What if Sonos made a turntable? It didnt. But if Sonos were to build a vinyl playing platter, it would certainly look similar to the Victrola Stream Carbon.
The aesthetic message to the wireless audio company is no accident. In close collaboration with Sonos, Victrola developed the new turntable to get the company''s certification as a device compatible with the Sonos wireless audio system.
This is the first Wi-Fi capable turntable developed for 115 years, primarily to accommodate existing Sonos speaker systems.
Victrola CEO Scott Hagen told me Victrola studied Sonos'' customers and found that 50% of customers use vinyl records at least once a month. That figure sounds great to us, but the vinyl market will grow to $1.5 billion in 2021.
The roughly 14-pound record player is a modern and beneficial blend of aluminum, steel, and carbon. It is low to the ground, but is, according to Victrola, protected from vibrations. The players'' 2-inch-tall vibration-dampening feet are hidden inside.
The belt-driven set includes the built-in Wi-Fi system and a lot of area that the engineers used to protect the audio components from Wi-Fi interference.
A carbon fiber tonearm that is fitted with a Ortofon Red cartridge is put on the top of the turntable.
It is a high-end $799 record player, which will not be available outside the United States at the time of launch, implying that there is a counterbalance on the other end of the arm. However, Victrola made certain that all aspects of the turntable setup are as simple as a Sonos setup.
There are markings that indicate exactly where to place the tonearm when adding the weight. Victrola believes that each system will arrive perfectly balanced.
The configuration and connection to an existing Sonos system are designed to reflect Sonos'' often-lauded ease of use. Victrola''s representatives explained that once you complete the Victrola Stream Carbon and turn it on, you can scan a QR code on the Victrola box that will open the Sonos app on your phone. It will show you the record player in the app and then ask you to select your Sonos systems Wi-Fi network.
A single big knob for volume control is on the back of the player. Depending on how many Sonos speakers you have connected, it may control the volume on each of them.
The only other control is for playback speed: 33rpm or 45rpm. Another control is a machined adapter for your 45rpm records.
Victrola presented us a brief demo, playing Dina Washingtons for those in love with the Bruce Springsteens in Nebraska. Both were extremely responsive and professional, as you could expect from vinyl.
As promised, when the Victrola engineer turned the large knob on the record player, all speakers became louder. Later he presented me the Sonos app in which we could control the volume of each speaker individually.
Despite its Sonos capabilities, the Victrola Carbon Stream is a fully capable analog record player with the necessary RCA output jacks. There is also a USB port if you want to go old-school with network connectivity.
Victrola is planning additional Stream record players, possibly with diverse components, and in different colors and styles.
The Victrola Carbon Stream is now in preorder and it will be shipped in October with, yes, a dust cover that I did not see on display.