PROS / The unit has built-in, high-quality speakers.
CONS / During our tests, the vinyl converter produced off-sounding conversions, with panning and noise issues.
VERDICT / This unit has multiple purposes and lots of extras, but if you are looking to make high-quality conversions of your LPs, this unit has underwhelming results.
The TEAC LP-R550USB is an impressive-looking vinyl converter. It has a classic look with a cherry wood tabletop and base, with a black front and silver buttons and dials. The aesthetics are a great mix of retro and modern.
This USB turntable offers far more than digital conversions of vinyl records. The turntable has a built-in CD player and burner so you can convert vinyl and cassettes straight to CD without the use of a computer. It also includes a cassette deck on the tabletop to listen to and convert cassette tapes. You'll want to use this turntable to listen to audio – the built-in speaker system is the best we listened to in our lineup. We were impressed with the sound quality and the overall volume that the speakers can reproduce. The speakers have good clarity and a decent amount of low end.
The additional features such as the CD burner and the cassette deck are the main selling points for this LP to CD converter. However, when we used this unit to convert vinyl to digital audio formats, the results were less than impressive. The first song that we converted was from a Beatles LP. We compared our sample conversion to a digital download of the same content. There were a number of problems with the conversion. First, conversion was panned awkwardly. The vocals and guitar almost vanished, but the sitar and bass were loud. This threw the volume and clarity of the overall song off.
Our second conversion was a 45 LP of "Let It Be." This showcased its share of problems as well. The digital conversion had a weird knocking sound in the background through the entirety of the song. It made the conversion unlistenable.
Finally, we converted a brand new LP of Jack White's "Lazaretto" and compared it to a digital download of the same song. The opening bass line has delay that pans between the left and right speakers, and the converted file lacked those details. It had fewer problems than our first conversion, but the song had panning issues, and many elements of the song were pushed far into the background. Overall, we had many conversion issues with this USB record player.
Aesthetically, this is one of the most attractive turntable units we reviewed, and it offers many extras that other turntables don’t such as a CD burner and cassette converter. Unfortunately, we were not pleased with the audio quality of our conversion tests. From our experience, this unit seems better served as an all-in-one stereo system as opposed to a vinyl to digital converter.