Formed in 2012, they provide design and manufacturing services to companies like Apogee Acoustics, Acoustic Research, Harman, Bose and a/d/s/. But they also make their own unique products. I got to see a few cool things on display, and they have since sent me over a Spinbase Turntable Speaker System for review. The Spinbase sits under a turntable and provides the necessary pre-amp, power amp and speakers to spin your records without the need for other electronics; basically, making the turntable a two-box playback solution. I couldn’t properly hear it at the show with so many people in the room, but I really liked the concept. Pulling it out of the box it instantly reminded me of the Sonos Playbase, but with a much more compact and cleaner look.
The Spinbase setup is very easy and straightforward, you plug it in and go, no apps here, it just works. Overall build quality is great, it’s light but solid. After getting it set up and powered on, you can change the inputs, adjust the EQ and even plug in headphones with the rear panel controls. I applaud Andover for keeping the front so clean. My only issue with the design is there is no power or input indicator light at all, you can’t tell if it’s powered on or not from the front. It’s not something that would sway me from buying one, but it is an unusual design choice. A remote would have also been nice as well.
The grille design is also nice, wrapping around the front and both sides, giving a 270-degree field of sound; more on that later. I enjoyed the large volume knob that made it simple to control the volume quickly and accurately with nice feedback. It’s easy to tell a lot of time and thought went into the Spinbase’s design. It was made by audiophiles for audiophiles.
I hadn’t worked with a product like the Spinbase before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. What struck me almost right away was how wide and empowering the soundstage was; I thought I was listening to a stereo pair of bookshelf speakers 10 feet apart in the room. The music seemed free to spread out and dance around, without sounding confined to a box like most soundbars do. Honestly, it sounds much better than its $300 price would suggest. This is well beyond any big box store speaker system.
While its soundstage was impressive, its low-frequency performance was less so, and I felt an add-on sub would be a blessing for this unit. I asked the rep if there were plans for a future add-on bass module and received no confirmation, but we can hope, right?
I also got to try the Spinbase with Andover’s PM-50 planar headphones and I was pleased. It may not be the very best headphone amp I’ve heard, but it was very good. And at this price point, it’s a nice bonus feature. It also presents some unique options, like feeding a Sonos system, since the Spinbase has a built-in phono preamp.
If you own a turntable and want to hook it up for simple, good sound, this is the best option I’ve seen to date. It gives you the perfect excuse to hook up that extra turntable and start enjoying it as a great sounding centerpiece. It even includes Bluetooth so you can stream music from your phone or tablet.
The Andover Audio Spinbase Turntable Speaker System is a perfect solution for someone looking to get back into vinyl that needs a simple and easy to use phono preamp and speaker system in a clean and affordable package. Adding a sub would make this unit sound absolutely insane. I hope to see a sub output added to a future version of the product. It presents such a unique solution to modern vinyl enthusiasts that I am surprised no one has done this before. And the $300 price point is unbeatable. It’s a superb fusion of form and function, that offers value almost unheard of in the audio industry. Yes, I would recommend it!