Think turntables have gotten boring? This one will change your mind

minion wheel turntable kickstarter miniot
Looking at the Wheel turntable from Miniot, you’ll almost immediately notice something strange. Yes, it does resemble a flying saucer, but that is not what we’re talking about. Where is the tonearm?

Instead of using the standard layout used by the vast majority of turntables, with the tonearm mounted in the top right corner, the Wheel uses a tonearm hidden within the platter, playing the record from below instead of from above. This has practical advantages — you don’t have to worry about dropping the needle on the record improperly, for example — but it also results in one of the coolest-looking turntables we’ve seen in some time.

The placement isn’t the only unique thing about the tonearm used in the Wheel. Machined out of a single piece of laminated mahogany, the tonearm features a built-in infrared sensor for accurate movement and placement. The tonearm is fine-tuned for damping, resonance, and weight distribution, which Miniot says makes for excellent sound but does have a downside in that the modified AT95E cartridge isn’t user-replaceable. Fortunately, the stylus used can be replaced by the user, with replacements being made available when the Wheel finally ships. Miniot says that all fragile moving parts being built in help prevent scratching your records or destroying the stylus, so hopefully, replacements won’t be as necessary as with some other turntables.

The unique build also adds another curious feature to the Wheel: It can be placed as you would any other turntable, but it can also be hung on the wall like a clock. Control is provided via a center stick — right in the middle of the record — that handles turning the Wheel on and off, playing and pausing, volume, and even skipping to the next or previous track, while turning the stick adjusts the volume of the built-in headphone jack.

The Wheel turntable is currently in pre-production and has turned to Kickstarter for funding. Early-bird pricing has already come and gone, so if you’re interested in getting your hands on one, you will need to pledge the full amount, roughly $600. This gets you a single turntable, available in walnut, cherry, or mahogany varieties.

Miniot initially set out seeking roughly $53,000 in funding and has already blown past that, raising more than $150,000 at the time of this writing. The campaign comes to an end on March 17, so there is still plenty of time if you want to order one of the 400 remaining models — just be aware of the usual risks associated with Kickstarter campaigns. If everything goes according to plan, the Wheel should begin shipping in November. For more information, see the campaign page.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: camera with A.I. director, robot arm assistant

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Home Theater

Yamaha’s MusicCast Vinyl 500 turntable spreads analog joy throughout your home

It can be tough to listen to your favorite analog tunes anywhere besides the room where your turntable is located. With its MusicCast Vinyl 500 turntable, Yamaha allows you to stream your tunes throughout your home.
Photography

These point-and-shoot cameras make your smartphone pics look like cave paintings

If your smartphone camera just isn't giving you the results you're looking for, maybe it's time to step up your game. The latest and greatest point-and-shoot cameras offer large sensors, tough bodies, and long lenses -- something no phone…
Outdoors

Snooze soundly anywhere you lay your head with the best sleeping bags

A proper sleeping bag has the ability to make or break a camping or backpacking trip. Here are our picks for the best sleeping bags on the market to help you choose the correct bag for any type of outdoor adventure.
Music

The best free music download sites that are totally legal

Finding music that is both free and legal to download can be difficult. We've handpicked a selection of the best free music download sites for you to legally download your next favorite album.
Music

Apple Music vs. Spotify: Which service is the streaming king?

Apple Music is giving Spotify a run for its money, but which service is best for you? In our Apple Music vs. Spotify showdown, we compare and contrast all we know about the two streaming music services.
Home Theater

Mobile masters: Tidal’s better-than-CD MQA tracks come to Android

Audiophile-grade music tracks and streaming music services don't come together very often, and when they do, it's not always easy to find a device that plays them. That's no longer the case as Tidal's MQA tracks now work on Android.
Mobile

From true crime to comedy, here's our list of the best podcasts around

When you aren’t in the music mood, podcasts can be your ear candy. Whether you love to stay up-to-date on the latest news or want to know what’s happening in sports, you’ll find something on our must-listen-to podcast roundup.
Mobile

Music junkie? Here are the 24 best music apps for consuming and creating tunes

We rummaged through the iOS and Android app stores to find the finest mobile music-creation and music-consumption apps in existence. No matter if you're on Android or iOS, here are the best music apps.
Home Theater

Mobile audio gets an upgrade thanks to new Sonarworks apps

Sonarworks is used by audio engineers around the world to get more accurate sound from their headphones. Today, the company launched Android and iOS apps for the same ability on mobile devices.
Computing

Don't use streaming apps? Try the best free media players for your local music

Rather than using music-streaming apps, you may want something for playing your local music. Good news! There are some good alternatives. These are the best media players you can download for free on Windows.
Music

Tidal faces legal jeopardy over fake stream numbers accusation

In another challenging chapter for music subscription service Tidal, Norwegian authorities have begun a formal investigation into charges that the company faked millions of streams for artists such as Kanye West and Beyoncé.
Computing

Don't spend hundreds on Pro Tools or Logic. Try one of these free alternatives

Believe it or not, Pro Tools isn't the only digital audio workstation worth your time. Check out our picks for the best free recording software, whether you're looking for a lightweight app or a full-blown audio workstation.