TEAC Australia GF350 Turntable CD Recorder & Radio
- Easy to use, retro feel
- Slightly flimsy build, playback lacks bass, headphone jack is only output
An inventive product that isn't perfect but scores top marks for its ease of use.
Price$ 599.00 (AUD)
If you're one of those people with stacks of LPs hanging around the house, and you're not quite sure what to do with them in the digital age, TEAC has got the answer. The GF350 is one of very few turntable-to-CD recorders on the market. It isn't perfect, but it does the job reasonably well and will allow you to get some use out of old records.
The GF350's styling is a blast from the past. Out go brushed metal finishes, digital tuners and shiny panels in favour of a wooden cabinet and manual dials. This retro styling may not be to everyone's taste, but we thought it fit the bill perfectly. However, we felt the unit's build quality was a bit of a let down, especially the turntable mechanism - the arm, lever and turntable itself all feel light weight. The turntable wobbles about in a rather disconcerting fashion, so we would advise treating it with care.
There's very little to do when setting up the unit other than to plug it in to the wall. The GF350 can play at 33 1/3, 45 and 78 rpm records covering most vinyl record types. In terms of recording media, TEAC insist that only CD-R Audio discs can be used, and not regular CD-R data discs. However, when testing the unit we had no problem using standard discs. There is very little difference between the two kinds, the main being that a portion of the cost of CD-R audio discs is made up of royalty fees for music labels.
RecordingWhen it comes to recording there are two options. The first is recording from the turntable, the unit's primary purpose. Recording is relatively easy, simply a matter of pressing a few buttons once the record starts playing. While the record is playing tracks can be inserted by pressing a separate button. An automatic track insertion feature is included, but doesn't seem to work well with the turntable. The second recording option is the Auxiliary connection. This allows old cassette players or any other kind of auxiliary source to be connected. The automatic track insertion feature works far better here, at least for digital sources. For both sources the output volume can be adjusted to boost quieter recordings. When everything is recorded the disc has to be finalised before it can be played back on a regular CD player. This is simply a matter of pressing a few buttons and waiting about a minute.
Other featuresThe GF350 also includes an AM/FM radio, which seems a relatively pointless inclusion, as the radio cannot be recorded however, the addition of a manual frequency dial on the front adds to the player's retro feel. The unit also has built in stereo speakers, but they are fairly low-grade. They are relatively loud for their size but the bass level is almost non-existent. It is frustrating to find TEAC hasn't included a secondary output for connecting additional speakers. The only option is to use the headphone jack on the front. We connected the GF350 to an AV receiver using a 3.5mm to phono cable which produced a much better sound response. The main problem with this workaround is that it involves trailing wires across the front of the unit.
We also encountered problems with the lack of bass when playing back the CDs we burned from our old records. The levels of bass are fairly low and felt very flat without the addition of some lower frequency boosting care of our AV receiver's equalisation. This is a problem with the turntable and not the CD burner as our recordings from the Auxiliary source sounded fine.
The GF350 is certainly not an audiophile system. Its flimsy build and poor bass response both in recording and playback ensure that. But for anyone who wants a simple way of converting old records onto CD, the GF350 is the perfect solution, especially if you have a good CD system to play them back on.
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