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Turntable goes for a spin back in time

Cambridge Audio makes a model that plays records--and that's it.

Cambridge Audio

The design of turntables long ago was elevated to an art form, an appropriate station for a piece of equipment that's often viewed as the domain of eccentrics as much as audiophiles. We continue to see variations upon variations, whether they be made with 24-karat gold, brushed steel, or even stone. And the more esoteric they are, the higher prices seem to go--as much as $150,000 in some cases.

So it was refreshing to see a model headed in the opposite direction, taking a minimalist approach. Cambridge Audio's zen-like TT50 has no MP3 technologies or USB connections--"a plain old turntable like your daddy used to have," as Slippery Brick says. Its only indulgence is a gold-plated RCA plugs.

The resistance to adding features and adornments has given this turntable a clean, uncomplicated look that makes us want to dust off the old Commodores' Greatest Hits. Now if we can only find those plastic things to stick in the middle of the 45s.