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Turntable Lab’s Favorite Vinyl Accessories: Winter 2024

Turntable Lab’s Peter Hahn has some great suggestions for vinyl listeners looking to enhance their listening experience.

Line Phono Universal Turntable Dust Cover

Did you spend less on records and new components last year? Travel and medical bills ate up a lot of my budget last year and the 29 new and used records that I purchased along with 7 review samples from Craft Recordings were the sum total of my acquisitions.

Visits to record stores in Buffalo, Princeton, Red Bank, Toronto, Tampa, Binghamton, and Cozumel yielded some interesting finds but also some useful information from shop owners who told me that business has definitely slowed down.

Overall vinyl sales are pretty good, but when 7 different stores give you the same report, it’s clear that some fatigue has kicked in. The high price of vinyl is certainly not helping.

It is also slower on the hardware side.

Conversations with manufacturers in November and December 2023 offered a rather conservative outlook for 2024. Even with the economy offering stronger numbers.

So who is offering some interesting new products right now?

If you shop for records, DJ equipment, HiFi equipment, or turntable accessories online, you’ve probably spent some time on the Turntable Lab website. After more than 20 years, the online retailer has a global customer base who love their selection of products, and value their expertise and customer service. As a customer, I’ve always been drawn to their music section that offers records you don’t often see for sale on sites like Music Direct or Acoustic Sounds.

Peter Hahn at Turntable Lab
Peter Hahn

Peter Hahn is a very busy guy and constantly looking for new products for Turntable Lab’s rather extensive global customer base. He’s not afraid to take a flyer on some products that are TTL-branded concepts and many of them have proven to be very successful.

Who is your typical customer?

Judging by the type of records (emo-pop to esoteric) we sell and the price range of our turntables ($99 – $2,500), it’s all over the place. However, we have an idea of the typical “Labhead” that helps guide us. A Labhead has been following us for over 10 years; has DJ’ed at one point (or still does); and collects multiple genres of records. I know a bunch of people who fit this profile and have been shopping with us close to 20 years. 

Turntable Lab Logo

Does it surprise you that vinyl has not only come back but become the #1 physical format again?

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No. I was a hyper-consumer for most of my life. It’s part of reason I came to live in New York. In the last 6 years, I started to notice that there was less to buy for collectors like me. Bookstores were closing, toy quality was going in reverse, clothing / sneakers were pricing out. Over the last 6 years, vinyl has for the most part increased in quality while remaining relatively affordable. There’s more pressing plants doing better work. 

Labels are putting a lot of effort into packaging. Record stores are presenting the product better. Instagram is an excellent discovery tool. Discogs creates a fun, efficient market. Used record stores add the x-factor. Even colored vinyl, which was too soft / quiet pre-2010, is now very listenable.

What do you use in your own system at home?

I have a Technics SL-1200MK2, NAD integrated, Amphion speakers, and Line Phono Stand. I use a REVO SuperSystem for listening to internet radio. Teenage Engineering OB-4 for portable listening.

What are some of the best new vinyl accessories, tables, headphones or deals you have seen so far in 2024?

Grado Labs RS2X Over-Ear Headphones

Grado Labs RS-2X Headphones

Grado’s 4th generation X drivers have been specifically tuned for the RS2x wood housing; this new speaker design features a more powerful magnetic circuit, a voice coil with decreased effective mass, and a reconfigured diaphragm.

Reengineering these components for its 44mm driver offers improved efficiency, and reduced levels of distortion. The driver and housing working in tandem react to sound vibrations and virtually eliminate transient distortions.

The RS2X feature handcrafted maple + hemp merged earpieces and the new design now comes equipped with an upgraded 8-conductor copper cable.

Specifications

  • L-Cushions
  • White stitched black leather headband
  • De-stressed driver
  • Drivers matched .05db
  • Maple /Hemp wood housing
  • Durable 8-conductor cable
  • Transducer Type: Dynamic
  • Operating Principle: Open Air
  • Frequency Response: 14-28,000 hz
  • SPL 1mW: 99.8
  • Normal Impedance: 38 ohms

$550 at Turntable Lab

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KEF LSX II LT Wireless Speakers

KEF LSX II LT Wireless Speakers Three Colors: Graphite Grey, Sone White and Sage Green
KEF LSX II LT Wireless Speakers in Graphite Grey, Sone White and Sage Green

The LSX II LT was introduced to hit a key price-point in the LSX II series.

At just 9.5-inches tall, they are flexible for desktop or home stereo use, and retain the same dimensions and speaker drivers as the previous model, LSX II (reviewed here), but cost less.

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For turntable users, the analog input has been removed; however you’ll be able to connect via USB-C or Bluetooth.

At 200W total power, advanced DSP, and high-res capabilities, the LSX II will fill rooms up to 430 square feet. Lastly, the KEF Connect app allows you to fully customize your sound, including settings for room configuration.

For additional low bass impact an optional subwoofer, such as the KEF KC62, can be connected through the subwoofer output. However, any powered subwoofer will also work.

$999 at Turntable Lab


Pro-Ject Debut III Phono SB Turntable

Pro-Ject Debut III Phono SB Turntable

This summer has seen some incredible manufacturer promotions. In my opinion, it’s the best time in several years for consumers to purchase audio gear. The Debut III SB Turntable is basically a pre-Carbon Debut with an added built-in pre-amp and Speed Box. This turntable was already a strong value at $499, but the recent promo at $249 makes it the best value in the entire market right now. If you’re looking into your first step into hi-fi turntables, this is it.

$499 $249 at Turntable Lab


HumminGuru Ultrasonic Record Cleaner

Humminguru Ultrasonic Record Cleaner

This model has now been out for about a year, and the consensus has been highly positive – it’s an affordable, effective, reliable daily cleaner. The one criticism we’ve seen is that the ultrasonic cleaning doesn’t offer a super-deep clean as some solution-based washes, but with new ultrasonic cleaning agents (HumminGuru makes one, so does Groovewasher), this should not be as much of an issue.

$479.95 at Turntable Lab


Line Phono Universal Turntable Dust Cover

Line Phono Universal Turntable Dust Cover

I have always wondered why hi-fi turntable dust covers are so expensive (I learned a lot has to do with shipping costs). Many covers cost the same amount as a Pro-Ject turntable! Turntable furniture brand, Line Phono, has introduced their own model ($119), which features nearly identical specs as higher priced models. It fits most turntables on the market including the problematic Clearaudio Concept and Marantz TT-15S1. It also fits on their Line Phono Turntable Stand. Note: double check the specs if your setup is on the larger side.

$119 at Turntable Lab


Rega Planar 3 Turntable – 50th Anniversary

Rega Planar 3 50th Anniversary Turntable

The hi-fi world is slowly adapting to current sales trends with more releases of limited edition models (did you get a NAD C 3050 LE?). The 50th anniversary edition of the Planar 3 is stunning. It features Rega’s relatively new Walnut finish, custom badging, some custom tweaks (eg. Planar 6 drive pulley) and the excellent Exact 2 cartridge (visually, I love how the yellow goes with the wood grain). This model has been a bestseller at Turntable Lab, and the $1,695 price tag is still within reach.

$1,695 at Turntable Lab

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Turntable Lab CFM Carbon Fiber Mat

Turntable Lab CFM Carbon Fiber Mat

I like to see carbon fiber used in the audio world. It’s a proven, highly documented material that makes a lot of machinery perform better. It absorbs vibrations while being ultra-rigid and flat, plus it’s lightweight. That sounds like a perfect combination for a turntable platter; but since the material cost is so expensive, a mat will have to do. Turntable Lab’s CFM features solid carbon fiber construction (not a veneer), with a non-abrasive padding on top.

$49 $39 at Turntable Lab


3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. ORT

    February 7, 2024 at 12:16 am

    I need to get one of their Dust Covers for my Technics DD ‘table. I went to TTL via the link and signed up to be alerted when they are back in stock.

    Thank you.

    And yes, dear readers, ’tis truly I. El ORTo Verde or if you prefer ancient latin (yes, I am speaking to all Tombstone Enthusiasts!), Male Temperatum Bufonem. I have moments of reflection and gratitude and this is one of them. I like TTL having bought some “Peanuts” items from them for myself and my grandchildren.

    We now return control of this site to you until next time at this same time when the Control Voice will take you to…The ORTer Limits.

    Hmmmm…I like that. “The ORTer Limits”…

    ORT

    • steve

      February 13, 2024 at 6:02 pm

      Funny that they used the Linephono universal TT cover for this article’s lead photo. It has been out of stock for months and even Linephono itself has no idea when it will be back in stock.

      • Ian White

        February 13, 2024 at 6:22 pm

        Steve,

        If only they had mentioned that. I’ll make sure we change it.

        Best,

        IW

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