Vinyl Resurgence? Problem Solved by Andover Audio



You’ve read about the vinyl resurgence in the music business, and you wonder what all the fuss is about. You had your heyday with vinyl, building up a nice collection but then became seduced by the smaller shiny silver discs, rebuilding your collection much to the delight of the record companies with the promise of the apparently better sound of CD. But by the turn of the century this whole online thing took hold and you were either initially seduced by Napster or you stayed legitimate and waited for Steve Jobs to introduce iTunes and you then enjoyed the portability of the MP3 format in a legitimate way. Or more recently you pushed all of the foregoing aside and realized that Spotify was the ultimate convenience. Rather than owning your music, as before, you were happy to rent just about all the music in the world for a monthly fee equivalent to what you may have spent previously on a vinyl album or CD. 

Each vertical bar is a year. The dark blue at the top of each bar represents vinyl sales. Orange represents CD, dark green represents streaming.

With 60,000 new songs per day available on Spotify (and another 60,000 tomorrow) as David Bowie predicted a long time ago, today music is like water. 

But that ubiquity may leave you imperceptibly enjoying music in a way certainly quite different from when vinyl was your preferred mode. 

Yes, there is a resurgence in vinyl but it still represents a very small amount of revenue for the record labels. Nonetheless this small amount of vinyl revenue seems to be getting bigger as more people discover they like those clicks and pops on vinyl (see the dark blue parts of the graph above). And folks are (re)discovering that the overt process of physically searching for the right record to purchase, peeling away the shrink wrap, pulling the album from your collection and then dropping the needle on the vinyl actually makes the listening experience more intentional and satisfying. 

Among the various equipment manufacturers who have helped the vinyl resurgence, Andover Audio is certainly one of the most interesting. They have a very excellent line of equipment, ideal for the grayer haired music lover looking to replace long gone equipment or a younger music lover wanting to experience all that he knows came before his time. 

Although the claim is “vinyl sounds better,” that is only true if the system through which it is played can leverage the broad dynamic range available from vinyl.

In other words, you need to invest in a turntable and system that will take advantage of vinyl. In the case of Andover Audio, they have an aesthetically and sonically pleasing solution. 

The heart of the system is of course the turntable, in this case the Spindeck Turntable. Although my original turntable (Technics SL-1700) is still going strong, the Spindeck Turntable is an even simpler belt drive which was fun to set up. It comes equipped with an Ortofon cartridge, which has always been my preferred brand. Like all cartridges it has the needle that wiggles in the vinyl grooves, magically turning that mechanical energy into electrical energy, starting its path to your ears. The crisp, efficient and clean design of the Spindeck Turntable is very appealing. There is something very elemental about the initial set up, whereby you remove the packing cardboard under the base of the platter, placing the felt mat on the platter and then looping a large rubber band around the platter and smaller drive. The smaller drive has two grooves, one for your 33⅓ RPM albums and the other for the 45 RPM singles you may have in the closet somewhere. 

But how to amplify the signal coming from the turntable? Back in the day, I knew that placing my turntable anywhere near, much less on a speaker was cause for danger, especially when I inevitably cranked up the volume. The physical motion of the speakers at loud volume would create a low frequency rumble through the turntable, causing the cartridge to skip dangerously across the grooves. Somehow, the magicians at Andover Audio have designed their integrated amplifier and speaker system such that the turntable operates seamlessly when placed on top. 

The Spinbase Turntable Speaker System is an integrated amplifier with built-in speakers and a pre-amp, providing a completely satisfying experience. Its award winning IsoGroove Feedback-Free Performance technology is patent pending, and is what allows you to stack your turntable (whatever the brand) directly on the unit. I like the solid feel of the big power / volume knob.
For those accustomed to the rich full sound of deep bass, the physics requires speakers larger than contained in the Spinbase amplifier. As such, Andover Audio also has a separate subwoofer which delivers the all important bottom end (which is what you heard through the walls in your college dormitory). The Spinsub Subwoofer packs a wallop.

Here, all the foregoing Andover Audio equipment fits perfectly into the Spinstand. The subwoofer seamlessly slides into the bottom shelf, above which is enough room for about 70 of your favorite albums, then topped off by the amplifier and turntable. Or, if you eschew the subwoofer, you have another shelf for more vinyl.

All of the foregoing equipment is available in black or white.

It was years ago, after my wife discovered that Spotify had given me a subscription 12 months before launching in the USA, that she put her foot down understandably about the dust gathering on my overly massive vinyl and CD collections. I dutifully thinned the herd of each collection, but could not give up a crucial orange crate full of my most seminal vinyl albums. They would occasionally be pulled out and played on my Technics SL-1700, but now, having set up my integrated rig from Andover Audio, my lovingly stored vinyl is getting a great work out. 

This is partially to do with the time invested setting up the Spin System, but it is also about the more intentional selection of music. 

There is no question that with Spotify we have what was once called God’s iPod – all the music in the world essentially available with a few keystrokes. And now all that music is accessible merely by your voice. 

Even if my Discwasher does not remove all the pops and clicks from my vinyl, the smile on my face when I drop the needle on these records is immeasurable. The consequent enjoyment is ineffably greater than if I had selected that music on Spotify. The Spin System is the perfect balance of aesthetic design, significant sound quality and attainable price point.

Spindeck Turntable$349
Spinbase Turntable Speaker System$299
Spinsub Subwoofer$249*
Spinstand$199
*$299 after 1/1/22


Brad Auerbach has been covering the media, entertainment, travel and technology scene for many years. He has written for Forbes, Time Out London, SPIN, Village Voice, LA Weekly and early in his career won a New York State College Journalism Award.

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