Good inexpensive player, not built to last

Jun 19, 2007
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Good looking, inexpensive, decent sound quality for price

Cons:Everything feels like its going to break

The Bottom Line: Good choice for occasional use, but not for young kids. I won't be surprised if it doesn't hold up, but I will be careful and hope for the best.

I bought this after first buying an old record player on Ebay ("works great"), and having it stop working after about an hour of play - old electronics on Ebay are risky, and old record players are a very good example of that - next to impossible to get parts.
So I bought this one on Amazon, because I had heard that this unit's build-quality was only so-so, and so I wanted to be sure I could return it (Amazon has a great return policy). It arrived in a few days.

And sure enough, this is not a "built-like-a-tank" unit, like the Califone's are - the plastic cover would snap right off if you pushed it the wrong way. And there is no on-off switch for the record player, which means you move the playing arm to make it go - maybe that internal switch will hold up, but clearly it was done to save costs, not to increase quality. You actually push the tone arm AWAY from the record to get it going, and I was afraid the first few times that I might accidentally snap it off. So far, it hasn't broken, but I won't let my kids try it.

There is no way to fine-adjust the speed (it plays 33, 45, and 78), but the speed seemed just fine, so hopefully it will stay that way - at this price, it is doubtful that paying a repair service would make sense.
The radio is fine too - this is not a high quality radio, but it works fine for what it is - a relatively cheap unit. The built-in speakers sounded pretty good too - you won't want to crank up the volume, but in a regular sized, room, the speakers are fine. There are outputs for external speakers, but I don't have any plans to use them.

There is a version of this that also has a CD player. I looked into that one (its about $40 or so extra), but to operate that unit, you MUST use the remote control! That may not seem totally ridiculous, but you use the remote to open the CD drawer, so you will be standing in front of the unit using your "remote". Same goes for the record player - you have to use the remote to select "record player" in order to get the record player to turn on when you are standing there moving the tone arm to turn it on - truly bizarre. Crosley didn't think through the design of that unit very well.
And don't drop that remote, because if you break it, you will have to replace it - the only thing you can use that unit for without the remote is the radio!
One strange thing that I noticed - 78s required a different stylus size than 33 and 45 records do (which is why old record players have a needle that you flip over). This one has just one stylus. There is no explanation in the (very weak) manual, but I did play 78s too, and they sounded pretty good. I don't have a way to test to see if there is a sacrifice in sound quality though - its seemed fine to me.

Bottom line - If you have some old records you'd like to hear again a few times, without spending too much money, and you don't plan to use it to heavily, this unit is a decent choice, provided you treat it carefully - everything on it feels fragile. If you are going to put it in a kids room, or you plan to play records often, you might want to spend a bit more for the Califone, or check out the suit-case style Crosley, which costs more (I haven't seen that one in person, so I don't know if its better built than this one.
For many users, a little more build-quality will be worth the extra money - this unit is very good looking, but needs to be treated very carefully.

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