BT500-10x8-media

We don’t usually post stuff about consumer equipment, but this seemed like a talking point since it comes from a firmly professional brand: Akai. The BT-500 is a fairly standard looking belt-drive hifi turntable, which looks pretty with its walnut wood finish, but sports some convenient consumer features like bluetooth connectivity and a spirit level to help adjust your feet for ultimate flatness.

The words directly from inMusic:

AKAI PROFESSIONAL HAILS RECORD ACHIEVEMENT WITH INTRODUCTION OF BT-500 TURNTABLE AT WINTER NAMM

One-of-a-kind belt-drive turntable combines no-compromise audiophile performance with modern features such as A-to-D LP conversion capability and wireless Bluetooth® streaming

Ash Vale, UK (January 21, 2016) — Akai Professional, a leading manufacturer of music production equipment today announced the introduction of its one-of-a-kind BT-500 audiophile belt-drive turntable. Responding to the rapidly growing demand for high-performance turntables in the resurgent vinyl market, the BT-500 offers the record enthusiast a unit with no-compromise audiophile performance and luxurious, elegant styling.

However, in addition to its superlative basic turntable performance, the BT-500 offers a unique combination of modern digital technology and convenience features that sets it apart from anything else: The BT-500 is a wireless streaming turntable, so it can send the turntable’s signal to any Bluetooth speaker (not incl.). It has a built-in switchable phono pre-amp so it can be used with a traditional stereo or connected directly to powered speakers. The BT-500 also boasts the ability to convert analogue records into digital files with its included on-board software and USB port for quick connection to any computer.

Of course, its basic turntable performance is beyond reproach: it has a quiet belt-drive system with a mechanically-isolated motor that eliminates any residual motor noise and vibration, a heavy die-cast aluminium platter that ensures an exemplary signal-to-noise ratio, a drive system with vanishingly low wow and flutter and a low-mass straight tonearm with precision damped cueing. The unique levelling bubble with adjustable feet ensures a perfectly level installation for optimum sound. A high-quality pre- mounted magnetic cartridge completes the package.

Features:

  • Isolated DC motor and belt-drive system ensures silent operation
  • Die-cast anti-resonance aluminium platter with heavy non-slip rubber mat
  • Low-mass tonearm with precision damped cueing
  • Built-in switchable phono pre-amp for use with powered speakers
  • Streams music wirelessly to any Bluetooth speaker (speaker not inc’l)
  • Converts vinyl records into digital files via USB connection to computer
  • Selectable sampling rate: 44.1kHz or 48kHz
  • 1/8” headphone jack; gold-plated RCA jacks for optimum signal transfer
  • Unique levelling bubble and adjustable feet keeps unit perfectly level
  • Heavy MDF base minimizes vibration to eliminate acoustic feedback
  • Includes dual moving magnet cartridge and removable headshell
  • 2-speeds: 33 1/3 and 45 RPM
  • Includes 45 RPM adapter, USB cable, audio cable and AC adapter
  • Luxurious walnut finish with brushed aluminium controls

“We’re very excited about the BT-500 turntable and its absolutely unique combination of amazing analogue performance and modern digital technology,” said Dan Gill, Product Manager for Akai Professional. “This is a turntable like no other—a traditional audiophile’s dream coupled with incredible cutting-edge digital capability and convenience, all in one unit.”

The BT-500 will have an MSRP of £279.99 and will be available in Q2 2016. See the full line of Akai Professional equipment, including the BT-100 Bluetooth-streaming/digital conversion turntable (lower-priced companion to the BT-500), at Winter NAMM, Hall A Booth 6700.

 

My thoughts

Make no mistake, this is a consumer turntable, designed to sit with your hifi separates (yes, those are still a thing… I have one that’s been with me for over 15 years and counting). Or, thanks to the inclusion of Bluetooth connectivity, it can sit in the middle of the house and play music to any BT-enabled speaker system in near it. The only thing that stands out to me (for a consumer deck) os the fact it has no 78 RPM setting. While 78 RPM records might not be as common, they’re more likely to be music played on a hifi than anywhere else.

Your thoughts

What do you think of Akai moving into the consumer market? Would you find this turntable useful?

The Akai BT-500 is expected to be out Q2 2016 for around £280.


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