Akai Pro Debuts Wireless, Streaming BT-500 Turntable at 2016 NAMM Show


Akai Professional debuted its new BT-500 audiophile belt- drive turntable today at the 2016 NAMM Show.

Company officials say the turntable is their response “to the rapidly growing demand for high-performance turntables in the resurgent vinyl market.” They tout the BT-500 as a good match for the record enthusiast who wants “a unit with no-compromise audiophile performance and luxurious, elegant styling.”

The BT-500 offers a combination of modern digital technology and convenience features: The BT-500 is a wireless streaming turntable, so it can send the turntable’s signal to any Bluetooth speaker (not included). The turntable has a built-in, switchable phono pre-amp, so it can be used either with a traditional stereo or connected directly to powered speakers. The BT-500 also has the capability to convert analog records into digital files with its included on-board software and USB port for quick connection to any computer.

As a turntable, the BT-500 has a quiet belt-drive system with a mechanically-isolated motor that eliminates any residual motor noise and vibration, a heavy die-cast aluminum platter that ensures an exemplary signal-to-noise ratio, a drive system with “vanishingly low wow and flutter,” and a low-mass straight tonearm with precision damped cueing. The unique leveling bubble with adjustable feet ensures a perfectly level installation for optimum sound. A high-quality pre- mounted magnetic cartridge completes the package.

BT-500 Turntable Features:

  • Isolated DC motor and belt-drive system ensures silent operation
  • Die-cast anti-resonance aluminum platter with heavy non-slip rubber mat
  • Low-mass tonearm with precision damped cueing
  • Built-in switchable phono pre-amp for use with powered speakers
  • Streams music wirelessly to any Bluetooth speaker (speaker not inc’l)
  • Converts vinyl records into digital files via USB connection to computer
  • Selectable sampling rate: 44.1kHz or 48kHz
  • 1/8” headphone jack; gold-plated RCA jacks for optimum signal transfer
  • Unique leveling bubble and adjustable feet keeps unit perfectly level
  • Heavy MDF base minimizes vibration to eliminate acoustic feedback
  • Includes dual moving magnet cartridge and removable headshell
  • 2-speeds: 33 1/3 and 45 RPM
  • Includes 45 RPM adapter, USB cable, audio cable and AC adapter
  • Luxurious walnut finish with brushed aluminum controls

Pricing and Availability. Akai Professional’s BT-500 turntable will have a U.S. retail of $399.99, and will be available beginning Q2 2016. More information available at the Akai Pro website.

24 thoughts on “Akai Pro Debuts Wireless, Streaming BT-500 Turntable at 2016 NAMM Show

  1. If I recall from my turntable days, direct drive was the better alternative. In fact my direct drive turntable from the 70’s still works great. The belt in my belt drive lost all elasticity a long time ago, rendering it useless.

      1. you need to have the right belt size, not always easy to find. For instance, it will not work with an elastic, too tight or to loose it will slower the motor or not have enough grip.

        This Turnable looks very good.

        1. Have you tried Googling your turntable model, followed by the word “belt”? You’d be surprised, but the internet knows what size you need!

    1. Sorry to disagree, belt drive was and still is the best drive system. Direct drive has gone by the wayside for many reasons, vibration caused by the physical relationship of the drive to the platter, they are touching, after all. Noise from the motor can be apparent. I do not think that there is a high end TT that uses direct drive. I am talking about Rega, Avid ! Linn, Marantz, even the new Akai and Sony DSD TT use belt drives.

  2. no wonder their recent synth efforts have been horrific, they’ve been spending their R&D budget on pointless shit like this.


  3. yes at this price point. should be direct dirve and at least use solid wood not mdf.
    more stuff for a land fill and add another hole for broken belts. i agree we need good record players for the vinyl resurgents but i think that technics looks better to me.

  4. To me, it seems like there’s a lot of bang for the buck: bluetooth, ADC via USB, built-in preamp, and a unique leveling bubble. All for $400.

  5. AKAI : “now we can build anything ,anything but not real hardware sampler , don’t you even dream about it!”
    What next to expect – fancy fridge from them?

  6. yes, lets take all the wonderful analog warmth of vinyl… and shunt it over a 48K ADC, then over a lousy bluetooth connection (any details on what kind of audio compression it will use?) and play it out of my tinny mono bluetooth speaker.

    hey but wood finish…. goes great with my beard and PBR.

  7. I love carefully selecting vinyl from the ’70s which were recorded and mastered with all analogue signal paths and then playing them on a crappy cheap turntable over bluetooth to crappy bluetooth speakers. It’s just a sickening and pointless thing I like to do.

  8. Looks pretty good!
    Snobs complain and still never buy the new $4000 Technics deck.

    I have been sampling records for two decades and 44khz is plenty good. I want to see that living room that has enough high end amp and speakers with 10k acoustics installed that can hear the 96khz “goodnes”.

    There is plenty of people using iPhone via BT as their main sound system. They are the ones who keep the vinyl shops alive. For that crowd it’s perfect. If its not total TimbreWolf i will buy one for myself. I would not use BT (don’t have any BT receiver) nor the USB recording as i own nice mixer for that, but for just plain listening it looks very good.

  9. Audiophile turntables tend to be belt-drive, although VPI will gladly sell you a premium direct-drive table for about $30k. If you can’t afford that, Technics has resurrected their classic SL1200, but the new amd improved version will cost you $4k.

  10. It looks nice and solid. I hope it sounds good for its price, I gonna purchase it soon. For the best sounding needs to replace included cartridge AT95E to smt like this- AT440mbl.

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