Ikea now sells turntables • The Register


Ikea presents a new version of a product it hasn’t sold since 1973: the record player.

Introduced as part of the upcoming Obergränsad collection, the rotating plate was designed in collaboration with Swedish electronic music group Swedish House Mafia, and is a reminder of how far vinyl has surged in recent years.

The record collection has grown in recent years to the point that in 2021, Statista said, LP sales jumped more than 50% year over year to beat sales of digital albums and CDs. Keeping it in context, that figure drops to a paltry 4.7% when music streaming and downloading are included.

Over the past year, vinyl sales have increased another 61% and exceeded one billion dollars for the first time in over 35 years, top-selling records came from new artists like Adele, Taylor Swift and Billie Eilish.

Photographs of the device show what appears to be a replaceable Audio-Technica needle cartridge, manual arm, stereo RCA output jacks, and a USB port that provides power. It also has a built-in preamp and works with Ikea’s Eneby Bluetooth speaker, but without Bluetooth: the turntable only seems to support wired speakers.

In other words, those serious about owning a physical music collection are looking to the analog past for the technology to do so, and most weren’t even alive when discs were the standard format. Young people buy records and players, stimulating not only vinyl sales, but also the new market for turntables – it has reached $361 million in 2020.

Compared to vintage turntables, modern turntables aren’t all that different – there are only a limited number of ways to slide a needle across a record. Where they differ is internally – modern players often include a Bluetooth antenna and support for external media stored on an SD card or USB drive, or additional options for fine-tuning the sound.

Just as in the past, the prices of modern turntables and record players vary wildly. A basic all-in-one record player from Crosley starts at under $100, while roughly equivalent models from Audio-Technica, a well-established turntable maker, cost a bit more. Technics, a Japanese subsidiary of Panasonic and a longtime maker of high-end turntables, offers models that cost many thousands of dollars, as do other manufacturers.

Victrola, which also has a long history of manufacturing and selling record players, said that vintage players are often less expensive, although is not always the case. When vintage players are cheap, buyers beware.

“Often, vintage record players, which have been used extensively in their lifetime, have defects that need to be fixed (read: paid to repair) before they can be used,” Victrola said.

New players, on the other hand, cost more upfront, but will likely come with a full set of functional parts. Also, parts for modern gamers are still readily available – yet another thing in their favor.

But what about the sound quality? According to Victrola, modern players aren’t made with the same attention to detail when records were the main source of home music, which means modern players don’t sound the same. That doesn’t necessarily mean worse: new drives are generally considered to have cleaner sound, while older ones are described as having a “warm” sound.

It is not known whether an Ikea record player will find a place among other brands, especially without a price. or an idea of ​​how it sounds. For what it’s worth, Ikea hasn’t made a record player since the year Lynyrd Skynyrd released Freebird. ®

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