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Building a Better Portable Turntable: The Modified Numark PT01USB

A couple of holiday seasons ago I wrote about some inexpensive turntables that are very good alternatives to buying a cheap plastic Crosley or Victrola suitcase-style portable record player. Though some audiophiles are a little hyperbolic about how quickly these players will destroy your precious, it is true that they take their toll over time. Plus, they really don’t sound good.

In fact, they’re all based on low-end left-over designs from the 80s and early 90s, with arguably lower build quality. These are the tinny, pop-and-click and skip prone record players that drove people to embrace the “perfect sound forever” of CDs in the 90s. Why re-embrace the bad old days?

At the same time, I really wanted to have a nice portable turntable for my office, or back yard, that didn’t suck. Despite years of keeping an eye out, it was clear that no such player has been made since the 1980s.

However, this search led me to a class of DJs who use a particular model of portable turntable to scratch and mix out in the field. Because of this growing community, aftermarket suppliers have stepped in to the mix to make parts that address many of the problems with inexpensive portable record players.

Though these parts are intended for mixing and scratching, I figured there was no reason they couldn’t be used to create a hi-fi portable record player that would be kind to your records and produce good sound (at least when connected to a decent pair of speakers).

Behold: The Modified Numark PT01USB

To learn more and see it in action, check out the video above.

Want to create your own? Here’s what you need:

Numark PT01USB
Ortofon Omega cartridge

In North America you can order Bihari Designs from Open Format in LA:
Bihari Tonearm
Bihari Easy Install Preamp

Outside North America, order your tonearm and preamp direct from Bihari Designs.

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