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U-Turn Audio Ethos Powered Loudspeakers are Really F@#$$* Smart

The U-Turn Audio Ethos Powered Wireless Loudspeakers are made in America and a great addition to their Orbit Custom Turntable.

U-Turn Ethos Powered Speakers Walnut

As the vinyl revolution started to pick up some momentum, a little start-up outside of Boston found itself on the precipice of either greatness or failure. When I visited the factory at the time, I was there on a consulting mission on behalf of a larger OEM manufacturer in the space. U-Turn Audio was only a few years old and trying to figure out supply chain issues to meet the demand for their first generation of turntables. The U-Turn Audio Ethos Powered Loudspeakers were not even in the womb yet.

The founders were local kids who went to college at Northeastern University and like any smart entrepreneurs were trying to solve a problem.

How to offer an entry-level turntable made in America (VPI had already introduced the Traveler but it was priced for a very different customer) for under $350 with a Grado or Audio-Technica cartridge.

Trying to compete with Crosley or Pro-Ject probably sounded like a stupid idea to most people but the U-Turn crew were undeterred. I still have one of the first prototypes of the U-Turn Pluto phono preamp on my desk connected to my Orbit+ table and I have great admiration for what they have accomplished in less than a decade.

U-Turn have sold over 100,000 turntables over the past 10 years and created a cult of younger (and older) listeners who love listening to records on one of their tables.

The MDF tables always felt a tad flimsy and the pulley definitely needed some work but Ben Carter was already working on the next generation tables and tonearm when I first met him.

The top model; the Orbit Custom (acrylic platter, Ortofon 2M Blue, and cue lever) in solid Walnut sells for $635 in 2021 and that’s actually a really good deal considering that the majority of the components are made in America, the Danish 2M Blue is $250 (retail), and their employees are not making $5/hour in some sweatshop in China.

When the brand found its footing, it started to sell Audioengine loudspeakers with its tables. Smart. Audioengine were another start-up from the opposite side of the country selling speakers and accessories direct to consumers and the synergy between the two brands made a lot of sense.

U-Turn Ethos Powered Speakers Walnut

Fast forward to November 2021, and we find a new pair of U-Turn Audio Ethos Loudspeakers featured on the homepage.

The Ethos were designed in-house and are being assembled in their factory in Massachusetts.

The powered loudspeakers retail for $399 USD (white or black) or $499 (real Walnut veneer) if you’re feeling fancy.

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There are a few things about the Ethos that I really like aside from that fact that the brand is keeping true to its own ‘ethos’ and making everything in America (most of it) and assembling them at home in the same factory.

U-Turn Ethos Powered Speakers Walnut Rear

Class AB architecture delivering 80 watts RMS of impactful, low-distortion amplification.

Efficient thermal management which helps dissipate heat for impressive power in a compact package.

A Toroidal transformer provides the amp stage with clean, low-noise power.

The Passive crossover uses second order filtering to seamlessly reproduce the full frequency range.

Using an 80 watts/channel Class AB amplifier is a huge difference and I’m sure when I finally hear them that decision will prove to be a winner.

The U-Turn Audio Ethos also support Bluetooth aptX and have 2 sets of analog inputs for an external phono stage like the U-Turn Pluto 2 (which has been redesigned with better parts, and now offers 40 dB of gain for MM carts) and even a Dongle DAC connected to your smart phone or a network streamer like the Andover Audio Songbird.

U-Turn understands its customer base and the Ethos is a really smart play by the company.

U-Turn Ethos Powered Speakers White

A fully tricked out Orbit Custom with a Pluto 2 and the Ethos will run you $1,233.00 with free shipping. Made in America by the next generation of audiophiles.

For more information: uturnaudio.com

Technical Specifications

Amplifier architectureClass AB
Power2 x 40 W RMS/2 x 80 W Peak
BluetoothBluetooth 5.0 with aptX
Wired connectivityRCA input 3.5 mm AUX input RCA output (variable level)
Dimensions5.75” x 7.5” x 9.5” (each speaker)
Weight15.8 lbs total weight (9.8 lbs powered, 6.0 lbs passive)
Frequency response55 Hz – 20 kHz
Amplifier THD+N<0.06%
Drivers4” Mid-bass (paper cone)1” Tweeter (silk dome)
Cabinet materialMDF
Warranty3-year limited warranty
11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. GM

    November 17, 2021 at 12:02 am

    So, re-branded Audioegines, yes?

    • Ian White

      November 17, 2021 at 2:12 am

      Gord,

      Actually I don’t think so. There are a number of technical details including different drivers and a completely different amplifier that are not Audioengine parts. I think it’s logical to make the leap that they had help on the design side from Audioengine but U-turn are making these in their factory in Woburn. Audioengine are not manufacturing these for U-Turn.

      IW

  2. Errol

    November 17, 2021 at 5:53 pm

    Stories like this need more press. If I was in the market for a new system I’d definitely consider this made in America combo.

    • Ian White

      November 17, 2021 at 6:40 pm

      Errol,

      The hi-fi press is only interested in covering things people can’t afford. It’s not sexy enough. Which is why we’re here.

      The U-Turn guys work crazy hours and have created a real business. College kids.

      I’m here to help them any way we can.

      Ian White

      • Mike Hardgrove

        December 30, 2021 at 6:47 pm

        After connecting the u-turn audio on Bluetooth how do I adjust the volume on an iPhone ? Does not appear to be an app available.
        Love the turntable BTW.
        Thanks.

        • Ian White

          December 30, 2021 at 8:40 pm

          Mike,

          I will find out for you. The regular volume slider on the iPhone itself or on Tidal/Qobuz doesn’t change anything?

          No app huh? Interesting.

          Ian White

  3. John M Russell

    November 17, 2021 at 6:59 pm

    So the real power is 40watts per channel……Are 60’s power scams comming back? Next you will use IPP power right!

    • Ian White

      November 17, 2021 at 7:04 pm

      John,

      It would appear to be the case. The class AB amplifier inside actually uses a decent toroidal transformer so at the end of the day — the best that we can do is listen to the review pair and see how they sound. These are not large desktop speakers and if 40 watts of class AB can’t make them sing — then we will let you know that.

      Ian White

  4. Lawrence Peryer

    November 19, 2021 at 7:10 pm

    Wonder what these will sound like with my U-Turn custom and Marantz 2275

    • Ian White

      November 19, 2021 at 10:06 pm

      Lawrence,

      The U-Turn speakers are powered so unless you’re using your otherwise very fine Marantz 2275 as a preamp, it’s redundant in this case.

      Ian White

  5. Drew

    April 23, 2022 at 4:22 pm

    Curious what you think about the speakers after having them for a few months. Any follow up to he article? Also, Where did you get the stands the speakers are on in that picture with the turntable?

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