This CD Playing Turntable Pairs Analog Aesthetics With Digital Fidelity


Korean designer Jaehyung Chu believes vinyl’s resurgence isn’t one merely attributed to an aesthetic, but also representative of a generational trend toward reconnecting the divide between music and listener, a connection absent while using streaming audio services. The designer notes that while the vinyl revival does satiate this desire for tactile ownership, albums are being sold at increasingly prohibitive prices. Chu designed the Vivia in response, an audio component fashioned after the turntable, but engineered with the function of a CD player.

Split graphic of the Vivia turntable for compact discs on left side, and a traditional turntable and record on the right.

Vivia borrows openly from the tone arm design of a traditional turntable, with a platter, base, and tone arm presenting a convincing job of a modernized record player. Except for the Vivia’s small platter size, it would be easy to assume its purpose is for listening to 7-inch 45 RPM releases. A closer inspection reveals the tone arm houses a sensor rather than a needle, one assigned not for playback like a traditional turntable, but assigned to calculate the overall running time of the CD.

Eye level side view of the Vivia turntable for compact discs, with power button, orange platter top, battery charge indicator and orange clear tone arm prominently in view.

The compact disc is read like a traditional player using a laser positioned underneath, with the “tone arm” moving slowly from the outside to the center of the CD like a turntable to track playback time (if you need a primer about how compact discs work, this simple video explains the technology). Moving the tone arm directly also allows the user to adjust playback time.

Close up of Vivia turntable for compact discs laser reader platter and tone arm, alongside Track touch capacitive controls labeled on the left corner of the player.

Vivia abides by a tactile approach to playback and controls. Outfitted with two Track Selector touch capacitive buttons in the corner, users can skip or rewind tracks just like the good ole days of Sony Discmans.

Keeping the appearance of a turntable, the tone arm also automatically adjusts its position in response to skipping or rewinding a track. A physical dial knob positioned underneath the tone arm controls volume, with a small front facing power button for on/off operation.

Vivia turntable for compact discs set on an orange floating shelf with a Brian Eno compact disc on display and on the player's platter. Underneath on a second level shelf are more CDs and a pair of white headphones.

Remember when everyone prominently displayed their CD collections? Chu seems to remember those days, integrating a small display slot to showcase album art.

The Vivia is an all-in-one portable solution, with an integrated speaker base and rechargeable battery. The design is somewhat reminiscent of the MUJI wall mounted CD player in its attempt to keep features and controls simple.

Graphic showing the Vivia turntable for compact discs from the top, side and back, with labels denoting its tactile controls and features.

Vivia, a turntable for compact discs, shown with its tone arm sensor reading the edge of a CD.

Chu’s Vivia was awarded a Red Dot Award for its novel approach to music playback, but currently remains a concept. With a visible glow of a CD resurgence growing on the horizon, it’s not unbelievable to imagine Generation-Z’s affinity for nostalgia propelling CDs, and the players required to listen to them, back into relevance.

Learn more about Vivia here.





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