Thursday, 3 September 2015

Arcadia 1.0 Portable LP Player: A Passion Killer?



Recently, I read an article on 10 Best Portable LP player below GBP100 which one of them was Crosley. Most audiophiles will not agree to this kind of player, but not everyone can afford super duper turntable that costs a bomb. As far as I can recall, LP was introduced for music enjoyment and not for showing off one's wealth. Back in the days, LPs are played in kampung house, kenduri kahwin etc. My grandfather had one... my father had one.

When asked by my family what I wanted for my birthday, I thought of this Crosley unit, mainly to play LPs in my office. Unfortunately, I can't find any shop that stocks Crosley. I have seen other brands that replicated Crosley design and concept such as Makmal (famously sold by Rock Corner) and this Arcadia 1.0 sold by Dreams Studio.

A little bit about Dreams Studio. This shop was recently opened in Plaza Damas. Specialising in spoiling children and young at heart parents with its collection of Star Wars, Marvel etc figurines, this shop also offer selection of rare LPs, CDs and memoribilia. The Arcadia was among the items sold here. The shop also offers services to fix your warped LPs and also clean them. Owned by a passionate hobbyist, this shop is a cool place to hang out and get on of those rare items.





THE BUILT

The unit is relatively light, meeting its purpose of portability. I opted for the Executive design in which the speakers are at the sides instead of in the front. Everything, as expected are plastic based material which made it a bit tricky to handle it with my wobbly hands. The briefcase itself was nicely finished with a cognac brown colour. Your really need to be gentle in handling the tone arm, taking off the protector from the cartridge, the lock to unlock the tonearm.

The unit is supplied with a USB cable and power adaptor. It basically runs at very low current and can also run straight off the USB cable powered from a laptop.

THE SPEC

For a portable unit, it does come with quite a number of functions:
  • 33, 45 and 78 RPM selectable speed
  • Auto stop (at the end of the record and also when you move the tonearm to its rest)
  • Headphone Out
  • Aux In
  • EP adaptor
  • Stereo RCA out to connect to an amp
  • A pair of speakers with internal amp
  • 5V DC current input (power supply sold separately)
  • USB B to A to connect to a Windows/Mac based computers, comes with a mini CD for software and driver installation to convert vinyl tracks into digital files.
  • MM cartridge
THE SESSION

I didn't go into serious listening as this unit was meant for background listening in the office. The first LP that I put on was The Beatles Tell Me Why and I Love Her EP. To my surprise, this unit can go quite loud without any cracking sound on the tiny built in speakers. It does sound quite harsh but at lower volume, it is relatively an acceptable sound given it comes out from a pair of tiny speakers on the side of the briefcase. This was on 45 RPM.



Then went in was one my favourite Tan Sri SM Salim's track Tak Seindah Wajah on 33 RPM. But I also connected the unit to my BOSE unit via the RCA stereo out. Of course, its then sounded wider and fuller with better substance to the music.



I particularly like the auto stop function. As oppose to my Lenco where the arm will pop up at the end of the last track, this unit just stop spinning. Also, when you want to change the LP side, just bring the arm back to its rest and the platter stops spinning for you to change the side safely. Just move the arm back on the track and the platter starts to spin again.

For RM510 (Executive model) or RM495 (black, blue and orange model), I would say it is quite reflective of the physical unit of the TT. However, I would say that it is still a handy and decent player for that low volume background music over dinner. However, if it was RM800, I might have a different view on this.

THE CONCLUSION

It might not be an audiophile unit, but it does deliver a nostalgic touch to the experience of listening to old LPs. It brings back memories of how the older generation in Malaysia enjoy music.

If spinning and basic listening is what you are looking for, do not hesitate to get one.

Dreams Studio currently have one last black unit at this price. If you are interested, head down to Plaza Damas soon.






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