House Of Marley Stir It Up Turntable Review

House of Marley is an audio manufacturer that was founded in 2012 in collaboration with the Marley family. The company’s eco-conscious identity means they use mindfully sourced materials, such as bamboo, FSC™ certified wood and recyclable aluminum to manufacture their products. Their whole line of products look beautiful, and the ‘Stir It Up’ turntable is no exception.

House of Marley, Stir It Up Turntable - 45/33 RPM, USB jack in back for analog to PC recording, Replaceable Cartridge, Bamboo Plinth, EM-JT000-SB Signature Black
  • Belt Driven 2-speed Turntable 33/45 RPM with automatic pitch control and autostart feature
  • Solid Bamboo plinth, solid aluminum alloy platter, metal tone arm and Regrind silicone matte 3.5mm headphone jack in front and RCA output
  • USB port with cable included for Converting vinyl records to digital format
  • Replaceable audio-technical mN cartridge and rewind dust cover included

Design

If there’s anything about the House Of Marley Stir It Up turntable that’s special, it’s the design. The top is made from eco-friendly bamboo and the sides and bottom are covered in a cloth made from organic cotton and hemp. The recycled aluminium platter looks good and even the slip mat is made from a mix of recycled plastic and rubber.

The design of the chassis itself is very minimalist and the beautiful sustainable bamboo construction alone is enough to make the ‘Stir It Up’ a very attractive turntable.

House of Marley have also paid attention to getting the small details right. The etched in House of Marley logo looks stunning, meanwhile, the three rasta stripes on the headshell pays tribute to Bob Marley’s legacy.

The only thing I can fault about the turntable design is the lack of a plastic dust cover. Because plastic is one of the least environmentally friendly materials they can employ, House of Marley have foregone a plastic dust cover and instead include a hemp dust cover. While this makes perfect sense, you can’t see the beautiful turntable in all its glory when it’s completely covered.

Nitpicking aside, you’d be hard pressed to find a better looking turntable for under $200 (be sure to check out the list of our favorite turntables under $200). Turntables within this price range are typically plastic and lack the solidity of the Stir It Up.

Features

The Stir It Up is a manual, belt-driven turntable. This means you’re responsible for manually raising and lowering the tonearm to get a record playing. This is slightly harder than it sounds, but also part of the fun. Many similarly priced turntables are fully automatic, meaning the tonearm will automatically move at the press of the play button.

Whether or not manually performing the ritual of spinning up a record comes down to personal preference, but be aware that there is no automatic mode. You will definitely want to be careful if it’s your first time as there is always the possibility of damaging the stylus or scratching your record.

As with almost any other turntable, the RCA outputs at the back let you connect to your speakers or receiver. However, there’s also a 3.5mm headphone jack at the front which can be very handy. Unfortunately, there’s no bluetooth connectivity, which some similarly priced record players will offer.

The USB port allows you to easily connect the turntable to a computer and rip your music to a digital format. This is not a feature I use often, but to some I can see this being quite nifty.

One of the other things that differentiates the Stir It Up from other budget turntables is that there is some room for upgrading. The included Audio Technica ATN3600L cartridge (a variant of the AT3600L found in the Audio Technica AT-LP60 turntable) is replaceable, meaning you can potentially significantly improve the sound quality.

Furthermore, you have the option to use the built-in phono preamp or bypass it by turning the preamp off switch at the back. The built-in preamp will be good enough for people, but it’s nice to have the option.

Performance

The Stir It Up can play 33 and 45 RPM records using the included 45RPM adapter when necessary. It doesn’t feature pitch control or a strobe like some of the more expensive turntables but this isn’t really necessary since the 33 and 45 RPM playback is accurate.

Out of the box, the sound of the Stir It Up is decidedly entry-level. It basically shares the same parts as some of the cheaper entry-level turntables like the Audio Technica AT-LP60 or Pioneer PL-990. As a result, there is no doubt that you are paying a premium for the design and construction.

It sounds perfectly decent, but lacks the finer details and clarity that audiophiles would expect from higher end turntables. The lower end can sound a little muddy depending on the song, and there is some noticeable tonal distortion at higher volumes.

There is, however, always the option to significantly improve the sound quality thanks to the possibility of upgrading the cartridge and phono preamp. Some of the cheaper turntables may sound just as good as out of the box, but often lack the upgradeability of the Stir It Up.

Verdict

The Stir It Up is a beautifully crafted turntable that simply looks incredible. It looks like a turntable worth much more than $200, and the eco-conscious identity of the brand is something we as consumers should take seriously.

However, when we look at the features and audio quality in isolation, the turntable is overpriced. In today’s market, turntables under $200 all generally sound identical, with the turntables close to the $200 mark often featuring bluetooth connectivity. The Stir It Up somewhat makes up for its lack of bluetooth by being able to replace the cartridge and bypass the internal amp.

Overall, it’s a nice turntable that should definitely be considered among those who prioritise design and appreciate the mindfully sourced materials used in its construction.

Pros

  • Beautiful design
  • High quality, eco-friendly materials
  • Upgradeable cartridge

Cons

  • No bluetooth
  • Sound lacks detail

Verdict: 7/10

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