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Keepsake Turntable

by Crosley
Model Shown: CR249
Retail Price: $149.95
Buy New
Price last verified: Friday, April 18, 2014
Turntable Categories
USB
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The Crosley Keepsake USB turntable, like many other Crosley record players, is a style over substance proposition. Inferior parts like a ceramic cartridge ensure poor sound quality.

 

Contents

Turntable Quality Checklist
Warnings
Review of the Crosley Keepsake Turntable (CR249)
Details and Specifications
Photos and Pictures
Sample Audio Clips

 

 

Turntable Quality Checklist

Score: 0 out of 6
Moving Magnet Cartridge or Better
Adjustable Anti-Skate Compensation
Metal Platter
Upgradable Cartridge/Stylus
2 Grams or Less Tracking Force
Adjustable Preamp Gain

 

 

Warnings

 

 

Review

Review Date: March 31, 2009

Turntable Quick Facts

The Good

  • Stylish, portable, comes in two colors
  • Built-in speakers
  • Plays 78 speed records

The Bad

  • Poor sound quality
  • No easy software
  • Seriously defective on arrival

Overview

The Crosley CR249, aka the "Keepsake Turntable," is truly a style over substance proposition. Its attractive retro look comes in black and tan and travels in style. But it features an undesirable ceramic cartridge and the difference in sound quality should be obvious listening to the samples. Nonetheless, the CR249 has features not found on the other two turntables: Built-in stereo speakers, a line-in jack, 78 speed and portability.

Buy this turntable because you like the way it looks. Buy this turntable because it stores nicely alongside your luggage. Don't buy this turntable for sound quality- you'll be sorely disappointed.

 

The Infamous Ceramic Cartridge

In the turntable comparison guide, Knowzy profusely warns you about turntables with ceramic cartridges. The Crosley sample clips provide the proof.

The Gorillaz sample is good example of how bad your music could sound through the CR249. You actually hear this "crispy crackling" noise accompanying the music.

It also skipped five times during this song. This is a new record in excellent condition. None of the other turntables skipped on this song.

Low bass and/or loudly recorded albums seem to cause the crispy crackle noise. It is easily noticeable on the Black Eyed Peas and Gorillaz samples but well under control on the albums produced in the 70's.

Beyond the crispy crackle effect, you may notice a lack of low-end tones in general. This hallow sound is another limitation of ceramic cartridges- a poorer frequency response.

 

It Does 78's. Just Get the Proper Needle

The Crosley is the only turntable out of the three that has a 78 speed. However, Crosley doesn't make a stylus suitable for playing 78 records. Luckily, LP Gear sells an aftermarket needle to breathe new life into your 78's without ruining your original stylus.

Any turntable with a 78 speed can play a 78 record. However, it is important to use a stylus made specifically for 78 records for two reasons: First, these old records will damage a needle designed for regular, vinyl records. Second, your 78 record will sound worse when played with a stylus made for vinyl records.

The grooves on 78 records are wider than modern vinyl records. They also respond better to a conical-shaped needle, as opposed to the spherical-shaped needle found on the Crosley.

The result: Use a stylus designed for modern records on a 78 record and you'll hear mostly the dust in the bottom of the groove, where it has been collecting for a century or more. At the same time, the hard shellac and other materials quickly wear down the tip of your Crosley-supplied needle.

Knowzy located only one company that sells a 78 needle compatible with the Crosley NP4 needle (please write in if you have another source, competition is good). LP Gear sells this stylus for $24.95. The Crosley NP78 stylus is not compatible with this turntable.

 

DOA. Fixing (Would Have) Required Warranty Service

The CR249 Knowzy purchased from RadioShack powered on but the platter refused to spin. In addition, the cover fell off completely upon opening due to bent hinges (see third picture). The kicker: Crosley expects you to pay $20, plus shipping, for their mistakes.

The motor was running but the turntable wasn't spinning. It was clear there was a problem with the turntable's belt. Knowzy opened it up (voiding the warranty) to see if it was fixable. Sure enough, the belt has simply fallen off the platter (see second picture). After re-attaching it, the turntable was spinning properly.

The bent hinges remain. As a result, the dustcover sits to the side of the record player when in use.

Crosley's warranty policy reflects poorly on their level of commitment to and confidence in their workmanship. The warranty is 90 days and, in addition to footing the bill for shipping it back to them, they ask you to include a check for $19.95 "to cover the handling and return postage."

In comparison, Ion Audio offers a 90-day warranty and you pay for one-way shipping. Audio-Technica stands by their product for a full year and, again, only one-way shipping.

 

Other Crosley CR249 Features

In addition to 78 speed, the CR249 has other features not found on the other two turntables. It is portable, it has built-in speakers and has a line-in jack for digitizing a tape player or other audio component.

The Crosley folds up and is secured by a clasp. When closed, it resembles a piece of luggage, complete with a handle. It easy transportable and stores nicely.

The line-in auxiliary connection is 1/8", the same size as a mini-headphone jack. It lets you connect a tape player, 8-track or anything else with a line-out. You can either digitize what you connect or listen to it through the built-in speakers.

The stereo speakers are loud enough to fill a room. They are one-way, so don't expect superb sound quality. The volume and tone controls adjust what comes out of the speaker but doesn't affect the digitization.

 

No Easy to Use Software

Unlike the other two turntables, the Crosley doesn't come with additional software to make digitizing your vinyl easy. It ships with Audacity, a program you can download free on the Internet that is difficult to learn and doesn't burn CDs.

Even experienced computer users struggle to learn how to use Audacity for vinyl ripping. To their credit, Crosley does a pretty thorough job in explaining how to use Audacity in their "Software Installation Guide."

In 22 pages, they cover setup, recording, raising the volume level (you will need to do this), cleaning your audio, dividing LP sides into tracks (manually and automatically) and saving your songs as computer files.

What's missing? They only allude to the fact that saving your songs as MP3s requires you to jump through some hoops. They don't touch the topic of creating a CD from your records other than to suggest using a WAV file format. They also omit how to "tag" your files with song titles and album and artist names.

Audacity accomplishes most vinyl ripping tasks. However, if you're not a computer whiz, you may need to enlist one to get you started.

 

 

Details and Specificatons

Turntable Basics
CategoriesUSB
Suitable for 78 RPM?Yes1
Pre-Amp?Not Required
Upgadable Cartridge?No
CD Burner?No
SD Card, USB Flash DriveNo
iPod DockNo
SoftwareAudacity
Tape Player, RadioNo
SpeakersStereo
Remote Control?No

1  Requires an aftermarket stylus available online at LP Gear. Read more in the review.

 

Connections
USB OutputYes
Line OutRCA
Phono OutNo
Headphone Out1/8"
Line In1/8"
S/PDIF OutNo
Ground WireNo

 

Turntable Construction
Cartridge TypeCeramic
Cartridge MountPermanent
Cartridge Make/ModelNot Specified
Adjustable Anti-SkateNo
DriveBelt
Adjustable GainNo
Speeds33.3, 45 & 78 RPM
PlatterPlastic
Automatic FeaturesSemi-automatic
Tonearm CueYes, Lever
DustcoverVinyl
Tonearm Height AdjustmentNo
Offset Tonearm?Yes
Adjustable FeetNo

 

Turntable Features
Adjustable Pitch?No
Pitch Lock?No
Reverse (Backward) PlayNo
Strobe Light?No
Cue LightNo

 

Specifications
Signal to Noise (S/N)Not Published
Wow and FlutterNot Published
Vertical Tracking Force (VTF)4.62g1
Tracking ErrorNot Published
Effective Tonearm LengthNot Published
Speed VarianceNot Published
Counterweight RangeNot Adjustable
Cartridge Weight RangeNot Applicable
A/D Resolution44.1kHz, 16-bit
Dimensions (W x D x H)Not Published
WeightNot Published

1  Measured by Knowzy using this tracking force scale*. Figure not from manufacturer.

 

 

Photos and Pictures

Crosley Keepsake Turntable (CR249-TA) Marketing Photo

Idealized marketing photo of the Crosley Keepsake Turntable, model number CR249-TA.

 

Photo shows the Crosley CR249 turntable on a table. The cover is closed. A carrying handle is visible.
Closed Up

The Crosley CR249 sits closed and latched, ready to come along with you.

 

Photo shows the Crosley CR249 turntable on a table from above. The cover is open, revealing the platter and controls.
First Time Opening

Brand new, the tape is still on the needle of the Crosley CR249.

 

Photo shows the Crosley CR249 inside the case. The belt is dangling underneath the pulley.
Belt Was Not Attached

I turned on the CR249 for the first time and the platter wouldn't spin. When I took it apart, I found the belt had come off.

 

Photo shows the platter of the Crosley CR249 turntable. Focus in on the belt that wrapped around the platter and over the motor's pulley.
Reattaching the Turntable Belt

Ah, that's better. The belt is now back on its pulley. Too bad I voided the warranty to fix it!

 

Close up photo shows a bent hinge connecting the turntable to its cover.
The Cover Easily Flopped Off

Thanks to a bent hinge, the turntable cover falls off when fully extended.

 

Close up photo shows the stylus (needle) and cartridge of the Crosley CR249 turntable.
Cartridge Close-Up

The Crosley CR249 cartridge and stylus in all its glory.

 

Screenshot from Audacity showing a narrow waveform.
Low Recording Volume for the Crosley CR249 Turntable

This is Pink Floyd's On the Run recorded on the Keepsake Turntable. It comes nowhere near the peaks and cannot be adjusted.

 

Screenshot from Audacity shows a normalized waveform that reaches peak volume.
Same Recording with Normalized Volume

After normalizing, the same Pink Floyd recording is a reasonable volume.

 

 

 

Sample Audio Clips

Album Cover: The Black Eyed Peas - Monkey Business

The Black Eyed Peas - Dum Diddly

Source: Crosley Keepsake Turntable

Play Button
MP3 (192Kbps VBR)
Duration: 0:30
Album Cover: Michael Franti and Spearhead - All Rebel Rockers

Michael Franti And Spearhead - A Little Bit Of Riddim

Source: Crosley Keepsake Turntable

Play Button
MP3 (192Kbps VBR)
Duration: 0:30
Album Cover: Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon

Pink Floyd - On the Run

Source: Crosley Keepsake Turntable

Play Button
MP3 (192Kbps VBR)
Duration: 0:30
Album Cover: Steely Dan - Aja

Steely Dan - Peg

Source: Crosley Keepsake Turntable

Play Button
MP3 (192Kbps VBR)
Duration: 0:30
Album Cover: Fleetwood Mac's Self-Titled Album

Fleetwood Mac - Rhiannon (Abused LP)

Source: Crosley Keepsake Turntable

Play Button
MP3 (192Kbps VBR)
Duration: 0:30

Listen to recordings from other turntables on our USB Turntable Samples page.

 

 

Disclosure

* Knowzy earns a commission on items marked with a *. We strive to find you the lowest price from reputable retailers but you may find a better deal elsewhere.

Learn how Knowzy puts your best interests before our selfish desire to turn a profit.

We appreciate your support.

 

Originally Published:  Wednesday, December 7, 2011, 10:44 AM PT

Last Updated:  Tuesday, December 13, 2011, 6:35 PM PT

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