How do you coax the best sound out of your record player or turntable? Let’s make that a little more challenging. How do you get the best possible sound without taking up additional space and without spending a lot of money? That’s a tall order. The best sound comes from plugging into an amplifier or receiver with a PHONO input that’s connected to a pair of speakers for stereo sound. This is expensive and takes up a lot of space. The fallback solution is to plug into a portable speaker (assuming your turntable has a pre-amp), but that’s hardly ideal for sound. Andover Audio has a solution in the Spinbase, and it works better than you might expect.
Designed as a Space-Saving Turntable Base
The spinbase is a “speaker system in a box,” with everything you need in a single unit that measures 18-inches by 13.5-inches. It stands 3.25-inches tall.
If that size sounds vaguely familiar, that’s because it is about the same size as most turntables and record players. In fact—as the name suggests—the Spinbase was designed to sit beneath your turntable. It doesn’t matter if the plinth overhangs the Spinbase a bit; so long as there’s room for its feet to sit on the top surface, all is good.
Inside the box are the Class D amplifier (18W per channel), two woofers, and two tweeters. The front and sides are wrapped with metal speaker mesh, with a single volume knob on the front, and connections on the back. Andover Audio’s proprietary IsoGroove feedback elimination technology ensures resonance, vibration, and feedback from the speakers don’t affect the playback of the turntable perched on top.
The Spinbase is an attractive, minimalist slab that occupies the same footprint as your turntable or record player. It literally takes up no additional space on a shelf or cabinet. And at $299, it is affordable. That’s two out of three…
The back of the Spinbase has the inputs. No matter what turntable you own, it can be connected to the Spinbase. It has its own integrated pre-amplified PHONO input, or you can connect through RCA line-in jacks. Either way, RCA cables with a ground connector are included in the box. You can also choose between MM (moving magnet) or ceramic cartridges.
Also on the back is a 3.5mm headphone jack (yes, you’ll have to reach around back to plug in).
The Spinbase also incorporates Bluetooth wireless connectivity, so you can stream music from your smartphone.
My review unit was an early version that required the use of shorting plugs (included) for the input that wasn’t being used. Andover Audio says that design has been changed in units that will be going into production in mid-October, so you won’t need to worry about that step if you are willing to hold off a little.
Having all the drivers in a single box means you can’t get true stereo sound. However, the four driver setup (two woofers and two tweeters) is positioned within the Spinbase to deliver surprisingly effective 270-degree audio. There’s no specific “sweet spot,” so the music sounds great whether you’re sitting directly in front or off to the side of the system. The soundstage is much wider than you’d experience connected to a portable speaker, and with the MDF cabinet, audio has a warmth to it that you’d hope for from vinyl. There’s plenty of volume on tap and the woofers are able to deliver decent bass response as well. Adding to the appeal, there are physical bass and treble knobs on the back, so you can manually adjust the sound to your liking.
The third objective—the best possible sound—is checked off as well. Three out of three.
Listening to records on the Spinbase brings out the best in your vinyl collection. It also lets you stream tunes wirelessly using your smartphone. And it does so without taking up the space required by a component stereo system or coming anywhere near the cost of an amplifier and speakers. And it looks great while doing so.
If you’re in the market for a solution like this, Andover Audio’s Spinbase is an easy recommendation.
Spinbase is available in black or white. Andover Audio also sells a turntable optimized for the Spinbase (made in partnership with Pro-Ject), as well as a matching SpinStand with record storage.
Disclosure: Andover Audio provided a Spinbase for evaluation but had no input into this review.