The Crosley Anthology is a portable record player that offers some notable improvements over Crosley’s previous releases. It is packed into a compact suitcase design with standard Bluetooth receiving, and an upgraded version is available with Bluetooth transmitting capability. It’s a solid entry-level portable record player.
Thanks to its stylish design, impressive audio output, and better record treatment than the Cruiser, the Crosley Anthology has developed somewhat of a cult following since its release in July 2020.
This model is perfect as a secondary record player or an entry point for the new generation of vinyl enthusiasts.
Crosley Anthology Basics
Featuring a belt-driven turntable for reduced vibration and better audio quality, the Anthology boasts a good set of features for its price point around $150.
Listeners can make use of the onboard Bluetooth receiver and transmitter for wireless input and output, or the more traditional and flexible auxiliary input allowing for a cabled connection between the Anthology and a massive range of devices.
There’s also RCA out, allowing it to be connected to bigger external stereo speakers.
Please note that the Anthology does not include a built in amplifier, so make sure that any external speakers are not passive, otherwise playback will be extremely quiet.
Headphone users are also covered, with a standard 3.5mm headphone jack included. Passive headphones will need an external amplifier.
The Crosley Anthology supports playback at 33 1/3, 45, and 78 RPM, and offers manual pitch adjustment for older records, making it a usefully versatile turntable.
The tonearm is manually operated and there is an auto stop switch.
Arguably the most important feature of the Crosley Anthology is the inclusion of a high quality Audio Technica stylus, a marked step up from other portable record players in this price range and previous Crosley offerings.
The built in 5W speakers are capable and a pleasant surprise if you’re not expecting bookshelf-speaker quality or power. Compared to other portable record players in this price range, they’re better than most, and are easily capable of filling a room with a rich and clear sound.
The low end frequencies are under-represented, so for bass-heavy music, external speakers are a strong recommendation.
Details and Specifications
Although portable, this is still a small suitcase-sized product. As such, it measures in at 15.5 inches wide, 12.75″ deep and 7.5″ tall when closed (approximately 17.5″ tall when open).
The Anthology weighs in at a manageable 10.7 lbs.
The standard needle is a Crosley NP5 (a rebranded Audio Technica AT3600), which can be easily replaced.
To compliment the high-quality stylus, the Anthology comes with a pre-mounted MM (moving magnet) cartridge.
The shipped package also comes with a 45RPM adapter for wide-holed LPs, a welcome addition to the product at this price point.
The record player runs on 12W of power and complies with the ERP energy-saving standard, which means that it will power off automatically after 20 minutes without audio input.
At some point, at this price, there will be some compromises. While many people are very pleased with their Crosley Anthology, there have been some observations about warbling sound and flimsy tonearms to suggest that the build quality can be hit and miss between individual units.
If your Anthology does not meet expectations in some way, it would be worth getting a replacement from the retailer first before giving up on the record player altogether.
The primary material of construction is plastic, but at least there is enough of it to make the unit feel sturdy. There are metal flashings on the outside where you’d expect them to be – the latch, corners and handle – so it feels slightly more premium than the price point would suggest.
Design of the Crosley Anthology
Most of Crosley’s appeal as a brand comes from their strong devotion to retro-style and vintage-inspired design. The Anthology is available in several colors and patterns, including classic black, stylish lavender, and even the (faux) white crocodile finish shown above.
There is even a cow print version exclusive to Urban Outfitters.
The 60’s style suitcase record player design further reinforces the retro theme and, if there is any doubt as to the era that Crosley are channelling, the special pastel blue Beatles edition will eliminate it once and for all!
The aesthetic of the Crosley Anthology is powerful, invoking nostalgia in older music listeners and excitement in younger generations, offering a stark contrast to modern tech’s advancement further and further toward ultra-minimalist design.
The Beatles Edition of the Crosley Anthology launched in summer 2021, as part of an ongoing relationship with the band. The Beatles re-released their album Let it Be in late 2021, to coincide with the release of Get Back: The Rooftop Concert and the accompanying docuseries The Beatles: Get Back.
Note: The DVD and BluRay release of the eight-hour docuseries has been postponed at the time of this writing.
While not a limited edition per se, the Beatles version stands out with a custom blue and a black and white image of the band on the interior of the hinged lid which displays nicely while listening to your favorite Beatles album!
These models are slightly more expensive due to them being a collector’s version. More images and prices for this Beatles record player by Crosley can be found on the Beatles’ storefront or on Amazon (where it was cheaper at the time of this writing).
Crosley Anthology vs Cruiser
The Cruiser is a bit of a taboo product in vinyl circles. Heavily marketed in print and on YouTube, it has a bad reputation for damaging records because of heavy tracking and low quality audio.
The Anthology uses a superior stylus and needle with a satisfactory out of the box counterweight, and there is no mention of this model causing damage. The Cruiser has been around since the early 2010s, yet still it tars Crosley as a brand.
In a straight up fight between the Cruiser and the Anthology, the Anthology will win every time.
The Cruiser is a smaller unit, perhaps pushing the idea of a compact, portable record player too far. Large records stick out awkwardly over the edge and the lid always feels as if it isn’t fully open, nor fully stable. The Anthology also does not contact the underside of a record while playing, which is a complaint many owners of the Cruiser have stated.
The 5W speakers in the Anthology are more powerful and have an overall more pleasing sound – far less tinny and bright. Placement of the speakers is also better designed on the Anthology, which are located at the sides of the unit allowing for the retention of stereo output and creating a wider sound stage for listeners.
In contrast, the Cruiser’s speakers are forward facing and close together, with the result being more similar to a laptop-like sound output.
The Anthology has Bluetooth input standard as well but plays that music with better speakers, and an upgraded model is available for Bluetooth output. Bluetooth connectivity is available on the Cruiser, albeit only as an input – making it somewhat pointless given the poor sound quality produced by the 3W speakers.
That being said, expecting more from an $80 model compared to a $150 model will always lead to disappointment. As long as the Cruiser does the basics right, it could still be considered a good buy at the extreme budget end.
Unfortunately, the basics include acceptable sound output and acceptable wear on records – both are targets that the Cruiser misses, but standards that the Anthology achieves.
For around the $150 price point, the Crosley Anthology is a solid product and a great value, making it one of the best entry level record players available. Most importantly, the use of an audiophile-acceptable Audio Technica stylus, decent counterweight, and magnetic cartridge should put fears of record rubbing and heavy tracking to bed.
These are features that are otherwise hard to find at this price point, and, coupled with the strong vintage aesthetic, the Anthology has a leg up over competing products.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is the platter free-floating?
Yes, the Anthology uses a floating assembly.
Can I replace the stylus/needle with another model?
The Anthology only supports the NP-5 model, however, the Audio Technica AT3600 is the same.
The volume is extremely quiet. Is my unit defective?
The Crosley Anthology does not include an internal amplifier, so output to passive external speakers will be quiet due to the low power of the non-amplified output. Speakers connected to the Anthology need to powered with a built-in driver (like these bookshelf speakers), or, if they’re passive/unpowered, connected via an external amplifier.
Where is the Anthology manufactured?
The Anthology is manufactured in China.
Can the Bluetooth from this player connect to external speakers?
To play music from the Anthology to external speakers, you will need the Bluetooth In/Out version. Be sure to purchase the correct version for your needs! There are different SKUs available, some with Bluetooth input and output, some with Bluetooth input only to play music from the Anthology’s internal speakers.