Tag Archives: mp3

[Christmas 2015 Gift Ideas] Review: 1byone Portable Briefcase Turntable

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Rating: ★★★★


  • Very well built, nice design
  • Inexpensive
  • Has line in and headphone connectivity
  • 3 speed playback (33/45/78)


  • Built in speakers lack clarity
  • Can’t be powered by batteries

RRP £99.99, best price at time of writing £65.99 on Amazon

So here’s one that’s a little more of a personal interest – maybe not so high tech by today’s standards – but still a very interesting product! These days vinyls are very much a blast from the past – but surprisingly they seem to be gaining quite a cult following, particularly from students and young adults. Nowadays you can get hold of portable turntables that include built in speakers and other capabilities, and I was handed one to try!

There’s no doubt about it – this really looks the part. The turntable looks sturdy in its nicely built case with a well finished denim lining. Build quality is very decent, with exception to a small amount of movement in the actual turntable controls.

To the right of the turntable case you have a set of inputs and outputs together with a volume control. You can plug in the turntable to an external amplifier with an RCA cable or plug it straight into any set of speakers with the 3.5mm output. The turntable also comes with a 3.5mm line in for connecting an MP3 player.

Under the lid, together with the turntable itself, you’ll find a 3 speed control as well as an auto-stop setting to prevent the turntable spinning once playback has completed.

Playing a vinyl through the portable turntable is as easy as you’d expect. Simply place the record on the turntable, set the appropriate playback speed, align the needle accordingly, and turn the turntable on with the volume control to the right of the player.

The onboard speakers for the turntable are a little quiet and weak in my view. The output is perfectly audible, but to get the best from any record I think you need to have the turntable hooked up to an external amplifier. Thankfully, this is very easy to do with an RCA cable. Playback to an external output is much more impressive and allows for a deeper listening experience.

I feel that die-hard vinyl fans might be somewhat disappointed by the weaker built in speakers. However, if you’ve got a good quality external speaker handy then this is a very convenient way of being able to play vinyls (without having to drag a huge 1970’s style sound system around!).

I was really impressed with how light the turntable is – it’s incredibly easy to take with you out and about and with the sturdy carry handle it won’t suffer from regular travels.

It did slightly disappoint me that the turntable can’t be battery operated. The turntable comes with a suitable DC power adapter to power from the mains, but given the low amount of energy that the turntable needs to operate it would have been nice to have seen a battery powered model.

Overall, this is a very impressive attempt at a portable turntable. It’s not perfect – I’d love to have heard slightly better audio quality and the addition of a battery pack would have made it more portable – but it’s certainly enough to keep your vinyls playable at university or if you spend a long time away from home. This could be a great gift for anyone with a personal vinyl collection.

Buy now from Amazon

MP3Puzzled – Compare MP3 download prices

If, like me, you’re one of those people who still purchase MP3s, this site may be of interest to you.

It’s called MP3Puzzled, and it allows you to compare prices of MP3 downloads from various legitimate retailers – such as iTunes and Amazon.

You can even view how the prices have changed historically – which is both pointless and kind of handy at the same time!

In any case, it’s a handy, free little tool that I thought I’d mention.

Spotify introduces MP3 purchases

Spotify, a big player in the music industry, has now introduced MP3 purchases.

They originally had it so the software could link you to sites such as 7digital, but it now looks like they are offering direct MP3 purchases.

The new Spotify update allows you to purchase tracks which you can keep forever. They are in MP3 format so they can be placed on any MP3 player or iPod. All purchased music is stored in your music directory and can also be accessed from Spotify.

It looks like the new concept is ran in partnership with 7digital, as the EULA mentions 7digital and their logo is shown.

Looks interesting – I won’t ever use it because I’m going to keep my Spotify Premium membership going as it works seamlessly with my iPod Touch. I doubt many long term Spotify premium users will use the new feature, but it might be handy for free users. Nevertheless, it is a nice addition to Spotify.

Where do you buy your music from?

In the past, I’ve used many different music download services. 

I used Napster first, which in general was good, but very short lived after I discovered their credit card fraud issues. When I used Napster, I only really used it for buying music to burn to CD but not really for MP3 players because at that time I didn’t own a very decent one.

Then after I closed my account with Napster, I didn’t use any music download service for a while.

When someone bought me an iPod earlier in the year, I started using iTunes. I received a £15 voucher with it so I played around a bit and rented some films as well as downloaded music. I’m not a huge fan of iTunes but the service itself is generally reliable and apart from the fact you have to use an iPod with iTunes, it’s pretty good. Of course there is the problem that iTunes (and Napster) are both DRM sites so you wont get DRM free music.

Then I tried the Orange Music Store (since my phone is with Orange) and that’s slightly more dissapointing but still good enough for most people. The application itself that you have to use to download music is quite buggy and can cause some problems, but I find it useful that if you download the song that you want from your phone, it will automatically send it to your PC (and vice versa). There is still the DRM problem, though.

And finally I recently started using Non-DRM sites. I like 7digital.com because they sell MP3’s that you can buy with SMS payment, although it is £1.50 per song apposed to the average 79p per song in most stores. 

What sites do you use for buying music? Do you like them?