Tech News on G4
Electrohome Signature Vinyl Record Player Classic Turntable Hi-Fi System
Apr 13, 2015
By Greg Gazin - Apple Gazin' - G4 Canada
Retro always seems to be in vogue and despite the fact that physical media like CDs and DVDs have more or less given way to streaming and downloading there still seems to be place in some people hearts for the warm sound of vintage vinyl. As a former collector and one who still dusts off the turntable from time to time, I jumped at the opportunity to test drive the Electrohome Signature Vinyl Record Player Classic Turntable Hi-Fi System (EANOS700).
The hi-fi is an eye-opener right from the start. It's more reminiscent of a mid-century radio rather that the boxy look of a 60s record player. The hefty cabinet has a large footprint (17.9”x13.5”x12.1”) and weighs a hefty 26 pounds. It has a sturdy build, handcrafted mainly from MDF (Medium Density Fibreboard) with an antique real walnut veneer finish. It has a retro cloth grill and antique finish brass knobs and buttons. It looks like a model from yesteryear, save for the blue LED panel and front USB port (for both recording and playing), giving telltale signs of a more modern production date.
Hidden behind the grille are four speakers - 2 x 15W and 2 x 5W. The front face shows an obvious built-in AM/FM tuner with an analog scale and rotary tuning dial. It also has a single tray-load CD player.
Three Speed Turntable
Lifting the top reveals a clean designed belt-drive turntable with a plastic floating platter that you release by turning its transit screw. It has a manual locking chrome tone arm fitted with a preinstalled cartridge and a replaceable diamond-tipped stylus. There are three settings allowing you to play 33, 45 and 78 RPM. A spindle adapter to allow you to play 7" 45RPM singles is also included.
The manual cueing lever elegantly drops the tone arm slowly onto the vinyl. But sadly that’s where the finesse stops. I found more records skipping, especially earlier on Track 1, than being able to play all the way through.
The diameter of the turntable is slightly smaller than 12" record, the tone arm is very light and there's no way to adjust the tracking. In fact the only way to attempt preventing the record (LP) from skipping is using the old coin trick - taping a penny, nickel or dime to the cartridge head, my parents used to use to keep their big band era and Louis Armstrong records in line. And while that might help with the tracking, it's not a great way to preserve your vinyl, as the extra undue pressure of the needle over time will likely damage the fine grooves in your vinyl.
Admittedly I did not try any of the recently pressed 180 gram vinyl, however, I did try a wide variety of records that were pressed anywhere from the 1950s-1990s including original and reissues of the same Beatles' recordings with mixed results. Most 45s seemed fine, however I did not try any 10" 78 RPM records.
As for the LP sound reproduction, it's ok, sounding more like a record player rather than a high fidelity sound system. There's a lot of midrange in the sound, but very little bass. Sadly there's no tone control, i.e. bass or treble, which would certainly have been very helpful given the varying types of music options available. And while we're on the subject of missing, there's also no headphone jack or line-out to connect to external speakers.
Record from LP or CD
The system does offer a simple solution to allow you to record from LP to USB as well as from CD to USB. You do need to remember to hit the record button twice and hit stop when you're done. Interestingly enough, if you start recording before you move the arm, you will hear the turntable click as it engages and the needle dropping onto the vinyl. It records only into one format; standard MP3 (44.1/128kbps) and all tracks end up as one big file unless you hit stop the recording and start it again. With constant skipping on some LPs, this potentially makes recording an entire album an exercise in frustration.
AM/FM radio reproduction is what you'd expect. The slot-load CD player works as advertised with sound significantly better than from an LP. In fact, cranking up Oh Well's cover of Peter Green's Oh Well, gave the speakers a bass-pounding exercise that did not distort even with the volume at full tilt. This indicates to me that perhaps the stylus or phono circuitry could use some improvement.
It also has a wireless remote that gives you all the functions you see at the front of the player.
Overall, the unit looks great and built like a tank. The antique motif will fit in nicely just about anywhere, whether you have a totally modern or classic decor. And it's certainly a pretty cool conversation piece. It's versatile, giving you a number of playback options (LP, RADIO, CD, USB). An added bonus is the ability to quickly capture old recordings, perhaps some not available in any other form to digital format even though recording to MP3 does not automatically divide the tracks. Of course, you're hoping the record doesn't skip.
I give it high marks for the stylish all-in-one concept, but I still cringe at the thought of needle doing jumping jacks on any of my pristine vintage vinyl. Then again, I might care less about older well-worn records picked up for fun at garage sales.
The Electrohome Signature Vinyl Record Player Classic Turntable Hi-Fi System (EANOS700) retails for $199 U.S., $239 in Canada and available from Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Best Buy and other retail outlets including HomeDepot.ca (on-line only).
Rating: 3.5 / 5
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