July 13, 2024
U-Flip Orbit Particular turntable assessment: revamped and out of this world
The U-Turn Orbit Special turntable playing a record.

U-Flip Orbit Particular (Gen 2)

MSRP $549.00

“The 2nd-gen U-Flip Orbit Particular’s upgrades make it a close to good midrange turntable.”

Professionals

  • Glorious sound
  • Dynamic Ortofon 2M Crimson cartridge
  • New pace choice dial
  • Strong acrylic platter
  • Optionally available built-in preamp
  • Seven finishes

I’ve at all times been impressed with U-Flip Audio’s lineup of inexpensive Orbit turntables that it began making in 2012. Over the next decade, the Orbit earned a repute for being a no-nonsense report participant that appears good, is easy to function, and is made with good parts — you could possibly even combine and match them to fit your wants and price range, which made the road interesting to a variety of vinyl fanatics, together with myself.

So, when U-Flip launched its 2nd-gen Orbit lineup final fall — the primary main improve within the firm’s historical past — I used to be excited to get my arms on one. That point has come. The whole Orbit vary, which incorporates the Orbit Primary, Plus, and Particular, has been revamped. U-Flip has furnished me with each ends of the vary, the Primary and Particular, however this assessment will concentrate on the latter.


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Taking quite a lot of pointers from its premium-range Orbit Principle turntable that U-Flip efficiently launched in late 2022, the upgrades to the 2nd-gen Orbit Particular have made it a close to good midrange turntable that may be a pleasure to make use of. With a redesigned tonearm, upgraded motor and spindle, new grooved acrylic platter, some recent new end choices, and (gasp!) an digital pace management dial, each difficulty I ever had with the first-gen Orbit Particular (one in all my day by day drivers since 2018) has been obliterated. Ranging in value from $549 to $749, relying on the way you configure it, the Orbit Particular stays an important worth. The revamped Orbit particular takes a wonderful turntable and makes it even higher. Right here’s how.

The U-Turn Orbit Special turntable with a yellow racord on the platter.
Derek Malcolm / Digital Traits

U-Flip Orbit Particular: setup

Like many trendy turntables price shopping for, the U-Flip Orbit Particular comes effectively packed and guarded, with only some key components that must be assembled and arrange. It’s all fairly simple, although, and it comes with all of the directions you want, whether or not you’re new to it or a professional.

Within the field, you’ll discover the primary plinth with the tonearm already mounted and its cartridge (the very good Ortofon 2M Crimson) already put in and prealigned. All you need to do is comply with the directions for mounting and balancing the turntable’s counterweight (it’s simple), place the acrylic platter on the spindle, and wrap the silicone-rubber belt alongside its new machined groove and across the motor. It ought to all take about 10 minutes, and it’s kinda enjoyable.

The Orbit Particular is a near-perfect midrange turntable that may be a pleasure to make use of.

The facility adapter and RCA cables are included, and relying on whether or not you sprung for the built-in phono preamp (extra on that later) or not, you simply have to attach as much as your receiver/amplifier or a set of powered audio system and also you’re off. Oh, and it comes with a strong mud cowl that installs on two plastic hinges in the back of the plinth. It really works effectively, too, and doesn’t fall closed beneath its personal weight, like others I’ve tried.

U-Flip Orbit Particular: options and operation

I meant it once I mentioned no nonsense. My digital-loving colleague, Simon Cohen, likes to rib us with the phrase “antiquated” when describing turntables and their related polyvinyl media, however I feel there’s a magnificence of their simplicity. The U-Flip Orbit Particular (or any member of the Orbit line, for that matter) isn’t massive and ponderous, with the plinth measuring simply three-quarters of an inch thick. It’s fabricated from both MDF, strong walnut, or, like my assessment unit, a fantastic and pure oak, not veneer.

All fashions include U-Flip’s anti-resonant acrylic platter, which tops the turntable’s weight out at round 15 kilos. It matches in properly with most decors, and until you go for one of many bolder colours like inexperienced, purple, or blue, it received’t be an eyesore.

The new AO3 tonearm assembly on the U-Turn Orbit Special.
The brand new OA3 tonearm meeting on the U-Flip Orbit Particular. Derek Malcolm / Digital Traits

Orbit two level oh!

With the upgrades to the vary, the Orbit will get a brand new, single-piece molded magnesium tonearm that may be a model of the OA3 Professional “precision” tonearm that the corporate placed on its  $1,000-plus Principle turntable (minus the “Professional” designation). It’s sleeker and lighter than the aluminum model of the first-gen Orbit, and the single-piece design combining the headshell, armtube, and pivot housing interprets to vastly lowered resonance and vibration switch that might have been occurring between the meeting factors of the previous mannequin’s components. Plus it’s black and simply seems method slicker.

The 2nd-gen Orbit Particular didn’t get the Principle’s numbered counterweight dial or adjustable anti-skate although (it’s inner on the Particular), but when I’m trustworthy, I’ve by no means truly had the use for both after setup and it operates flawlessly. The primary-gen Orbit didn’t have this both, and even after switching cartridges a number of instances, recalibrating the counterweight and monitoring drive is just a little trickier, however nonetheless simple.

However arms down my two favourite updates to the Orbit Particular are the brand new grooved platter, which retains the belt secured and in place, and the addition of the pace management dial that permits you to simply swap between 45 and 33 1/3 RMP pace alternatives with a flip of a knob mounted on the entrance left of the plinth, changing the previous on/off swap.

Each are welcome options additionally adopted from the Principle, and it’s about time. All of U-Flip’s report gamers are belt pushed, and manually switching speeds by bodily shifting the belt from one a part of the motor to a different is a ache — the belt falls off and may be sensitive to get again on. It additionally will get stretched out and I’ve needed to exchange them through the years.

The pace dial works excellently, the brand new motor has extra torque and will get the report on top of things a lot quicker than earlier than, and once I run my antistatic brush round, the strain not stops the report. Too unhealthy they didn’t simply put it on your entire Orbit line — the Primary and Plus fashions are out of luck.

To pre or to not pre

The Orbit Particular begins at $549 within the 5 fundamental colours of black, white, purple, blue, and inexperienced (add $170 for oak or walnut), and with out the built-in phono preamp, which is okay if you have already got a receiver or amplifier with a phono enter or an exterior phono preamp (aka a phono stage) of your individual. For $80 you’ll be able to add U-Flip’s built-in phono stage, an inner model of its succesful Pluto 2 preamp that runs $109 in case you get it by itself. I’ll get into the efficiency of the preamp under.

U-Flip Orbit Particular: Sound and efficiency

The Ortofon 2M Red cartridge on the U-Turn Orbit Special turntable.
The Ortofon 2M Crimson Derek Malcolm / Digital Traits

I’ll begin by saying that the Orbit Particular’s mild weight and built-in preamp made it simple to maneuver round and hook up with the number of audio setups I’ve round the home, together with an previous Marantz 2230 with almost-as-old Mission 727 audio system, a contemporary Cambridge CXA81 built-in amp with Wharfedale bookshelf audio system, after which on to a set of nice Edifier powered audio system.

General, the sound of the revamped Orbit Particular is attractive. It’s clear and deathly quiet when enjoying low-key, sentimental tracks from acts like Boygenius and Elliot Smith; it ramps up with ease with a element and spacious soundstage when spinning mid-volume tracks from Miles Davis or Peoria Jazzband; after which simply fills the room with sound once I threw on a candy 180-gram splatter urgent of The Strokes’ Is This It that the oldsters from Vinyl Me Please had been good sufficient to ship me.

With this next-gen Orbit Particular, U-Flip has one other hit on its arms.

The Ortofon 2M Crimson does its job properly, delivering easy and managed bass (it loves it some Thundercat), punchy and tidy mids (it ate up The Breeders’ thirtieth anniversary version of Final Splash), and articulate highs (Portishead’s creepy Buzzing gave it a exercise). Actually, put up subsequent to the U-Flip Orbit Principle, they’re so shut that I’d query that additional $300 if it weren’t for the extra element and refinement of the latter’s Ortofon 2M Blue cartridge, which you could possibly improve to on the Orbit Particular for $159; all you’d want is the stylus because it’s interchangeable. It’s one thing to consider.

I additionally examined the Orbit Particular by evaluating the built-in preamp to a high quality exterior Schiit Mani phono pre, in addition to by the phono enter of the Marantz receiver. I can report that I truly most well-liked the built-in over my beloved Marantz because it added a little bit of a degree increase and a few pleasure and readability to the mids and highs. I discovered it fairly akin to the Mani, although, in order that additional $80 for the built-in is effectively well worth the cash.

Switching to and from 33 and 45 RMP was a delight with the pace dial, and operationally, the Orbit Particular is a whole lot of enjoyable to play information on. The unique Orbit Particular was a wonderful turntable, however with this next-gen Orbit Particular, U-Flip has one other hit on its arms.

The U-Turn Orbit Special turntable with a red vinyl record on it.
Derek Malcolm / Digital Traits

U-Flip Orbit Particular: Backside line

I’ve spent fairly quite a lot of hours with the Orbit Particular, and all I can say is that U-Flip has carried out it once more. The upgrades have elevated its usability to sit down nearly on par with its premium providing, the Orbit Principle, and for lots of of {dollars} much less. Its low-noise operation can largely be attributed to the brand new OA3 and tonearm, quiet belt-driven motor, and anti-resonant acrylic platter, whereas the Ortofon 2M Crimson handles all that expressive and detailed sound. And as I talked about above, the Ortofon cartridge it comes with lets you improve the stylus to Ortofon’s next-up Silver ($120) or the Blue ($159) on the prime of its vary.

Key upgrades just like the addition of digital pace management and grooved platter edge for conserving the belt assuredly in place have made the Orbit Particular that a lot simpler and extra enjoyable to play information on. U-Flip additionally has glorious customer support, which matches a great distance ought to something go incorrect.

The Orbit Particular’s variety and $549 beginning value make it a sensible choice for newbies, however these those that’ve been at it for some time or have deeper pockets will even admire the extra finishes and non-compulsory built-in preamp that prime the worth out at $749, an funding that may final you for years.

A top-down image of the U-Turn Orbit Special turntable with a yellow record on it.
Derek Malcolm / Digital Traits

In case you’re nonetheless within the analysis part, shut rivals to the Orbit Particular embrace the $600 Professional-Ject Debut Carbon EVO or the excellent $595 Rega Planar 1. The Professional-Ject options the solid-performing Sumiko Rainier cartridge, whereas the Rega is, effectively, Rega, and its Carbon cartridge is very rated. However each lack inner preamp choices and the Rega solely is available in three finishes. Each have wonderful pedigree, although, and it’s good to see U-Flip going toe-to-toe with these massive gamers.

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