The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

22 June 2005

Life with the GF-350

About a month ago, I mentioned the Teac GF-350 shelf system, which incorporates a three-speed turntable (yes, it plays 78s), an AM/FM stereo tuner, and a CD recorder, which simplifies the task of converting all that vinyl (and I have, if not literally tons of vinyl, probably at least one ton of it) to digital form. Last Thursday I ordered one for myself from a dealer on Lawn Guyland; it arrived today and was immediately put to the test.

As a shelf system, it's okay, if not great; the power is modest (3.5 watts per side) and the tuner is just barely adequate. But what you want to know is "How well does it record?" The answer is "Pretty darn good, actually," especially if your records aren't in absolutely terrible shape.

I tested with a decent 1970s LP (The Works, a Warner Bros. sampler album) and an original styrene 45 from 1965. The cartridge is apparently a ceramic type, which means its RIAA equalization is approximate at best. Still, the minimal amount of tweaking I had to do to these files suggests that the Teac is doing a good job of getting the sound out of the grooves: the LP came out very well, if a tad bass-shy, while the 45 benefited from a 3-decibel cut around 15 kHz. For the casual listener, this is all you need; for us drooling audio geeks, it's the quickest way to get an editable file into our computers for further processing.

One word of warning: the GF-350 expects CD-Rs (or CD-RWs, if you can find any) that are specifically labeled for digital audio. I was unable to trick it into using the cheapie CD-Rs I buy in bulk.

Teac has a Web site for the GF-350; you can read the manual with Adobe Reader, if you're curious.

Posted at 7:44 PM to Entirely Too Cool

I still want one. I'm no audiophile -- all the rock concerts I went to took quite a bit of my hearing away. I am used to listening to my crappy home-recorded tapes. I'll bet I couldn't tell the difference between professionally-recorded cds and ones done on the machine.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at 9:31 PM on 22 June 2005

I think it would serve your purposes well; given a decent vinyl source, it produces a good-sounding CD. It falls short of the best theoretically possible, but anything affordable by mere mortals will have some sonic flaws.

Posted by: CGHill at 9:39 PM on 22 June 2005

That is one slick little system. I put "Teac GF-350 shelf system" in Google to see pix and pricing. Very nice. Did you know your original post comes up second after I can hear the old TV theme song, "Movin' on up...Moooovin' on up." Have fun!

Posted by: MikeSwi... at 10:30 PM on 22 June 2005

Another GF-350 owner reports that he didn't have any trouble with ordinary data CD-Rs, which makes me think that this was a recent running change, although I'll need to experiment with more disc brands to be sure of this.

Posted by: CGHill at 9:27 AM on 23 June 2005