If you’re a fan of Philippe Starck’s Louis Ghost Chair, the Lucite furniture of Charles Hollis Jones, and Neal Small work as “The Prince of Plexiglas”, do we have a turntable for you! The second iteration of the Gearbox Automatic Turntable, the MkII, improves upon first edition with the same transparent rectangular plinth that made the original an eye-catcher and updated componentry and more robust software.
While advertised as a Gearbox design, the turntable is actually made by turntable specialists Pro-ject. Outfitted with a Pro-ject tone arm, OM 10 Ortofon moving magnet cartridge, and topped with a glass platter it’s definitely a conversation starter. Those curious enough to peer inside this turntable’s transparent plinth will likely spot the most unique feature hidden in the bottom right hand corner – a built-in vacuum tube phono stage. It’s a retro-modern technology chosen to color output with the warm analog sound vinyl enthusiasts so covet.
Being a turntable for today, the Gearbox Automatic MkII has yet another trick up its sleeve beyond the standard addition of Bluetooth connectivity (there’s also RCA plugs for wired output). The Automatic MkII also is equipped with an on-board music recognition software that allows the turntable to recognize music played on it and then add tracks from your record collection to your Spotify playlist using the compatible app.
At over $700, it be remiss of us not to mention it might be better to purchase one of Pro-ject’s standard turntables and save a bit of cash to invest in a pair speakers and a phono preamp. But then again, it’s clear as the Gearbox Automatic Turntable MkII itself, turntables are appreciated as much for what they look like as how they sound.