Portability has never been vinyl’s strong suit. Records themselves are a bit unwieldy (at least, compared to other audio platforms) but the fact that you also need a turntable to listen away from home further complicates things.
If you’re heading to a buddy’s place that has one, that’s great… but what if they don’t? That’s where something like the RokBlok could come in handy.
The RokBlok is an infinitely portable, wireless record player currently seeking funding on Kickstarter. Although apparently not entirely original, the concept is quite clever. Instead of having a stationary turntable that spins a record, the RokBlok does all the heavy lifting while the record remains stationary as it is equipped with a needle, pre-amp and speakers.
The gadget is compatible with both 45 and 33 1/3 RPM records and utilizes Bluetooth technology so you can stream audio to a Bluetooth speaker system. Pink Donut, the San Francisco-based concept company behind RokBlok, says its rechargeable battery offers up to four hours of music playback and two days of standby on a full charge (a full recharge takes about two hours).
While incredibly clever, something like the RokBlok is more of a novelty than anything else.
Anyone that is serious about their record collection most likely has at least a few friends that also appreciate the nostalgia associated with them which probably means they have a record player as well, thus negating the need for you to bring something to play them.
Also, as TechCrunch correctly highlights, some enthusiasts appreciate the nostalgia associated with using a traditional turntable. What’s more, without a paired Bluetooth speaker handling playback duties, the RokBlok is going to sound pretty bad partially because the audio source is moving and directing sound waves all around the room in the process.
The RokBlok is designed in such a way that its center of gravity does not rest on the needle and thus, shouldn’t widen a record’s grooves. It also utilizes rubber wheels as to limit the potential wear and tear on your vinyl but even still, hazards like these will no doubt keep some at bay.
I grew up listening to cassette tapes, CDs and eventually, MP3s meaning vinyl was before my time. I’m far from an audiophile and have zero hipster tendencies but there’s just something really neat about the RokBlok.
Pink Donut is seeking $50,000 which developer Logan Riley says will be used for tooling, manufacturing and ultimately, shipping products to backers. As of writing, they’ve raised nearly 18 percent of the goal although with 49 days remaining, there’s still plenty of time to make it happen. A pledge of $59 is all that’s needed to be among the first to own a RokBlok once it ships in September of 2017.