How minimal is too minimal in designing a vinyl record player? Just remove the needle, and you’ve got this brand-new record player.
First, you had a record player that was basically a wooden block with two wheels. Dubbed the RokBlok, you placed it atop your favorite vinyl record, and then, you could listen to your tunes.
Then, you had a vinyl record player that did away with the wooden block nuisance. Labeled the LOVE record player, a stylus sat atop your favorite record. It even featured Bluetooth connectivity so you could stream your music to your favorite audio device.
Now, thanks to Dutch engineering, you won’t need a block, nor a stylus, nor any kind of fancy needle.
Say hello to the ‘Wheel’ by Miniot. Currently on Kickstarter, Wheel does away with your standard vinyl needle and simply plays back your records on wheels. The tagline reads,
“The record finally gets the turntable it deserves. Wheel is a record player that’s just a wheel.”
Well, the needle’s tucked in there. Actually, underneath. Let me explain.
Wheel’s creators aim to give vinyl record playing the “elegance” it deserves. The Wheel team designed to remove any visual interference. To do so, Miniot placed the mechanics inside the platter.
Basically, the turntable is playing upside down. The needle simply elevates automatically to meet the vinyl and play. Make sense?
Wheel’s design lets you place the wheel vertically or horizontally. The product description says that you “can put it flat on a table, place it upright on a stand, or hang it on the wall.”
The team built the tomearm around an AudioTechnica AT95E cartridge. Yet, don’t expect everything to go down smoothly. Miniot warns users:
“Please note: The Modified AT95E cartridge is adjusted for each Wheel and can’t be user replaced. The stylus is user replaceable. Replacement styli will be available from the moment Wheel ships.”
To play back the device, or to turn it off and on, you can use the stick included in the center. To give users more of a responsive feel, the stick uses real switches. With each action, users can “feel a solid click.” You can also check out audio outputs below.
Miniot offers bundles for backers who donate 472 €. Backers can receive a Wheel in walnut, cherry, or mahogany.
The product has since surpassed its goal of 50.000 €, or $52,962.50 at current conversion rates. As of this writing, 193 backers have currently given 99.733 €, or $105,642. Yet, the project has still 17 days left to go before fundraising is finished.
Wheel by Miniot will start shipping in October of 2017.