Vintage Reproduction Turntables
Retro Record Players
Turntable: the rotating disk that spins the record on a phonograph. In other words, a record player.
As great as mp3 players are, they just don't have the feel and tangibility of an old fashioned record player. Of course, hardly anyone would abandon the convenience and ease of downloading music to rely soley on a turntable (unless you're a hip hop DJ) but vintage record players are great objects to have around and if you have an old vinyll collection or would like to start one, then they are a necessity.
Turntables were design pieces, as were album covers...and they reflected our cultural tastes and styles of every decade. The early record players were made of wood and incorporated detailed embellishment and often a brass manufacturers plate. However, as post-war design moved toward streamlined, clean lines, the players got funkier and came in different colours. In the 20's, 30's and 40's they were made from wood or bakelite (a brittle type of plastic) and featured an art deco design, while those of the 50's and 60's were made from hard plastic.
The Teenage Revolution
In the wake of the post-war baby boom of the 50's and 60's, the new phenomenum of teenagers were developing some clout as consumers. It was an age of relative affluence and manufacturers were eager to cater to the new youth market. At the same time a rebellious music scene was developing and the kids needed something to play their own music on, away from their parents, who didn't share their taste for rock n' roll.
Thus the portable turntable was invented....teenagers could now play their own music in their rooms or take it with them wherever they went. Records too, changed during this period. After the war 78's which were hard and brittle, gave way to vinyl long playing records called LP's which could hold more music - whole symphonies even. 45's were introduced as singles, ie; one hit song and a B track on the other side.
Modern High-Tech with Vintage Charm
The beauty of reproduction record players is that they have all the features of modern technology but with the charm and nostalgia of the old, vintage styles.
The Crosley portable record players featured at right and above has a 3 speed belt driven turntable that plays 33 1/3, 45 and 78 RPM records and built-in full range stereo speakers. The stye is classic 50's retro and made from "suitcase vinyl" and it's of course, transportable.
There's been some mixed reviews about this great looking turntable...eg; one claiming it plays 78's like they've never been played before and another that claims it's too hard on your records There was also oneirate customer who complained the casing is not strong enough.
The Crosley CR249-TA Radio Keepsake USB.is enabled for connection to Windows Equipped PC and Mac.
The crossley CR 40 Mini-Turntable (pictured at the very top of this article) is probably the best of the Crosley replica portables. It certainly got the best rap, with one happy reviewer describing it " the best sounding small record player to come out in decades".
The vintage feel and look is authentic and it's a real nostalgia trip to get out your old records and play them on this beauty. Gotta love the tan vinyl record carrier too..a great way to store and transport your precious records.
Crosley CR711 Autorama Turntable pictured at right, comes with an Am FM radio and remote control. The styling is reminsicent of 50's automobiles, with it's chrome grill accent -looks like a 50's roadster.
At $20 the Varsity Stack-O-Matic is hard to resist - the unit lets you stack six records at a time and includes an insert to play 45's.
The ITRS-600BRN USB from Innovative Technology, pictured below, is very spiffy to look at and has some excellent reviews. Good value for the money. It has MP3 connectivity and plays the usual 3 speeds: 33-1/3, 45 and 78 RPM.
Antique Relica Turntables
The beauty and classic styling of these early twentieth century wooden turntables speaks for itself.... the art deco designs are authentically reproduced and would look great just as a piece of furniture.
The Emerson EME-NR303TTC 4-in-1 (above) is reasonably priced and even has a cassette deck for extra nostalgia. The radio is apparently particularly good but again -mixed reviews for the record playing part.
Crosley's CR44CD Turntable Console (at right) is an upright console with a classic depression era styling. Beautiful to look at and has had genrally very good reviews.
The Crosley Musician Entertainment Center (below) looks good and has had some very good reviews - sturdy, functional and definitely attractive.