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Shinola’s Runwell Turntable is an elegant first step into the audio business

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Led by the former CEO of Audeze

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Shinola announced today that it's getting into the audio business with its new Runwell Turntable. The turntable marks the first release from the new Shinola Audio division of the Detroit-based company, which is typically known for its leatherwear products, bicycles, and watches.

The driving force behind the Runwell Turntable is Alexander Rosson, the former CEO of noted headphone manufacturer Audeze, who left the company to join Shinola last year. In keeping with the brand's "Made in America" ideology, the Runwell Turntable is manufactured in the company's Detroit factory, with some of the parts sourced from the United States (others are imported, something that the company has taken flak for in the past from the FTC, particularly in regard to its watches.) Additionally, noted turntable manufacturer VPI Industries contributed to the design of the Runwell Turntable, which sources some of its metal components from MDI, a Lakewood, NJ-based company that also manufactures parts for VPI.

And while we've written about lots of fancy and interesting takes on turntables in the past, there's no real gimmick to the Runwell Turntable. It's just an elegantly styled device for playing back vinyl that looks like it would fit nicely in an expensive living room. It ships with a Ortofon 2M blue phono cartridge (a midrange cartridge that has received positive reviews), plays records back at both 33⅓ and 45 rpm, and offers an RCA stereo line-out to connect to speakers.

The company is quick to point out the use of solid aluminum, steel, and wood materials in the Runwell's design, which do look rather nice. But Shinola's watches also have a reputation for using cheaper components housed inside more upscale designs, something that may be worth keeping in mind when considering the Runwell. That said, the audio know-how brought to the turntable by Rosson and VPI is certainly an encouraging sign that it could sound as good as it looks.

The Runwell Turntable is available from Shinola's website for a hefty $2,500, and comes in either natural wood or all black versions, each limited to a run of 500 units.

Update December 7th, 5:00PM: Clarified turntable manufacturer VPI Industries’ involvement in the Runwell Turntable.