Victrola Hi-Res Onyx Review: This is a great Bluetooth turntable

Microsoft
By Microsoft 13 Min Read
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At first sight

Expert analysis

Professionals

Easy to arrange Auto-Top operate prevents stylus harm Attractive industrial design

Against

No quantity knob on turntable Strange mud cowl No AAC codec help

Our verdict

AptX help is not essentially the most spectacular function of this versatile turntable.

Price at time of overview

$399.99

Today’s finest costs: Victrola Hi-Res Onyx

Retail value

$399.99 View the offer Victrola $399.99 View the offer

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$549 View the offer Price comparability from over 24,000 shops worldwide Product Price Backmarket Price Comparison

The Victrola Hi-Res Onyx is a fashionable belt-driven turntable that may play through Bluetooth wirelessly or with a wired connection and its built-in phono preamp, or you possibly can bypass it if in case you have a higher one. Likewise, you possibly can depend on the distinctive entry-level Audio-Technica AT-VM95E cartridge included, or you possibly can improve to a higher-end mannequin later.

Buyers ought to observe that Victrola has adopted a complicated naming scheme for its top-of-the-line turntables. The Victrola Hi-Res Onyx and the costlier Hi-Res Carbon turntables are designed to work with Bluetooth audio system and headphones, whereas the older Victrola Stream Onyx Works With Sonos and Victrola Stream Carbon Works With Sonos turntables are costlier and may solely work in wi-fi. with Sonos audio system and don’t help Bluetooth.

Victrola has made a fashionable wi-fi turntable within the Hi-Res Onyx.

If you are purchasing for one of many 4 turntables or are merely on the lookout for particular particulars about every mannequin, you will want to concentrate to your search outcomes, as a result of Google and different main serps appear unable to tell apart between Bluetooth and Sonos fashions with the identical mineral names. I’ve already reviewed each information Victrola Stream Onyx works with Sonos AND Victrola Stream Carbon works with Sonos turntable and I’ll clarify the distinction between the 4 fashions on this overview.

This overview is a part of TechHive’s in-depth protection of the best turntables.

Specifications and configuration

origin 1The Victrola Hi-Res Onyx turntable provides great-sounding wi-fi Bluetooth playback.

James Barber/Foundry

The Victrola Hi-Res Onyx has an eye catching, low-profile, all-black industrial look. There is a grey Victrola emblem on the entrance of the plinth. and a gentle ring across the energy button; the remainder of the turntable could not be blacker.

The high-resolution Onyx measures 4.53 x 16.93 x 4.25 inches (HxWxD) and weighs 12.5 kilos with its mud cowl. That cowl has a distinctive Victrola design, and whereas I’ve gotten used to it whereas reviewing the corporate’s turntables, its design is as unusual as ever. Most turntables include a rectangular clear plastic cowl that attaches to the again of the plinth with hinges. This sort of mud cowl can defend a file throughout playback in addition to when it is sitting idle in your turntable, for those who plan to return again and play it once more tomorrow.

The black Victrola mud cowl sits flat on the platter and creates a form of storage for the tonearm. There’s no method to make use of it throughout playback or go away an LP on the platter whereas utilizing the mud cowl. I’ve by no means fairly discovered the place to place the mud cowl whereas listening to a file both. There is additionally a energy twine and an RCA cable with grounding at each ends.

origin 1The Victrola Hi-Res Onyx turntable mud cowl can solely be used when the turntable is turned off and there is no vinyl on the platter.

James Barber/Foundry

This belt-driven turntable has a die-cast aluminum platter, an aluminum tonearm, and a detachable headshell that homes the Audio-Technica AT-VM95E twin transferring magnet cartridge. There’s an adapter included for 7-inch 45 RPM information with giant holes, and a holder on prime of the turntable that shops the adapter when you do not want it. Too many turntables embody an adapter with no room to carry it, so goal for Victrola for this one.

There’s a energy button on the entrance of the unit that additionally controls Bluetooth pairing. A swap close to the 45 adapter mount providing 33-1/3 rpm, 45 rpm and off positions. The again of the stand contains a swap to bypass the built-in phono preamp subsequent to the RCA jacks, and there is a swap that controls the auto-stop function. When energetic, the turntable mechanically stops spinning on the finish of 1 aspect and reduces put on on the stylus.

Victrola provides one of many easiest turntable setups in the marketplace: Place the platter on the spindle, align the opening within the platter with the motor spindle, then stretch the belt across the turntable over the spindle. There is a little bit of tape connected to the plate and wrapped across the belt, which makes it simple to information the belt into its right resting place.

The included counterweight slides on a line engraved on the arm and there is a screw to carry it in place. There is no balancing or alignment of the load wheel on the entrance of the counterweight. Now you are able to play a file.

Wired playback

origin 1The Victrola Hi-Res Onyx turntable options an Audio-Technica AT-VM95E transferring magnet cartridge.

James Barber/Foundry

The built-in phono preamp sounds superb, in step with what you’d count on from a turntable on this value vary. I additionally bypassed the inner preamp and examined it with the $249 Andover SpinStage, and the efficiency was a lot better to my ears.

This is what you’d count on from an entry-level turntable. At this value, there are solely two options that matter for cable playback: the standard of the cartridge and the soundness of the motor that drives the turntable. Victrola’s motors have constantly offered steady playback as I’ve examined with turntables on this line, and the AT-VM95E is positively the very best cartridge for listeners simply getting began with vinyl.

If you later need to improve the cartridge or use an exterior preamp, the Victrola Hi-Res Carbon is a turntable that may develop with you in case your tastes evolve.

Bluetooth playback

origin 1The counterweight of the Victrola Hi-Res Onyx turntable is screwed in with out the necessity for arm steadiness.

James Barber/Foundry

The actual draw of the Hi-Res Onyx is Victrola’s claims of high-resolution wi-fi playback. High-resolution playback within the audiophile world means lossless playback at speeds larger than the usual 16-bit/44.1 kHz decision provided by a compact disc.

What “excessive decision” means in Bluetooth advertising and marketing is that the audio elements help a number of codecs that provide extra bandwidth than the old-school SBC codec: these will be Qualcomm’s aptX adaptive codec, aptX HD and aptX, LDAC by Sony, or BluetoothLC3. Each of those codecs provides higher high quality than SBC, however they’re all lossy and shouldn’t have the identical high quality as better-than-CD playback that requires a lossless wired connection. The Victrola Hi-Res Carbon works with all three of Qualcomm’s codecs plus SBC, however would not help Apple’s AAC codec. What does all this imply for you?

I examined the Victrola Hi-Res Onyx with the brand new $199 Soundcore X600 moveable Bluetooth speaker, which helps LDAC however not one of the aptX codecs. This means we’re listening via the decrease high quality SBC. Guess what? It appeared implausible.

origin 1The again of the Victrola Hi-Res Onyx turntable options RCA connections, a swap to bypass the inner preamp, and a swap to show the Auto-Stop operate on or off.

James Barber/Foundry

The $799 Focal Bathys headphones it helps aptX and aptX adaptive, and there was far more element, however the outcomes weren’t considerably higher after I listened to an AAC stream of the identical Bobbie Gentry LP streamed from Apple Music.

In my expertise, Bluetooth codecs do not matter as a lot as the standard of the audio system dealing with the playback. While we’re nonetheless coping with completely different variations of lossy playback, the precise specs of the codec are much less necessary than the capabilities of your gear.

Will you get noticeably higher outcomes with headphones or audio system that help codecs just like the aptX household, LC3, or LDAC? You may, relying in your sensitivity. Even for those who’re not unique to aptX in your listening setup, you will possible be proud of the Hi-Res Onyx efficiency.

How does Hi-Res Onyx evaluate to Hi-Res Carbon?

origin 1The Victrola Hi-Res Onyx turntable comes with a grounded RCA cable and a energy twine.

James Barber/Foundry

If you will have an additional $200 to spend, you may need to take a take a look at $599.99 Victrola Hi-Res Carbon Bluetooth Wireless Turntable. For your $200, you get a silver faceplate on the plinth, silver {hardware} on the highest of the turntable, a lighter carbon fiber arm, and the wonderful Ortofon 2M Red cartridge.

The Carbon’s carbon fiber arm will trigger barely much less put on in your vinyl, however you possibly can buy the Onyx and later improve to the Ortofon cartridge for simply $99. I a lot favor the all-black look of the Onyx and would select it over to silver Carbon solely primarily based on look. The different variations are minor or will be achieved with a later replace.

Should you purchase the Victrola Hi-Res Onyx turntable?

Victrola has made a smooth wi-fi turntable that largely matches the specs of the competitors. The $250 Monolith 60046 by Monoprice it makes use of the identical Audio-Technica cartridge, has a carbon fiber arm, however its Bluetooth operate is restricted to the essential SBC codec. The elegant House of Marley Stir It Up Lux It prices the identical because the Victrola, $400, but in addition makes use of the SBC codec. Also the stellar $499 Audio-Technica AT-LPW50BT it is restricted to fundamental Bluetooth streaming.

This is a fancy method of mentioning that the high-resolution label is a lot much less necessary than different options of the Victrola Hi-Res Onyx turntable. It’s extremely simple to arrange, playback sounds great it doesn’t matter what codec your audio system or headphones help, and it has a smooth design that units it aside from different Bluetooth turntables in its value vary.

If you are not offered on the concept of ​​a conventional mud cowl and just like the look of the Victrola Hi-Res Onyx, it is a superb choice at a cheap value.

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