Victrola, a company that’s best-known for its affordable and fun retro and suitcase-style record players, has created a new turntable designed expressly for vinyl fans who also own Sonos wireless speakers. The $800 Victrola Stream Carbon looks nothing like the company’s other models, with a minimalist, clean style and a distinctive, illuminated volume knob. Under the hood, it has something that no other turntable currently offers: a way to connect directly to Sonos speakers over Wi-Fi or Ethernet, with no middle-man hardware like the Sonos Port.
Once it’s set up, the Stream Carbon will show up in the Sonos app as an audio source, which can be played across any speakers or other components in your Sonos system. You can change the volume using the Sonos app, or with that cool volume knob on the Stream’s front panel.
Previously, if you wanted to pipe your vinyl into a Sonos system, you needed to hardwire your turntable into a Sonos component with input jacks. And your choices were limited: the Sonos Five, Sonos Port, and Sonos Amp are effectively the only Sonos products that offer this.
At $800, the Stream is admittedly, not the most affordable turntable on the market, and vinyl fans may balk at the idea of spending that kind of money on a product made by Victrola. But a closer look at the Stream’s other specs suggests that it might actually be a reasonable price. It’s a belt-driven unit that sports a carbon fiber tonearm, a custom removable headshell, and an Ortofon Red 2M cartridge. There’s a built-in pre-amp in case you want to also run it as a wired audio source, and the counterweight is fully adjustable. Victrola says the Stream uses a low-resonance veneer plinth with “premium” metal components. When not in use, you can protect the system with the included low-profile dust cover.
On the one hand, listening to vinyl wirelessly goes against the whole idea of keeping the original analog sound intact from stylus to speaker — something that audiophiles aim for. But if you want the convenience of wireless audio, having a turntable that can pipe that signal over Wi-Fi instead of Bluetooth (as so many turntables have started to do) is a far better way to preserve the sound of your favorite records.
What we don’t yet know is how effective the Stream’s analog-to-digital conversion is at capturing and transmitting that audio to a Sonos system. If it doesn’t do as good a job as the analog-to-digital conversion performed by a Sonos component, you might still be better off buying a high-quality turntable without the Stream’s Sonos integration.
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The Victrola Stream Carbon turntable is available for pre-order now at victrola.com, as well as at Best Buy’s Magnolia Design Centers and other specialty audio retailers. Units will ship and be widely available in October.
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