HYM SEED all-in-one turntable system
+ Snazzy looks; playing records couldn’t be any easier; playback mechanism well isolated from speaker cabinet with spring-based suspension; very forgiving sound with ability to go fairly loud.
– No adjustments whatsoever available; platter continues spinning when switched to Bluetooth/aux input, must be turned on/off manually; vinyl playback section a little lightweight; sonically decent but not the final word in fidelity.
A guide to the ratings
IT’S unlikely to find an easier vehicle to join the vinyl resurgence bandwagon than the HYM Seed all-in-one turntable system. While it is true that vinyl playback is by nature a finicky beast, it doesn’t have to be so all the time.
With turntable, amplification and speakers all built into a single box, the Seed is a simple, elegant solution that gives all you need to start enjoying music from an analogue format – and being a Bluetooth-enabled device, provides a measure of digital functionality too!
Admittedly, a product like this won’t make the cut on an audiophile purist’s list – but that’s not who it’s made for. Digging deeper beneath the surface, however, reveals that the HYM Seed possesses a certain degree of audiophile cred.
The obvious and most significant issue the Seed has to overcome is to prevent the sensitive vinyl playback system from being shaken and rocked by the speakers directly beneath it. The solution is to use springs – which are also used in one of the best–sounding turntable designs that has a huge cult following.
The record-playing mechanism is a little lightweight, however. The tonearm, which has a 218mm effective length, is fitted with a conical-tipped Audio-Technica AT3600L moving magnet cartridge.
The belt-driven platter is not full-sized and smaller than a regular 12-inch record, which will sit with a good inch or so suspended over the platter’s edge. The motor is also able to spin the platter at 33.33 and 45 RPM, and is controlled by a rotary power switch just at the base of the tonearm.
The turntable mechanism sits on a trapezoid box which houses a pair of four-inch woofers and two one-inch tweeters, which are driven in turn by an 80-watt Class D amplifier.
The Seed also provides a pair of RCA outputs so you can connect the turntable section to an external sound system if desired. As a bonus, you can also hook it up to an external source device wirelessly via Bluetooth or physically via its 3.5mm (headphone-plug size) auxiliary input.
It also has a remote control, which allows you to switch sources, adjust the volume and/or its bass boost setting. These controls are also mirrored at the bottom of the unit on a capacitive touch panel.
However, if a record is playing, switching inputs does not stop the platter from spinning – it has to be turned off manually via the rotary on/off/speed control knob mentioned above.
The entire rig is quite a hefty piece of gear. The Seed measures 27 x 38 x 35cm (h/w/d) and weighs approximately 15kg, so it needs to be placed on a large sturdy surface. It bears noting that its feet are non-adjustable, so ensuring the platform it sits on is level or levelling it after will need a little work (a few strategically placed pennies will do the trick).
Common wisdom says you should not expect too much and you will be pleasantly surprised – that describes the Seed to a “T”. It’s not true hi-fi quality but it doesn’t suck either, to put it crudely.
Absolute detail is not there (nor would it be reasonable to expect it) but it will provide some decent body in its midrange frequencies.
The Seed will also produce enough bass to fill a medium-sized living room. It won’t rattle your peaches or shake your trees, but if you’ve got a little soirée going on in there, it’ll produce enough volume that you may have to shout a little to make yourself heard in conversation.
Perhaps the biggest endorsement I can give the Seed is how much I used it. Placed in the living room, the Seed replaced the role of a budget separates system there and I was thoroughly content for it to provide musical accompaniment throughout a three-week period, especially during my eight-hour WFH shifts. And it was good getting up every 20 minutes or so (although a little disruptive) to flip the sides or change a record!
The beauty of a piece of gear like this the HYM Seed is that there’s nothing to worry about except what record you want to spin next – and that’s always a plus in my book.
If you’re looking to dip your toes into vinyl playback and want something without all the finicky-ness, sounds decent and looks good – you can’t really go wrong with this … just don’t go bragging to an audiophile about it.
Sources: Spotify via Bluetooth / Amplification: Arylic S50 wireless stereo preamp, Euphonic Research ATT-220 power amplifier / Speakers: Audio Pro Image 40 floorstanding speaker / Cabling: Rega SC42 speaker cables, DIY pure silver interconnects