Here is another manufacturer that was a big name in recording as far back as the ’50s. Teac was originally founded as Tokyo Television Acoustic Company on August 8th, 1953 by two brothers, Katsuma and Tomoma. I remember my Dad bought a Teac 4 track reel to reel for me back in the late ’70s and I recorded many a musical idea on that one. As a matter of fact- “The- George Martin”, not me of course, was widely known for his outstanding recordings of the Beatles done only on a 4 track recorder- not a Teac but you get the idea. A 4 track recorder was about the only thing available, within reason, to record what was known as “overdubs”- One track recorded and then another track could be recorded along with or “overdubbed” with other parts- drums, bass, keys/guitar- and vocals. Later- most likely just as big a seller was the Teac 80-8- the quintessential 8 track recorder- wasn’t the best one you could get- but it was somewhat affordable and built like a tank. Just some nostalgia- the 80-8 was used to record the voices of R2-D2 and C-3PO in the 1977 Star War movie!
Teac has been a long-standing brand in the recording industry- they always made fine product however not always what was used in actual “big time recording studios” rather mostly local home type studios- which some home studios could just about compete with the big boys- depending on the engineer running the controls. Teac made commercially available to the average consumer the ability to multi-track record- I imagine they sold more Teac -3340s and Teac 80-8’s than any other recorder in music history.
Back to Teac 350 turntable-I really, really enjoy the simplistic look and solid construction of the Teac TN 350 turntable-I would buy this one simply because I know the name has always stood for quality within a reasonable price range. And I love the looks and features.
Analog and Digital.
Like the other turntables I have reviewed so far- The Teac TN 350 turntable also sports digital USB interface- which makes hooking up to a home computer a breeze. The USB outputs are mostly used for transferring analog signal to digital so that vinyl records can be archived to digital formats. The digital USB port work with PC as well as Apple Mac. I believe this is a no-compromise turntable that is built to last for many years and as with most electronic products over $100- its probably worth buying the extended warranty as well- it ain’t that much to add on- so why not! Also, there are several iterations of this turntable in the 300 series- I particularly like the satin black finish- its like a fine grand piano look to me- and I am a pianist so maybe it’s just my tastes? This turntable is known for great sound quality that is easily heard compared to other turntables in this less than $300 category.
The Teac TN-350 – let’s start with the Pros!
- A beautiful minimalist design look
- Built-in pre-amp so it will not require any other external devices to plug into a conventional home stereo system or powered speakers.
- USB digital output for easy plug and play interfacing with any laptop or home computer and for archiving and digitizing one’s vinyl collection.
- cabinet has a classy black satin matte finish
- has a solid MDF chassis (MDF-medium density fibreboard) and die-cast aluminum platter- which creates a very solid base and minimizes vibration and improves quality of the sound
- high torque motor which allows the heavier aluminum platter to stop and start with a high degree of speed tolerance and also aids in minimizing vibrations- which again means a more consistently accurate sound.
- S-shaped tonearm -quite a debate about the shape of tonearm- straight or S-shaped- seems that the S shape has more mass which helps tracking on more expensive cartridges. this turntable is known for really great tracking.
- comes with Audio Technica AT-95E stylus which is about a $35 stylus and is preloaded into cartridge-not super high-end stylus but rated as great overall performance for most styles of music.
- has actual RCA outputs- so it uses a detachable audio cable which is really nice if the user wants to buy higher end audio cable-also if the cable goes bad it’s not hard-wired to the unit and is easily replaced, unlike some other lesser price turntables. This is a really great feature to me- I never like hard-wired cable that cant be easily replaced for an obvious reason.
- Gold-plated terminals for oxidation resistance-The Gold-plated terminals prevent oxidation of the RCA terminals and headshell connectors. When replaced frequently the headshell also prevents oxidation of the terminal.
Now for the Cons
- it is a fully manual turntable which may be a downside for some- of course, some love setting down the needle on their records as part of the joy of vinyl
- doesn’t have a strobe feature however the tracking is very accurate
- belt driven but again very accurate none the less
- supports only 33/45 rpm- no option for 78
- there is some set up involved and unfortunately, Teac did not produce a video- just have to use the manual but again I know from experience Teac is a company with great customer support so probably no worries there.
Here is a video walk-thru of the features of Teac TN-350 turntable
Overall I find the Teac TN 350 turntable brings an incredibly great “bang for the buck” as it were. I personally love the sleek elegant look and of course, most important the sound certainly far outperforms the small investment. I personally like the S shape tonearm even though there is quite a bit of debate about whether or not the shape of the tonearm really makes any significant difference in sound- I like the look!
Teac again is a name of significance in history and is very well known for producing consistently great quality products. This particular turntable is a for sure winner in the less than $300 turntable category