when stored, slides nicely under the turntable to create one flush unit. It has a Qualcomm CSR8670 chip and uses the aptX Bluetooth compression protocol, which supports high-definition audio with a sample rate of up to 48 kHz and sample resolutions up to 24 bits.
The speaker can be used independently of the turntable, and can switch from playing records to streaming audio. It’s also got a built-in Alexa functionality (so really, you could use it for more than just playing music). The speaker houses two full-range drivers and two low-frequency passive radiators, packed into a small 1.8 pound brick. If you nab a second speaker and press their Bluetooth buttons at the same time, DUO will automatically configure them into left and right channels for a stereo experience.
The team behind DUO has previous experience in making turntables. Last year it released Seed, another combination product that incorporates a record player with an amplifier, loudspeaker, and more. The reviews for Seed are varied, with some saying it’s flawless, while others faced technical problems and had issues communicating with the company’s technical support.
That said, if you want to preorder a DUO turntable, the early bird price is $219 with an estimated delivery date of December 2018. It theoretically will come in orange, yellow, and black, but there is a note on the Kickstarter page that the company will “send a survey for color choices after the campaign ends.”