Andover Audio and the Rebirth of the Record Player | FLAX 2020

I think the folks at Andover Audio have been listening to my griping and grousing over the lack of all-in-one record players that also sound good, and for a reasonable price. For a number of years I worked with Shayne Tenace of Tenacious Sound at his store in Syracuse, and many people walked in looking for a way to get into vinyl again. We’d show them Shayne’s line of affordable turntables–Rega, Denon and more–and they’d get all discombobulated over the need for amps, speakers, cables and, holy smokes, what the heck is a phono pre? In most cases they were looking for an old-fashioned record player, the kind we used to have as kids. Then they’d go off and buy some cheap machine that often fell apart after a few months. In addition, they usually sounded like crap, which made most of these prospective buyers wonder what the fuss was about.

Sponsored by Core Power Technologies A/V
Florida Audio Expo 2020 coverage sponsored by Core Power Technologies A/V
Sponsored by Living Sounds Audio
Florida Audio Expo 2020 coverage sponsored by Living Sounds Audio

Enter Andover Audio. Here’s what they introduced at FLAX 2020: a Pro-ject Debut Carbon Esprit SB with an Ortofon OM2 Silver cartridge and acrylic platter, and an amplification consisting of 4 3.5″ aluminum woofers, two Air Motion tweeters, bi-amped Class D amps with 200 wpc, a dedicated Class A headphone amplifier, a full range preamp and an option for additional woofers, all nestled in a pretty wood cabinet with further options for an LP rack. The Andover Audio system starts out at $2500, with options for either one of two subwoofers and storage for either 100 or 200 LPs. The system maxes out at $3400, still out of range for the Crosley Crowd, but still within the means of audiophiles who need something that sounds good in an all-in-one package.

Does the Andover system sound good? Heck yeah, it does. Despite a single speaker enclosure under the turntable, the lateral imaging was extremely impressive. This reminded me of the Naim Mu-So system, which also delivered an immersive sound from a single box, but the Andover Audio system brought you closer to the sound you can get from a more conventional $2500-$3400 two-channel audio system.

But wait, there’s more! The kind and funny folks at Andover Audio, Bob Hazelwood and James DiPaolo, showed me to a back room where they were trying out an even newer product known as the Spinbase. The Spinbase is a platform that mates with almost any turntable on the market. You get Bluetooth so you can use it to stream, but this is an even more compelling (and hopefully affordable) piece of kit that can get you into vinyl for far less money (and space). I’m very impressed what what I heard, and I hope to try out one of these Andover Audio products soon.