After looking like they were going the way of the audio cassette tape, vinyl records are on a bounce back. Just this week, Nielsen reported that sales of 12-inch discs in the US rose for the tenth consecutive year, accounting for 9 percent of total physical album sales. Though there are portable turntables like those from Pyle Audio and Crossleys, enjoying vinyl on the move isn't exactly pocket-friendly. But converting records to run on an MP3 player means an inevitable loss of precious fidelity. Fortunately, Sony's new HX500 turntable boasts a built-in 24-bit analog-to-digital converter that allows audiophiles to transfer their beloved vinyl collections to high quality digital formats.
"Our new PS-HX500 turntable serves as an important bridge that connects the growing number of vinyl record collectors to the convenience and sound quality afforded by hi-res audio," said Sony's Yamato Tanikawa.
Sony's new reference standard turntable features a straight, hollow, cylindrical tonearm with a low resonance head and moving magnet cartridge containing a centrally-located stylus for the promise of optimum tracking and "superb stereo balance," even on warped vinyl. The cast aluminum platter topped by a 5 mm thick rubber mat is rotated by a two speed belt drive system.
The HX500's built-in A/D converter allows vinyl lovers to transfer music to digital format over USB in either native DSD at up to 5.6 MHz or WAV files at up to 24-bit/192 kHz. An upcoming Hi-Res Audio Recorder app caters for "simple and intuitive" editing on a Windows or OS X computer system, allowing for such things as combining both sides of a record into one long album or splitting and saving multiple tracks.
The new turntable sits atop a high density MDF acoustic cabinet and insulator feet that help keep nasty vibrations in check, and users are offered the choice of line output to an external phono pre-amp, or making use of the internal phono equalizer.
The HX500 is due for release in the coming months at an as yet undisclosed price point. Have a look at the introductory video below to give you a taste of what's on offer.