I have to admit, I really didn't expect to see old-school turntables popping up at the world's hottest new consumer tech event that is CES 2024 in Las Vegas. I'm mighty glad they have though, as the new Victrola Stream Sapphire record player comes with a modern day tech twist that caught my attention.
Specifically, the Victrola Stream Sapphire offers better-than-Bluetooth wireless integration that brings high-quality streaming to vinyl playback using Wi-Fi. It looks like an ingenuous solution that will further the joy of playing records to a whole new audience, as well as possibly enticing a few vinyl fans to return to the format, too.
Although I am a fan of the intricacies that come with setting up a high-end turntable and the commitment that's necessary to maintain the setup and keep my record collection sounding pristine, Victrola makes the entire process simple and fuss-free.
Victrola turntables stream on
Building on the DNA of its flagship Stream Carbon turntable, the Victrola Stream Sapphire includes multiple wireless connectivity options (as well as wired Ethernet connectivity) — all controlled via the Victrola app. There's the ability to stream vinyl to a Sonos speaker or multiple Sonos speakers simultaneously around the home. You can also opt to stream to UPnP networked devices such as KEF's LSX II Wireless Hi-Fi speakers (pictured) and Roon systems (a music management solution that integrates networked storage devices and music streaming service to connect via AirPlay, Chromecast, and Roon Ready connectivity) with support for up to 24-bit/48kHz lossless FLAC audio.
Despite offering comprehensive wireless connectivity, there are also RCA outputs at the back that allow you to connect the Victrola to wired systems or powered speakers. The Stream Sapphire turntable has a traditional MDF plinth with walnut veneer and is fitted with adjustable-height aluminum feet with vibration isolation. There's an upgraded motor design, too, that powers the belt-driven record platter. A carbon-fiber tonearm with removable head shell and an audiophile-grade Ortofon 2M Blue cartridge (worth $240) complete this turntable's audiophile credentials.
Victrola says that the Stream Sapphire is for the vinyl lover seeking more options for high-quality wireless audio fused with beautiful design and premium components. It's expected to sell for $1,499 (around £1,180 / AU$2,800) when it goes on sale in spring 2024 at Victrola.com.
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As a former editor of the U.K.'s Hi-Fi Choice magazine, Lee is passionate about all kinds of audio tech and has been providing sound advice to enable consumers to make informed buying decisions since he joined Which? magazine as a product tester in the 1990s. Lee covers all things audio for Tom's Guide, including headphones, wireless speakers and soundbars and loves to connect and share the mindfulness benefits that listening to music in the very best quality can bring.