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Robb Vices “Romance of Retro” Subscription Box Review – March 2018

robb vices march 2018 luxury subscription box review and unboxing

Robb Vices is “a membership program centered on a monthly delivery of storied treasures.” Each month, they send a collection of curated products and/or experiences.

Subscribers should expect boxes to include “vices” like “exceptional wines and spirits to enjoy, foods to taste, tools, toys, accessories, and gadgets.”

open box for robb vices march 2018 luxury subscription box review and unboxing

This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)

all items in the march 2018 robb vices luxury subscription box

About Robb Vices Subscription Box

The Subscription Box: Robb Vices

The Cost: $99.95 + shipping (For reference, shipping to PA is $7.95.) Save with longer subscriptions.

The Products: Each box contains a curated selection of products and experiences and provides subscribers with a taste of the good life!

Ships to: Robb Vices ships to all states except ND, UT.

Robb Vices “Romance of Retro” March 2018 Review

teaser note in robb vices march 2018 box

As is the case with every Robb Vices shipment, this one was topped with a mini magazine.

brands featured in robb vices march 2018 box

article in robb vices march 2018 mini magazine

robb vices booklet spread

article inside robb vices box booklet

retro dancing people

This month, Robb Vices is appreciating simpler things and moments. The mini magazine begins with an intro letter and a short essay about the nostalgic finds in the box.

dawes band photo

record feature in robb vices mini magazine

dawes all your favorite bands album

dawes band

dawes guitarist

pages in robb vices mini magazine booklet

spread of robb vices mini magazine

image of record player

Next up is a feature on Dawes. There’s also a short Q&A with their guitarist and lead singer, Taylor Goldsmith.

robb vices mini magazine feature on record player company

record player brand spotlight

turntable information

root beer brewing image

The star of this box (at least for me) is the sleek, minimalist turntable. Of course, there are oodles of turntable brands out there. What made Robb Vices choose Altec Lansing? These next few pages explain what makes this innovative, American company worthy of this box.

root beer information

bottled root beer article in robb vices mini magazine

float recipe

I’ll admit that when I saw the simple, solitary bottle of root beer nestled next to the other wow-worthy items in this box, I was kind of like… “Huh. Okay.” But reading through the booklet helped put it into context. Root beer is a classic, after all. And this artisanal version really drives home that simple, slowed-down vibe that the box is built around.

robb vices packaging

Alrighty, let’s take a closer look at the items themselves, shall we? Oh, wait, one last thing I figured I should mention! Maybe I’m just a nervous person in general, but my first thought while reading through the booklet was “Oh man, I hope nothing broke!” Glass bottle, sophisticated electronics, record… eek! There’s a lot that can go wrong. But Robb Vices had. It. Covered! The record player was nestled between thick, sturdy styrofoam and surrounded by custom-cut black foam. The root beer bottle had its own little seat carved out for it in the foam, and the record was laid flat on top. Another foam pad went on top of all of that, for good measure. Opening the suitcase felt like when someone in a spy movie opens a metal suitcase and everything inside is in its own custom-fit space in the black padding.

record player

minimalist record player

bottom of record player box

detail of back of record player

record player needle and knob

lock on record player

cords and adapter for record player

record on record player

Altec Lansing ALT-500 Classic Turntable

I love the minimalist, no-frills simplicity of this silvery gray turntable. I’m so used to seeing brightly colored, suitcase-style turntables for sale at places like Urban Outfitters—it’s not that I don’t love a pop of color here and there, but personally, I prefer low-key, timeless pieces when it comes to my decor. (I’m prone to overdoing it with my decorating, so I’ve learned to keep things as simple as possible and be really discerning about when/where I make a statement. What’s your decor style like? Does this record player fit it?)

I found a listing for the ALT-400 on the Altec Lansing site and an ALT-500 model on Amazon Canada. Maybe the ALT-500 is a newer model not yet available for US customers? Seems weird being that it’s an American-made electronics company. The ALT-400 is worth about $60.00, and I’d imagine this one would be somewhere around that number. That’s the low-end value-wise, compared to other record players I’m seeing online. I’d probably attribute that to the simplicity of the design, but if you’re more of a gearhead than I am, definitely leave a comment about how this model stacks up to others!

I was happy with how easy it was to set up this turntable and get it goin’. It pretty much plugs and play. The turntable has its own speakers, but boy, do I love that it’s Bluetooth compatible, too! As I mentioned, I’m picky about keeping things as simple as possible in my space and nothing breaks that vibe faster than a cluster of cords. I also like the idea of not having to be in the same room as the record player to enjoy that nice vinyl sound. I can bring a speaker into the kitchen when I’m cooking, back by my desk… It’s all good!

dawes album

back of dawes album

open record

dawes liner notes

dawes liner notes list

dawes record label

dawes reverse side

Dawes All Your Favorite Bands LP – Retail Value $19.99

I’ve been a Dawes fan for a while now. Their music is the kind of easy-going, yet engaging stuff that I like to have on when I’m hanging around the house. It’s romantic, nostalgic, having-a-drink-at-a-California-hole-in-the-wall-with-your-friends kind of music. This album was actually a 2015 release (their latest came out in 2017), but I’d only ever heard the title track before. I think vinyl is definitely the way to go with a band like Dawes. The throwback vibes they capture in their songs feel all the more convincing when played through this physical, rich medium.

root beer in bottle

bottle cap on artisanal rootbeer

artisan root beer

root beer ingredients

root beer poured in glass

Rocky Mountain Root Beer All Natural Root Beer, 12 oz. – Buy a 12-pack for $18.00 here

Last but not least, our root beer! I love a good label, and I think the old-fashioned illustrations on the front of this bottle are super cool. The gold details and old-timey fonts make it feel rustic. The root beer itself is gentle on carbonation but big on sweet, almost maple-y flavor. I’ve had other kinds of artisanal sodas, and a lot of times they strike me as a little too intense. But this flavor is smooth and yummy. I almost wish I hadn’t sipped on it straight—I bet it’s lovely in the brown cow they recommended!

Verdict: This box was right up my alley. I’m a music-lover, so I’m happy to have a new turntable to add to my space. (You’re awesome, Spotify, but sometimes a gal needs something a little more sophisticated.) I mentioned that the root beer wasn’t as much as a “wow” item for me compared to the record player and album (which were actually more like “whoa!” items), but I did think it was a sweet complement to the theme they were trying to create. All in all, I think this box was a good example of how just a couple awesome, big-ticket items often leave me more satisfied with a box than getting a whole bunch of smaller products. It’s still a pricey box, but I truly felt like I got my money’s worth on this one. Maybe not a deal, but I got the quality of items that I’d expect from a higher-end box.

To Wrap Up:

Can you still get this box if you sign up today? No. Sign up by the 1st of the month to receive that month’s box.

Value Breakdown: This box cost $112.90 (cost + shipping to us in PA). I could only find a reliable retail value for the Dawes album online, which clocked in at $19.99. That means that I paid $92.91 for the turntable and the root beer. My guess is that the root beer is only worth $2.00-$3.00 max, so that means the turntable would have to be around $90.00. The ALT-400 model I found is only about $60.00, but it’s possible that the ALT-500 is priced higher.

Check out all of our Robb Vices Reviews and find other specialty boxes in the Artisan Subscription Box Directory!

Keep track of your subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription box list or wishlist!

What do you think of the March 2018 box from Robb Vices?

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Written by Anna Reilly

Anna Reilly

Anna loves collecting little treasures, be they pop-culture finds, handmade mementos, or new potions to put in her makeup bag. Beauty boxes got her interested in the subscription world, but now she’s swooning for all things kawaii!

Posted in Subscription Box Reviews| Tags: vices | 36 comments

Comments (36)

  1. So much for Robb Vices packing much more than the cost into each surprise box… This being a retro box maybe they’re using retro valuations back when bluetooth was new tech.. Aside from the overall laughable and fraudulent valuation they put on the turntable, I think I’m most disappointing in the single $2 bottle of soda. At least all the past (overvalued) boxes invited sharing with a friend or loved one. Would it have killed RV’s budget to include a second bottle to sit back and enjoy the music with a friend?

  2. The turntable is being sold on Amazon for $99.99 by the makers of the items themselves.

    Gemini Sound (doing business as Speakers Direct on Amazon to sell it) are the ones behind the Altec Lansing ALT-500 turntable.

    Note that the Altec Lansing company did not produce this item themselves and will direct people away from them with questions. Robb Vices will direct you to Gemini Sound with questions/troubleshooting regarding this item.

    I highly suggest anyone interested in this box read the Robb Vices threads on the MSA forums.

  3. @LizCadman Robb vices responded to me that the Turn Table is a pre release and $150 value. I can send you a screen shot if you would like. We are using the value posted on the review for the swap value and without the accurate retail, it hurts swapping. Thank you!

    • Currently on sale on amazon for $99.99.

  4. I hated this box so much I emailed Robb Vices to vent my frustrations.

    Much of it is covered in other comments, but yeah, when they emailed me back to say the RV on the turntable was $150, I laughed out loud. Maybe that’s going to be Altec’s MRSP, but when (if?) this thing ever comes to market, I’m willing to bet the price will be a fraction of that. And I seriously don’t care about vinyl or that it’s “making a comeback”. Everyone knows 8-track is where it’s at!!!!

    The Dawes album was Robb Vices taking a page from Apple’s book when they decided that everyone should really own a U2 album. That worked out so well. And that’s with Apple knowing everything about my music collection. What does Robb Vices know? I get that they want people to be able to use their turntable right away, but I would have much rather they include a $15 gift card to Target or Walmart or whatever, so I can make my own decision about what I might like to listen to.

    And then there was the $2 bottle of root beer. Since I’m an extremely kind and generous person, I’m rating the value of this box at $2. Ugh.

    • Did they respond to you?

      • Yeah, they responded, which props to them for taking it on the chin.

        It was not in any way helpful. They just told me again that vinyl is making a huge comeback and that I’ll love Dawes.

        I didn’t expect a helpful reply or a resolution. But it was nice they didn’t ignore me.

    • I totally agree, just joined this month was my first shipment. I read the reviews paid for 6 months, and that might be it. Not impressed at all. Caveat emptor, however outstanding shipping, the box is easily the most impressive part! Other than that ….. feel like Charlie Brown at hollween…. “ i got a rock”

      • It’s funny (in the sense that it’s not), but when I opened the box, my first thought was, “man, I can’t imagine how much worse it’d be if this were my first box.” But listen, give it another month. You can always cancel and Robb Vices will prorate your membership, so you’ll still get some money back.

        I’ve been a member since October and March was the first box I was truly disappointed in. Some were certainly a bit more underwhelming than others, but personally, I really liked the December (champagne saber), January (tea), and February (fondue, or I guess “fondue”). All 3 were new experiences for me and I enjoyed trying it out. I’m not into vinyl, but that’s just me and I was more annoyed at the LP than the turntable.

        I hated the March box and I still hate it, but unlike most of the people who talk about it on MSA, I still like Robb Vices. It’s $90/month for a chance to discover something new, it’s not going to be a winner for everyone every time.

  5. Ugh, you guys got my hopes up, thought that they now delivered to Alabama so I excitedly went to go sign up…. yeah, still no shipping to Alabama either🙄☹️

    • I don’t want to sound pro- or con- Robb Vices, but the following is valid: this is a pre-release Bluetooth turntable (RV $150); it connects to your own Bluetooth technology; I don’t think that any subscription box will ever send me the equivalent to the thousands of dollars worth of Bluetooth enabled technology that my husband and I currently have (and continue to update), so I am happy that I now have a turntable, because… guess who has just told me that he has a collection of 1970’s original vinyl records stored at his Mom’s place??? I swapper one of mine, but I am happily keeping the other (accidentally had two subs for a year). So, after all of my speculation, it turns out that this month is almost as good as the Stellé speaker month (and I do stress the “almost”).

      • I “swapped” one of mine…to a “swapper”. I don’t know if I can blame auto-correct this time.

      • The player does not produce good, rich sound. (i paired my cell phone with the same song to the same hi-def speaker system to compare) It weirdly drags notes. skipped over brand new records. I’m really bummed.

  6. Not even a nice stein for the root beer? That’s it? And this vinyl record is $16 on Amazon. Where’s the value?

    • Agreed that a stein would’ve been nice, or a set of cute pint glasses. Because I couldn’t find a retail value on the record player, I’m uncertain whether the box is at least worth its price tag. The record player and album got a “wow!” from me, but I was a little underwhelmed by the lonely bottle of root beer. I feel like one or two other smallish products could’ve rounded out the experience of the box, as well as the value! In short, I feel ya, Dea!!! Thanks for your comment 🙂

  7. RV seems to “ name your own price” on a lot of items lately. Fondue pot comes to mind.

    • Haha well with that they also took creative license to rename the item too. Sauce pot just didn’t have the same ring to it…

  8. Please, less pictures of the booklets!!! #dontcare

    • Yes! There is no reason for all the photos.

    • To be fair there wasn’t much else to take pictures of… 5 pictures of a $2 root beer is pushing it too but the box only has three objects so work with what you’ve got?

    • Some people might be interested. I appreciated the brown cow recipe.

      • Then it’s pick the most interesting, useful, artistic, or representative pages, which would probably include your recipe. I appreciate the thought towards being thorough, but pics of almost every page is irritating not really adding anything to the review. It can also come off as fan service rather than an ‘impartial’ review.

      • I so agree! The book pictures in every review makes me cringe. The forests are weeping with all the paper waste from subscription boxes.

    • I agree. My one tiny complaint with this overall excellent site is all the pics of the booklets. Just one or two relevant pages would suffice, not every single page. I think most of us probably just scroll down quickly to get to the good stuff. 😉

    • It looks like I might be in the minority, but I like the booklet pictures and prefer that they remain in future reviews. I acknowledge I do not personally care for similar paraphernalia in other reviews but understand others might. Anyway, flicking a finger a few more times to scroll down isn’t really that big of a deal, is it?

  9. Looks like a great box! I don’t subscribe yet but love seeing them reviewed and this one is really appealing to me.

    • I would highly recommend checking out the forum threads on this box to get both the good and bad before committing.

  10. The difficulty with this box (not counting it’s unknown RV) is that if you don’t own any records, it’s not much fun to use this with just one included. If you already have a record collection, this is more of a fun addition. It’s just a bit specific.

    • I totally agree! Plus, if you have a record collection, chances are you already have a decent player too. So this either becomes an “extra” for those with records, or a dust collector for those who don’t. It would have been very cool if they’d offered a gift certificate, or even a steep discount, to a store that sells records…then this could have been a very fun box.

    • I thought that was going to be the case for me, since I didn’t own a single record, but it ended up turning out so much better! When I mentioned getting a record player to my parents, they were super excited to share their favorite records from their old collections, which haven’t seen the light of day in 10+ years. And my fiance and I now have plans to browse local record stores which otherwise we never would have visited. Obviously I’m just one person, but this is the first Robb Vices box that actually expanded my horizons. My apartment has sounded like a Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack for the past week! Now I’m just crossing my fingers that the record player is decent quality and doesn’t damage these old records :).

      • That is such an awesome story, May! I love that this box unexpectedly opened up your home to a whole new world of music! The fact that it offered a new way to connect with your parents is also tugging at my heartstrings <3 Thank you so much for sharing!

  11. I truly wish that I could find a reliable RV on the turntable. So far, I have never had a box from Robb Vices that was worth less than what it cost to purchase, and I really doubt that they would do that this time. From what I had gathered from my audiophile friends, this turntable is definitely not a $60 turntable, but more like a $150 – $170 turntable (this is what I have been told…I don’t know much about modern turntables). Thoughts anyone?

    • I emailed Robb Vices and they said that it’s a pre-release and the RV is $150.

    • My husband wasn’t a fan and we have a record player at home but I don’t know if there is something we’re missing because this is a turn table but quality wise my old $150 dollar one from bed bath and beyond with radio and cd player is something I can point to and say it’s totally worth it and this turn table while cool in theory seems underwhelming to me especially for that price point.

      “A Turntable Is…

      Well actually it’s a simple device that doesn’t sport a bunch of features like amps or speakers. You’ll use turntables if you’re into the idea of toting your unit along with you when you’re on the move.

      Turntables feature a platter (which is where you place the record) and a pickup device that has a cartridge and stylus. Electronic signals are sent to the preamplifier, and sounds are processed through headphones or speakers.


      A Record Player Is…

      A device that usually features speakers and an amplifier, which translates to a much more elaborate picture than the one painted with turntables. Record players also come with built-in features, all designed for an improved listening experience and easier operation.

      The big difference probably comes in with the weight factor. A record player is much heavier than a turntable, which means it’s not nearly as portable. They’re also a lot more expensive than turntables, but the preamp and speakers that come as part of the heftier price tag are almost always worth the splurge.

      In a few words: A turntable is NOT a record player. So where to now?”

  12. Geez. I hate to be negative, but I’m soooo glad I cancelled this box. Every month I check out the review, with a strong FOMO. My fear is now gone. That’s it for me.

    • I agree with you!! I cancelled in January and don’t regret it at all. The saucepot aka fondue pot and now one bottle of root beer?? Really bad IMO.

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