U-Turn Audio has a good reputation for producing exceptional entry-level turntables. So, I am excited to review one of its products—the Orbit Basic Turntable. I want to see what the manufacturer has done with this turntable and whether they have lived up to their reputation. Join me in this exploration journey to learn more.

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U-Turn Orbit Basic Turntable Overview

The U-Turn Orbit Basic turntable promises to deliver brilliant sound and a pure analog experience. Hand assembled in the USA, the device comes with several features, including a grooved MDF platter, Audio-Technica AT91B cartridge, a precision gimbal tonearm, and more. Reviews from customers generally outline its high-quality sound, simplicity, and durability for the price, which is $249. There are a few complaints here and there. The major concern, though, is the challenge of accurately aligning the tonearm and cartridge, especially for newbies.

Technical Specifications

These are the turntable’s specs:

  • OA3 gimbal tonearm
  • Internal anti-skate and adjustable counterweight
  • Grooved low-resonance MDF platter
  • 2 speed (manual change) options (33/44 RPM)
  • Audio-Technica AT91B cartridge
  • Conical diamond stylus
  • Optional built-in phono preamp
  • Output connection-RCA
  • Optional cue lever

This turntable has some nice features that I like, which am sure you will, too. One is the OA3 gimbal tonearm. The best thing about it is that it ensures accurate tracking and minimizes friction, maintaining the audio signal’s integrity. The Audio-Technica AT91B cartridge is not only good quality but also comes preassembled, which significantly reduces the initial setup time.

I have noted that Orbit Basic has some unusual specs. For instance, it applies a manual speed change system. Unlike other turntables, where you use a button to change from 33RPM to 45RPM, you have to physically move the belt from one pulley to the other. Not the most convenient thing. Right? It can be a pain, particularly if you have to alternate between playing singles and LPs frequently. Also, the cue lever is not part of the package; you have to pay extra to get it. If not, you have to manually control the tonearm, which makes it a little too easy to damage the needle or scratch a record.  

U-Turn Orbit Basic Turntable Drive Mechanism

This unit is belt-driven, meaning it relies on a rubber belt to rotate your records. Essentially, this belt attaches the motor to the platter and indirectly causes the platter to spin when the turntable is turned on. The advantage of this mechanism is that motor noise is not transferred to the stylus as much as in a direct-driven system. However, the spin-up time of a belt drive might be slower.

Is the U-Turn Orbit Basic Turntable Automatic or Manual?

Orbit provides the full vinyl experience. By this, I mean it’s manually operated; it lacks automatic features like auto start/stop function or tonearm return. Therefore, you must manually lift and place the tonearm onto the record and return it to rest after playback. That’s why a cue lever is essential to provide a controlled mechanism that enables accurate stylus positioning.

Usability and Portability of U-Turn Orbit Basic Turntable

If anything, ease of setup and use is one of Orbit Basic’s selling points. In case you are new to turntables, the idea of installing one from scratch can be nerve-racking. Putting together the cartridge and aligning it, and balancing the tonearm can all appear complex. Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about that with the Orbit Basic.

Using it is also straightforward, as you have to power it on to start playing your records. Looking at the design, I don’t think this turntable is meant to be moved around. It requires a consistent power source to work. Therefore, you cannot use the device on the go.

U-Turn Orbit Basic Turntable Design & Build

I am pleased with the Orbit Basic turntable’s appearance. The hardwood plinth, which is available in 7 finishes, is a strong base that looks elegant and rustic. Like most components, its main job is minimizing noise by decreasing unwanted resonance. Even the 3 rubber feet are designed for optimal quiet, as well as make the plinth adaptable to multiple surfaces. I should also talk about the cover hinges. They are plastic and cheap flexible ones instead of the true moving hinges. I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t last for long.

Connectivity & Sound Performance of U-Turn Orbit Basic Turntable: Good, but…

I find it odd that this device doesn’t have a built-in preamplifier, and the one available will cost you extra. The lack of this feature means you either need to own an external preamp (for connecting to an audio system’s AUX input) or a receiver with a PHONO input. I don’t even have to mention Bluetooth or USB connectivity—none is included.

Away from connectivity. There’s something to love about this turntable’s sound performance; it’s clear, smooth, and spans different genres. This can partly be attributed to its precision tonearm that’s able to capture the warmth of your vinyl records. However, don’t expect much when it comes to reproducing the finer details of your records. The conical stylus has a rounded tip that restricts it from getting into the fine grooves, leading to less high-frequency detail.

Main Technology Perks of U-Turn Orbit Basic Turntable

The Orbit Basic turntable lacks modern conveniences like built-in Bluetooth/USB connectivity. Nonetheless, it applies some form of technology in its design. The OA3 gimbal tonearm and the internal anti-skate and adjustable counterweight are good examples, and they ensure correct tracking and minimal distortion during playback.


You can get this unit at a price of $249.

How to Setup & Use U-Turn Orbit Basic Turntable?

The U-Turn Orbit Basic turntable comes preassembled, so you need to set up only a few key parts. Here are the steps to help you install the rest of the turntable:  

  1. Place the base on a stable surface, install the platter on the spindle, and put the felt slip mat over it.
  2. Insert the power adapter into the power jack and connect the RCA cables.
  3. Wrap the belt around the platter and motor pulley.
  4. There are two grooves on the pulley. Choose the top groove if you want the platter to rotate at 33RPM or the bottom one for records that spin at 45RPM.
  5. Connect the device to an external phono preamp, speakers or amplifier with a dedicated phono input.

You can achieve a better experience with the turntable if you keep it at a safe distance from speakers and other devices that could affect its sound delivery. Also, keep the stylus clean so it doesn’t degrade sound quality.  Lastly, minimize background echoes and noise to create an optimal listening environment.

Overall Impression About U-Turn Orbit Basic Turntable?

Orbit delivers what it promises—good sound. It also looks simple and stylish, so it can enhance the beauty of any space. But the vendor should consider adding the built-in phono preamp to save the user the hassle of getting an external one.


The turntable is price-friendly, easy to use, looks great, and produces good-quality sound.


Orbit lacks a built-in phono preamp and has a manual speed change system.

Who Is It For?

The unit is a decent choice for newbies and audiophiles alike.

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Final Verdict

I can confidently say that this turntable is worth a try. Low-noise operation is guaranteed, thanks to its OA3 tonearm, low-resonance MDF platter, and quiet belt-driven motor. As a result, you can enjoy quality sound performance. However, be prepared to spend more if you desire the convenience of a built-in phono or cue lever.