Spinning records isn't just for hipsters or the nostalgic. Audiophiles love it (because vinyl sounds better), as do diehard collectors and those who consider listening to music an activity, not just a way of filling a room with sound. But vinyl is undeniably old-school, an analogue medium in a digital world. Trntbl solves that problem.
Photography: Trntbl | Author: April Glaserwww.wired.com
The Trntbl is a turntable from the vowel-adverse folks behind the vinyl-by-mail subscription service Vnyl. It’s wireless and streams high-quality audio to your Bluetooth speakers, AirPlay devices, or Sonos speakers. (It cleverly connects to Sonos as a “music service.”)
It also offers a cool scrobbling feature that works a bit like Shazam to identify the song you’re spinning, then feeds the info to Spotify. That tells friends what you’re listening to, and lets you generate streaming playlists from your analog listening history. Your Spotify followers can even “tune in” to your stream and listen along with you.
Vnyl founder Nick Alt is, as you’d imagine, a lifelong vinyl lover who wants to bring digital-native social sharing to the LP community. “I think as our listening behaviors change to streaming, it’s important we find ways to bridge the worlds together for all types of listeners to continue to share music together,” he says.
Digital-friendly turntables from ION and Audio Technica pair with Bluetooth speakers, but they don’t make a shareable playlist for you. Beyond that, the Trntbl is sweet eye candy. The sleek design features a white or black plinth with a translucent belt-driven platter, gold knobs, and a gold tonearm. The built-in pre-amp means a wireless sound system is all you need to rock out. Streaming is the only option, though—the Trntbl doesn’t offer an analog output, USB interface, or a way of ripping tracks to MP3.
Remember, too, that Spotify has an extensive library (around 30 million songs), but doesn’t include everything. If you’re really into deep cuts, there’s a chance you won’t see all of your Northern Soul 45s appearing on your Spotify playlist. “Trntbl will do its best to find where the songs exists elsewhere, like YouTube or Apple Music, and present an alternate way for a friend or follower to discover the song,” Alt says.
You can preorder one now for $351, or pay the full price of $420 (yeah, really) once it starts shipping this summer.