Andover Audio SpinDeck Max review: a great fully automatic turntable

Over the past decade, Andover Audio has built a reputation for making high-quality audio accessible to a wider audience, with easy-to-use gear that delivers great sound with minimal effort. Its new $ 699 SpinDeck Max turntable represents a new peak in that mission, providing fully automatic operation and great sound for the money.

SpinDeck Max is essentially a high-end turntable designed to plug and play straight out of the box. Place an LP or 45 on the platter, adjust the speed, move the lever to “Start” and the turntable does the rest, raising the tone arm and dropping the needle to begin playing and returning it to rest and turning off when the vinyl has finished playing.

That feature will be a mistake for some audio enthusiasts, who prefer fully manual operation or can tolerate semi-automatic operation that requires the listener to manually start playback but return the arm at the end of the recording. There is truth in the widespread belief that more mechanical moving parts on a turntable provide more opportunities for vibration to distort the sound, but listeners who insist on manual operation have dozens of options.

max spindeck controls James Barber / IDG

The fully automatic SpinDeck Max can spin both LP and 45.

Anyone who grew up during the first wave of vinyl probably started with a turntable like this one, but listeners who want ease of operation and great sound today don’t have much of a choice. The SpinDeck Max offers a high-quality alternative to mass-market all-in-one turntables available in department stores, and gives vinyl neophytes something to buy that sounds great and won’t destroy their records with a poorly balanced tone arm. . or a cheap stylus. And that, simply put, 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 back on something better.

Andover Audio also makes SpinBase, a $ 299 powered stereo speaker that’s designed as a platform for your turntable. The SpinDeck Max combined with a SpinBase comes as a space-saving all-in-one solution for vinyl beginners. And if you want more low-end power, there’s Andover’s SpinSub powered subwoofer.

The company’s social media is littered with posts celebrating the joys of thrift store vinyl sheet music, so they’re not embroiled in debating the merits of mid-speed masters or bizarre Japanese prints, though this one Turntable will do a good job with whatever you choose to throw its way. Andover Audio is launching the idea that collecting vinyl doesn’t have to be an expensive hobby, even if it’s one that deserves good enough gear to deliver a great listening experience.

spindeckmax with ortofon cartridge James Barber / IDG

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

SpinDeck Max is available in black or white and is manufactured 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, which was manufactured for Andover by Pro-Ject.

The turntable has a sturdy construction and weighs 16 pounds. Elastomeric cones absorb vibration to ensure stable playback even on unstable surfaces. Both the machined aluminum plate and the arm are insulated from the robust MDF base.

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