Published on November 4th, 2011 | by Greg0
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.