Pro-Ject and Grado at CB2

On the topic of real hi-fi in the real world, Pro-Ject Debut III turntables and Grado SR80i headphones are available at CB2, the Crate & Barrel offshoot for modern, affordable home goods. No joke: Hi-fi is hip again.

Bob Reina reviewed the Pro-Ject Debut III ($399) in our February 2010 issue, and Jim Austin reviewed the more affordable Grado SR60i ($79) in our April 2010 issue.

bonhamcopeland's picture

There you have it.  

Two years ago I wondered into a "modern accesory" store on Abbot Kinney in Venice, CA. It was rife with designer hipster paraphernalia. Hundred dollar robot bunny toothbrush holders and the like. 

I noticed a Ferrari Red Pro-Ject Debut III, Pro-Ject Phono Stage, and Ceramic speakers. I can't speak for the MSRP of the speakers, but the turntable set up was 100 bucks over what I knew to be the price. (maybe it inculded the faux vintage stand). 

Kids where salavating over that table with as much lust as anything else in the store. Because experiencing a turntable like that in person is a visceral experience most people don't get anymore.

Now they will, in mass, thanks to CB2 and Urban Outfitters.

This is vinyl's validation as a hip lifestyle accessory.

But more importantly, thousands of people are going to experience analog sound in a modern, real way like never before.

If there's an indie rock LP you've been waffling on, better grab it. Like now. 


coruja's picture

"This is vinyl's validation as a hip lifestyle accessory." Got to agree there is an element of this amongst the 'hipsters' these days.  But this is not such a bad thing, as you point out.

In London there is a trendy music store called 'Rough Trade' (yes, the meaning is probably the same here as in the US) which has been selling vinyl and Rega turntables for years and years.

bonhamcopeland's picture

rough trade (the store) has three or four shops in London as far as i know. as you point out, turntables have been bubbling up in places like that and other non-music focused hipster depots for years.

urban outfitters has 170+ stores all over the world and over a billion dollars in revenue. CB2 has 20 or so stores in the US. the parent company, Crate and Barrel, has just as many stores. 

that is significant. 

as a vehicle of mass exposure and potential sales, and, because these places are arbiters of cool with consumers. them marketers ain't dumb, and they wouldn't put this stuff in the store if they didn't see potential.

stephen is right. hifi is hip again. and there's a dollar to be made. like it or not, there is a certain validation when a major retailer decides to put you on the shelf.   

vinyl will no longer be some abstract out-of-reach hipster notion to the young average joe. it will not have to be sought out like some ultra trendy quest for the epic pair of vintage levis in a thrift store. it'll be sitting there right in the defacto place to buy something hip. right next to the pre-distressed jeans and tuscan spelt farmer coffee table™.  

i think it's great. and everyone who loves music and good sound should rejoice. record companies. independent record stores who've weathered the storm should be doing cartwheels. and somebody may want to call michael fremer to make sure he didn't go all Scanners in his basement.      


bcdumasjr's picture

The table at CB2 is a Pro-Ject Essential, not a Debut III. The reviews around the web have not been nearly as good for this table as the Debut.  However, it does have a built-in phono and USB preamp.  Thoughts on the Essential and if it's worth the cash?

Bill H324's picture

Don't forget Dr Greg House has Sota turntables in the office and at home.  That's where my niece first got interested in turntables. (What's that?  Why?)

It's a struggle, but I'm slowly getting her into better sound.  All she ever heard were MP3s on her Ipod.  I finally loaded some of her music onto mine as wav files and let her listen thru my old SR60s.  She couldn't believe the difference.  Got her a pair of the SR60i's for Xmas and she was thrilled.  Now she's off ITunes and reripping her CDs with EAC.  Hey, it's a start.  I think there's hope if you just get them exposed.

Stephen Mejias's picture

I think there's hope if you just get them exposed.

I agree completely. I say this all the time, but I think it's important: I was 22 years old when I started working for Stereophile, and, at that time, I had no idea that the hi-fi hobby existed.

To me, it didn't exist. And music was a HUGE part of my life. I don't think that I was an odd case. I was more of the norm.  Regardless of their interest in music, most young people simply don't know that hi-fi exists.

But, now, with the increasing popularity of vinyl and computer audio, hi-fi is becoming impossible to miss. Good news for everyone.

alexk's picture

Stephen, a few years ago, shortly after you started your analog journey, we traded an email or two. Your first experiences with analog were...analogous (sorry) to mine almost to a T. I remember being a bit territorial about how vinyl was gaining some cred as a cool thing to pursue. I wasn't sure I wanted the masses in on the secret.  And now I see this...

And my first thought was awesome. Secrets don't make friends.

deckeda's picture

That's the way it should happen.