I’ve had some folks ask about my turntable and the setup, so I figured I’d put together an article covering the full system. I’ve had my U-Turn Audio Orbit Custom for about 5 years now, and I absolutely love it! In this post, though, I’m going to go beyond that to share all the components from my record room.
This includes not just the turntable and speakers, but my record shelf, the mid-century modern buffet on which the player sits and the speakers sit in, and the couch and chair that face the system.
We’ll start with the system itself, but before jumping into that, here’s a quick video I recorded showing the room and what all is in it!
U-Turn Audio Orbit Special Turntable
Back in mid 2017 when I lived in Washington, the e-commerce company I worked for was up for sale and my future there was a bit uncertain given it was likely to move out of state. I put my resume on Indeed and noted that, if I landed a new role that yielded more money, I’d replace my old DJ-style turntable with something new.
I ended up getting head-hunted by a Harley-Davidson dealership to be their Marketing Manager and sit on their management team, and it included a modest pay bump, so I accepted and picked up a U-Turn Audio Orbit Custom Turntable.
My particular deck is on Walnut, which coordinates (I’m a sucker for things that match) well with the other furniture in my house. I opted for the clear acrylic platter and a built-in pre-amp (what can I say…the minimalist in me didn’t want the extra equipment and cords that come with a typically bulky amp).
I also sprung for the slightly upgraded Ortofon OM5E cartridge and the cue. Regardless of what you add or don’t add, I strongly recommend getting the cue. I never lower or raise the needle by hand.
All of it was worth it, in my opinion. The turntable itself comes as a cohesive unit, well packed and ready to use. The belt transition between 33.3RPM and 45RPM can be a bit of a pain, as you have to do it manually, but I think it just adds to the authenticity of the experience.
I have a spare belt, but in 5 years of quite consistent use, I am still using the original! Eventually, I’ll need to change the cartridge and needle as well, but I’m still using the original there too.
For those looking for a less expensive option or a more entry level setup, below you’ll find a few highly rated turntables under $250. However, despite having a higher number of reviews and higher overall rating, take note that lower cost turntables may not have the quality you desire.
Edifier R1280T Powered Bookshelf Speakers
No, these aren’t the best speakers. They’re inexpensive at just around $100, but they… ahem… match my system for the most part, and are compact enough to fit within the buffet on which you’ll find my turntable.
For what they are, they work great! The range is decent, and I rarely get it up over half way. I opted to ditch the outer cover and expose the speakers themselves.
With the Orbit’s pre-amp, the set up is extremely simple and requires a single two-plug outlet. Perfect for the minimalist with an eye for design!
IKEA Kallax 5×5 Shelf
Honestly, you can’t go wrong with the IKEA Kallax shelf. I’ve used these for well over a decade, and prefer all my vinyl to be housed in them. I’ve maxed out my 5×5 cubed shelf, and may need to expand slightly with a 2×2 for my room upstairs.
Ultimately, I’d love to have a second turntable for my room upstairs, and a 2×2 would fit nicely in my closet for records I have up for sale on Discogs, records I’m actively listening to, things I’m reviewing for FensePost, and one prepping videos for on my YouTube Channel (shameless plug: you should subscribe).
My shelf is in white, but back in Washington I had the 4×4 and a 2×4 cube ones in dark brown (borderline black) as pictured here:
West Elm Mid-Century Modern Buffet
Alright, so the unit pictured below is VERY close to the one I have in my living room. Same three drawers, same two cabinets, similar mid-century style. Mine is from West Elm, and I believe it was a few hundred more, price wise.
I love this piece, just as I love most Mid-Century Modern furniture. It works very well with the aesthetics of my turntable. The build quality is rock solid, too; it withstood a cross-country move in 2020 without any problem (not something I’d attempt with the IKEA Kallax shelves).
This shelf is very similar and a bit less expensive too:
Mid-Century Sofa & Chair
My sofa and chair are authentic Mid-Century Modern pieces, and my wife Andi re-upholstered them almost a decade ago with new foam and hand-sewn cushion covers in a very cool turquoise fabric.
They’ve been great, though their age means we have to be a bit careful with them. The couch has a missing spring and a few other loose ones, and it sags a little in the center.
Neither are the most comfortable, but they do what’s needed.
These might be a solid replacement when the time comes, should we look to maintain a similar aesthetic: