Customers ask us how to play records with their home audio systems. Some want a dedicated room for listening to records, but most want to play records throughout their home. There’s something about vinyl that can’t be replicated by streaming. It could be the warmth of the sound, the crackly nostalgia, or the tactile nature of grabbing a physical record and dropping the needle. Whatever it may be, we know vinyl brings character to the music.
Victrola’s Stream Collection is a turntable with the built-in ability to connect to your Sonos system. Although we have ways to make any turntable playable through your Sonos system, it’s hard to ignore the simplicity of one device that handles it all.
The entire body is made of a modern, fully aluminum enclosure, giving the turntable a modern, industrial design. The top of the case is made of an anodized dark grey aluminum structure. To accentuate the design, the platter and all extruding elements are un-anodized bare aluminum, which offers a nice contrast against the dark casing. A rubber pad on top of the platter is included to protect your vinyl from scratches. Meanwhile, the tonearm is made of a white carbon weave that stands out against an otherwise full aluminum design. However, the counterweight and head-shell are still made out of aluminum.
Although the aluminum is reflective and is coarse to the touch, we think it’s not bad for an $800 turntable with a pre-amp and Sonos built-in. Once it finds a place in your home under some soft lights, this turntable will look great.
Feature Full and User-Friendly Usability
The Victoria Stream gives you all the crucial turntable features with easy-to-use controls. The mechanism that raises the tone arm is padded to prevent the carbon fiber from getting scratched.
The Victoria Stream is ready to play any record. It has an adapter to play your 45rpm records. When you’re playing your 33rpm records, there is an included home for the adapter so you don’t lose it. The knob in the upper right lets you instantly change the speed for whichever record you play. It even has a volume knob on the front of the turntable. There is no tactile feel or click while turning, but you can audibly listen to your turntable change in volume. The knob also has a status light to tell you when it’s on. Thankfully, you can turn this off from the app.
Sonos Integration: A Total Win For Single-Room Listening
Of course, you’d want a turntable like this mainly for its Sonos Integration. That’s one of the biggest selling points in our eyes. Thankfully, this Victrola makes playing through Sonos easy. Instead of coming up as a steaming source, the turntable will automatically play your vinyl to your favorite set of speakers when the needle drops.
Closing Thoughts: Great for What It Is
The beauty of the Victrola solution is its simple integration with Sonos. However, it falls short of delivering the pure analog experience vinyl is known for. The analog signal is immediately converted to a compressed digital signal. It is then streamed to your Sonos system to be re-converted to analog to play in your speakers. All these translation layers mean the “fidelity” of the original vinyl has been reduced to a digital signal of ones and zeros.
However, that does not make it inherently bad. This turntable will still sound just as good as any streaming service played through Sonos. Most importantly, the Victrola turntable still allows us to connect with our friends sharing the joy of reliving the album art, liner notes and actively listening. For some of us, the nostalgia makes it all worthwhile.
If you want an audiophile experience, nothing can beat a dedicated two-channel system. With a traditional stereo system that features a turntable, the source starts analog, gets amplified, and played via analog. There’s no streaming, no converting to digital and no processing. Instead, you get a pure, analog turntable experience reminiscent of the good old days. As far as sound quality goes, this is as good as it gets.
If you want a truly analog vinyl experience, we’d recommend a dedicated turntable, integrated amplifier and speaker setup. If you just want to add the mystique of vinyl to your Sonos system, the new Victrola might be just the ticket. If you want the pros at SoundVision to integrate a turntable into your home, call us at 415-456-7000 so we can help you find the perfect solution.