22 June 2005
Life with the GF-350
About a month ago, I mentioned the Teac GF-350 shelf system, which incorporates a three-speed turntable (yes, it plays 78s), an AM/FM stereo tuner, and a CD recorder, which simplifies the task of converting all that vinyl (and I have, if not literally tons of vinyl, probably at least one ton of it) to digital form. Last Thursday I ordered one for myself from a dealer on Lawn Guyland; it arrived today and was immediately put to the test.
As a shelf system, it's okay, if not great; the power is modest (3.5 watts per side) and the tuner is just barely adequate. But what you want to know is "How well does it record?" The answer is "Pretty darn good, actually," especially if your records aren't in absolutely terrible shape.
I tested with a decent 1970s LP (The Works, a Warner Bros. sampler album) and an original styrene 45 from 1965. The cartridge is apparently a ceramic type, which means its RIAA equalization is approximate at best. Still, the minimal amount of tweaking I had to do to these files suggests that the Teac is doing a good job of getting the sound out of the grooves: the LP came out very well, if a tad bass-shy, while the 45 benefited from a 3-decibel cut around 15 kHz. For the casual listener, this is all you need; for us drooling audio geeks, it's the quickest way to get an editable file into our computers for further processing.
One word of warning: the GF-350 expects CD-Rs (or CD-RWs, if you can find any) that are specifically labeled for digital audio. I was unable to trick it into using the cheapie CD-Rs I buy in bulk.
Teac has a Web site for the GF-350; you can read the manual with Adobe Reader, if you're curious.Posted at 7:44 PM to Entirely Too Cool