AKAI BT500 featured image
AKAI BT500 belt-drive turntable fuses high-quality vinyl playback, and designer styling with 21st-century, digital wireless streaming convenience. AKAI is a legendary name in professional audio; if you've listened to a record made in the last 30 years there's a good chance you've heard a piece of AKAI equipment in use. With an eye on the recent vinyl resurgence, AKAI wade in with the BT500; a turntable which adds wireless connectivity to high-quality analogue playback. Let's take a look at the AKAI BT500 belt-drive turntable and see what's what...

Traditional, quality construction

With an eye very firmly on Hi-Fi playback rather than performance use, the AKAI BT500 uses a belt-drive system with a mechanically isolated motor (switchable between 33 and 45RPM); in other words, just like most high-end Audiophile turntables. This arrangement helps to keep motor noise and vibration to an absolute minimum, and along with a heavy die-cast platter, contributes to an excellent signal-to-noise ratio. Further nods to Hi-Fi playback come with a non-slip rubber mat, to reduce slippage and keep wow and flutter (the term used to describe variations in pitch and speed) to a minimum. AKAI has bestowed a nice, high-quality aluminium tonearm on the AKAI BT500, which is adjustable for tracking weight and has a damped cue function. Lovely! AKAI BT500 Hung off the end of that tonearm is a high-quality Audio-Technica magnetic cartridge, light-years ahead of some of the crystal type cartridges mounted on a lot of budget turntables. The pickup cartridge features an elliptical diamond stylus which tracks the grooves more accurately than a basic conical type stylus, resulting in greater detail and higher quality playback. To ensure your turntable always performs to its best, an integrated bubble level is set into the turntable plinth. This allows the deck to be perfectly levelled using the adjustable feet for perfect playback. The AKAI BT500 has certainly been designed with accurate playback in mind!

AKAI BT500, a step above its smaller brother

The AKAI BT500 sits above AKAI's "entry level" Hi-Fi turntable, the AKAI BT100; the BT100 is our best selling turntable, and it's easy to see why. The price makes it highly accessible to anyone wanting to get into vinyl for the first time, plus its design and construction means it won't kill your precious records like some of the other budget decks will. One look at the BT500 however, and it's clear that the AKAI BT500 is in another class altogether; the beautiful wood and metal construction is not removed from turntables costing ten times as much. The BT500 also adds a number of useful features not found on its little brother; features which make it extremely useful and versatile for the modern vinyl enthusiast. AKAI BT500 rear

Enhanced connectivity

The traditional way of listening to vinyl, of course, is to link your turntable via analogue interconnects to a Hi-Fi system or similar. In this respect the AKAI BT500 shows no great surprises; the two phono sockets on the back panel allow connection to any phono pre-amp. Should your amplifier or mixer not have a phono pre-amplifier, the AKAI BT500 has one built-in, which can be engaged with a simple flick of the switch. Nifty! Where the AKAI BT500 really impresses, is with its digital connectivity, which offers options turntables of yesterday could only dream of! A USB socket on the rear of the AKAI BT500 allows direct connection to a computer for those wishing to digitise and record their records. Where the 20th and 21st centuries truly collide, however, is with the inclusion of Bluetooth wireless streaming; this truly opens up a number of exciting listening options. Listening to a vinyl record in the front room through your hi-fi system in analogue, whilst simultaneously casting the record to a Bluetooth speaker elsewhere in the house, for example. How will you use your AKAI BT500 turntable? Whatever your needs from a turntable, it's likely they'll be met by this stylish all-rounder!