For several years now there has been a bit of a record player craze, with people seeking out music on 12” vinyl discs to either playback their favourite music, or, in many cases, simply enjoy the physical, tactile nature of the object from one of their favourite artists. Around here we think it’s a real shame if you’ve got records but nothing to play them on, yet for those just starting out on the hobby things can be a bit overwhelming.

Why not turn to a company whose grand marque that started almost a century ago and was for decades a foundation of Canada’s pioneering work in consumer electronics? Let’s dive into the Electrohome Montrose record player and its speaker siblings.

Electrohome Montrose record player specs

  • 33 1 / 3 / 45rpm playback
  • RCA output with internal phono pre-amp (bypassable)
  • Felt mat, metal counterweight
  • Removable AT3600L cartridge with carbon cantilever and conical diamond
  • Autostop feature
  • Wood plinth, vibration damping feet

Electrohome McKinley bookshelf speakers specs

  • Built-in amplification — Two 15W Class D
  • Frequency response: 65Hz – 20KHz (+/- 9db)
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • RCA and 3.5mm input
  • 4” woofers, 1” silk soft dome tweeter
  • MDF wooden cabinet with teak colour
  • Remote control, speaker wire, RCA aux cable included
  • Dimensions: 26.42 x 16.5 x 19.4 cm
  • Weight: 2.7kg powered unit, 2.6kg passive

Unboxing and design of the Electrohome Montrose

The speakers and the turntable arrive as separate packages, each containing all the relevant cables and materials to be listening within minutes. The speakers feel solid and relatively well built, a nice change from the plasticky material that covers many smaller speakers of this ilk, as well as just about all portable Bluetooth speaker solutions. Of course, being powered speakers you’re going to need to set these up near an outlet, but luckily the included cable reaches relatively far.

The turntable is carefully packaged, and out of the box I was pleased to see the dustcover arrived without any marks whatsoever. The cartridge comes pre-mounted, and the only thing required to do is to plug the cables in and setup the counterweight.

Setting up the the Electrohome Montrose record player and speakers

Stereo speakers

The McKinley speakers are extremely straightforward to setup; you simply plug the right speaker into an outlet, plug one end of the included speaker wire into the binding posts, and then plug the opposite end into the “passive” left speaker. Thus, the one unit acts as the right channel for reproduction, the source of amplification for both speakers, as well as the place to input signals, control volume, etc. Pushing the volume dial on the bottom right cycles through the inputs (RCA, AUX, Bluetooth) while a small LED changes colour depending on which option has been selected. To the left is the “eye” for the remote control, where you can adjust volume, change input, and (supposedly) adjust treble and bass.


The turntable setup requires a bit more fiddling, though most of the hard work has been done. The cartridge comes pre-mounted, and simply putting the felt pad on the platter takes no time at all. Running RCA cables from the turntable to the back of the speakers was also very straightforward, with the usual red/white designations simple to follow. The included cable has a ground wire, unnecessary in this instance, but beneficial should you choose to bypass the internal amp and instead go directly into another pre-amp or receiver.

The small metal counterweight installed on the arm with a satisfying click, but when following the instructions I found the measured weight to be significantly off from the recommended 3g vertical tracking force (i.e., how heavy the cartridge rests on your record). I tried several times using the method recommended in the manual and found the swings to overly light tracking to be significant, often more than a gram off (lighter is often worse than too much tracking force). It may be overkill, but I’d highly recommend picking up an inexpensive digital scale to expedite setup, as it’s a small price to pay to make sure that your records won’t be inadvertently damaged by setting the counterweight incorrectly.

The huge benefit of this, of course, is that the cartridge system is highly customizable, and as your music collection grows you may consider investing in superior styli that can be used without replacing the entire AT3600L cartridge.

Electrohome Montrose sound quality

Once the weight was dialed in, I found the turntable to be superior to other models in its class, and connecting it to a much more premium audio system revealed that the Montrose can certainly serve as a fine foundation to building up one’s vinyl setup. Above all, it’s a very satisfying looking unit, with its darkened dust cover and wooden plinth evoking exactly what one thinks of as a traditional turntable. The turntable will give you plenty of options to have the unit serve as the base for performance improvements via stylus or amplification upgrades as your interest in the hobby expands.

While many turntables offer decent price/performance, they’re often connected to the near-ubiquitous all-in-one Bluetooth portable speakers. When listening to this powered speaker setup you’re granted much more in the way of spaciousness in sound and greater immersion with the music. The sound overall can be best described as satisfactory, certainly commensurate with expectations for this modality of product. There isn’t much in the way of thumping bass or crystalline highs, yet the sound was pleasing, the mid-range heavy output nearly as “vintage” as the teak-coloured exterior. The wooden cabinets provide a decent amount of welcome, warm resonance, while the rear-ported construction benefits from being placed within 30cm or so from a wall—too close and things get muddy, too far away and the sound thins out considerably.

For vinyl playback the speakers did a fine job, and at top volume rarely struggled even with bass-heavy passages. Connect streaming music via Bluetooth or the 3.5 aux cable and there was a bit more rattle and struggle at louder volumes, especially with some “torture test” tracks that challenge even higher-performance models.

Ideally, you would set these speakers up at a distance from each other, forming an even-sided triangle with you in the center of the listening position so each speaker is at an equal distance from your ears. Even the most premium of portable speakers that emit sounds from a single point cannot achieve the sense of spaciousness and imaging that you get from simply extending apart the transmission points. With the Electrohome Montrose speakers, such a layout truly shines above other competing options that try to wring the most out of a smaller, portable speaker product.

The volume on the remote worked perfectly well, but I found little in the way of actual equalization when playing back vinyl, though with Bluetooth there was some small adjustments to be heard when tweaking bass and treble. Either way, the sound itself, with its two-way construction, did the job well enough and met my moderate expectations.

Who is the Electrohome Montrose turntable and speaker system for?

For those starting out on your vinyl journey, or even for those looking to get back in to playing records that have sat around for decades, the Electrohome Montrose provides an excellent and affordable starting point. Thanks to the ability to properly space out the speakers and adjust them via towing to your preferred listening style, you’re treated with a superior audio experience in terms of imaging than you’ll find in just about any conventional powered Bluetooth single speaker option. The Montrose turntable itself is solid and does a decent job digging the most out of the grooves on your discs, and when setup as a combined system the handsome, mid-century teak aesthetic makes everything feel part of a whole. While these may be for some the first step on a long journey of exploring audio equipment, many would certainly benefit from this fine starting point, and the turntable will provide a decent base as you dive even further into this rewarding hobby.

Shop the Electrohome Montrose record player and speakers at Best Buy.

Jason Gorber
Jason Gorber, M.A., is a film, technology, and media journalist and member of the Toronto Film Critics Association. He is the managing editor and chief film critic at That Shelf and a regular contributor to POV Magazine, SlashFilm, and CBC Radio. Jason has been a Tomatometer-approved critic for over 20 years, is an avid collector of music, movies, LEGO and many other aesthetic and technical treats.


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