The 60th anniversary of Audio-Technica saw the revival of the limited-edition Sound Burger, AT-SB2022, and was an instant sell-out after 7000 units went on sale in November 2022 (it was retailing in Singapore at S$288). The good news is that Audio-Technica will release the regular-edition AT-SB727 Sound Burger from 6 June 2023 in Singapore at the same price. The colour options are white, black, and yellow.
How Deep Is Your Love for Music
I started collecting vinyl records on Jan 2021 because I was mainly curious about this old format which eluded me during childhood which was fueled by cassette tapes and CDs. I know there is a sustained interest in vinyl collection over the decades but mostly driven by nostalgia. Then as I listened to more records, I began to appreciate more on collecting them. It is definitely something that music lover can understand. And I use the term “music lover”, not “audio lover”, because audio is a reproduction of sound waves, while music is the reproduction of artistic expression. An audio lover would pursue the ultimate audio perfection, which technically means the digital format. A music lover, on the other hand, pursues an emotional gratification that is more than just perfect sounding audio, but one that connects between the listener and the performer.
This also explains why a large proportion of new vinyl collectors do not even own a record player. They buy records because they support the performers and creators behind the music, and it really helps that new vinyl records have gorgeous packaging, elaborate inserts, and pretty vinyl colours. Even if you do not play the record, you still get excited with owning the vinyl record, holding it in your hands, staring at the full-colour record sleeves. Digital downloads don’t give me any of that feeling.
After embarking on vinyl collection myself, I can truly understand that the laborious process of playing vinyl records is the ultimate test to determine how much I love that piece of music recording or the artist. Personally, I believe each audio format has its place, and I am regularly curating my vinyl collection to make sure I only keep the albums that truly resonates with me. I do not like to buy too many records because there is no way I will be able to listen to all of them.
Audiophile Quality Portable Vinyl Turntable: AT-SB2022 / SB727 Sound Burger
When I decided to start my vinyl collection back in 2020, I had a concern that turntables are huge and takes up desk space. That is why my first turntable was a relatively small one that operates on battery. It would have been perfect if not for the poor sound quality, no thanks to the ceramic cartridge that is used on most budget suitcase record players. Fortunately, it did not take me long for my love of vinyl to blossom, and so I cleared my study table to find a permanent space for an Audio-Technica AT-LP5X. I also purposely bought a second turntable to put it in my living room, because – you guessed it right – I cannot simply move the turntable around the house.
When the AT-SB2022 was officially announced, I knew I had to get one, simply because of the immense value of being able to play vinyl records anywhere, and also because of the high quality cartridge that is also used on the entry-level AT-LP60xBT, which actually costs cheaper than AT-SB2022. Mind you, the ATN3600L cartridge is highly regarded by serious vinyl collectors. If you find a budget crappy-looking turntable that is fitted with the ATN3600L cartridge, you can rest assure that the sound will be exceptional. Indeed, Audio-Technica is the leading vinyl cartridge maker that is trusted by leading audio brands, that they all use the OEM version of ATN3600L in their entry-level turntable models.
Thanks to this new acquisition, I was able to share the joy of analogue music at family gatherings outside my house, playing records from my parents old collection. The upgraded Sound Burger has now built-in rechargeable battery and supports Bluetooth connectivity as well as analog line-out (but not headphones). The battery can last 12 hours and it takes just as much time to recharge in full. I realised that the USB-C charging port only accepts slow-charge adaptors, so if you plug in those modern fast-charging ones, the charging LED will not light up.
With the AT-SB2022 / SB727, I can enjoy analog music without compromise in audio quality as well as location. The SB2022 / SB727 is the equivalent of the portable cassette tape Walkman or a portable CD Discman player. I mean, it cannot get any smaller because LPs are at least 12-inch in diameter. And yes, the entire setup is nowhere as portable as portable CD or tape players, but this brings back to the earlier paragraphs of this article. A music lover will go great lengths to listen to analog music.
Compatible Carrying Case for the AT-SB2022 / AT-SB727
The SB2022 / SB727 does not come with a carrying case, which is a huge bummer since it is designed for portability. Initially I made do with a shoe bag but the bag has no padding and not very fitting. It took me quite a while to find the perfect case: the BUBM Travel Storage Bag compatible with the Dyson Supersonic hair dryer! No links here, since I do not have any affiliation. Just search from your favourite online shopping sites and find the seller that fits your needs. I bought mine from Taobao for about S$12 including shipping, and I’m certain that if you search long enough, you will find a seller with a better price.
What is good about this bag is that it has a soft inner liner, thick flat base, the top of the bag is reinforced with stiff wires to retain the bag structure, and it zips up into a compact trapezoid bag which is more space-saving than a cuboid shoe-bag shape. The bag has sufficient thickness to protect the product inside yet it’s not rigid. There is still room for me to put a small cable storage bad to house the Line-Out and charging cable, as well as an additional ATN3600L stylus in case the current one breaks.
Audio-Technica has made the right decision to continue production of the Sound Burger, because there are music lovers out there who enjoys collecting vinyl but do not have the space for a regular-size turntable. They probably bought those suitcase record players because they are easy to store away when not in use, but they do great disservice to the audio quality that vinyl records are capable of. With the Sound Burger, you can have your cake and eat it.
And if you are wondering if you should also start collecting vinyl records but afraid of the commitment, my advise to you is: don’t collect because of the trend, but collect because you want full ownership of the music recording that you love. One day, when music owners stop licensing their songs to the music platforms (which is happening quite often to less-commercially successful titles), you have no worries, because you can still listen to them on your own vinyl record. Start collecting the records of your most favourite artists, and buy a good-quality turntable like the Sound Burger to experience the analog sound, a “live” performance of the stylus picking up the grooves and broadcasting the sound waves to the speakers or your headphones.
You may not have the luxury of time to listen to records now, but as long as the records are in your possession, you can listen to them whenever you are free, in the future. Vinyl records do not degrade, and they are tougher than you imagine. Oh, the same applies to compact discs, so, think twice if you are thinking of throwing away your CD collection just because you think they are redundant with music streaming. You think you own the songs you stream on Spotify or iTunes? Think again.
Regular Edition AT-SB727 On Sale from 6 June 2023
Vinyl lovers who have missed the opportunity to get the Sound Burger in Nov 2022 can look forward to getting one from 6 June in Singapore at S$288. Available in white, black and yellow. Order from the Audio-Technica SEA site, Shopee or the retail outlet.