Published on August 15th, 2015 | by Greg0
Flexson VinylPlay: Analog For A Digital World
Let us go on record as saying: records are pretty cool. They might seem like an ancient technology without a place in the modern world, but you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who is manufacturing cassette tapes or eight-track players. What is is about the LP that continues to captivate? Sure, they’re big and bulky, but they encode music in a higher-definition manner than CDs or MP3s. And needles might sound awkward, but they’re sensitive, leading to results that are warmer and smoother rather than clinical.
Authenticity is definitely part of it. And the Flexson VinylPlay USB Turntable takes old-school technology, melding it with modern decoding and connectivity. Basically, your record player has taken a flying leap into the 21st century, featuring a built-in DAC or digital-to-analog convertor that allows your to connect directly to a computer and record your vinyl over USB. There’s a phono pre-amplifier too, so you can connect to your stereo or A/V system via RCA cables (both sets are included). And unlike most fiddly record players, the Flexson VP is ready basically out of the box, made to plug-and-play- there is still a balance arm of course, requiring a moment of fine tuning. Just move the balance weight to the labeled point, then set the bias slider to “2.” Install the cartridge- a solid Audio-Technica one is included in the package- and you’re good to go.
Like several competitors, the VinylPlay uses a simple rectangular base with a lovely transparent cover, with rubber feet to keep it steady and prevent shock/vibration (though only three, somewhat oddly). Built in the UK, it uses a tone arm similar to some well-regarded models out there, like those from Pro-Ject (we tested out their Debut Carbon previously). The sleek design continues to the controls, absent from the top and invisible at first glance, so you don’t have to lift the cover to start the tunes. Playback starts quickly and stops on a dime, and one of the most interesting things about Flexson’s marketing is the push to showcase this as the Sonos-ready solution- which is true, and we tested it without an issue.
Want to archive your old music collection? Or simply listen to it in a lovely package that looks like a work of art? Connect it to your whole-home audio system? There are some downsides to the VinylPlay- you’ll have to manually lift the platter and felt mat off of the cradle in order to change speeds from 45s to 33s. It’s a belt-driven model rather than direct-drive, and those who flip between lots of different records might find it a little cumbersome. But everyone else will appreciate a hi-fi component that will fit in nicely with just about any decor. Available now, online and in stores, the Flexson VinylPlay is available in black or white for around $480.