Newest Review: ... want to be able to hold them, read them and remember the times in which they were at the centre of my life. The second answer is the Envi... more
I've liberated my vinyl from the loft
EnVivo USB Turntable
Member Name: ladybracknell
EnVivo USB Turntable
Advantages: Very cheap to buy and an easy way to convert vinyl to digital format. Three year warranty!
Disadvantages: Best to regard as a piece of throwaway equipment.
EnVivo .... never heard of 'em!
I'm not overly bothered about brand names but as I'd never heard of EnVivo before and there was no clue about them in the details which came with the turntable, I tried to do a little research online, without very much success. It looks as though EnVivo is a Swedish company which makes a variety of audio visual equipment, however, all the servicing for their products is done through a Belgian company called Teknihall and the only contact details which accompany the equipment are for Teknihall. Despite never having heard of the company, it's reassuring to know that they have enough faith in their products to sell this turntable with a 3 year warranty!
So what do you get for the princely sum of £29.99?
This all comes neatly packed in a sturdy box with carrying handle which contains the USB turntable itself, plus mains connector and USB cable as well as a fairly comprehensive instruction booklet and software discs. The discs provide two lots of software for converting your music files.
Despite the incredibly low price and it being very lightweight, the build quality of the turntable is surprisingly good and looks decent enough to have on display. It's not going to give Bang & Olufsen or Denon any sleepless nights but nevertheless it's far sturdier than I expected. It's a pretty basic piece of kit and is made from a medium grade plastic in two-tone grey with a clear lift up protective dustcover/lid. Although I've said its build is sturdy, I'm not sure it would survive being dropped!
At first glance it looks like any basic turntable with very similar controls in that the turntable has a push button on/off switch, playing arm and selector lever for choosing turntable speed plus an auto stop control which ensures that once the needle reaches the end of the record the player arm will automatically lift. There is also a lever to allow for more accurate lowering and raising of the player arm rather than relying on the manual dexterity of the user and the turnable also comes with an adapter which is required for playing 45s (singles). At the rear of the unit the speaker/amplifier sockets are situated and the USB socket, the only feature which differentiates this from any other basic turntable, is also at the rear.
The player arm is a delicate part of the apparatus so it was good to see that this has a lock to prevent the arm from dislodging from its cradle and that the player head housing the needle cartridge has a plastic protective cover. As the chances are that the turntable will need to be moved around in order to have it close to a computer whilst making recordings, it's essential to make sure that the player arm is secured before moving.
The turntable is suitable for use with Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 or MAC operating systems and the system requirements are:
Pentium 2 or above
I GB of RAM
VGA card with 32MB memory
All very well but does it work?
Before the turntable can play or record it's necessary to load the software onto your computer. There are two programmes supplied on the accompanying discs: the rather basic RecordMate LP which doesn't use much system power and is very straightforward to use but doesn't allow the user to listen as the recording is being made unless the turntable is connected to speakers, or the more sophisticated Audacity suite which allows the user to listen to the recording via the computer as it's played. The Audacity software is much more sophisticated allowing the user to tweak the recorded files, removing extraneous noises, cutting and splicing etc as well as being able to save the files in a variety of formats. As Audacity is a far more versatile software programme, I didn't both loading RecordMate LP at all so can't really comment on whether it's any good or not. Whichever programme you decide to use, there are very clear instructions which come with the turntable and I had no problem either with the initial set up or in making my first recording.
It has to be said that creating recordings is fairly time consuming but very simple to do as the equipment comes with clear and concise instructions on how to do this. Once the file has been saved onto the computer, it's possible to either transfer the recording onto an MP3 player or burn to CD or even just keep it on your computer if you have the disc space. I've already written a review of the Audacity software so won't give you chapter and verse on how to use it. Suffice to say, it's very intuitive software and if I can use it, anyone can.
There must be some drawbacks to this bargain!
I haven't come across any drawbacks as yet but I have spotted a couple which may arise in the future. The main one is concerned with replacement parts. No mention is made of whether these are available or where they can be purchased. I can only assume that this information will be available from Teknihall, EnVivo's service partner. The other potential problem would come when trying to change the needle cartridge. Unlike the average turntable, the player arm on this one doesn't raise up to enable the user to see the underside which I feel would make changing out the needle cartridge rather difficult. That being said, a replacement cartridge would probably cost as much as the entire turntable so I'm viewing this as very much a piece of throwaway equipment which I now isn't very environmentally friendly!
To my mind, this is an absolute bargain. Instead of being stashed away in the loft, my vinyl is now enjoying a new lease of life. I've managed to transfer nearly all my precious old LPs into digital format as well as saving some of them onto CDs which has saved me a fortune as I had been gradually replacing them. This has been particularly useful with some LPs which are now obsolete and which I've been unable to replace with a more up-to-date format.
Reacquainting myself with my stash of LPs has been an added joy and I've rediscovered some gems I'd totally forgotten. It hasn't freed up any additional space as I simply can't bring myself to part with these relics of my youth (with the exception of a Picketty Witch LP which I swear I never bought and which is now residing in the Oxfam shop!)
As far as I know this particular USB turntable is only available through Aldi and availability may be quite limited as a consequence but if you manage to come across one of these for sale, it will be well worth your while snapping one up.
Summary: A great way to convert all those LPs, EPs and singles into digital format
|Ease of use:|