The vinyl resurgence shows no sign of slowing down — but streaming services are still the preferred way for most people to listen to music these days. As such, smart speakers like the Amazon Echo, HomePod mini and the line of Sonos products make a ton of sense for most people. But most of those speakers don’t work with turntables, which can make things complicated if you want to both play records and stream tunes.
Victrola, a brand that’s been making record players for more than 100 years, is mostly known at this point for making entry-level turntables with built-in speakers in a variety of vintage-inspired designs. But today, the company introduced the Stream Carbon, a $799 turntable that can directly connect to a Sonos system, which means you’ll be able to stream your records all over your home. Victrola says this is just the first of more planned devices in the Stream lineup, too.
You’ll need to set up the turntable using a Victrola Stream app, but once that’s set, you’ll be able to control the Stream Carbon via the Sonos app or a control knob on the device itself. Just as you can play music on any single Sonos speaker, a group of speakers or everything in your system, you’ll be able to send music from the turntable to any combo of Sonos devices in the same fashion. As for compatibility, Victrola told me that it works with any Sonos speaker, regardless of whether it works on the older S1 system or the current S2. Given the vast majority of speakers work with the newer S2 system software, most people won’t even have to think about this — the Stream Carbon should just work with your existing setup without any issues.
As for the Stream Carbon’s hardware, it’s a belt-driven turntable with an aluminum platter and Ortofon 2M Red cartridge. It has a built-in preamp and traditional RCA outputs, if you want to hook it up to older speakers. Naturally, it has wireless connectivity, but you can also hook it up to Ethernet if you want a more stable connection. Given the Sonos integration, the Stream Carbon unsurprisingly skips out on having a Bluetooth connection or USB output.
Design-wise, it’s a minimal turntable without a full dust cover; there’s just a protector for the arm. It should look right at home next to any of Sonos’ similarly minimalist speakers. The aforementioned control knob is located right on the front of the device — it’s not clear yet how exactly it works, but Victrola says it can control both volume as well as speaker playback groups so you don’t have to hunt around in the app once you’re up and running.
Sonos has long positioned its flagship Five speaker as a good option to use with turntables, as it has an auxiliary input jack; the company even sells a $950 set with a Pro-Ject TI Phono SB turntable and a Five speaker. That’s a lot of money, but considering the Stream Carbon costs $799 on its own, it’s worth considering as an alternative. Sonos also sells the Port, a $449 device that connects a stereo, receiver or turntable to Sonos speakers. But if you already have existing Sonos products, the Stream Carbon should be an easy, albeit expensive way to play records across multiple speakers.
You can pre-order the Stream Carbon now, and the company says they’ll start shipping in October. And if the $799 price puts you off, Victrola says more Stream turntables will be coming — hopefully at a lower price point.
First published here