If you have the components and time configure it, listening to vinyl with your Sonos system can leverage best-in-class speakers to make your records sound great. But in order to make that happen, you need specific Sonos devices to make your record player and speakers play nice together — that is, until now.
Victrola just announced the Victrola Stream Carbon, a $799 / £899 turntable bearing an official ‘Works with Sonos’ badge. While you could certainly wire the Stream Carbon to a stereo amplifier, the beauty of this record player is that it streams to any Sonos speaker over Wi-Fi, no RCA cables needed.
The Victrola Stream Carbon overcomes this obstacle with wireless compatibility for all existing Sonos devices, as well as all other Sonos devices currently on the market.
For audiophiles looking to combine their love of vinyl and Sonos' multi-room audio platform, this is a game-changer.
Taking the Victrola Stream Carbon for a spin
In a demo with Victrola, I could control a Dinah Washington record’s playback on multiple Sonos speakers using the familiar controller interface in the Sonos app.
I have several Sonos speakers, but I’ve hesitated to invest money or time into introducing vinyl into my home’s soundscape despite inheriting a rather large record collection from my parents. Neither my Sonos Arc soundbar, Sonos One nor Sonos Move speakers are compatible with turntables on their own.
That being said, I'm worried something might be lost in translation here. People love vinyl’s depth, so there could be some concerns about richness being lost in wireless transmission. The counterpoint is that Sonos speakers are equipped for lossless streaming, given you have a strong and stable Wi-Fi connection.
I couldn’t demo the performance’s details compared to how it’d sound via a wired Sonos Five, yet I still heard plenty of subtleties in the tracks. The complexities even held up as I tossed the playback around different Sonos speakers.
Victrola Stream Carbon — great for vinyl beginners?
Unlike more complicated systems that might require some serious knowhow, setting up the Victrola Stream Carbon feels much like a Sonos setup, with step-by-step visuals to get the turntable on the same Wi-Fi network as your Sonos system.
Once you’ve paired your Sonos account, the turntable is added as a playback source in your Sonos app.
The Stream Carbon comes with an Ortofon cartridge, which is replaceable as a unit through Victrola and eliminates the need for rewiring a replacement yourself. The arm’s counterweight is also has two presets you can adjust to whether you're using an Ortofon or Goldring cartridge.
Even if you've never learned how to set up a turntable, the Victrola Stream Carbon left me with the impression that anyone who uses a Sonos system will be able to figure the mechanics out. I've always been a little intimidated by vinyl, but with the playback experience being based in the Sonos app I'm familiar with, I'm confident it would be the perfect vehicle to explore my curiosity for vinyl.
The $799 price is, of course, reason for pause. But if you've already invested big in your Sonos system, it could open the door more listening opportunities. Plus many of the best record players cost upwards of $1,000.
Thinking about adding one to your vinyl collection? The Victrola Stream Carbon is available now via the Victrola website, with more Stream products promised by early 2023.
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