If you’re old enough to remember the birth of the first portable cassette players, you might also remember Audio-Technica’s AT727/770, a quirky portable record player that was better known by its other name, the Sound Burger. It hasn’t been made in decades, but that’s about to change: Audio-Technica (A-T) is bringing the Sound Burger back in all of its retro glory as a $200 limited edition model, to celebrate the Japanese audio brand’s 60th anniversary.
- 1. The new AT-SB2022 Sound Burger.
- 2. The original Audio-Technica AT727 Sound Burger.
The new Sound Burger (AT-SB2022) looks identical to the original, complete with a bright red plastic clamshell case, top-mounted controls, and a built-in carry strap. The original stereo RCA outputs have been replaced with a single 3.5mm output that can be used for headphones or other components thanks to the included 3.5mm male to dual RCA cable. A-T has also preserved the clever tonearm storage bracket that does double duty as a 45 RPM record adapter when needed. Speaking of the tonearm, unlike conventional turntables, which don’t usually need to contend with being moved around a lot, the SB2022’s arm has a spring-loaded mechanism giving it a helping hand to stay on track.
More importantly, the SB2022 manages to include several enhancements that bring the Burger into the modern age, without diminishing its 80s-era charm. Gone is the massive battery bay in the bottom, which needed three C-cell batteries, replaced by a rechargeable battery, which gives the platter spinner 12 hours of play time. Charging is done via the USB-C port on the back. Also gone is the original motor, which needed frequent fine-tuning to keep your records spinning at the right speeds. It’s now a high-precision DC motor, according to Audio-Technica, capable of running the belt-driven platter at either 33-1/3 or 45 RPM.
Another problem for owners of the first Sound Burger is that Audio-Technica eventually stopped making the replacement cartridges, forcing people to look for third-party, compatible carts and styluses. That should be a lot less of a problem for the SB2022, as it uses A-T’s ATN3600L stylus, which is readily available and easily replaced.
Finally, owners of the new Sound Burger can look forward to the most modern update of all — the portable has Bluetooth so you can listen wirelessly on headphones, earbuds, speakers, or any Bluetooth-equipped audio gear.
As we mentioned at the top, the freshly updated Sound Burger is a limited edition device, and A-T tells us that each unit will have its own numbered anniversary plate attached to the back panel. The company hasn’t said so officially, but judging from the image above, it only plans to sell 7,000 of these funky portables. We’ll see if the sudden arrival of 7,000 new models will have an effect on the trade of used or new-in-box versions of the original, which have been known to sell on eBay for more than $500.
Speaking of the original Sound Burger — which was also sold as the AT770 Mister Disc in some countries — it developed something of a cult following after it launched. YouTuber TechMoan has an absolutely amazing, 24-minute deep dive on it, if you’re curious, including some tips on how to do some basic repairs if you plan on buying one used.
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