The first thing you notice about this one is the old-school boxy design and the vintage color schemes. You also notice the 4 thin supporting legs, if they are in use (they are removable).
When you put on a record, you notice the sound quality. Obviously, it is not going to compete with a high-end model, but for a unit in this price range, it has some great speakers.
So far it is all good, but naturally, there are going to be some weaknesses at this price. That is unavoidable. We’ll get into those below. Suffice it to say that most are acceptable, but one is a bit disappointing. I’ll give you a hint: it has to do with the tonearm.
Crosley CR6231D-GR Sterling Portable Turntable Review: Overview and Features
If you’re shopping around for a new record player, one that can handle playing all types of vinyl records, then you’ll be blown away by the unique look and overall quality that this model by Crosley offers.
This record player comes with four thin, long wooden legs that screw into the bottom of the unit. If you don’t have a dedicated spot for your turntable or you don’t have the room for it, you can leave the legs off and easily store the player on a shelf or keep it in a closet. Although considering how stunning it is, it would be a shame not to keep this record player on display at all times.
But this record player has a lot more to offer than just good looks.
This Crosley turntable is a multitasking machine that features a built-in Bluetooth receiver that will allow you to wirelessly stream your music, not to mention the included Dansette Bermuda’s dynamic speakers. These full range speakers offer the type of volume you need when you’re hosting a party at home, unlike smaller record players with built-in speakers, which are notoriously quiet.
A Beautiful Reproduction
Obviously, this record player has an interesting design that’s all 1960s, down to the four skinny legs and classic mod look, color scheme and all.
Designed to mimic the classic Dansette record players of the past, the Bermuda is currently one of Crosley’s leading models for a number of reasons, but if you want a record player that really grabs people’s attention, this model is it.
The exterior is mainly covered in rich and thick canvas materials. Buyers can choose from a few color scheme options including green and cream, red, or black.
Thick canvas covers the majority of the record player’s lid, while a grey cloth grille covers the speakers.
On the side of the record player, you’ll find a large gray vinyl covered handle. You’ll also find a couple of clasps located on either side, which will allow you to quickly pack it up for storage or transport.
Inside, you’ll find a thirty-three and a forty-five RPM selector. Located on the front are the volume knob and a plate for the line input and headphone jack, both of which have an aged look, complete with the old yellowing plastic. The entire design of the record player is meant to give it that true vintage feel.
Right out of the box you’ll need to locate the four holes for the legs, which are directly under the turntable. The four long wooden legs will screw directly into the holes and allow the unit to be freestanding.
Once it’s completely assembled this model instantly becomes the focal point of any room. The tonearm and platter have a somewhat cheap look to them, which is a bit disappointing. The manufacturer has clearly put more thought into the aesthetics as opposed to the more important components.
The included user’s manual will walk you through the simple assembly process, which should only take you about fifteen minutes to complete at the most.
The included tonearm doesn’t have the same type of quality as the tonearms you’ll find on the original Dansette record players.
Instead, it’s nothing more than a thin metal tube with a thin plastic headshell and a small counterweight that’s also made out of a thinner metal. You’ll also notice that there’s no arm lift or an auto return.
However, the CR6231D-GR comes equipped with a top of the line, diamond tipped needle and a moving magnet cartridge (see next section) instead of the traditional stock ceramic cartridge.
What is a Moving Magnet Cartridge?
The moving magnet cartridge is probably one of the most common types of cartridges that you’ll come across on your search for the best vintage record player. This type of cartridge consists of two magnets located on the end of the needle.
There is one magnet per channel. When the needle moves, the magnets will change their position with the coils located in the cartridge’s body. This will work to generate a small voltage.
One of the biggest advantages of this type of cartridge is its high output delivery. This means it’s basically compatible with most types of phono input.
There are many types of moving cartridges that will come with a replaceable or removable needle, which can be more convenient if you need to replace the needle due to normal wear and tear or if it becomes damaged. It will cost significantly less to replace the needle than it would be to replace the cartridge.
However, one of the biggest drawbacks of this type of cartridge is that the magnets often have a higher mass than that of the moving coil cartridge.
The greater mass typically means that the needle will not be able to move very fast over the record. This can hinder its ability to track the smaller changes in the surface of the grooves. Because of this, many audiophiles tend to prefer moving coil cartridges over moving magnet cartridges.
Since this record player uses a moving magnet cartridge instead of a moving coil or ceramic cartridge you don’t need to apply much force on the grooves of a record unless you feel you’re having issues with the tonearm’s tracking ability.
In terms of speaker quality, these speakers aren’t half bad, especially when compared to the speakers you’ll find on other models in this price range. They’re also a big upgrade from the speakers used in Crosley record players of the past.
However, you still shouldn’t expect the sound quality to come close to what you could describe as high fidelity. The sound is more comparable to that of a moderately priced Bluetooth speaker than it is to high fidelity speakers.
If you’re planning on hosting a party or you need a higher volume, consider hooking the record player up to a pair of powered speakers.
Crosley CR6231D-GR Performance
Immediately, you’ll be impressed with the record player’s vintage style and how it instantly steals the spotlight in any room.
The quality of the case is excellent, with a beautiful wood and canvas design. The canvas material looks well put together with no noticeable seams.
The four thin wooden legs are removable so you can place the record player on a shelf if you don’t have much floor space. If you do have the space then add the legs, which really gives the record player a unique look.
As far as sound quality goes, it’s much richer than what you’d expect from a portable record player. The volume is loud enough to drown out most household noises such as a running washing machine or the TV.
The record player just gives off this great vintage vibe and sound, which is why it’s one of Crosley’s leading models. Unlike cheaper models, you won’t have to worry about a lightweight tonearm that causes the needle to skip from groove to groove.
Overall, I was satisfied with the performance, the construction, and the sound quality. This model will work for beginners or even the pickiest audiophile looking for a budget player.
Comparison To Competition
Believe it or not, but one of this model’s top competitors is a smaller, compact record player that’s available at a more affordable price.
The Wrcibo Record Player, Vintage Turntable 3-Speed Record Player, has many of the same features as this model by Crosley, however, it features a more compact design that makes it a better fit for homes that are short on space.
It comes with a headphone jack, and aux input, which will allow you to connect an MP3 player, CD player, your PC, and another type of compatible device. It also comes with built-in stereo speakers, however, these speakers aren’t nearly as loud as the speakers on the Crosley.
Both models are very beginner-friendly, easy to set up and feature the traditional three-speed capabilities that we’ve come to expect from modern record players.
Unfortunately, the Wrcibo model isn’t equipped with Bluetooth connectivity, so you won’t be able to wirelessly stream your music on compatible devices.
Basically, the Wrcibo player is a better fit for use in a small room and would make a great first record player for the beginner, but it doesn’t have the volume power that the Crosley portable turntable has.
Crosley Sterling Portable Turntable Review: Conclusion and Rating
The Crosley CR6231D-GR Sterling Portable Turntable gives off that one of a kind vibe. In fact, it can easily be mistaken for a true vintage record player instead of a reproduction.
The unique look combined with the great sound, solid construction, and overall quality makes this model a steal for the price. I give it a Top Record Players rating of 4.5 out of 5