Regular readers will need no further fanfare from us regarding Alannah Myles' Black Velvet eponym, Victrola, (the company's decks are arguably best-known for playing Jimmy Rodgers 'up high' in the middle of a Mississippi dry spell) but the iconic US turntable manufacturer is making the most of its moment under the CES 2024 spotlight with not one, not two, but six new products.
So let's get to it before the sun starts setting like molasses in the sky, shall we?
First up is the Victrola Automatic, (pictured above), a fully automatic turntable that combines ease of use with that sleek, modern design aesthetic. What makes it special? Why, the first-of-its-kind 'Repeat' feature to continuously repeat the side of a vinyl record, thus eliminating unwanted pauses and tonearm resets during listening sessions, that's what! This comes alongside more standard play and tonearm lowering/raising functions as well as more modern features, including Bluetooth connectivity. All of this for just MSRP $199 (around £155 or AU$295)? I'm certainly interested.
The sapphire stone sits highest on the throne
Next up, the Victrola Stream Sapphire wireless turntable (pictured above). Hot on the heels of the company's popular Stream wireless vinyl turntable lineup (including the Sonos-friendly Stream Carbon I love and Stream Onyx, as well as the firm's two-strong Hi-Res Carbon and Hi-Res Onyx turntable series), this best-in-class flagship wireless turntable now works with multiple streaming ecosystems. Essentially, Victrola Stream Sapphire builds on the DNA of Victrola’s inaugural October 2022 Stream deck – which you can bone up on in our dedicated Victrola Stream Carbon review – by expanding on its connectivity solutions, with the ability to stream vinyl in "stunning clarity" to UPnP and Roon integrated systems as well as Sonos, plus support for up to 24-bit/48kHz lossless FLAC audio.
Its price? $1,499 (which is around £1,180 or AU$2,225), so almost double the price of the $799 / £899 / AU$1,199 MSRP of the Stream Carbon and a definite move into premium territory. Will the gamble pay off for Victrola? Time will tell.
Now, an interesting new direction for Victrola: stone-shaped wireless outdoor speakers. Although the company's ME1 speaker quickly became my retro style pick when it arrived in early 2022, I couldn't have predicted the Victrola Rock Speaker Connect, billed as an "all-new premium Bluetooth landscape speaker that offers simple connectivity and vast scalability for long-lasting outdoor listening sessions of any size".
Featuring up to 22 hours of battery from the built-in solar panel or USB-C charging, plus Bluetooth 5.3 with broadcast (which allows users to pair up to 20 speakers for full backyard audio immersion). Again, I'm interested for this money – which is $99 (or around £78, AU$147) per rock...er, speaker. Does Victrola's offering remind me of the much more expensive Focal Littora, which look like the rock trolls from Frozen? Emphatically yes.
Elsewhere, the Victrola Eastwood II is the next generation of Victrola's best-selling Eastwood turntable and promises an updated modern design for just $99; the Victrola Eastwood LP is the first major addition to the Eastwood line, offering a full-size version of that best-seller with a 12-inch platter and larger speakers for bigger sound, all for just MSRP $199.
Finally, the Victrola Century and Victrola Century w/ Clock (available in various configurations) is billed as a "mid-century inspired all-in-one wooden music center with improved acoustics and components" and it can be yours for between $149 and $249, depending on the design options you go for.
Which of these decks might enter our best turntables buying guide once the furor of CES has subsided? Watch this space, because (*sings) in a flash it was gone, it happens so soon… what could you do?
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Becky is a senior staff writer at TechRadar (which she has been assured refers to expertise rather than age) focusing on all things audio. Before joining the team, she spent three years at What Hi-Fi? testing and reviewing everything from wallet-friendly wireless earbuds to huge high-end sound systems. Prior to gaining her MA in Journalism in 2018, Becky freelanced as an arts critic alongside a 22-year career as a professional dancer and aerialist – any love of dance starts with a love of music. Becky has previously contributed to Stuff, FourFourTwo and The Stage. When not writing, she can still be found throwing shapes in a dance studio, these days with varying degrees of success.