This Marilyn Monroe-esque vinyl music system is everything I want and more


As Norma Jeane Mortenson (otherwise known as the incomparable Marylin Monroe) once said, “A wise girl knows her limits, a smart girl knows she has none” – and that’s what how I feel about the high-end all-in-one. Bluetooth record player you are watching.

If I could only hear it for a few fleeting moments, I’m sure it would be on my list of the best turntables currently on the market – and it wouldn’t be at the bottom of this list.

Limitations I might mention include the fact that Fennessy, the gifted Chinese maker who created this utterly modern and somewhat minimalist gramophone (yes, I consider this bright red bugle horn to be minimalist) is a tough company to reach – and it does not. t currently sells its products in the United States.

Although I’m based in the UK I’m struggling to find the UK hi-fi dealer who can supply me with one either. Apparently it sells for somewhere just above 13,999 yuan (about $2,071, £1,723 or AU$3,000) before any duty or shipping, but even that information was hard to come by.

And yet I don’t care. As Marylin also said, “Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius, and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.”

So, without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the photos Fennessy kindly took to showcase his beautiful creation – an all-in-one turntable system with Bluetooth, which none of us will likely ever own.

Four Fennessy Donut i5 on white background

‘Mine’ is the one on the far right (Image credit: Fennessy)

“It’s all imaginary, isn’t it?

Yes, that’s another quote from Monroe, as it stands: “If I had followed all the rules, I never would have made it” – and maybe that’s how you put it get your hands on one of these gorgeous items (not that I’m suggesting any rule breaking, you know).

What I can do is provide you with some specs. The Fennessy Donut i5 weighs 66 pounds (or 30 kg, so shipping won’t come cheap), and at just over 5 feet tall, it’s also a conversation starter. You also get plenty of speakers: this horn (or bugle) features a 10W, 1-inch tweeter, and under the bridge itself there’s a 40W mid-range 6, 5-inch plus 60W 8-inch down-firing woofer.

There’s a built-in RIAA phono preamp and a class-D stereo amplifier. So you’ve got a complete plug-and-play turntable – and since there aren’t any analog or digital outputs, you couldn’t. plug into your existing system even if you wanted to. A single button on the front takes care of power, input switching and volume.

I’m not sure, but I think the Bluetooth situation is only the receiver. So while you can stream music from your phone to the Donut i5’s built-in speakers, you can’t ping your vinyl collection to your best outdoor Bluetooth speaker, or your favorite wireless headphones. the same way you can with the Audio-Technica AT-LP60XBT, say.

The turntable is belt-driven and features an all-metal 2.2lb platter including a custom non-slip mat (Marylin wouldn’t ask for anything less) and the carbon fiber tonearm comes pre-fitted with a stylus Diamond cone Audio-Technica (AT) movable- magnetic cartridge.

Fennessy’s standard Donut i5 is available with a black wooden base and fabric grille, but this charming bugle is available in your choice of orange, dragon fruit, red velvet, banana, avocado, chocolate, matcha or milk, all of which sound delicious – but it’s not the one I’m looking for.

This Monroe deck is one of Fennessy’s special-edition i5 Donuts (so-named, of course, because the discs are shaped like donuts), including Van Gogh – sort of a pixelated version of arguably the most famous of all. self-portraits by the artist, including a glorious yellow flugelhorn – and the monochrome Quicksand.

They are all works of art, to me. I could put one in every room and be happy. Would I live to regret such a purchase in the age of streaming sites, Dolby Atmos 7.1 surround systems, HEOS and multi-room audio? I really doubt it – the continued resurgence of vinyl is no accident and that warm analog sound lives on.

“We should all start living before we get too old. Fear is stupid. So is regret.” Thank you, Norma Jeane. I will resume my quest to get my hands on a Fennessy Donut i5 soon.

Fennessy Donut i5 Monroe in a living room

Take a look at this vinyl collection too! (Image credit: Fennessy)

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