Back in March, I reviewed the Como Blu, a brilliant Bluetooth streaming audio system from Como Audio of Boston. What made Blu great? For $399 – the cost of a decent high-end portable Bluetooth speaker – you get true two-channel stereo sound. The Blu system is a pair of bookshelf speakers with walnut clad MDF enclosures, 30W per channel of power and retro styling with aluminum control knobs. You can even go portable by adding the optional battery to one of the Blu speakers. What really made the Como Blu system during testing was when I hooked up the corresponding Como Turntable Analog.
This review focuses on the Turntable Analog, a $399 belt-drive model. I should note that this isn’t Como Audio’s first effort at a turntable. The company actually released its first several years ago (I reviewed it here). The new Turntable Analog shares many features and looks very similar visually, but this one is the newest and best. This first model lives on as the $499 Como Bluetooth Turntable.
Defined by Como Audio, manufactured by Pro-Ject
If you’re familiar with turntables, a quick look at the Turntable Analog will tell you that Pro-Ject was involved. This is a good thing. Pro-Ject is renowned for manufacturing high-end audiophile quality turntables. It has an extensive catalog of available components and manufacturing takes place in the company’s European factories. The results are high performance turntables with reliable quality.
As with its first turntable, Como Audio has teamed up with Pro-Ject for the Turntable Analog. This does not mean a white label version of a Pro-Ject turntable, it means a version designed based on Como Audio’s specifications. The resulting turntable uses various Pro-Ject components and is built to high standards at Pro-Ject’s factories, but is a Como Audio offering only.
Extreme ease of installation
I don’t mind the process of setting up a turntable, but I do it quite frequently. For someone leaving an entry-level record player or turntable, the prospect of mounting a cartridge and balancing the tonearm can be daunting. But these steps are absolutely essential to get the best sound from your turntable and protect your records.
This is one of the great advantages of the Turntable Analog. You are free to upgrade it with a high-end stylus or cartridge. But it comes equipped with a solid choice in the out-of-the-box Ortofon OM10. Even better, thanks to its “plug and play” design, the cartridge and the counterweight are pre-installed at the factory. All you have to do is thread the drive belt on, put the tray in place, then put on the acrylic dust cover (the hinges come pre-fitted).
Como includes the tools to adjust the cartridge and counterweight should you decide to make any changes, but there is no need to do so – everything is precisely aligned and balanced.
From there, you just need to tune the built-in preamplifier to whatever you’re connecting to. It’s Phono if you’re connecting to an amp or receiver with a dedicated Phono input, or AUX if you’re connecting to an audio system that doesn’t have a Phono input. This provides the flexibility to connect to virtually anything. Additionally, Como Audio includes high quality 3.5ft twisted pair RCA audio cables, as well as 3.5mm adapters.
Record Player Analog Key Specifications:
- 2-speed turntable, belt drive
- DC motor with TPE damping
- 8.6 inch aluminum tonearm
- Pre-mounted Ortofon OM10 MM cartridge with elliptical diamond tip stylus
- Pre-assembled adjustable counterweight
- Switchable phono preamplifier
- Combined power/speed switch
- Anti-vibration feet
- Out-of-the-box design
- MDF base
- Weighs 11.68 pounds
- Walnut vinyl or piano gloss black vinyl finish
- Includes black felt mat, acrylic dust cover, premium audio cable, 3.5mm adapter, alignment protractor and Allen key
- MSRP $399
Practice with the analog record player
Installing the analog turntable is child’s play, but how does it work?
Vibration is the enemy of any turntable, and this one is designed from the ground up to minimize the chance of vibration intruding on the sound of your vinyl.
The plinth is a solid piece of MDF and the top is heavy steel. Together, they make up a big chunk of this turntable’s nearly 12-pound heavyweight. This is in stark contrast to entry level turntables which typically use hollow plastic construction. This weight helps keep vibrations at bay. Add the anti-vibration feet and your turntable is well protected. The heavy platter also helps with speed consistency.
Modern entry-level turntables usually include a built-in preamplifier. This makes sense since many people hook them up to a mini system or portable speaker with an AUX input. However, in a cheap turntable, the preamp will also be cheap. It will do the job, but the output won’t look anything spectacular. The Turntable Analog will sound best using its Phono output, but the built-in preamp is better than many. Therefore, connecting to an AUX input is much less of a compromise.
When plugged into the Como Blu system, the audio quality is impressive – this system’s stereo speakers and driver layout provide a surprisingly robust listening experience from a compact sound system. It’s also part of a well-matched mini stereo system, with the walnut finish (furniture-grade veneer on the Como Blu and vinyl on the Turntable Analog) adding a high-end vintage look to the setup.
Como opted for the Ortofon OM10 cartridge for the Turntable Analog. It’s a common choice in this class of turntables and with good reason. It offers a decent soundstage, neutral sound and wide frequency response. I also find the OM10 works well with used vinyl – a little less static and skipping than many more expensive cartridges. I set this one up at my stepdad’s house for an afternoon of spinning records from his collection of old blues and jazz records (along with classic rock like The Band), and it performed just fine. It provided an enjoyable listening experience and seriously outperformed the mass-production entry-level turntable he was using.
The power and speed toggle switch combination on the side takes a little getting used to and I would have liked to see an auto-off feature, but the focus is on performance. And for the price of $399, the Como Audio Turntable Analog delivers.
Como Audio analogue turntable recommendation
For anyone looking for a solid mid-range turntable, Como’s Turntable Analog is a great option. It’s well-built, features Pro-Ject’s design expertise and components, comes with a switchable preamp, and it’s equipped with an Ortofon cartridge that provides an excellent recording listening experience. There are a growing number of turntables in this price range – including a number of Pro-Ject manufacturing partners – but the Turntable Analog has been built to Como Audio’s specifications and stands out for its ease of installation.
And if you’re already considering Como’s Blu streaming audio system, bundling it with the Turntable Analog is a no-brainer.
Disclosure: Como Audio provided an analog turntable for evaluation purposes, but did not contribute to this review.