Vinyl and record players miraculously resurfaced a few years ago, giving people of all ages a chance to experience or revisit the unique quality of this analog medium. At first, most of the products tried to faithfully recreate the experience, going so far as modeling record players after vintage aesthetics. Recently, there have been new designs that try to appeal to more modern tastes and younger generations, with styles ranging from minimalist to extravagant. That has given birth to a few interesting record players, some more unusual than others. This turntable, for example, doesn’t seem to actually exist, completely hidden from sight to put the spotlight on your vinyl and the music that is recorded in its grooves.
Most turntables are rectangular boxes, mostly because that’s the most convenient shape for cramming electronics, especially the big parts from decades past. These take up unnecessary space and limit the ways you can place the machine on display. Fortunately, today’s pieces are so much smaller, and you can fit all of them inside something the size of the record itself. In fact, you can fit them in a shape that’s almost exactly like the vinyl as well.
Black Wheel, the latest iteration of the Wheel design by Miniot, does exactly that and hides all the electronics and mechanical parts under the record. They sit inside a thin circular body that completely disappears once you put the record on. This illusion is more effective if you stand the Wheel upright, but it still has this particular minimalist charm even if you lay it flat horizontally.
In addition to the peculiar design, the Wheel also has a rather unique control system that was also designed to be felt but barely seen. A tactile Slide Track offers all the controls you need in a single physical interface, allowing you to slide or push parts of the hidden wheel to select tracks, change the volume, or even set the stylus’ weight. Even with an incredibly thin body, the Wheel doesn’t make compromises in audio quality to satisfy audiophiles.
The Black Wheel itself is a thing of beauty, handmade using high-grade black materials and brushed metal. The slightly older Wheel 2 has a bit of an old-fashioned charm with a wooden base reminiscent of the turntables of old. But although it’s something you would definitely want to flaunt, its design is really meant to put the focus on the part of a record player that matters the most: the record itself.