For all those vinyl fanatics and newbies fresh on the record scene, there’s a new kid in town. It’s called RokBlok and this little fella’ is packed with a punch, ready to deliver effortless fun and mobility to music lovers everywhere. The world’s smallest wireless record player, RokBlok is an ingenuous blend of 21st-century technology and retro entertainment that was king in living rooms in the 1980s. The multi-sensory musical experience unique to vinyl is unlike any digitally produced recording and it has been creatively resurrected with this compact 4 x 2 x 2-inch honeycomb locomotive, weighing a mere 3.2 oz and set atop four rubber wheels that won’t scratch those precious timepieces.
Not intended to replace or upstage your standard or high-performance record player on the market today, RokBlok is about bringing back a one-of-a-kind listening experience that centers on a more tactile musical journey that goes beyond a few clicks and drags and involves both communal and solitary enjoyment, invoking more than just auditory perception. RokBlok’s circular motion alone (rounding out about 45 laps per minute) provides a mesmerizing vision that will complement any musical genre, be it soul, classical, or pop rock.
“A Different Spin on Vinyl,” RokBlok is the brainchild of Pink Donut, a design concept startup founded in San Francisco in 2015. Headed up by Logan Riley, a creative mind with a background in product development and education tech who worked previously for Pandora and Apple, Pink Donut doesn’t limit itself to any one particular industry. With an emphasis on bold, clever ideas, Pink Donut aims to link the average person with innovative technologies, such as its 2015 city-wide “bored game” International Orange, a challenging blend of San Francisco-based trivia and puzzle fun with video game appeal.
With vinyl expected to make up 18% of physical format music sales in 2018, RokBlok may actually succeed at luring a big chunk of digital streaming music lovers into a whole new territory of sweet-sounding diversion. Reminiscent of the Sony Walkman and portable CD player, RokBlok can go to town on any flat surface, playing 33s and 45s for up to four hours on a rechargeable lithium battery. Housed in a bamboo and MDF (medium-density fiberboard) wood crate, RokBlok contains a preamp, analog speaker, and wireless Bluetooth capability so music lovers have the option of playing their cherished tunes on more powerful speakers within a 30-foot radius or on their personal headphones. With a diamond-tipped cartridge that glides evenly over any record, optimal musical enjoyment can be yours in nearly any setting.
With 3,615 backers pledging a total of $351k since its Kickstarter campaign launched in late 2016, RokBlok isn’t the first portable record player to hit the market, but it may very well be the smartest, particularly since Sony, in response to the worldwide upsurge in record sales, is slated to re-open its Japan-based vinyl pressing plant in early 2018 after being dormant for 30 years. Now that’s what you call “jumping on the bandwagon!”