By Don Lindich
Week 17, 2023
Q. I am moving very soon and don’t know if my old Panasonic SE-4070 stereo is worth keeping. It is too heavy for me to move around so I would want to know if I should look for something else on which to play records. I do use the radio at times, but I never used the 8-track player, and do not want something that is real expensive.
-S.L., Minneapolis, MN
A. As I mentioned last week when discussing the AXPONA audio show, I will have lots of audio component reviews and recommendations in the weeks to come. If you want a system with separate components there will be many options discussed in these upcoming columns, from entry level to high-end. Given your Panasonic SE4070 integrates a turntable, 8-track player and receiver into a single component, I have a suggestion now that will keep things simple for you while bringing you sound as well.
The Andover Audio SpinBase is a powered speaker with Bluetooth that is designed to eliminate vibrations on the top surface, allowing you to place a turntable directly on it. Typically the last place you want to put a turntable is close to a speaker, let alone resting on it, because of the feedback and distortion. The SpinBase obviously has the problem solved because it works tremendously well, and within moments of starting my first listening session I had forgotten that my turntable was resting on a speaker. It just works, while providing a simple, space-saving solution to bring high-quality vinyl sound to a room. The SpinBase has been out for several years and played to rave reviews from everyone from Forbes Magazine to audio review websites, and. I’m glad I got to finally try one myself.
There is a a moving magnet turntable input and a line input for turntables with built-in phono preamps, CD players and other components. A ceramic cartridge switch optimizes the sound quality with turntables equipped with these cartridges. As for the sound itself, the speaker radiates 270 degrees so it helps to have a bit of distance between you and the speaker, at least a few feet. The SpinBase was designed by some of the most influential audio designers of the past 50 years, and as such I would expect it to sound good, and it does. The sound is neutral without boomy, exaggerated bass or shrill highs, and what I realized as I listened is the SpinBase relates the true essence and soul of vinyl to the listener. The SpinBase is $299 at andoveraudio.com and a wide variety of accessories are available, including record racks and a powered subwoofer. The SpinBase does benefit from using an external subwoofer, providing more full-range sound as well as improved dynamics.
You will need a turntable to go with your new speaker. Andover Audio has several options starting at $299 for their SpinDeck 2, allowing you to enjoy one-stop shopping. The Audio-Technica AT-LP60X for $149 is an excellent entry-level option, and fully automatic to boot. One of the best values on the market right now is the fully-automatic Audio-Technica AT-LP3, which is quite a bit nicer than the AT-LP60X and currently selling for only $199.
I have not forgotten about your radio. Unless you want to go with a component system, I think your best option is to stream the radio station from your computer, phone or tablet or computer to the SpinBase Bluetooth. You can get an inexpensive tablet like an Amazon Fire Tablet if you want a component dedicated to the task.