Electrohome Signature Music System: Unboxing, First Impressions and Setup
It’s been a while since I’ve had the opportunity to review an all-in-one sound system. For the past few years, it’s been mostly wireless speakers landing on my test bench. And those are small. A really big one with an extended battery might tip the scales at 10 pounds (4.5 kg since we’re in Canada). The Electrohome Signature Music System is massive in comparison. It arrived in a box the size of a microwave and there wasn’t all that much packing material inside.
Once I got it out of the box, the Signature Music System was revealed as being a bruiser, tipping the scales at just over 26 pounds (11.8 kg). The reasons for the bulk include the number of components hidden inside (amp, four speakers, radio, CD player and turntable) and the vintage-look construction—MDF with real walnut veneer.
If it looks solid, it feels even more solid. Although it’s an all-in-one unit, the Signature Music System is intended to sit in a permanent location, as opposed to suitcase-style portable turntables.
Electrohome definitely nailed the vintage look with this stereo. The curved cabinet is finished in dark walnut. A patterned cloth speaker grill looks right out of the 1950s. The controls are dials and pushbuttons in a bronze patina. The radio tuner is analog with amber backlighting. The only giveaway that this is a modern device are the CD door and USB port on the front.
Setup is reasonably straightforward. There are the usual foam bits, packing tape and twist ties to remove. Unlike many turntables, you don’t need to adjust tracking weight or anti-skating settings—in fact, you don’t have the option. However, there is a shipping screw at the back of the turntable that needs to be dealt with before you can use the record player and space is tight. A standard multi-bit screwdriver is too tall to fit, so you’ll need to use something more compact.
Once that screw is taken care of, the Electrohome Signature Music System is ready to rock.
Music system with decent speakers
As mentioned, this is a self-contained sound system. So inside the case and behind the grills are a pair of 5W drivers and a pair of 15W drivers. Large as the Signature Music System is, it’s not wide enough to get stereo separation, even with multiple speakers. But the sound does have more depth and warmth than most portable wireless speakers manage (the MDF cabinet helps there, too).
Audio quality isn’t anything special—it’s a lacking on low end response and gets pretty sloppy when cranked up—but it’s fine for casual listening. Quality was best with CD or radio as the sources.
Good capable record player
The record player is one of the big selling features of the Signature Music System. To be clear, if you are a record collector, this is not the turntable you want to be using with your vinyl. Audiophiles invest more than this entire system costs for just the cartridge on a high performance turntable.
But if you have a milk crate full of records collecting dust in the basement and have nothing to play them on, or you’ve picked up a few records to try out, it fits the bill. The belt-drive turntable plays 78, 33 and 45 rpm records (it includes a 45 adapter) and features an auto-return mechanism.
Electrohome extras: CD Player, Radio, AUX and USB
It isn’t just vinyl that’s considered retro these days. Finding a compact stereo with a built-in CD player is getting difficult, too. The Signature Music System plays your CD collection, using a tray-loading mechanism.
It also offers AM and FM radio. This is old-school analog radio, not internet radio. There’s an antenna wire at the back of the cabinet for catching those over-the-air broadcasts and and a dial-controlled tuner. No favourite stations, this is manual tuning, the way it used to be. The amber tuner backlight is a nice touch.
A 3.5mm AUX input in the back means that if you must get your smartphone involved in this you can. It will require a cable, but you can plug in your mobile device, stream audio on it and play the music through the Signature Music System’s speakers. That feels like cheating, though …
There is an unexpected concession to technology in the form of a USB port on the front control panel. You can use this to plug in a thumb drive and record tracks from a CD or the record player. You can also play back MP3s on the Signature Music System from a thumb drive.
Electrohome Signature Music System: Key Specs
Signature Music System: Who’s It Aimed At?
It should be clear that there are a few demographics the Electrohome Signature Music System is not aimed at. If you’re looking for a portable stereo system, you’re serious about your record collection, you’re looking for something with all the latest tech onboard, or you want a premium audio experience, this isn’t the system for you.
However, if you’re decorating a room with vintage and retro-style gear, the walnut-finish Signature Music System will fit right in. Tired of black plastic rectangles playing streaming music? You can’t get much further from that look than this system. If you found a crate of old records collecting dust in the garage and have no way to play them, this could be the answer—while also covering off your CD collection. It could also make a great gift for a parent or grandparent who misses the look and sound of old school console stereo systems.
Looking for a vinyl fix, or possibly an upgrade to your old record player? Make sure to check out all the turntables at Best Buy.