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Review: Crosley C100BT Turntable Brings Bluetooth Wireless – Forbes

In the December 2021 edition of my Record Roundup I wrote about a new turntable release from Crosley. The company continues to expand its range of turntables that offer an upgrade path for those who want something more capable than Crosley’s traditional record players. The penultimate release as part of this effort was the Crosley C20 I reviewed in 2017. That was decidedly upscale, with a premium Pro-Ject design featuring an acrylic platter, a minimalist MDF plinth covered with beautiful Zebrano wood veneer, and an Ortofon cartridge. The Crosley C100BT takes a decidedly different approach. There’s a lot more plastic, but it costs half what the C20 did and still offers that all-important upgrade path from entry level record players. And, this one has the advantage of Bluetooth wireless connectivity.
No wires required when using Bluetooth.
The C100BT requires a little setup. It’s just the usual if you’re used to the process with a new turntable, but it’s slightly more involved than a record player. This involves putting the platter on the spindle and pulling the drive belt over the motor pulley. The head shell (with pre-mounted cartridge) gets secured to the tone arm. The counterweight is then mounted to the tonearm, which needs to be balanced. The tracking force is set. Finally, the dust cover is slipped onto the pre-installed hinges.
Here’s what it looks like with the dust cover.
No tools are required, instructions are provided, and you should be good to spin vinyl in 10 minutes.
When complete, you have turntable with a distinct retro vibe. One that looks very much like a classic Technics SL-1200 series that enjoyed big popularity in the 1970s and 1980s — complete with S-shaped tone arm, strobe light, and pitch control.
This turntable is equipped with pitch control.
Overall, it’s a nice looking turntable. The design is a busy look compared to a minimalist slab approach like the C20’s, but one that is likely to appeal to many record fans who associate vinyl with the iconic Technics turnable that was in so many DJ booths. The Crosley version is belt drive, though. And one of the cost-cutting measures was a hollow plastic plinth.
Despite the use of plastic, there are some decent components used in the C100BT that elevate it above cheaper turntables. It has an aluminum platter, an aluminum tone arm, and a low vibration synchronous motor. It’s also equipped with an Audio Technica AT95E cartridge. This is a well-regarded mid-range moving magnet (MM) cartridge from a top brand, with a diamond elliptical stylus. On its own, this cartridge sells in the same price range of some of Crosley’s record players. It will treat your records well and deliver balanced sound.
The cartridge comes pre-mounted to a head shell, you just need to screw it on the tone arm.
In fact, the cartridge is a big reason why the C100BT sounds so good. Even when relying on its integrated pre-amp, you’ll enjoy the sound this turntable can put out. It’s not pretending to offer audiophile quality (even if it does look like a turntable worth many times more), but the sound it produces from your records is at a completely different level from what you’ll hear from a typical record player. The AT95E cartridge is known for crisp highs, decent midrange, and tight bass. Because of its popularity, replacement styluses are easy to find.
The Audio Technica AT95E cartridge is a proven performer.
Should you choose to, with the adjustable counterweight and removable head shell, the stylus and even the cartridge itself could be upgraded.
There are three ways to get sound out of the Crosley C100BT. The turntable is equipped with an integrated pre-amp, allowing you to plug it into anything that has an AUX input. A mini stereo, for example. The best sound is available by instead switching off the pre-amp and connecting directly to a sound system with a PHONO input.
There’s a switchable pre-amplifier.
Crosley also equipped the C100BT with Bluetooth connectivity. On one hand, some of the whole vinyl appeal risks being lost by digitizing the music and streaming it wirelessly to a Bluetooth speaker or headphones. On the other hand, it’s hard to argue against the convenience. If you’re in a small space, don’t want to look at wires, or have a limited budget and already own a Bluetooth speaker, being able to stream from the turntable is a nice option. The feature worked quite well with the speaker and headphones I tested with. There’s a dedicated Bluetooth button on the turntable that simplifies the process of connecting, and once paired the connection remained stable.
Bluetooth wireless is a handy way to listen to records over your headphones.
Part of the C100BT’s retro design is a feature that doesn’t make it onto most consumer turntables these days. It’s equipped with a red strobe light, and a slider for pitch control. With the built-in markings along the edge of the platter and the strobe light, you can easily see if the turntable is hitting its expected 33-1/3 rpm or 45 rpm speeds and adjust the pitch manually should it be off slightly.
Ideally, you shouldn’t need to use it. At least not early in a turntable’s life. I had no cause to during testing. But it’s there if you need it. Of course adjustable pitch control also offers the opportunity to have a little fun speeding up or slowing down a track if you like that sort of thing. Kind of an analog version of digital music tools.

Retro styling, Bluetooth, and a good cartridge make for a solid, sub $300 turntable.
For those looking to upgrade their record listening experience from a basic record player or entry level turntable, the Crosley C100BT offers a way to do so without blowing the budget. At under $300 it’s affordable, but includes features like an aluminum platter and an Audio Technica AT95E cartridge. You also get the option of wireless Bluetooth connectivity, which could be very useful. And then there’s the adjustable pitch control, which is a feature not commonly found on modern turntables at this price range.
If you prefer a minimalist slab look, the Crosley C100BT is probably a little much, visually. However, the retro look will appeal to a lot of people. For the price, it’s a turntable that delivers on sound quality, flexibility in connectivity, and it’s a great option to have.
Disclosure: Crosley provided a C100BT turntable for evaluation purposes but had no input into this review.


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