Going on the record about records

Just when I thought I had exhausted all my obsessions about all things retro, a new one popped into my head a few weeks ago as I was browsing old radios on eBay.  “Wow,” I thought, “wouldn’t a retro-style record player look superb in my new kitchen area, by the fireplace?”  Of course my inner retro guru immediately agreed with my thoughts, and I started browsing what was available on eBay.  Predictably, I ran into a few problems: a) old record players are not in great shape b) the descriptions for the models frequently said that they were in need of repair or hummed and c) the really good restored ones are waaaay out of my price range.

Ok, ok, ok … how about new ones?  Someone out there must make retro-styled turntables for freaks like me.  True enough, several companies do.  As I sorted through them (on Amazon first so I could see the reviews), I discovered that a) most of the new turntables are made in China, which logically leads to b) things made in China are usually crap.  Review after review complained about the poor sound quality, non-working products, or products that quit working after a few days or weeks.

This was disheartening, but not surprising.  Obviously the good old standbys like Crosley are not going to rely on American labor to produce a retro product.  But still — with the growing demand for retro-styled products, wouldn’t someone get the hint that we would be willing to pay, say, more than Wal-mart prices for such products? I enjoy a good deal as much as anybody, but I’m also willing to pay more for a product that is durable.  That’s why I’m a Mac owner, of course.  😉

I have run across one promising product, though: the Crosley Collegiate.  It’s a standard turntable with mild retro styling, and the reviews on Amazon are mostly favorable — all 8 of them.  People mostly complain about the sound, but that’s not really an issue for me.  I mean, if you want good stereo sound, then get a more modern turntable and hook it up to speakers.  If you want that more retro, tinny sound, then go for a truly simple turntable.

Most stores have this thing for about $170, but I found it at QVC for $112.  Will this lead me to my 2nd official QVC purchase?  I’m not sure.  Eight reviews aren’t enough to really sway me at this point.  But it looks cool, and I would really like to get some old records and play them while I work in the kitchen.

Then again, the old standards on eBay look so cool, but I’m taking a gamble on those as well.  Given their age, they could certainly clunk out at any time.  What to do, what to do …

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