What with this being the second vinyl record player we've reviewed in the past few months, it seems that analogue music is enjoying something of a resurgence. If you're getting back into it, or never left and need a brand new player, read on... as we review the Crosley Snap USB Turntable.
This compact and portable player certainly looks the business, with a design that made a couple of us have to check to see if it wasn't actually fifty years old for real. The whole thing closes up to the size of a suitcase (complete with handle) with crafted hinges that complete the 50s/60s aesthetic. But the real fun is in opening it up.
Not only does the Crosley Snap open upwards to reveal the turntable itself, but speakers also open out to the sides. This is pretty unique in itself, and means there is no need to attach external speakers to get started (although thanks to the connectors, you could if you wanted to). Fortunately the speakers each have a little foot so there is no strain the hinges when open, and the plastic grills look like something your granddad would've listened to music on. Nice.
The main section is very sparse and basic in appearance, with nothing but the turntable, the stylus arm, and the dial to adjust the playback speed. On that note, you get a choice of 33, 45, and 78 rpm, so you can play seven, ten, and 12 inch records. Oh, and the turntable is driven by a belt, which is, apparently, important.
Once it is spinning away with a record on the plate, it sounds gloriously rich and deep. Having the speakers right there by the actual rotating disk just seems to enhance the retro feeling and sound. We must admit to not having a great deal of experience with vinyl (through a combination of our average ages and lack of interest in the medium) but we were surprised at how smooth and undistorted the sound was. We suppose we were expecting something more... crackly?
But the Crosley Snap USB Turntable does even more than simply play your records. Using the supplied software you can use you computer to import music from vinyl to be converted to mp3. So if you have some treasured old records in a cupboard somewhere, slowly gathering dust, you can use this to digitally preserve them. Even if you have no real long-term desire to own a record player, the Crosley Snap could be a useful tool in it's own right.
But is it worth that £200 plus price tag? Well, yes and no. Yes if you're completely blown away by the looks; either just to sit it on a sideboard in your similarly retro-themed home, or to actually carry around to use in several different places. The style, coupled with the USB converting functionality, will certainly tick a lot of people's boxes. However, if you're serious about vinyl as a continuing platform, the Crosley Snap USB Turntable might seem like too much of a novelty to invest in, with too few adjustable and professional elements.
But for now, it seems, vinyl is definitely making a comeback.