Music has changed the world. From inspiring revolutions and uniting the people, to helping raise awareness of issues that are affecting the whole planet, you cannot argue that music has not had a powerful impact on our lives. Music is changing though and especially the way in which we buy it. Gone are the days where you would head down to your local record shop and get the latest LP released by your favourite artist or band, and the times have arrived where instead of purchasing something physical, you either download a mp3 file or pay for subscriptions to services like Spotify which just lets you stream the music.
It seems that we might be making a little u-turn on that notion though as nostalgia seems to be bringing back the good old days as record players are reappearing on the high street and so are record shops too. But the question is, with the technological advancements of today, are these record players as good as the originals? We put the 1byone Mini Stereo Turntable to the test to find out.
Audio – 3.7/5
I may not be old enough to remember the days when you used to queue up down the local record shop, I’m more of the Cassette and CD times kinda guy, but I am old enough to remember my Mum playing them on the weekend when we’d be tidying the house. I used to love the way that sound would crackle a little as the needle rested on top of the plastic record, and although I got shouted at for doing it, the screeches made when you’d pretend to be a DJ too. I remember my Grandad’s funeral as well when we were looking for music and managed to find a copy of Frank Sinatra’s Moon River that was from a record, I don’t know what it was, but hearing that crackling instead of clear cut audio somehow made me feel more at ease.
Now, the quality of the sound was good on the 1byone system, but it was just that, good. It didn’t have that magic about it that you seem to have with the way the sound was on the old style record players. Whether that’s because of the needle or the actual speakers themselves I don’t know, but for me, that lack of magic was a little disappointing. I know that this was a portable system compared to the big old sound system we had when I was growing up, but with the improvements in technology we’ve seen over the years, I genuinely expected something more. Still, it wasn’t completely terrible because the sound was clear and I could enjoy listening to my Mum’s old Now That’s What I Call Music 4 album, and if I really wanted to, I could’ve plugged better speakers into the headphone jack.
Build Quality – 4/5
When we got the record player out of the box, I instantly noticed an issue with it and it’s an issue I’ve always had with older model record players too. The plastic cover on top felt so lightweight that I worried it would snap between my fingers. I know that it sounds a silly gripe to have but it irritates me so much. I understand the cover has to be lightweight and stuff, but I’ve personally made covers out of plastic stronger than that in high school. All they have to do is get a model of the shape needed and use a vacuum former to create a nice solid cover. Instead, it feels very flimsy and poor quality and I’m not necessarily blaming 1byone for this as they’ve obviously tried to keep the look of it original, but that’s a let down for me.
Getting past that though the rest of the player was pretty solid. There weren’t too many buttons and knobs to over-complicate things, and those that were present didn’t feel like they were going to fall off if you pulled them or twisted them too far. The speakers were nicely hidden on the sides of the player as well, keeping in line with the simple yet sleek design.
Functionality – 4/5
What can I say? Featurewise it’s brilliant. Not only is it a record player but it can also record your vinyl to mp3 for you to take your music with you wherever you go, and not just that, but it also has mp3 playback so you can stick your own tunes on and play them through the inbuilt speakers. There is no difficulty in choosing what you’d like to do either. Just switch the function to either Phono or USB to select your source for playing music, and if you want to record your vinyl just leave it on Phono, stick in a USB and press the REC button to start saving it all to your stick.
Another feature it has is pitch control, allowing it to play all 33, 45 and 78 RPM records. The only issue with this is that normally I’d be able to play records one after another and they’d be fine, where as with the 1byone player, have to adjust the pitch for almost every record I play. It’s not a major issue but it definitely is a slight annoyance.
Value for Money – 4/5
Time for the important question; is it worth parting with your money for? In terms of what you get, it’s a lot of bang for your buck; a record player, a vinyl-to-mp3 recorder and USB playback through your speakers makes it a 3-in-1 device really, which for me shows great value. Compare it to similar items and you’ll not do much better for the money you pay. Yes, there are cheaper options out there, but not all have as many features as this bad boy does. The only downside for me is the audio quality, and I know I can plug in better speakers but I shouldn’t have to, so whether this compares well to some of the more expensive models I don’t know, but if I can get one with better sound for within an extra £20 I’d probably go for it. Still, like I say, for this price you do get your money’s worth and if you’re on a budget then you’re on to a winner.
Overall Score – 3.9/5
So what do I think overall? It’s a good solid product. Nothing special to rave on about but it is good value for money when you consider you get three different devices in one box; the record player, the vinyl-to-mp3 recorder and the USB playback option. If I could change anything about it, it’d have to be improved speakers for the audio and to sort out the problem with the pitch so I didn’t have to adjust it for every single record, even when they’re meant to be the same RPM. But, at the end of the day, you get what you pay for and so I can’t complain too much at the price of £40.99 on Amazon.
If you fancy getting more details about this particular model or even purchasing it yourself, you can do so on Amazon HERE. Please note we don’t receive any commission for you purchasing through this link.