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Victrola Stream Carbon turntable review

This turntable with Sonos built in makes it incredibly easy to stream vinyl

I

'm a big fan of listening to vinyl. I like the old-school sound, look, and feel of records. That said, I also enjoy the convenience and versatility of Sonos. In the past, the only way to get both was to make a wired connection from the back of your 'table to a separate Sonos-enabled component. The Victrola Stream Carbon takes out the middleman: Sonos streaming capability is built in, so you can skip the RCAs and speaker wire entirely, and get straight to enjoying your treasured LPs in an expandable, multi-room network.

Pros

  • Sonos streaming capability built-in
  • Semi-automatic operation (starts and stops automatically)
  • Ortofon 2M Red moving magnet cartridge on removable headshell included
  • Built-in phono preamp with line-level output
  • Sleek, modern design

Cons

  • preamp is not defeatable for use with external phono stage
  • integrated plinth design does not optimize vibration damping

The Stream carbon is a good-looking 'table, with a solid black and silver plinth with rounded edges. The versatile dial on the front lets you control volume directly from the 'table, and you can always use the intuitive Sonos app for added convenience.

Victrola Stream Carbon close-up of dial

The Stream Carbon offers a sleek look, with a large illuminated volume dial on the front panel.

The lightweight, rigid carbon fiber tonearm and vibration-resistant die-cast aluminum platter are marks of quality design. And the included Ortofon 2M Red cartridge reads record grooves with impressive accuracy.

There's an Ethernet port on the back, so you can connect to your existing network, or use the turntable's built-in Wi-Fi. And there are gold-plated RCA outputs for making a wired connection to an existing hi-fi system.

My hands-on experience with the Victrola Stream Carbon

Two things jumped right out at me when I set up and used the Victrola Stream Carbon: it's very sleek and modern looking, and it's incredibly convenient. I added this turntable to an existing Sonos system that included several speakers:

There is a built-in phono preamp that issues line-level output via stereo RCA jacks, if you have a two-channel system you'd like to make a wired connection to. But I chose to use the 'table's wireless Sonos connectivity for my demo.

Note: the turntable is a Sonos source only; it does not appear in the app as an assignable Sonos zone.

Easy setup, guided by an app

When I opened the box for the turntable, the first thing I saw was a QR code that led me to download the Victrola app. The app helped me set up the 'table and connect it into my existing network and Sonos speakers quickly.

I liked that I was able to assign a primary playback zone — the turntable automatically played through my living room setup (Arc and One SL surrounds) as soon as I lifted the tonearm and set the stylus on a track. Then I could use the Sonos app to add speakers until it was playing throughout the entire house, or isolate the turntable output so it was playing in just the kitchen when someone else was using the TV.

Semi-automatic operation for convenient multi-room playback

When you lift the Stream Carbon's tonearm, the platter starts spinning automatically. When a side has played, and the needle hits the run-out groove, the platter stops spinning on its own. This functionality pairs perfectly with the multi-room expandability of a Sonos system.

For example, I tend to make messes when I cook, so my hands are not always clean and dry enough to handle vinyl in those moments when a side ends. I appreciated that the semi-automatic function spared the 'table and the record from unnecessary wear and saved me the frantic routine of hand-washing/drying and running into the next room.

Design touches for vinyl lovers

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention some of the Stream Carbon's finer points. The eponymous carbon fiber tonearm with custom aluminum pivot is a nice touch, and I appreciate the included Ortofon 2M Red moving magnet cartridge on removable headshell.

Victrola Stream Carbon carbon fiber tonearm and Ortofon 2M cartridge

The Stream Carbon features a rigid yet lightweight carbon fiber tonearm, with a great-sounding Ortofon 2M Red cartridge on a removable headshell.

As it just so happened, I had purchased a vintage Weather Report album the same day I set up the 'table, so that disc served as my inaugural spin. It was so delightful to hear the interplay of master musicians at the height of their craft, and to fill the entire house with their music, playing through all my Sonos speakers at once. I proceeded to spend hours exploring other favorites — Prince, Jason Isbell, Fugazi, and more — without losing fidelity as I moved from room to room.

Long story short, this turntable will look gorgeous in your primary listening room. And if you're a Sonos lover, it will sound good in every room with a compatible speaker or player.

Victrola Stream Carbon with Sonos Five speakers

The Stream Carbon has Sonos built in, so you can play music through a pair of Sonos Fives (or any other compatible Sonos product) without any connecting wires.

Product highlights:

  • semi-automatic belt-driven turntable with Sonos streaming technology built-in
  • integrates with Sonos via free Victrola app
  • anti-resonant die-cast aluminum platter
  • straight carbon fiber tonearm on custom-engineered aluminum pivot
  • Ortofon 2M Red moving magnet cartridge on removable headshell included
  • frequency response (with included cartridge): 20-20,000 Hz
  • built-in phono preamp with line-level output via stereo RCA jack
  • adjustable anti-skating and counterweight
  • speeds: 33-1/3 and 45 rpm
  • illuminated volume knob
  • built-in Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) for connection to your home network
  • Ethernet port provides a hardwired network connection
  • wow and flutter: less than 0.175%
  • warranty: 1 year

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Last updated 9/21/2022
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