review

JAM Sound Stream+ Turntable Review Bluetooth Belt Drive Record Player With Speakers

Friday, December 10, 2021



Sure, digital mediums such as SACD may offer more accurate sound reproduction than vinyl format but vinyl sounds like real live music! It is a smooth and continuous analogue signal, not chopped up like digital sound. Vinyl record players are full of character too, giving you quirky random crackles and pops here and there. With a turntable, you can also alter the "feeling" of the vinyl sound by simply changing cartridges - which is something you cannot properly recreate with modern equipment. 
 


The turntable seen pictured, it's the JAM Sound Stream+ Turntable - a replica of an old school turntable record player that plays as good as a vintage turntable and features bluetooth functionality. The JAM Sound Stream+ Turntable integrates a cue lever that you manually push left or right to automatically lower and raise the cantilever tonearm gently onto the vinyl record. You can raise the tonearm and lower it with your hand but you don't want to do that as you will risk damaging the needle and vinyl record. The cue lever mechanism lowers the tonearm onto the vinyl record in about 7 seconds and lifts the tonearm in just 2 seconds.


The cantilever tonearm is weighted by a counterweight at the back end and a cartridge (transducer and voice coils for left and right channel audio), as well as a stylus (needle) attached to the other end. There is no tracking force gauge, no adjustable counterweight, no height adjuster, no anti-skate and no pitch adjust slider. The JAM Sound Stream+ Turntable does feature a platter for mounting the vinyl record, a 45 RPM adapter, speed selector (33-1/2RPM, 45RPM, 78RPM) and a plastic latch to lock the tonearm when not in use.

Some old school turntables come with pre-amp built-in and some don't, which means you need to use an external pre-amp if you want to connect a turntable without pre-amp directly to speakers. Even if the turntable has a preamp, it still needs powered (active) speakers to make sound. 
 

 
The advantage of the JAM Sound Stream+ Turntable is that it integrates a preamp, amplifier and stereo speakers all built-in inside the unit. Another nice feature you get with Jam's turntable is an RCA line-out for connecting external speakers. That said, the JAM Sound Stream+ Turntable has no option for a wired or wireless connection to a phone or computer so, you cannot stream audio via a phone or computer, which would have been neat.


A few other features you get with the Jam Sound Stream turntable is a headphone jack to plug in a wired headset and a USB to PC recording feature that works via Audacity (third party recording software). It appears the JAM Sound Stream+ Turntable can be used for digitally recording vinyl records, although this is not made entirely clear in user guide.


Aside from the headphone jack (auxiliary 1) on front, the connectivity ports are all located on the rear of the unit, and include the DC port in (7.5V/1A), Type B USB port, auxilary 2 port and RCA line out. There is also a physical power button. The JAM Sound Stream+ Turntable is very simple to use. Simply activate the cue lever, wait for the cantilever tonearm to move and the belt driven motor begins rotating the platter automatically, that's it.


The JAM Sound Stream+ Turntable has a volume knob and clicky button next to it for wireless output to a bluetooth speaker. The volume knob is made of plastic and uses a standard potentiometer with stops to adjust volume. Turning the knob to lowest does not mute the sound, which means you can still hear sound in the lowest setting. The volume knob has nice resistance to it for gradual volume adjustment.


The JAM Sound Stream+ Turntable enclosure is made of MDF wood and constructed similarly to a speaker cabinet, using separate panels glued together. The side panels have black anodized coating (helps against scratches) and cloth grille mesh concealing the upfiring 52mm speaker drivers. The speakers are located recessed inside the hole opening (4.5cm diameter). The wattage of the built-in speakers is 3 watts (1.5W each)


The bottom panel is natural MDF wood and held to the unit via screws, making it easy to access the internal components. The bottom panel also has drilled hole openings for ventilation and metal leg risers, which elevate the Jam Sound Stream turntable 2cm off the ground. The legs have rubber feet pads for grip with a 3cm diameter. There is a clear plastic cover (5cm high) to protect the turntable from impacts and dust. The cover hinges are made of plastic and have some flex when pushed which is a good thing to prevent it from breaking off. The Jam Sound Stream turntable cover stays lifted almost upright at a slight angle.


The dimensions of the JAM Sound Stream+ Turntable are 39cm long, 33.5cm deep (including the protruding volume knob) and 13cm high (including the feet risers). The frame of the enclosure is 6cm high. The tonearm measures 24cm long. The platter and cantilever tonearm are mounted on top of a plastic deck. The platter itself is made of plastic. The tonearm rod is made of steel. The JAM silver logo on the top is a chrome plated plastic glued on to the fabric. The Jam Stream Turntable weighs approximately 3.5kg.


The sound reproduction is clear, clean and naturally warm sounding. There is good instrument separation between the left and right channels, thanks to the location of the built-in speakers - 30cm apart. The JAM Sound Stream+ Turntable is a belt drive turntable so, the motor that rotates the platter is driven by a belt, which creates far less noise vibration than a direct drive turntable. On the downside, belt driven turntables aren't as durable because the belt will have to be replaced at some point; whereas with a direct drive turntable you don't because there is no belt - the platter is directly attached to the motor; hence the name "direct drive".


Accessories include a 1.1 meters long USB-A to type B cable, a 1.1 meter long RCA cable, a felt fabric platter cover and a power adapter with 1.5 meter long DC barrel cable. The wall adapter comes with interchangeable plugs for international wall sockets. You can buy the Jam Sound Stream+ Turntable from amazon. There is also another version of this turntable called, Jam Stream Turntable, which is half the price and the only difference is that it has no built-in speakers.


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