The House of Marley Stir It Up USB turntable is a real all-in-one device that manages to offers lots of features, look good and still remains affordable.
That wooden design is stand-out and with a built-in preamp this makes plug and play listening super simple for anyone new to turntables. As such this is aimed at the entry level, with a price to reflect that.
Quality is decent with warm audio although some more demanding listeners will find fault where a higher end, albeit more expensive option, could outperform this model. But with USB recording, a Bluetooth model, and upgradable options this is a really compelling turntable.
So is this the best USB turntable for you? Read on to find out everything you need to know about the House of Marley Stir It Up.
House of Marley Stir It Up review: Design and build
The design of the House of Marley Stir It Up turntable is one of the best we've seen when it comes to looks. That rich bamboo wooden finish sandwiched on top of the grey hemp cloth, organic cotton and recycled plastic base makes for a really iconic look – all while being sustainable.
Out of the box you get the main platter along with a slip mat, a counterweight, tonearm and a 45 RPM adapter. On the matter of connections, you can expect RCA, USB and power ports and cables included, plus a usefully placed 3.5mm headphone jack right there on the front of the device.
This is a sustainable build with those materials mentioned above. You also get a platter made from recycled aluminum and a slip mat and grippy feet made from recycled plastics and rubbers.
The cartridge that comes shipped is a basic Audio-Technica moving magnet on a half inch headshell. An easy upgrade if you want even better quality audio.
House of Marley Stir It Up review: Features
This turntable features a built-in preamp meaning you have a phono stage right there so you can output directly to headphones or speakers. The front placed headphone jack helps here while the RCA for preamp output and USB for computer connections at the rear allow for other options like digital conversions at the same time.
There are two speeds to the belt drive, 45 RPM and 33 RPM, but don't expect any pitch controls or lighting effects as some offer. That belt provides great stability as well as auto-pitch and auto-start for ease of use, even for a beginner.
Optional Bluetooth is a great addition, allowing you to wirelessly connect a speaker or headphones via Bluetooth 4.2. The USB to PC option allows you to rip vinyl directly to digital.
While the counterweight comes with the tonearm, it will require aligning initially, which might seem like a bit of a complicated setup for a beginner. Others may see it as a fun experiential part of setup.
House of Marley Stir It Up review: Performance
The House of Marley Stir It Up performs well in terms of audio – certainly on a par or better than most other entry level turntables. There's a warmth that carries over even when only using the onboard soundstage and outputting directly to headphones or speakers.
The needle remains in the groove even on more bass-heavy tracks and there's plenty of volume output too. But if you want more this has plenty that can be upgraded.
Upgrading allows you to get better quality without making the jump to a more expensive setup right away - growing with you, effectively. From the cartridge and stylus to the rubberized feet, it's affordable to upgrade for noticeable sound improvements. Of course a decent preamp and speakers will also help on that front.
The only downside was a lack of cover. There is a cloth one but nothing solid – but since that means this is more sustainable. Still though, consider this when deciding as some households with small children might suit a covered turntable better.
Should I buy the House of Marley Stir It Up?
If you want a sustainably produced turntable capable of converting analogue to digital audio while also offering a built-in preamp, the House of Marley Stir It Up is ideal. It looks good, sounds great and offers plenty of options to affordably upgrade as you need.
The lack of cover may be annoying for some but for the price the House of Marley Stir It Up ticks all the boxes and does it while looking great too.