Vinyl has witnessed a remarkable resurgence in recent years, capturing the hearts of music enthusiasts seeking an immersive and nostalgic audio experience and a disconnect from an increasingly online world. As the demand for audiophile turntables continues to grow, music enthusiasts are presented with myriad options to choose from. Among the contenders, the U-Turn Orbit Plus turntable (buy at Amazon) has emerged as a prominent player, captivating the attention of vinyl enthusiasts worldwide. In this review, we will delve into the details of the Orbit Plus, illuminating why it has become a go-to choice for those looking for a great entry-level turntable.
With a focus on craftsmanship, versatility, and audio fidelity, the Orbit Plus offers a unique combination of customization options, precision engineering, and upgradeability. From its modular construction to the meticulously machined acrylic platter, every aspect of the turntable is designed with attention to detail and a commitment to delivering exceptional sound quality.
What Makes the U-Turn Orbit Plus Turntable Special?
- The Orbit Plus stands out in its price class due in part to its modular design, enabling users to customize various components to suit their preferences. With a range of color options available for the plinth, including vibrant shades and elegant wood finishes, U-Turn allows users to match their turntable to their unique style and home décor. The modular design also allows one to upgrade the cartridge and add accessories straight from the factory, such as a built-in preamp, offering the flexibility for a truly personalized setup.
- The Orbit Plus features a high-density acrylic platter that is meticulously machined to reduce resonance and vibration. This precise engineering results in improved audio quality, allowing for faithful reproduction of the music and minimizing unwanted distortion.
- It comes equipped with the highly regarded Ortofon OM5E cartridge. This cartridge is renowned for its excellent tracking ability, allowing for precise playback even on demanding or worn records. The OM5E also delivers detailed sound reproduction with a balanced frequency response, capturing the nuances and dynamics of the music.
- The Orbit Plus incorporates a precision gimbal tonearm that ensures low friction and accurate tracking. This design minimizes record wear, prolonging the life of vinyl albums, while also reducing distortion, allowing for a more faithful reproduction of the music.
- The turntable’s counterweight and anti-skate settings provide precise control over cartridge setup and alignment without the user ever thinking about it. This feature ensures optimal tracking force and alignment, resulting in better performance and reducing any potential issues like skipping or uneven playback.
- The U-Turn Orbit Plus utilizes a decoupled AC synchronous motor that is isolated from the turntable’s plinth. This design effectively reduces motor-generated vibrations and ensures consistent speed stability during playback. The result is a quieter operation and improved accuracy.
- The Orbit Plus offers manual speed selection, allowing users to choose between the standard 33⅓ or 45 RPM playback speeds. This versatility ensures compatibility with a wide range of vinyl records, including both LPs and singles.
- To top it all off, U-Turn designs and assembles everything at their facility in Woburn, MA.
Why Should You Care About the U-Turn Orbit Plus?
The Orbit Plus turntable deserves your attention if you value a high-quality vinyl listening experience, clean modern design, and customizability on a budget. Its unique combination of modularity, precision engineering, and upgradeability sets it apart from other turntables in its budget range. By allowing for personalized customization, from the plinth color to the choice of accessories, the Orbit Plus enables you to create a turntable that reflects your individual style and preferences.
The turntable’s technical specs, such as the precision machined acrylic platter and the decoupled motor, ensure accurate playback, reduced distortion, and enhanced audio fidelity. Additionally, the included Ortofon OM5E cartridge provides exceptional tracking ability and detailed sound reproduction out of the box, while also offering the flexibility to upgrade to even higher-end cartridges. Whether you are a seasoned audiophile or a passionate vinyl enthusiast, the U-Turn Orbit Plus turntable delivers a great vinyl listening experience that will bring your music collection to life.
Some Things That You Might Not Like About the U-Turn Orbit Plus Turntable
- It’s a fully manual turntable, requiring you to manually lift and place the tonearm on the record and manually return it home at the end of play.
- To switch speeds, you have to physically move the belt to a different pully, which can prove to be a pain until you get the hang of it.
- While the U-Turn Orbit Plus offers manual speed selection between 33⅓ and 45 RPM, it does not support the far less common 78 RPM playback speed.
Listening To the U-Turn Orbit Plus Turntable
The true essence of a turntable lies in its ability to faithfully reproduce the audio magic contained within vinyl records. To fully evaluate the performance of the Orbit Plus, I embarked on a sonic journey, immersing myself in the captivating soundscapes of various records. I paired the turntable with a Pro-Ject phono-box preamp and a Yamaha A-S301 amp driving a pair of ELAC DBR62 bookshelf speakers with a 12 inch SVS SB-1000 subwoofer to round out the low end.
Miles Davis’ timeless masterpiece Kind of Blue (buy at Amazon on vinyl) demands an exceptional turntable to capture its delicate nuances and ethereal beauty. As the needle gently descended onto the first track, I was immediately greeted by a rich and immersive sonic landscape. The Orbit Plus flawlessly conveyed the delicate touch of each instrument, allowing the nuances of Davis’ trumpet and the subtle interplay of the band to shine through. The tonal balance was pristine, with the warm, velvety bass notes effortlessly blending with the crisp cymbal strikes. The turntable revealed the depth and texture of the recording, captivating me with its ability to preserve the integrity of this jazz classic.
Stepping into the realm of rock, I placed Fleetwood Mac’s iconic album, Rumours (buy at Amazon on vinyl), onto the platter of the U-Turn Orbit Plus. As the opening chords of “Second Hand News” resonated through the speakers, I was greeted with an immersive and energetic performance. The turntable effortlessly conveyed the energy and emotion of the music, with each instrument occupying its rightful space in the soundstage. The vocals were clear and engaging, capturing the raw emotions expressed in the lyrics. The U-Turn Orbit Plus showcased its ability to handle dynamic shifts, delivering impactful bass lines without sacrificing the clarity of the midrange and treble. The album’s intricate harmonies and interwoven guitar work were presented with remarkable detail, allowing me to fully appreciate the craftsmanship of the band.
A true test of any turntable’s capabilities, Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon (buy at Amazon on vinyl) demands a system that can unravel its complex layers and transport listeners on a sonic journey. As the haunting sounds of the album’s opening track, “Speak to Me,” filled the room, the U-Turn Orbit Plus proved itself as a worthy companion for this iconic masterpiece. The turntable captured the atmospheric elements and delicate textures with remarkable precision. The seamless transitions between tracks and the spatial effects were reproduced with a sense of depth and dimensionality. The Orbit Plus handled the album’s dynamic range adeptly, delivering thundering basslines and ethereal vocals without losing control or sacrificing clarity. The iconic guitar solos and the enveloping soundscapes of “The Great Gig in the Sky” were rendered with a captivating sense of realism, enveloping me in a sonic experience that was both immersive and awe-inspiring.
Listening to these records on the U-turn turntable affirmed its ability to faithfully reproduce the nuances and dynamics of different musical genres. With its precise tracking, balanced tonal reproduction, and accurate sound staging, the Orbit Plus showcased its commitment to providing an engaging and authentic vinyl listening experience. It truly allowed me to rediscover the magic and intricacies that make vinyl playback a cherished ritual for audiophiles.
What Other Turntables Compete with the U-Turn Orbit Plus?
The Fluance RT83 ($349.99 buy at Amazon) is a turntable that offers a balance of performance and affordability. It features a solid wood plinth and a high-torque motor for accurate playback. The RT83 comes with an Ortofon 2M Red cartridge, known for its detailed sound reproduction. It includes an adjustable counterweight and anti-skate settings for precise cartridge alignment. The RT83’s build quality and sonic capabilities make it a strong competitor in the entry-level to mid-range turntable market.
The Pro-Ject Debut Carbon $399 buy at Amazon) is a formidable competitor. It offers a similar level of customization, with various finishes available for the plinth. The Debut Carbon features a carbon fiber tonearm and a pre-installed Ortofon 2M Red cartridge. It also includes a built-in phono preamp, providing added convenience for those without a dedicated phono input. The Debut Carbon (reviewed here) is renowned for its outstanding sound quality, making it a popular choice among audiophiles.
The Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB ($349 buy at Amazon) is another contender in the affordable turntable market. It offers a versatile set of features, including a built-in phono preamp and a USB output for digital conversion of vinyl records. The AT-LP120XUSB features a direct-drive motor and comes with a pre-installed AT-VM95E cartridge. It offers a range of playback speeds, including 33⅓, 45, and 78 RPM, making it suitable for users with diverse vinyl collections. With its sturdy build and user-friendly design, the AT-LP120XUSB appeals to both beginners and seasoned vinyl enthusiasts alike.
The Rega Planar 2 ($755 buy at Amazon) is a turntable known for its exceptional performance and build quality, and has a very similar aesthetic as the U-Turn. It features a precision RB220 tonearm and a pre-installed Rega Carbon moving magnet cartridge. The Planar 2’s plinth is constructed from high-quality materials, contributing to its robust and stylish design. With its focus on minimalistic design and audio fidelity, the Rega Planar 2 offers a compelling alternative for those seeking a more premium turntable experience. It is a much more expensive component by comparison.
Does the U-turn Orbit Plus Turntable Have Any Resale Value?
Yes, on eBay just this month several used examples have sold for $200-300, so it seems like the turntable keeps its value fantastically. Always set your expectations to get at best 50 percent of retail at best. Most consumer electronics don’t hold more than 40 to 50 percent of their value.
Final Thoughts on the U-Turn Orbit Plus Turntable
The U-Turn Orbit Plus turntable (buy at Amazon) at $329 has proven to be a standout option for anyone seeking a high-quality vinyl listening experience without spending a lot of money. Its unique blend of customization, precision engineering, and upgradeability make it a compelling choice.
The Orbit Plus shines with its minimal modern looks and its ability to offer a personalized touch. The customizable design options, from the plinth color to the choice of a built-in pre-amp, allow users to create a turntable that truly reflects their individual style and preferences. This level of customization sets the U-Turn Orbit Plus apart from many other turntables in its class, allowing users to establish a deeper connection with their equipment and the vinyl listening experience.
From a technical perspective, the U-Turn Orbit Plus demonstrates precision engineering and attention to detail. The use of a precision machined acrylic platter contributes to accurate playback, reduced distortion, and enhanced audio fidelity. The decoupled motor further aids in minimizing vibrations and maintaining consistent speed, ensuring a stable and immersive sonic performance. These technical features highlight U-Turn’s commitment to delivering a turntable that surpasses expectations.