Vyn-Null: The Art of Playing Records Without a Turntable

More Possible and More Entertaining Than You’ve Ever Thought

So, say you’re marooned on an island somewhere. You’ve been living off of Sphagnum moss and lukewarm coconut milk for well over a week now. Your clothes are tattered, the sun is scalding, and your spirits are down. Basically, this is not your day–or week. Lucky for you, the island just so happens to also be littered with all of your favorite LPs– awesome.

How many Tiny Tim picture disks until I can go skeet shooting?

How many Tiny Tim picture disks until I can go skeet shooting?

But there’s nothing you can do with them. (Making an LP raft will be another post).

Today I tell you, Mr. Audio Exile, that your days chewing moss on the beach don’t have to be spent in listless silence. There is hope somewhere on the horizon and no, it is not a ship. You can rock out on the beach all day to your favorite hair metal bands and cry yourself to sleep listening to Lenny Kravitz’s I Want to Fly Away and The Who’s Water, all night long.

All you need is a piece of paper— or an iphone with adequate 3G service coverage and a good international plan with access to the internet, so that you can order the Soundwagon. Assuming the former, we’ve got you covered.

And we’ll cover the Soundwagon anyway.

Keep in mind that the piece of paper method is only useful if indeed, you are in the unfortunate situation mentioned above. Other than that, it is just something cool that you can do with a minute of free time and is otherwise, a completely useless of piece of information. Feel free to skip ahead, if you so desire.

Just don’t do this with any of your good records, as it may cause minor scratching. And never use a needle, otherwise it will RUIN YOUR RECORD.

All you need is a piece of paper and a piece of tape (if available).  Just roll the piece of paper into a cone, with a good, sharp tip if you can. Use a small piece of tape to keep it like that. Hold the cone with one hand, put the tip down and spin the record with the other hand. If for some reason your specific island of maroonment has electricity, use a turntable to spin the record and hold just the come with your hand. Really feeling the paper phonograph (unlikely)? Watch a video here.

And viola, you have music. Will this ever be useful? Probably not unless you are indeed in the unlikely situation of being stranded on an island with a piece of paper and an LP. I did not use this example to delude and confuse you. I used it to prove a point.

There are other ways to play records than by using a typical turntable.

In example, one of the coolest pieces of record-playing technology ever to grace this earth:


Come on, you know you want one.

What will the Japanese think of next? Get your very own Soundwagon HERE. And check out the official site here. Oh yeah, and its officially licensed by Volkswagen.

Apparently, the soundwagon is part of a class of record-playing vehicles known as vinyl killers. These vehicles are battery-operated, usually have a center-mounted speaker, motor-operated rubber wheels and a built-in stylus and needle cartridge apparatus on the bottom of the vehicle that tracks the record and plays it through the speaker after it is amplified. The rubber wheels keep the vehicle going in a perfect circle. The name, vinyl killer is no coincidence. These things will pretty much kill your vinyl, so make sure that you don’t use it on a record that you’re trying to take care of. Useless duplicates and cheap, crappy records are perfect for this. Crack out the Ted Nugent if you please.

Here’s something else that I discovered that’s a little more practical:

The illusive LINOS.

The illusive LINOS.

This mysterious little piece of record playing equipment surfaced on the internet this past year. It turns out that right now, this is simply a design concept by a man named Charlie Pyott. Nonetheless it is compelling, beautiful, and not too outlandish to the point where I couldn’t see it in the near future. According to yankodesign:

“The majority may be hooked to their digital players but there are plenty of old-schoolers who hang on to their vinyl for dear life. Trying to appease this segment is “LINOS,” a portable record player. Ditching the traditional full platter configuration for modern sensibilities, this player takes into consideration the space demands and limited mobility of regular turntables. Simply load the record to the lower spindle element and lock it into place from above. Pushing down on the power icon then releases the tonearm and spins up the record. Hook up the player to your comp via micro USB for sound and powering or use the USB power adapter with standard stereo jack output.

Here’s how it works, for those of you with extraordinary eyesight:


Normal to bad eyes look here.

If this thing ever hits the market, I totally want one. Props for thinking out of the box, Mr. Pyott. I love the retro-future styling and the plain fact that it’s an awesome little portable alternative to a turntable for playing records. Plus it can hook right up to your stereo or computer without the need of an amp or preamp. It’s also a great design because of how the arm tucks in nicely so that you don’t have to worry about damaging the stylus. Without a locking servo-motor, I wonder what if this record-spinning mechanism can keep a constant speed and I wonder what type of tracking you’ll get without anything under the record and a super-light arm and cartridge (which would be required to keep the record level). Nonetheless, this is a really great idea and I hope that one day I can own one or something similar to it. The more records I buy down here at school, the more I wish I had a turntable here at school. I’d prefer to have my beautiful Sony turntable from home, but a solution to having to lug a big, fragile turntable between here and school would be to get a simple, portable record-playing device like this one.

More pics of the LINOS record player:

And another soundwagon video, for the record.


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