Crosley offers a variety of portable and entry-level turntables under $500. But, do they offer the best audio quality for these prices?
Most Popular Crosley Record Players
Crosley Messenger Vinyl Record Player
Styled to resemble a messenger bag, the battery-powered Crosley Messenger provides extreme portability – and low sound quality. Even though it has a diamond stylus and plays all record speeds, this turntable only includes small built-in speakers.
This bare-bones unit offers light weight and portability at the expense of quality. For example, the Crosley Messenger’s tone arm, switches, and knobs are made of cheap plastic (and don’t provide much durability). This unit can provide an introduction to vinyl record culture – but certainly not the sound of a true turntable.
Crosley Cruiser Vinyl Record Player
The Crosley Cruiser offers a few more features than the Messenger – and slightly better durability. It boasts an RCA output but lacks the components to send a high-quality signal to your component stereo system.
Much like the Messenger, this unit provides entry-level convenience and flash without the audio quality that made vinyl popular in the first place.
Crosley C200 Vinyl Record Player
The C-Series is Crosley’s attempt to address this brand’s reputation as a “take it to the beach” turntable company. The C200 includes Crosley’s first direct drive motor, adjustable tone arm, and strobe pitch control (necessary for DJs).
This unit looks and feels more like a quality turntable than other Crosley units but doesn’t have all the features you might expect from an entry-level audiophile turntable. It doesn’t have auto-return, so you have to manually return the tone arm to its starting position after listening. The C200’s built-in pre-amp doesn’t offer much in terms of quality, though you do have the option of bypassing it and using a stand-alone unit.
Alternatives to the Crosley Messenger Vinyl Record Player
Our Rock ‘N’ Rolla Jr. unit provides 3-speed portable operation with auto-stop, a sturdy motor, and good-quality speakers. This little favorite competes on both cost and functionality. The Rock ‘N’ Rolla Jr.’s belt drive is temperature-tested to keep playing – even in turntable-unfriendly environments.
The Rock ‘N’ Rolla Jr. features a solid-quality diamond needle and a complete suite of bells and whistles for new turntable enthusiasts. Yes, it has RCA inputs – but it doesn’t stop there. It features a 3.5 mm headphone output and a USB out for backing up your vinyl records on memory sticks. It even connects to phones and mp3 players!
Alternatives to the Crosley Cruiser Vinyl Record Player
A step up from the Jr. the Rock ‘N’ Rolla Premium Portable Briefcase Turntable offers increased durability and a 4-hour rechargeable lithium battery. This unit also connects via Bluetooth and provides SD card support.
Of course, the Rock ‘N’ Rolla Premium offers all the features of the Rock ‘N’ Rolla Jr.
Alternatives to the Crosley C200 Vinyl Record Player
The Music Hall MMF-1.3 Turntable features a precision-aligned Audio Technica MM cartridge. This belt-driven turntable includes an aluminum tonearm and a removable headshell.
The MMF-1.3’s incorporated speed control circuits provide finely-tuned 3-speed operation. It features an aircraft-grade aluminum platter, vibration-damping mat/feet, and a protective, hinged dust cover.