The very name turntable conjures a pretty accurate image of how it works, with the platter that the record sits on essentially being a table that turns. That’s how all record players work, right? With its RokBlok portable record player, the San Francisco-based Pink Donut has set out to prove that isn’t always the case.
The RokBlok, as the name implies, is a fairly utilitarian-looking block constructed of medium-density fiberboard (MDF) and bamboo that plays records by traveling in circles on top of them. Just place the RokBlok on top of a record, pull its lever, and away it goes. The hardware packs in a preamp and included speaker, and it also features Bluetooth, allowing it to wirelessly transmit sound to headphones or speakers located within 30 feet.
This might seem like a fast way to damage your records, but Pink Donut has already thought of this and says it won’t be a problem. “RokBlok has been engineered to prevent damage to your records when in use,” the company states on its Kickstarter campaign page. “We do this by carefully balancing and distributing the weight of the player (3.2 oz) across it’s scratch-proof rubber wheels and not the needle. This makes it so the needle does not take the brunt of the weight out on your record’s grooves.”
The RokBlok can play both full-sized LPs and 45s, and the company says the included rechargeable battery offers up to four hours of music playback or two days of standby time. Once it has run out of juice, two hours of charge time is all it takes to get it up and running again. The product is meant to be fun and easy to use, but even its manufacturer admits it won’t replace a high-end turntable.
While the retail price isn’t incredibly high at $100, Kickstarter backers can get an even better deal, with a single RokBlok going for $80 or even $70 with the limited Early Bird pricing. If you don’t want to spend that much but are interested in the novelty factor, the Kickstarter is also offering another kitschy record player in the SheetRok — a paper record player that uses no electricity. Backers can opt for a SheetRok with a random record included for just $15.
The RokBlok has already surpassed its $50,000 goal, with 47 days left to go at the time of this writing. The campaign comes to a close on January 24, with rewards planned to begin shipping to backers in September. For more information, see the campaign page on Kickstarer.