Victrola Stream Carbon turntable review

A Sonos-compatible streaming turntable from the new king of affordable turntables

Victrola Stream Carbon turntable review
(Image: © Victrola)

Louder Verdict

The Victrola Stream Carbon is one of very few Sonos-compatible wireless turntables, and so enjoys very little in the way of competition. Luckily, it's a turntable of high quality and great appeal, from seamless app-based Sonos connectivity to engineering flourishes and a sleek visage. While it can also be used as a conventional turntable, it doesn’t have the bells and whistles to justify buying it for that purpose at this price. For Sonos-enjoyers, though, it’s the bee’s knees.


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    + Wirelessly links to Sonos systems

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    + Smooth, sleek design

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    + Stable playing experience


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    Sonos-only streaming narrows its audience

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Victrola's stacked roster of accessible and entry-level turntables run the gamut from stylish suitcase affairs to sleek sitting-room hi-fis, each with a worthy USP or world-first angle. This, the Victrola Stream Carbon, has a niche but hugely welcome point of difference – being one of the only fully Sonos-compatible streaming record players on the market. 

Sonos themselves have engaged with turntable manufacturers before, and their own web-shop still boasts a number of bundles featuring the Pro-Ject T1 Phono SB. However, these still require a wired connection to the speakers to work. Victrola’s Stream series has identified a need and produced something uniquely shaped to fill that need exactly. 

From seamless connection to on-board control, the Victrola Stream Carbon is a comprehensively friendly answer to a somewhat niche question. But how does it fare?


The Victrola Stream Carbon cuts a pretty sleek form, with a posh matte-black/silver two-tone that leans ‘executive’. The body is largely matte black, textured veneer, with a satin-finish fascia bearing just the logo and a single rotary encoder knob. The whole unit reflects this clean, minimal approach – even the back of the unit, with its few outputs and sockets ensconced in a tidy recess.

At 6kg, the Victrola Stream Carbon isn’t the heaviest turntable going, but still takes some moving. This is in large thanks to its generously-proportioned MDF body, a body which sits quite low to the surfaces on which it is placed. Rubber feet are recessed into the base of the body, giving the Victrola Stream Carbon a low-profile, near-monolithic presence in your living space. 

The body’s heft is contrasted with lightness, particularly where the tonearm is concerned. The tonearm is proudly carbon-fibre, setting itself off against the black of the body with a dappled almost-pearlescent finish. An aluminium counterweight controls the floaty-lightness of this tonearm, with a single knurled screw for setting where it sits.

It’s the little touches like these that make the Victrola Stream Carbon feel that little bit more considered in design. For instance, the retaining clip for the tonearm is held in place by magnets as opposed to a catch – a satisfyingly simple idea, that also serves to protect the tonearm lifting mechanism from damage-by-carelessness.


Victrola Stream Carbon review

(Image credit: Future)

The Victrola Stream Carbon’s major selling point is in the name. It's a Sonos-compatible streaming turntable, meaning it can cast its output to any Sonos device or system. This is huge for those with a Sonos system as their main hi-fi at home, who will no longer need a separate setup or a clutch of additional wires and adapters just to listen to their records. 

Pairing with Sonos is a cinch through the proprietary Victrola Stream app, which handles the hairy work of connecting them via Wi-Fi on your behalf. The rotary encoder knob on the front of the turntable can control the volume of your Sonos system, and pressing it in enables you to connect to or disconnect from a default playback group without navigating any apps.

Beyond its stream-friendly USP, the Victrola Stream Carbon has most everything you’d expect from a mid-range belt-drive turntable: a counterbalanced tonearm with anti-skate, an aluminium platter, and the ability to play at 33 and 45 (controlled electrically by a turn-switch by the counterweight). A bonus here is the Ortofon 2M Red cartridge (fitted to a well-machined Victrola headshell), particularly where cheaper cartridges are often found on similarly-priced turntables elsewhere.

Victrola doesn’t shout about it, but the Stream Carbon also smuggles in an integrated phono preamp, so you can send line-level signal out via RCA to any hi-fi or powered system, without needing your own preamp to manage. This is neat, but there’s no option to turn it off – meaning it’s not so friendly with some integrated hi-fi systems, as this writer discovered to the brief detriment of his hearing.


Victrola Stream Carbon review

(Image credit: Future)

When set up in the right conditions, though, the Stream Carbon thankfully sings. It's a clear, present and friendly soundstage, that doesn’t clutter up too much in the presence of dirt. The first record up was Fuzz’ debut Fuzz, a righteous 40-minutes-ish of freak-out psych-rock that can test the patience of many systems. The Victrola Stream Carbon keeps up, albeit losing the tiniest bit of definition at the peaks of Earthen Gate and Hazemaze – but the album’s quieter moments are creamy-clear and cosy-comfy.

Next up was Talk Talk’s Spirit Of Eden, to get a feel for how the Victrola Stream Carbon handles sparseness. The answer is: capably. Mark Hollis’ plaintive crooning is given a plush pedestal, and the mellifluous soundscaping of his various collaborators (particularly on I Believe In You) are distinct without being too well-separated. Overall, the Victrola Stream Carbon is a musical thing with a surprising depth and richness to it. 

The alternatives

Wireless Sonos-linkable turntables are not otherwise a ‘thing’, making Victrola’s Stream range essentially without equal for its capabilities. However, Bluetooth turntables are far less of a rare thing, and, while incompatible with Sonos’ wirelessness, will happily connect to a great many other systems.

The Audio-Technica AT-LP60XBT is a worthy alternative and has the added benefit of being an ideal choice if you’re in the market for your first turntable. It also has a built-in phono stage and delivers a balanced sonic performance.

Another deck worth considering is the House Of Marley Stir It Up Bluetooth turntable. It’s made from sustainable materials, looks the business and the audio output is spot on.

James Grimshaw
Freelance writer

James Grimshaw is a freelance writer and music obsessive with over a decade in music and audio writing. They’ve lent their audio-tech opinions (amongst others) to the likes of Guitar World, MusicRadar and the London Evening Standard – before which, they covered everything music and Leeds through their section-editorship of national e-magazine The State Of The Arts. When they aren’t blasting esoteric noise-rock around the house, they’re playing out with esoteric noise-rock bands in DIY venues across the country; James will evangelise to you about Tera Melos until the sun comes up.