The Portable LP Machine Rides Again
I’ve been searching for the unequaled portable turntable. The time machine to the twist and the smoke out.
Originally, the Gig Harbor Goodwill produced parts and prospects. Beneath the VCR’s and kitty corner to the used crutches is where I first searched. Whether it be torn cables, sandpapered slip mats or forked needles, every donated artifact yielded problems that I, unfortunately, was too lazy to resurrect. After then traveling to every thrift store in Pierce County, I finally decided to go for my second source, the internet.
With a limited income, I set a $10o budget to hopefully find a product that would suit my credentials which at this point were extremely curbed. With a quick Amazon search my choices were now broken down to about six different possibilities. With the help of my favorite curator at Drastic Plastic Records in Tacoma and my trusty internet savvy girlfriend, I went for the classic look of the Crosley CR49 Traveler at $89.99. This tan, imitation leather machine, from what I had heard, was not necessarily the clearest of modern machinery but had certainly “come in handy” in most situations of need. Dreaming of the stack-o-matic feature on the turntable of $70 more, I made my quick purchase and got my order via UPS three days later while still remaining under budget.
Under the styrofoam and plastic the suitcase-sized case was of much higher quality than I had expected. Strong-handled and equipped with impressive metal fasteners, the sound machine looked like a seventies James Bond; elegant with a touch of butterscotch.
From within, I was also impressed with the look. There were just the right amount of cue bars and knobs to make the machine easily accessible to any un-hip teenagers with new-fangled iPods. Thankfully, I was also provided with a catalog of other Crosley products including reproduction 45 adapters and replacement needles.
The inaugural album chosen was, of course, The Byrds’ Sweetheart of The Rodeo. After starting with a quiet click, the album’s first track, the Dylan penned You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere, made me feel that there is in fact a catch to every internet blessing. The sweeping pedal steel seemed to slur together with the vocal, making the LP sound like a poorly composed car stereo. That said, I was still very happy with the volume control and clarity that such a small package could provide.
After a thorough search and inspection, it is fair to say that the Crosley CR49 Traveler is worth all 8,999 pennies. And while sounding mildly water-logged, the LP machine is a nostalgic treat to the un-caring ear which makes this a record player made for living room fun and not music room fidelity.