A made-in-the-U.S., audiophile-grade turntable for $150?

That's what a group of talented twentysomethings are promising on their recently launched Kickstarter project, we'll see.

The U-Turn Audio Orbit turntable Jon Hyatt

Great audio can be expensive, but Ben Carter's ambitious Kickstarter project aims to make a serious dent in the price of quality turntables. A $150 pledge secures an Orbit belt-drive turntable, fitted with an Ortofon phono cartridge. As I write this blog, and just a few days after the Kickstarter project was launched, Carter has already passed the halfway mark to reaching his $60,000 goal!

I spoke with Carter on Thursday; he has a background in marketing and consulting, and Bob Hertig is handling the engineering for the project. Orbits will be manufactured by U-Turn Audio in the Boston area. Pledges of $150 buy the turntable finished in black, but Carter can't for certain guarantee that price for production turntables. They may sell for a little more.

Rather than going with a conventional tonearm, the Orbit features a Hertig-designed, ultra-low-friction uni-pivot arm (similar to the type of arm on my $2,700 VPI Classic turntable). I don't know of another turntable anywhere near the price of the Orbit with a uni-pivot tonearm. The Orbit's plinth/base is CNC machined out of medium-density fiberboard (MDF), and the base rests on specially designed styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR) feet, to prevent external vibrations from affecting the sound.

Since Carter is already over halfway toward meeting the Kickstarter goal, turntable deliveries should start in May 2013. I hope to get an Orbit in for review around that time.

Featured Video

We pummel the powder in Nissan's Winter Warrior concepts

Equipped with suspension lifts and actual tracks, these concepts are meant to reach places that no ordinary vehicle can.

by Jon Wong