Crosley CR8005A Cruiser Portable Turntable Review
In this Crosley Cruiser review I will be detailing all of the pros and cons you should consider when looking to buy this turntable. Crosley is one of the leading brand names in record players and they carry a wide variety of products. The Crosley CR8005A Cruiser Portable turntable is their cheapest offering and when looking at vinyl players, like in most things, you get what you pay for. So lets begin.
Crosley Cruiser Setup and Usability
This is the only category in which I have very many positive things to say about this player. There is virtually no setup. There are no counter balance weights to adjust or parts to assemble. You open the box, plug it in, and you’re ready to go. There are 2 knobs that control everything. The volumepower knob and the speed selector that allows you to quickly switch between 33 1/3, 45, and 78 rpm. They are conveniently located and the speed selector is a nice feature that is not always found on even $400 turntables.
It has its own internal pre-amp and built in speakers. The quality on both is low end and though there is no way to bypass the pre-amp to use your own, there are RCA plugs and a headphone jack if you want to use better speakers.
However, the factory setup has some drawbacks. The model I tested spun too slowly and the song playback was consequently slowed down. Very annoying. The only way to adjust this is by disassembling the player and painstakingly adjusting the motors manually with their tiny adjust screws. In addition the tonearm was poorly balanced and the heavy ceramic cartridge sat heavy on my LP’s. This causes not only poor sound quality, but it also causes a lot of undue wear and tear on your record and shortens it’s lifespan. Due to the lack of tonearm adjust-ability, there is nothing I can do to remedy this issue.
One of the biggest selling points of this turntable is its portability and vintage look, which I can’t deny. It can be quickly packed up and made into a cool vintage looking suitcase with a handle. It’s lightweight enough that you can strap it on your bike and take off to your friends house at a moments notice.
A video explaining exactly how to use it:
Crosley Cruiser Sound Quality
As I mentioned before the sound quality is pretty lacking compared to more expensive models. If all you want is to be able to bring a player to quickly and conveniently listen to records anywhere there is power, then sound quality might not be that important to you.
The built in speakers do not have much volume and sound very tinny. They are very lacking in anything mid-range and in bass. You can hook up external speakers via RCA cables or through the 3.5mm headphone jack, but don’t expect much improvement other than increased volume.
The motor of my player spun so much slower than 45 rpm that it produced a very noticeable slow down in playback. It was very difficult for me to listen to. I have heard that other people’s motors had the opposite problem and it spun too fast. With this amount of variance I can’t imagine the motor will spin at anything close to a constant speed over any amount of time and it will sound like you are in a time warp.
The tonearm is so poorly balanced that there were many skips for the first half of the album.
Crosley Cruiser Build Quality
The box itself is made from cheap MDF with vinyl fabric poorly covering it. Little care was made to make sure the vinyl was properly attached or looked good. There is a lot of bubbling and the corner joints look like they could fail at any moment.
All of the components of the actual player are also low quality. Plastic tonearm and platter. Tinny tiny speakers. Even the headphone and RCA jacks feel slightly misshapen. The motor speed is poorly set and does not maintain a constant rate.
That being said though, this thing costs $70 and I can’t expect any quality parts for that low of a price. The market for this player is not someone that is worried about perfect audio playback, and hopefully not someone who thinks this is going to last more than a year or so.
Here is a good video that shows you exactly what I’m talking about in regards to the build quality:
Crosley Cruiser Turntable – Assorted Colors
One of the big drawing points to the Crosley record player is that it comes in 9 assorted colors:
The Crosley CR8005A Cruiser is a $70 turntable in a world where you need to spend at least $400 to get a quality record player. With this in mind I can’t be too hard on it. It looks cool, is portable, and plays LPs. In my opinion this puts this player closer to a toy than a serious vinyl player, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
If you really want to upgrade and give your ears a real treat though, you should check out my review of the TEAC TN-300. It goes for around $400.
As long as you are realistic in your expectations and are aware of what this player is and why you are buying it then you shouldn’t be disappointed. If you just want to be able to easily share your music collection with others and spread the joy of analog music, then the Crosley Cruiser may be just what you are looking for.
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