The RokBlok is a portable vinyl player for listening to records anywhere

One of the biggest downsides of vinyl is the inconvenience of using it on the go. With the exception of things like the now-defunct Audio-Technica AT727 portable vinyl player, you've pretty much got to lug an entire turntable around for listening to vinyl records anywhere outside of your living room.

The RokBlok is a creative Kickstarter project solution to portable vinyl. It's a small block that rides along your records, serving as both needle and speaker to play back audio. And while it still needs a flat surface to function, it's infinitely more portable than carrying around a full-size turntable.

The idea is very reminiscent of the VW Soundwagon, a miniature vinyl player from Japan that also rides along the top of your records. But while the Soundwagon had to rely on the tinny speaker inside, the RokBlok has Bluetooth, making it possible to use it for decent sound music by way of a connected speaker.

The main concern I have with the RokBlok is the same issue that plagued the Soundwagon — also known as the Vinyl Killer by fans — which is that dragging extra weight around on the top of your records seems like a bad thing when it comes to their continued longevity. RokBlok developer Logan Riley commented to The Verge that the RokBlok was designed with this issue specifically in mind, using rubber wheels and ensuring that the center of gravity does not rest on the needle to prevent widening the grooves. Riley claims to have tested his current prototype on single record “several hundred times” will no ill effects, but it may still be a good idea to be cautious when using the RokBlok on more expensive records.

The RokBlok is available on Kickstarter for an early-bird price of $59 — 40 percent off the intended full retail price of $99. It's estimated to ship in September 2017, but given that this is the first hardware project from a first time company, the usual recommendation to use your best judgement when backing still stands.

Comments

But wouldn’t bluetooth kill the entire vibe of listening to vinyl?

For those that like surface noise along with their music.

And jitter, and the doppler effect.

I need it

This seems cool as a novelty, nothing more. Regardless of the creator’s claims, I would never put this on any record that I actually cared about. I’m thinking about getting this for my child as a way to get him interested in music technology. It will be great with some questionable used records from the shop around the corner.

Yes, lugging around a turntable is a pain, and I guess this solves that problem. However, lugging around records is also a problem. Why anyone would need this in any way, other than the novelty of the whole thing, is a mystery to me.

This is great. Now, when I go to the beach on a hot summer day, I can just load up some vinyl and this device in the car. Yep. Just load this and some LPs into a hot trunk.

I wouldn’t bother with this if you have a cat.

But how does it sound?

Ah. A bit scratchy. Got it.

On further reflection, I think I would have done it differently. Like, make it one adjustable bar that goes across the top of the record with an anchor or post that goes through the center hole. The other end of the bar would be adjusted to go just outside the record where a little rubber wheel would support the other end.

Keep any motor stuff on the inner side so it’s just over the label portion and let the needle move itself inwards.

The hard part would be knowing where to put the penny if the record starts to skip.

why did you write this

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