That has garnered them a reputation for making cheap crap, to put it bluntly.
In many cases, that reputation is deserved. Their entry level players leave a lot to be desired.
But the Crosley C200 is a few steps above entry level.
There is no doubt it is a much better record player that their cheaper models.
But is it better than competing models from other brands?
Read the rest of our Crosley C200 review to find out. We also include a direct comparison with its most popular and famous competitor.
Crosley C200 Turntable Overview And Features
The Crosley C200 is at a mid to low price point turntable which attempts to compete with turntables like the AT LP120. It has an s-shaped tonearm and a speed control slider with two operation speeds: 33 or 45 RPM.
It is a much higher quality turntable than Crosley’s entry-level all-in-one unit, though it is not on par with some others in this price range.
It is a fully manual deck, meaning when the record is over you must lift the needle and put it back in the cradle. An interesting thing to note here is that this unit can come either as a direct drive or a belt-drive. You can choose at checkout.
- Accurate speed control
- Attractive look
- The tonearm section is well done
- Versatile with switchable preamp
- Good value for money
- Not the best quality components
- Feels light and cheap compared to others
- Not for serious audiophiles
Direct Drive Motor
I like the direct drive motor here. There was a time when I thought belt drives were far superior, but now I have heard some great direct drives that are just as quiet as belt drives.
Yay for technology. The great thing about direct-drive motors is the speed accuracy, which is better than belt drives. Read our article comparing belt drive and direct drive for more.
Fully Manual Operation
This is another feature I like quite a bit. If you are listening to records, you are going to be close to the turntable, right? That’s one reason automatic record players have always annoyed me.
The second reason I like manual operation is that there are fewer moving parts like gears and secondary motors to break. Simplicity is good when it comes to record players.
The Tonearm Is Well Done
It has a balanced s-shaped tonearm that is easy to place where you want it. It also has a decent hydraulic lift with a lever, anti-skate, and lockable rest. It is just like the LP120 in the tonearm area.
This is becoming a necessity in today’s turntables. If you have an amp or receiver with a phono input, do not use the onboard pre-amp. If your receiver does not have a dedicated phono jack, use the preamp.
Aluminum Platter With Felt Slip Mat
Again, this looks exactly like the AT-LP120. It is lightweight and the felt mat is of decent quality, although it attracts dust like all felt mats.
Crosley C200 Vs Audio Technica LP120
First off, I have to say that this is not going to be a fair comparison, but I will do my best. The Crosley and the AT are similar in function and format, but in different leagues in the quality department.
Still, it is fair to compare them because they both have similar features and they are sort of close to each other in price, though the AT is quite a bit more expensive, relatively speaking.
Both are direct-drive turntables with speed control and manual operation. They both have dustcovers and they both have lights that shine on the edge of the platter.
They both have aluminum platters and they come with felt slipmats. They both have s-shaped tonearms which have anti-skate, hydraulic lifts, and lockable rests.
They both have switchable preamps, too. Both units come with dustcovers that you can open and close. Format-wise, they are the same with the same jobs to do.
The first major difference is that the AT-120 has a USB output for ripping your records to digital on a PC or laptop. This is a feature missing from the Crosley.
Secondly, the Crosley does not have the dust finder light on the edge of the platter like the AT does. Yes, the Crosley has the speed light on the corner near the power switch, but it has no light for spotting dust in low light.
The third difference is the first immediately noticeable difference when you have the two units side by side. The AT weighs six pounds more than the Crosley.
The Crosley weighs 11 pounds and the AT weighs 17 pounds. This difference is for a good reason. The quality of the parts used in the AT makes it weigh more than the cheaper parts used in the Crosley. Of course, you pay for this difference in quality, too.
Between these two similar turntables, I think the Crosley is a good choice for kids or people that are on a strict budget.
The AT is a much better turntable in nearly every way you could compare them except price. You will get a better sound from the AT, and it will last longer and allow you to transfer your vinyl to PC. For me, the AT wins easily.
Crosley C200 Review: Conclusion And Rating
OK, I have not been super kind to this Crosley C200 Turntable, I know.
However, keep in mind that I am biased because I have owned many, many very good turntables and I don’t particularly like Crosley as a brand. That bias almost certainly comes across in my reviews.
That said, setting my bias aside, this is a good turntable for budget-minded people. It is far better than Crosley’s entry-level models and can almost hold its own against the AT-120.
It sounds pretty good and will reproduce the sound of your records just fine. It would help if you had a decent outboard preamp to help tidy up the tones, but even the built-in preamp here is not bad. It does the job.
This record player has all the features you need, and it even has pitch control, which is hard to get at this price point and just makes it so much easier to adjust the turntable pitch.
The components inside are not great, but they do the job well enough, especially for the price of the unit.
To the average person, there is not going to be enough difference in the sound quality to warrant spending an extra 100 bucks to step up to an AT.
That is a huge compliment to the Crosley C200. For the price you pay, this has more going for it than you should expect.
It is a great bargain and a decent turntable, but it’s not on par with some others just a bit higher in the price range. That is why it gets a respectable Top Record Players rating of 4 out of 5.