Retro turntable skips the one feature it really needs

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Right at home in any environment.
Right at home in any environment.
Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

You’ve got to love a big, gorgeous hunk of wood, right? The Signature Vinyl Record Player Classic Turntable Hi-Fi Stereo System from Electrohome is all that, plus a delicious vintage-styled bag of chips, and it’s almost perfect.

The dark, solid-wood cabinet is like a throwback to your mom’s stereo furniture of the 1960s, with deep grain and resonating power like you wouldn’t believe. Plus, you can play CDs, listen to AM and FM radio stations, and plug your iPhone into the auxiliary input for some modern tune action.

All of this makes for a fantastic package, but there’s one essential thing missing that may have you looking elsewhere for your all-in-one stereo system.

This classic-styled turntable will also play your LPs, 45s (with an included adapter) and even your 78s, if you’ve got any of those classic discs.

You can even record your records and CDs onto any connectable USB device, like a flash drive, and the record player will create digital files for you on the spot. Why you’d do that for a CD when you have iTunes to rip them, I don’t know, but being able to record older records is a boon that will make sense to a lot of collectors with out-of-print vinyl.

The styling is pretty delicious on the front, as well, with a delightful matching tweed screen in front of the speaker, a full AM/FM dial and two large knobs that control volume (the left knob) and frequency (to the right). The buttons across the front are brass in color, and each has a raised label to help you find the right one, though they can be tricky to see in lower light because the contrast is not super-sharp. The LED screen and the included remote control work with the CD player as well as any MP3 player that’s plugged into the USB port.

The sound is pretty fantastic for a unit of this size, delivering fairly balanced audio without a lot of bass or high-end support. It’s just fine, though, for a medium-size room, apartment or even a woodsy cabin where you want all the audio options without taking up too much space.

One essential feature goes missing

Classic style gives this turntable some street cred.
Classic style gives this turntable some street cred.
Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Here’s where the Electrohome turntable fails: It does not provide an audio out port of any kind. Ideally, there’d be a balanced output that could send the audio of your records, CDs or radio to any speakers (powered or unpowered) like a real turntable. The lack of a headphone jack adds further insult to injury, as you can’t even plug in some wired headphones to drift away to the sounds of your Pink Floyd albums when you want to.

No, you’re stuck with the one built-in speaker, which sounds OK but will never match even a mid-range set of stereo speakers or your average Bluetooth speaker. I’m flabbergasted that Electrohome didn’t drop an audio out port into this fairly large cabinet — there’s bound to be enough room to include such a thing.

If you’re looking for a self-contained, all-in-one audio system, the $199 Signature Vinyl Record Player Classic Turntable Hi-Fi Stereo System is a solid choice, from the quality wooden enclosure to the turntable, CD player and radio included. It would be a fantastic gift for any father with a cabin in the woods, a shed out back or a man cave in the spare bedroom. Just don’t plan on connecting to anything resembling a real stereo speaker set, and you’ll be good to go.