My eyes are drawn almost daily to the infamous New Yorker Cartoon on my desk, which depicts a man and his friend admiring his record collection. “Naturally, what initially attracted me to vinyl, was the inconvenience and the expense,” he says, ironically. So, naturally, I lit up like a kid on Christmas morning, when my House of Marley Stir It Up Turntable arrived.
I received my first Fisher-Price turntable as a toddler. I still remember how disappointed I was that it didn’t play real records, much to my mother’s chagrin. I tried to put an actual 78 on it, then burst into tears when it wouldn’t play.
My father owned a vast collection of vinyl, kept in a mahogany record cabinet, back when having a well-designed record cabinet was a thing.
I soon followed in his footsteps as a vinyl collector, although my wax is currently stacked neatly up to the ceiling, housed in basic plastic Container Store record crates.
A collection of turntables soon followed—three Technic 1200’s and one Technic 1210. (OK, so technic-ally the Technic 1210 really belongs to my Japanese ex-boyfriend, but he left it with me 10 years ago, when he moved back to Japan. Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto.)
I certainly didn’t need another deck, but it was so beautiful, I couldn’t resist.
Some people have an aversion to the Marley family slapping their patriarch’s name on anything and everything, from denim jeans to shower gel. How do we know if the legendary Robert Nesta, AKA Bob Marley, would have approved of Marley’s Mellow Mood Iced Tea or Marley Natural Coffee? What brand of ice tea or coffee did he normally drink? Considering Marley skyrocketed to fame in the era of the turntable, this is one clever bit of marketing that actually resonates well.
And what a sexy deck it is. Stir It Up elevates retro sentiment to a new level of functionality and sustainable design.
The plinth, which makes up the base of the turntable, is crafted from a beautiful block of solid, sustainably harvested bamboo, wrapped in fabric made from recycled plastic bottles and hemp. The vibration-dampening feet and the cool, sparkly slipmat are made from recycled silicone. That’s all very hippie dippie; however, the metal parts are aluminum alloy, from who knows where. The Stir It Up’s built-in pre-amp, with an included 3.5mm stereo auxiliary cable, allows direct connection to various speakers.
No matter how many times I used my home studio set-up to convert my vinyl records to MP3s, the compressed sound was just never the same.
“There is no replacement for the feel vinyl delivers,” said House of Marley’s director of product development Josh Poulsen.
When captured properly, a digital recording of a vinyl record will sound vastly superior to a compressed MP3 file. Besides, many of the albums that you find in thrift stores and garage sales aren’t even available to purchase as digital downloads.
The tonearm comes loaded with a decent Audio-Technica cartridge. You can easily swap it out for your own cartridge, but theirs is engraved with an ubiquitous Marley lyric.
A built-in pre-amp lets you plug it into any speaker; a USB-out makes it easy to digitize your vinyl.
The Marley clan has re-pressed Bob’s albums on vinyl. Four pieces were presented for display in the Hard Rock Café Miami’s permanent memorabilia collection, where his sons and other family members reside, part-time.
“We are amplifying our father’s true sound to the masses.” said Rohan Marley, director and brand ambassador for House of Marley.
The deluxe House of Marley Stir It Up Turntable bundle comes with Marley’s world-renowned Legend album.
If you already have a copy of Legend, pick up Thievery Corporation’s Radio Retaliation album instead. OG Sleepy Wonder’s reggae call to action track, “Sound the Alarm,” sounds warm and wonderful on wax.