If you’re a fan of Philippe Starck’s Louis Ghost Chair, the Lucite furniture by Charles Hollis Jones and Neal Small as “The Prince of Plexiglas”, we have a turntable for you! The second iteration of the Gearbox Automatic Turntable, the MkII, improves on the first edition with the same transparent rectangular base that made the original eye catcher and an updated component as well as more robust software.
While the turntable is advertised as a gear design, it is actually manufactured by the turntable specialist Pro-ject. Equipped with a Pro-Projekt tonearm, a moveable magnetic cartridge OM 10 Ortofon and a glass plate, this is definitely a conversation starter. Those curious enough to peek inside this turntable’s transparent base will likely discover its most unique feature hidden in the lower right corner – a built-in vacuum tube phono stage. It’s a retro-modern technology that has been chosen to output color with the highly sought-after vinyl enthusiasts with warm analog sound.
As a turntable for today, the Gearbox Automatic MkII has another trick up its sleeve that goes beyond standard Bluetooth connectivity (there are also RCA plugs for wired output). The Automatic MkII is also equipped with built-in music recognition software that allows the turntable to recognize the music played on it and then add tracks from your record collection to your Spotify playlist using the compatible app.
At over $ 700, it puzzles us to buy one of the standard Pro-ject turntables and save a bit of money to invest in a pair of speakers and a phono preamp. On the other hand, it’s clear that turntables like the Gearbox Automatic Turntable MkII are themselves valued for both their looks and their sound.