Thursday, September 03, 2015

U-Turn Audio makes a terrible product and has terrible customer service

Last year around this time, I started to feel a major bite: I no longer had a working turntable, and that's not how I like to spin roll. I looked around a little bit, asked some friends, and decided to try the U-Turn Orbit. Big mistake.

The first day I had it, I sent the following email to my pals:

I took a flyer on a hipster turntable and there's some shit they did that makes it kinda frustrating:

  • no autoreturn, meaning I can't pass out to a record
  • switch between 33 & 45 by means of touching the belt, meaning a nacho enthusiast like me will inevitably fuck up the belt and platter with filth
    [Ed. Note: I didn't tell these guys that I am also really really ineptly frustratingly bad at changing between 33 & 45 and that when I try it, the belt invariably falls off a couple times before I can get everything lined up correctly]
  • needs a preamp (because I have a second-rate amp), and the one they sell can't be turned on and off, meaning an incredibly bright blue LED burning at my eyeballs, and meaning...uh, shit, I guess I got to unplug it when I go to bed??
  • dust cover isn't counterbalanced, so it is either down or up at a 90-degree

Keep an eye on that preamp. It figures in the next email I had to send about this turntable—this email, I sent to the manufacturer.

Hi --

I am extremely frustrated with your product. I bought it, used it maybe twice, and then put it on the shelf for a while, unplugging the preamp, because it has no power switch and I

  1. didn't see why it should be sucking electricity all the time
  2. didn't want to see the god damned LED all the time
  3. thought it might overheat/burn out if I left it plugged in

I tried to use the turntable tonight, and the preamp is apparently dead. I tried plugging the AC adaptor into multiple different outlets to zero effect. The turntable itself appears to work as well as it ever did -- no auto-return, and the belt falls off all the god damned time, but the platter spins. Again: I am extremely frustrated. And disappointed. And angry.

What do you recommend I do? Will you make this right and at the very least replace the preamp for free? Please let me know.

yours, a person who really wanted to listen to some records tonight, and can't,

And here is the response I got.

Sorry to hear you are experiencing some difficulties. Please note that we are not the manufacturers of the ART brand DJ preamp. I also agree that the LED is irritating, although it is worth mentioning that it does consume very little power, so I wouldn't worry about (1) or (3) - most preamps are designed to be left on. If you ship us back the preamp we can take a look at it and will send you a replacement (pre-owned) if necessary. This is a courtesy, as we are not the manufacturers of this item. [Ed. Note: you sold me the item, dude.]

Alternatively, I imagine that this might be a power adapter issue. Can you try quickly using the Orbit's adapter to connect the preamp and see if that gives it power? If it's just the adapter we can send a new one.

The Orbit is a fully manual turntable so there is no auto-return. [Ed. Note: yes, this is what I'm complaining about.]

There is an auto-lift device called the Q UP that you can purchase and install if you would like similar functionality: [Ed. Note: sweet upsell. Exactly what a disappointed, frustrated customer is most interested in.]

Can you please describe the belt falling off - when exactly does it fall off (during play or installation)? This should not be happening and if you provide more information we would be happy to look into this for you.

I didn't get back to him, because I know when I've been blown off. U-Turn Audio never followed up, presumably because they know when they're not going to be able to upsell their way out of their "stupid, pretentious instance[s] of 'design' as a noun overwhelming the verb-process of designing something". They wanted to have something "minimal", so they sell a turntable that doesn't have autoreturn, or a dust cover that's functional, a turntable that makes you handle the stretchable, finger-oil sensitive drive belt every time you want to change the speed. And they back it up with the commitment to customer service that says "Hey, man, sure, the thing we sold you broke after a week of minimal use, but we didn't make it, so if you want it to be replaced...we'll send you a used one and act like we're doing you a favor while we do it." So fuck them; fuck U-Turn Audio. If you see a product by U-Turn Audio, do yourself a favor: do a U-Turn. Walk away and find something you will enjoy using, made by people who do not loathe you.

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3 Comments + Unabashed Criticism:

Blogger Tyler Swenson said...

Hey man,

I think the first mistake you made was little to no research into the product before you bought it. Had you done so, I think you could have avoided a ton of the issues you ran into. First things first, U-Turn makes turntables that are very minimalist externally and focus more on sound quality and proper reproduction of vinyl playback. This isn’t an audio-technica or Sony throwaway, they actually are really good sounding turntables. Obviously you were really looking for more of a normie/ease of use turntable and again, had you done some research, you probs would have deduced the U-Turn wasn’t the product for you. Hope you find something that better suits your needs, but it’s kind of rude to give something a bad review because you both didn’t make sure the specs would work out for you and weren’t knowledgeable enough to make an educated decsision.

1:51 PM  
Blogger Fat Contradiction said...


2:38 PM  
Blogger Tyler Swenson said...

Sorry if I roasted you too hard lol

7:17 PM  

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