Home Tech Andover Audio SpinDeck Max Review: A great fully automatic turntable

Andover Audio SpinDeck Max Review: A great fully automatic turntable

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Over the past decade, Andover Audio has earned a reputation for making high-quality audio accessible to a wider audience, with easy-to-use devices that deliver great sound with minimal effort. Their new $ 599 SpinDeck Max turntable represents a new peak in that mission, offering fully automatic operation and Great sound for the money.

The SpinDeck Max is essentially a high-end turntable designed to be plug-and-play right out of the box. Put an LP or 45 on the platter, set the speed, move the lever to “Start” and the turntable takes care of the rest, lifting the arm and dropping the needle to start playing and bringing it back to rest and turning off when the vinyl is done to play.

This feature will be a bug for some audio enthusiasts, who prefer fully manual operation or may tolerate semi-automatic operation which requires the listener to manually initiate playback, but returns the arm to rest when the recording is complete. There is some truth in the widespread belief that more mechanical moving parts on a turntable introduce more vibration opportunities to distort the sound, but listeners who insist on manual operation have dozens of options.

maximum cabinet controls James Barber / IDG

The fully automatic SpinDeck Max can spin both LPs and 45s.

Anyone who grew up during the first wave of vinyl probably started with a turntable like this one, but listeners who want ease of use and great sound today don’t have many choices. The SpinDeck Max offers a high-quality alternative to the mass market all-in-one turntables available in department stores and offers vinyl newbies something to buy that sounds great and won’t ruin their records with a poorly balanced arm or an inexpensive stylus. And that, in a nutshell, is why you shouldn’t start your vinyl experience with a cheap turntable – your vinyl won’t sound very good and the turntable will ruin it before you can play it on something better.

Andover Audio also manufactures the SpinBase, a $ 299 self-powered stereo speaker designed as a platform for your turntable. The SpinDeck Max paired with a SpinBase is presented as an all-in-one space-saving solution for vinyl beginners. And if you want more low-end oomph, there is Andover SpinSub powered subwoofer.

The company’s social media is full of posts celebrating the joys of vinyl sheet music from $ 1 thrift stores, so they’re not busy discussing the merits of half-speed masters or rare Japanese prints, though this turntable it will do a good job with whatever you choose to throw away. Andover Audio is pitching the idea that vinyl collecting doesn’t have to be an expensive hobby, even if it’s one that deserves good enough equipment to deliver a great listening experience.

spindeckmax with orthophon cartridge James Barber / IDG

Andover Audio ships the SpinDeck Max with a high quality Ortofon OM10 cartridge with an elliptical stylus.

The SpinDeck Max is available in black or white and is produced in Germany in collaboration with Alfred Fehrenbacher GMBH, a factory with over 60 years of experience building quality turntables. It is the successor to the manual SpinDeck, produced for Andover by Pro-Ject.

The turntable has a sturdy build and weighs 16 pounds. Elastomer cones absorb vibration to ensure stable playback even on unstable surfaces Both the machined aluminum platter and tonearm are isolated by the sturdy MDF base.

It is a belt drive system built around a low vibration DC motor with internal electronic servo control designed to deliver accurate speed and imperceptibly low wow and flutter. Based on my listening, SpinDeck Max delivers on this promise.

James Barber / IDG

The SpinDeck Max is an excellent belt driven turntable offered at a very reasonable price.

The turntable comes with a low mass pre-balanced tonearm and a high quality Ortofon OM10 cartridge with an elliptical stylus and a light tracking force of 1.5g. The SpinDeck Max really works right out of the box. The belt is pre-installed and the turntable has a preset counterweight with no need for balancing. The OM10 sounds great, but users who want the benefits of a fully automatic turntable with even higher performance can upgrade the cartridge and stylus.

Andover Audio includes a black plastic 45rpm disc adapter, but there is no space to stow the socket well, so users will have to figure out for themselves how to track the insert.

installation

Installation is extraordinarily simple: remove the SpinDeck Max from the box, remove the transport locks from the floating subframe. Then put the plate on the center pin, secure the lid hinges to the socket and slide the lid into the hinges.

Connect the turntable to an amplifier with a built-in phono preamp or a standalone phono preamp for a turntable with a magnetic cartridge. Connect the ground wire, put an LP or 45 on the turntable. and press the power switch. That’s all.

If manual operation is preferred, the turntable starts and stops when the tonearm is moved or returns to its holder. There is a switch for raising and lowering the tonearm from the vinyl and another switch for changing the speed of the turntable from 33rpm to 45rpm and vice versa.

spindeckmax next to paul mccartney iii imaghined James Barber / IDG

One of the albums used to rate the SpinDeck Max was the new Paul McCartney release Paul McCartney III invented.

Listening test

I listened to the SpinDeck Max in two ways, both with Andover Audio’s excellent SpinBase turntable speaker system and paired with a system that includes a NAD PP-1 phono preamp via a NAD S100 stereo preamp and a NAD Monitor 2400 series amplifier in a pair of vintage Bowers & Wilkins P5 floorstanding speakers.

A new 2021 print by Paul McCartney McCartney III imagined remix album contains reworked versions of songs from the artist’s most recent album from an interesting variety of younger artists, including Beck, St. Vincent, Blood Orange’s Dev Hynes, Anderson .Paak and Massive Attack’s Robert Del Naja. McCartney has given everyone permission to indulge their muse and the SpinDeck Max easily handles the low and high frequencies highlighted on these tracks.

spindeck max with spinbase James Barber / IDG

The Andover Audio SpinDeck Max turntable paired with the company’s SpinBase powered speaker system.

In the spirit of Andover Audio’s charity shop crate digging, I tried a pristine $ 1 UK copy of John Keating’s Keating straight, an easy-to-listen classic featuring reworkings of pop hits like “Ticket to Ride”, “On Broadway” and “Spanish Harlem”. Released in London Records’ Phase 4 stereo series, the recording emphasizes extreme channel separation and the SpinDeck Max absolutely displays the recording gimmick to great effect. The turntable also did a great job with a used copy of Darryl Hall’s debut solo LP Sacred songs, produced and starring Robert Fripp, which highlights the interplay between Fripp’s adventurous production and Hall’s soulful voice.

When the SpinDeck Max is paired with Andover Audio’s SpinBase, you have a great system that plays vinyl and streams via Bluetooth for around $ 1,000. You can upgrade with $ 299 SpinSub Subwoofer and the $ 199 custom designed SpinStand turntable for the SpinBase which includes two shelves for LPs (or one shelf for LP and one for SpinSub). Andover Audio takes all the guesswork out of the equation for new users with this built-in setup.

Vinyl is back and it looks like it is here to stay. Andover Audio SpinDeck MAX is aimed at listeners who want absolute ease of use combined with the benefits of great sound. The included Ortofon OM-10 cartridge is a solid performer with excellent stereo imaging. This is the perfect introduction to high quality audio for first time buyers and a great sounding and reasonably priced option for serious listeners looking for a turntable in this price range.

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