Tired of the fabric-jacketed and repetitive designs commonly available in portable audio? I am – even some of the best Bluetooth speakers I've tested can sometimes lack originality in the design department. But not Victrola.
If you're anything like me, you won't be able to utter the word "Victrola" without also belting out "On the Victrola up hiiiiigh" as Alannah Myles does in the song Black Velvet. If this sounds like you, I reckon you'll love the two new durable metal-construction Bluetooth speaker options Victrola is showcasing at CES Las Vegas – especially if you finally watched Elvis over the festive season (…and you're of a certain vintage).
As luck would have it, I have both the Music Edition 1 handheld speaker and Music Edition 2 tabletop speaker with me. And in short: I'm a big fan of the designs. (Big. Huge!)
No, they won't work with my Sonos-certified Victrola Stream Carbon turntable, but they will do great things with the streaming service on my smartphone. Slip the Edition 1's strap over your wrist and you might find yourself humming Bruce Springsteen's "strap your hands 'cross my engines!" as you envisage jumping on the back of a Royal Enfield Classic 350. (Just me?)
Both Music Edition portable speakers are available in black and silver, and their durable anodized aluminum grilles offer a sleek yet sturdy design inspired by iconic products of the past. (See? I knew referencing an iconic road bike wasn't wrong!)
Baby we were born to run…
Both models can weather the harshest road trip too, with an IP67 waterproof rating, plus they offer dual speaker pairing with powerful drivers and passive bass radiators, should you decide to keep the party going by crashing in a motel for the night – although I should mention that you can't pair an Edition 1 with an Edition 2; mono- and stereo-pairing is limited to like-for-like models.
The smaller Edition 1 offers up to 12 hours of continuous playtime, which is great for a speaker of such diminutive proportions. Consider that the similarly-sized JBL Go 3 offers only five, and that to get 12 hours of stamina from JBL you'd have to go up to the larger JBL Flip 6. Not bad, eh? And although it looks a little like the Marshall Emberton 2, the Marshall is quite a bit more expensive and I prefer the more portable, grab-me-and-go feel of the Victrola.
The bigger, more powerful Music Edition 2 meanwhile is billed as ideal for small parties or outdoor gatherings – the kind where music memories are made. This isn't a full review yet, but during my limited time with it, I think the speaker’s 3.5-inch driver with a one-inch tweeter and passive bass radiator handles my music collection very well indeed. Bass is full and crisp, vocals are textured, high-hats are impactful, and the Boss' inimitable vocal stylings ring true.
Oh, and it's not all old-school! There's a wireless charging pad on the top of the Edition 2 speaker – just lay your smartphone on its rubber rims and watch that battery percentage climb…
Both Music Editon 1 (MSRP: $99.99, which is around £85 or AU$149, although it's unclear if or when they'll be available in these regions) and Music Edition 2 ($199.99) are available now.
Whether or not they'll be entering our best party speaker roundup remains to be seen, but my initial thoughts on both models are extremely positive. They feel resoundingly rock-n-roll and built to last. Even if you felt like throwing one in a Vegas motel pool, it wouldn't care. These things were born to run…
- Check out all of TechRadar's CES 2023 coverage. We're bringing you all the breaking tech news and launches, everything from 8K TVs and foldable displays to new phones, laptops and smart home gadgets.
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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.