The Crosley Bermuda is a retro-tastic recreation of the all-in-one vinyl-spinning Dansette systems of yesteryear. As well as a turntable, it has its own stereo speakers and amplification, and can stand proud on four legs to make it a pretty striking centrepiece for your home.
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I admit I got a lump in my throat when I first saw the Bermuda. When I was little, my parents gave me an old red Dansette, on which I mostly listened to old Elvis singles and Procol Harum’s “Whiter Shade of Pale” over and over.
Like that vintage Dansette, the Bermuda is covered mostly in red canvas, and it looks wonderfully retro. There’s cream canvas covering most of the lid, a grey cloth grille over the speakers, and a grey vinyl handle on the side. In combination with the latter are a pair of clasps on either side to make the Bermuda portable, although it runs off mains power only, from a little wall-wart transformer.
The plastic parts – the 33/45rpm speed selector inside, the source and volume knobs on the front, and the small plate for the 3.5mm headphones socket and line input – have a nicely aged look, like old, yellowing plastic.
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Out of the box, the four leg holes underneath are plugged with plastic bungs, so the Crosley Bermuda can be sat on a table or sideboard, but there are four rather nice, ebonised-wood legs supplied that screw into the holes and make the Bermuda freestanding. It suddenly becomes a home centrepiece.
The platter and tonearm, by comparison, are a bit naff. As with the Crosley Cruiser II, it seems that plenty of effort has been put into making the case look great, and then the actual turntable parts have been an afterthought.
The tonearm has none of the sweeping grace of the old Dansette units – it’s just a metal tube with a cheap-looking plastic headshell and a little metal counterweight. There’s also no auto-return or arm lift – just a little finger lift built into the headshell.
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I was at least pleased to see that the Bermuda’s tonearm is fitted with an Audio-Technica moving-magnet cartridge with a hard-wearing diamond stylus, rather than the cheaper sapphire-tipped ceramic cartridge used in other Crosley models. A replacement stylus costs just £10.
Having experienced first-hand how high Crosley sets the tracking weight on its turntables – the Crosley Cruiser II that I tested was at a record-grinding 5.94g! – I thought I’d better pop my scales under the Bermuda’s needle. They read 5.34g. Ah, but then I noticed that the counterweight on the Bermuda’s tonearm is actually adjustable, so I wound it right back and tried again. Bang on 5g. Ouch.
Since the Bermuda uses a moving magnet cartridge rather than the ceramic type used by the Cruiser models, there’s really no need to apply so much force on the record grooves unless it’s an attempt to make up for the poor tracking ability of the cheap tonearm. Whatever the reason, it’s going to cause a lot of wear and tear on your precious vinyl.
On the plus side, the sound from the Bermuda’s stereo speakers isn’t too terrible. It’s a massive upgrade on the Cruiser models, that’s for sure. Just don’t expect anything approaching high fidelity – the sonics are more akin to a mid-priced Bluetooth speaker than an entry-level micro hi-fi.
It’s a shame – I really wanted to like the Bermuda, and in so many ways I do. However, that worryingly high tracking force would stop me from wanting to play any treasured records on it. And that sort of negates the point of owning one.
As with the Cruiser II, I feel like Crosley should invest more in the turntable components and hike up the price a little. Even if it was £300, but without causing undue vinyl wear, I’d be far more inclined to recommend the Bermuda than I am now.
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A lovely object, but not a turntable to buy if you treasure your records.