The SongBird is a 3D printable turntable kit

Originally published at: The SongBird is a 3D printable turntable kit | Boing Boing

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I’m looking at The Best Turntable for 2021 | Reviews by Wirecutter and seeing I can get a decent turn table for $8 less than the “print your own” version of this. I don’t know enough about turntables: Is this product supposed to be ultra premium quality but the price is lower due to shipping it as a kit? Or is it a run-of-the-mill turntable and it’s supposed to be a fun learning experience?

I like the idea of companies selling products with 3d printing in mind and releasing versions for people with printers and people without. I would love to see more of it. For this specific product, I’m not quite sure how the features/price compared to non-kit versions of the product pan out.


It’s definitely not a premium turntable; the platter is extremely thin, not particularly rigid and not massive enough to act as a flywheel to minimize wow and flutter. The arm uses a threaded rod for stiffness and to set tracking force, it would appear. The arm probably has quite high effective mass and wouldn’t be a good match for higher compliance phono cartridges.
It certainly looks like a fun project but I’m pretty sure wouldn’t qualify as anything more than a mid-fi audio product.

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It’s not a well-designed turntable for that price; you can find much better consumer-grade turntables made by Sony etc. in the eighties on eBay for much less. It is likely to be a bit better than the junky USB turntables sold as consumer goods these days.
I see a few problems with the design. The tonearm ought to be a thin-shell brass or aluminum tube; it’s too massive for its stiffness. The aluminum base plate has zero vertical stiffness, and has been hollowed out to minimize mass where it’s a bad idea to minimize mass. The platter ought to be a big round slab of aluminum to reduce wow and flutter.
But there’s a market for overpriced kits these days.

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This is better than buying a crappy Crosley “record player” which seems to be what we call devices not premium enough to refer to as “turntables”.

I stopped taking this seriously when I saw the red cartridge on it, available from AliExpress for $2.00. The white Audio Technica also seen here is a $11 cartridge. The white one is okay. The red one is garbage.

There are one or two high-end turntables that use acrylic for the actual turntable, like Pink Triangle, but you’re absolutely right, this is probably only really useful for playing a bunch of inherited 7” 45’s.

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