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Published on November 4th, 2011 | by Greg

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Audio Week: Crosley Spinnerette, New Tech + Retro Style

Pro tip: style counts. We know that we’re preach­ing to the choir here, since our Mis­sion of­fices see us watch­ing over a reg­u­lar pa­rade of hip­sters. But we do get a fair num­ber of prod­ucts that ap­pear to be­lieve that func­tion is most of what mat­ters, and large­ly ig­nores form. Al­so, if fresh­ness counts, if nov­el­ty mat­ters, to­day’s piece of kit is so new that the man­u­fac­tur­er doesn’t even list it on the of­fi­cial web­site yet.

The Crosley Spin­nerette solves two prob­lems. The first is pro­vid­ing for the poor dig­i­tal­ly-fo­cused au­dio geek who nonethe­less wish­es for a record-play­ing so­lu­tion that can im­press. The sec­ond is more util­i­tar­i­an- giv­ing folks who have a col­lec­tion of LPs and need a way to con­vert them for use with their iPhones, iPods, iTunes, and oth­er per­son­al mu­sic de­vices that don’t be­gin with the let­ter ‘i’.

There are plen­ty of sys­tems that can con­vert your 33 1/3, 45 and 78 rpm records from their ana­log source. We’ve even seen an in­ter­est­ing one from Crosley be­fore, al­most a year ago, that func­tioned much the same but var­ied wide­ly in style and even in fea­tures. This new­er mod­el, tech­ni­cal­ly the CR6016A, of­fers a nifty brief­case form fac­tor, that makes it both se­mi-portable as well as eas­i­ly hide­able for those who might not want their ad­dic­tion to vinyl to be so vis­i­ble. We say se­mi-portable, be­cause it isn’t bat­tery pow­ered, but can be car­ried from place to place and plugged in with no has­sle. There’s even in­te­grat­ed cord stor­age for sim­pler trav­el.

As a record play­er, the au­dio­philes on staff weren’t im­pressed. It did the job ca­pa­bly, but didn’t of­fer the sort of bal­ance and out­put op­tions that they want from a more se­ri­ous sys­tem. There are built-in speak­ers, which was a huge plus in our book as it made it an in­te­grat­ed sys­tem. They won’t put out much pow­er, of course, and are quite light on bass and dis­tort the up­per ranges a bit. But as a fun, kitschy way to play your records from a small li­brary or stu­dio, ev­ery­one loved it. The Spin­nerette works won­ders as a con­ver­sa­tion piece, whether you pop on Emer­son, Lake, and Palmer’s clas­sic Brain Sal­ad Surgery or pop on some more re­cent elec­tron­ic re­leas­es (Mo­by sound­ed great, for ex­am­ple).

There’s an aux­il­iary in, for those who want to con­nect their MP3 play­ers- you prob­a­bly won’t, but it’s nice to have it avail­able. Build qual­i­ty is fair­ly cheap- most­ly plas­tic, but fit­ting the aes­thet­ic, es­pe­cial­ly the vol­ume and tone slid­ers. Think Ur­ban Out­fit­ters, not wood­en and heavy- no weight ad­just­ment. It’s not great for DJs, for a va­ri­ety of rea­sons but pri­mar­i­ly be­cause it’s belt-driv­en and not di­rect-drive- sor­ry, you’ll just have to find some oth­er way to up your hip­ster cred. Fi­nal­ly, we al­most for­got to men­tion one of the core fea­tures: you can plug in a USB ca­ble, con­nect it to your com­put­er, and go. It works for PC and Mac, and the soft­ware suite does make things fair­ly sim­ple.

At $150, the Crosley Spin­nerette is not cheap, but would make a love­ly gift for any­one who likes vinyl in that trou­bling 20-30 age range. Avail­able on­line now, and more wide­ly short­ly.

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.



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