Boston’s hi-fi audio roots run deep. Companies like AR, KLH, Advent, EPI, Bose, Cizek, H.H.Scott, a/d/s/, Apogee Acoustics, Burhoe, Genesis, Snell, Cambridge SoundWorks and more have set up shop over the years and anchored Boston as an ideal place to develop the next great audio product.

Although the search for the ultimate listening experience is likely an unending one, it rarely dissuades audiophiles from spending money to chase that sonic nirvana. Life can derail and alter those ambitions, just as fatherhood did for Boston-based Bob Hazelwood, Chief Engineer for +AUDIO USA, whose debut product, the The+Record Player, is a love letter to Boston’s hi-fi audio ancestry.

The The+Record Player, meshes all the elements of top-of-the-line vinyl and audio playback in an all-in-one shell that makes you question whether other speaker manufacturers should be allowed to use the word “all-in-one” by comparison. 

The+Record Player is more than just a vinyl turntable—its built-in, high-performance stereo speaker also includes Bluetooth and WiFi capabilities, and easy connection and integration for an Amazon Dot, Chromecast Audio, or Apple Airport Express and optical input for a TV. You have music you want to play? Chances are the The+Record Player can play it, and play it really well. (It can even rip vinyl directly to a computer.) But creating a device this function and feature rich was not easy, and needed input from a variety of people to see the light of day.

Despite Hazelwood’s audio room needing to make way for a nursery, Hazelwood never stopped being connected to the audio world at large. Over the years he engineered and marketed various audio products with Wilmington, MA based a/d/s/, JBL, Cambridge Soundworks, in addition to some freelance work for other recognizable brands. Through that work, Hazelwood was on the frontlines when it became clear that a vinyl renaissance was building (now completely underway) and saw an opportunity to build a product that took away the complications of the traditional, multi-component vinyl setup.

Hazelwood with The+Record Player

“It’s easy to make a great sounding audio system—what’s difficult is to put it into a form that the average person can use and enjoy without changing their life to accommodate it,” said Hazelwood.

Coincidentally, Sanino Vaturi, founder of +Audio and based in Europe, was going through a similar thought process. Over his 30 years of distributing high-end audio products he got a feel for the value of simplicity and founded +Audio on the philosophy that no one should ever need an owner’s manual to operate their entertainment. Working with Swedish industrial designer, Alexander Ahnebrink, Vaturi initially sought  to make simple FM/DAB+ radios but the quality of Ahnebrink’s Asian-supplied engineering wasn’t up to his high standards. That’s when he found Hazelwood.

“We had such similar goals and ideas that we decided to form a partnership in lieu of the traditional customer/client relationship,” said Hazelwood.

And so, The+Record Player was born.

The team overcame the main hurdle standing in the way of other all-in-one combined stereo and vinyl devices: dampening vibrations emanating from the speakers that interfere with the playback of the vinyl spinning above. Working with Pro-Ject, a famous manufacturer of “audiophile equipment,” they customized the vinyl playback components both physically and electronically to adapt to The+Record Player’s unique cabinet.

While the The+Record Player is first and foremost a high-end, all-in-one phonograph, Hazelwood is quick to remind that times have changed. “It’s no longer 1972, and we all like our convenience now don’t we?” said Hazelwood.

That’s why you’ll find ubiquitous playback options across the device from Bluetooth to WiFi to connected home devices, evena television. And staying true to its hi-fi roots, the speaker has a solution to defeat the lack of audio separation inherent in a single speaker setup.

Input, output, everyput

The+Record Player does not skimp on playback options

Taking advantage of a custom-made “Wide Mode” The+Record Player is able to restore some of this lost spaciousness, via a DSP algorithm that in the words of Hazelwood “modifies the signal so that it simulates how your ear would hear sounds coming from virtual locations further apart than their actual physical locations.” In other words, a convincing illusion of a multi-speaker setup.

To stand out in an increasingly crowded hi-fi market including the likes of Sonos, and soon Google Home Max and Apple HomePod, The+Record Player’s ability to overcome its inherent singularity, is critical.

Feeding off Boston’s love for high-end electronics, The+Record Player enjoyed an extremely successful Kickstarter campaign.

“It’s been a wonderful experience” noted Hazelwood. “We were funded in a week by a surge of customers looking for a high-grade version of the lower-grade record players currently offered in the market.”

Follow +AUDIO USA on Twitter, Facebook and learn more about or purchase The+Record Player at Plus Audio.

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