Shinola Launches New Runwell Turntable

Last Monday, November 21st, AnalogPlanet editor Michael Fremer along with a few other journalists visited Shinola headquarters in Detroit. Project head Alex Rosson (Audeze headphone company co-founder) conducted the tour where we watched the new Rumwell turntable being built within the company's main retail store, where it also assembles bicycles. Later we toured the main manufacturing and design facility where the company also produces its line of watches and superb leather goods.

The new $2500 turntable was designed in association with, but not by VPI Industries. The project took in excess of a year to come to fruition. Those familiar with VPI products will note the inverted main bearing topped by a ceramic ball, that's similar to the one used in the company's Classic line. Also, the arm is a gimbaled bearing arm similar but not identical to those found on VPI's lower cost 'tables.

One major difference is the drive system: VPI uses "O" rings, whereas the Runwell uses a flat belt with a crowned pulley. Another major difference is the attention paid to design esthetics, which is a key Shinola attribute throughout its range of products.I expect future VPI turntables to pay greater attention to this very important aspect of product design, which was a "learning experience" for all involved on both sides of the production fence..

The Runwell features machined components produced in NJ at the same factory that supplies VPI, but the work was done to Shinola's specifications. It's a heavy turntable that weighs in at around fifty pounds. It includes a made in America Hurst motor controlled by a bespoke electronic control system.

For now the 'table comes with a pre-fitted and aligned Ortofon Blue MM cartridge but project head Alex Rosson says the company is working on a dedicated MC cartridge to be manufactured in Los Angeles.

Also of interest is the dedicated modular MM phono preamplifier also designed and built "in-house". Because of its modular design, it can easily be pulled out of the 'table for either servicing if necessary, or for replacement with other modules currently being created, including one for MC as well as wireless Bluetooth and of course one that just outputs the cartridge voltage so you can use the Runwell with your choice of phono preamps.

We hope to soon have a review sample. The company launched the Runwell today with a full color, full-sized fold-out "Black Friday" supplement with today's New York Times. Shinola will bring vinyl to a new audience by selling the Runwell a non-audio high end retailers like Neiman-Marcus. This is a win-win for everyone—including the city of Detroit and the workers now employed to build the 'table.

COMMENTS
rshak47's picture

of this TT - - and wish Shinola much success in this new endeavor.

Ortofan's picture

... with a platter touched by MF.

Note the precision manufacturing technique:
https://edgecdn.shinola.com/wysiwygimage/wysiwyg,layout,pdp,stories,audi...

abelb1's picture

Appears to have solid fundamentals under that handsome design. It was interesting to see how enthusiastic everyone was, Shinola seems like a great place to work. It's nice to see good people doing something they obviously enjoy.

chipcarterdc's picture

One of the people interviewed made a throwaway comment about Shinola releasing "another turntable" in the future. Any roadmap regarding that? Will it be higher-end, lower-end, etc? Product roadmaps are helpful in purchasing decisions: for example, I have a Runwell turntable on order and am now cery strongly considering canceling it to keep my options open in case the forthcoming additional turntable is more to my liking in terms of specs, cost, etc.

Similarly, a roadmap about the forthcoming phono stage modules and cartridge options, beyond the very vague info mentioned in this video, would be very helpful.

fetuso's picture

I went on nieman marcus' web site, and the TT qualifies for a cyber monday promo where you get a $750 gift card with purchase

Ortofan's picture

... at least $3,000 to get a $750 gift card and the turntable is only $2,500. Still, you would qualify for a $500 gift card by spending more than $2,000.

fetuso's picture

Oh, i didn't read the fine print. I loaded it into the cart on line and started the check out process, and it said it qualified for the $750.

gbougard's picture

I sure hope it sounds as nice as it looks. What a looker!

Rudy's picture

Sadly the target market for this item won't be audiophiles, just like the bicycles. You don't go to what is essentially a fashion manufacturer to buy a bicycle or a turntable (unless we all get the word out). The typical customers who buy turntables at department stores won't know this from a plastic Crosley, quite frankly, unless they are buying it as a status symbol.

One of my concerns is that if this TT isn't being sold at audio retailers, there will be no way audiophiles can audition it. At that price, I don't care who designs it or builds it--I need to hear it before shelling out that much cash. And not over some cheap plastic powered speakers (as many retailers do). They would do well to maybe equip their own stores with at least a modest tube integrated amp and floorstanding speakers to demonstrate it. (It wouldn't take much to carve out a small corner of their Ann Arbor store to do just that.)

This could be a heck of a "sleeper" if it sounds as good as it looks!

fetuso's picture

I wonder if the store's general return policy would apply?

Rumblestrip's picture

They could/should be working with Schiit Audio on this. Then they really modify the old tag line and say "We know Schiit AND Shinola!"

mdiehl's picture

Will Shinola send you an example to test and write a review? I share several of the concerns that have been expressed.

Chucky's picture

The phono-stage pass thru should be easy to design and produce. If it brings the price down to the VPI Scout range it will be tempting - especially with a reasonably priced dust cover.

SLS's picture

during the tour, (which I very much enjoyed) that the Hurst motor is a "good motor". Could you please explain your thoughts on why you believe the Hurst motor is a good motor? How does it compare to motors in similarly priced turntables?

Thank you.

SLS's picture

"The Runwell features machined components produced in N.J. at the same factory that supplies VPI".

I've read on the VPI forums... where a poster asked what pieces are made by VPI? Their answer was (everything) except for the armlift. (Which is now made by VPI according to what I've read).

Your knowledge, your reporting, affects so many people and their buying decisions. How could this (major) fact? be so distorted?