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Sonos, the wireless speaker company, doesn’t make a turntable, but if it did, the Victrola Stream Onyx might be what it looks like.
The Stream Onyx is sleek and modern and can connect to two or more Sonos speakers over Wi-Fi.
The Stream Onyx is Victrola’s second stab at a technology-driven turntable. The first was the Stream Carbon which debuted last year and retails for $899.
Now, with Stream Onyx, the longtime music company is lowering the bar on its entry-level Works with Sonos products.
There are some differences with the device, but not as many as you might expect for $300.
We’ve enjoyed using the Stream Onyx connected to bookshelf speakers with RCA cables, but this line of turntables from Victrola is geared toward Sonos customers.
So, when considering a Stream Onyx or Stream Carbon, the choice comes down to whether you value the wireless aspect and how much the tiniest of details can.
Benefits of a wireless record player
When you think juxtaposing the dull nature of listening to music on a turntable and still want the convenience of hooking it up to wireless speakers, some mental manipulation occurs.
For this reason, we’ve primarily avoided any Bluetooth turntables over the years and stuck to a wired connection.
But Victrola’s use of Works with Sonos changes the equation a bit. The Stream Onyx has Wi-Fi built in and when it’s on the same network, it can instantly see and connect to any selection of Sonos speakers.
This niceness and feature goes way beyond other Bluetooth solutions in our mind. Plus, a stereo pair of Sonos One speakers or five-speaker speakers are great options for listening to music.
Listen to Stream Onyx
The Victrola Stream Onyx turntable is a neat piece of hardware. Unlike the Stream Carbon, it has a low profile and comes in a stealthy black. We preferred this color option over the silver variant.
There are RCA connectors on the back, along with an Ethernet port for wired network connectivity.
The single knob on the front is primarily for adjusting the volume on wirelessly connected Sonos speakers but can be used for power or a factory reset.
The transmission shaft is made of aluminum and includes an adjustable counterweight. Additionally, anti-skid adjustment is available, and the unit features an auto start.
To round out the features, there’s a two-speed belt drive for playing vinyl records at 33 1/3 and 45 rpm, and it comes with an Audio Technica AT-VM95E cartridge.
In our use, the turntable appears to be well made and registers as expected. It had an excellent feel, but we’re not sure the components justify the $600 price tag.
Lowering the drivetrain with the integrated lever was bouncy and less stable than most of the others we tried—including the Stream Carbon.
Playback was flawless when connected to bookshelf speakers. We listened to records ranging from Sufjan Stevens to Mos Def, and the music reproduction was as expected.
On the wireless side, we did experience audio dropouts at the right time. Changing the audio delay in the Victrola mobile app from low to high helped with this but didn’t solve the problem 100 percent.
Eventually, we went from using Wi-Fi to plugging an ethernet cable directly into our router to try and avoid any random crashes. This did not solve the problem that the audio stopped playing from time to time. We also made sure the unit was up to date and tried a factory reset more than once.
Of course, this network aspect will depend on people’s home Wi-Fi and external factors. We have a recent network configuration so it was frustrating to experience any unreliability.
We liked the Sonos Play’s instant play: five when we lowered the needle. It was easy to go into the Victrola app and select a new speaker set, too.
Likewise, the Stream Onyx’s volume knob was a nice addition. Made adjusting the volume a breeze.
The less attractive parts of Stream Onyx
Unfortunately, we weren’t thrilled with the nitty-gritty of Stream Onyx. The front handle had a slight wobble.
The dust cap leaned more toward the art side than utility, which was unfortunate. It should be removed completely with each use rather than tilted back. It also didn’t do a great job of keeping dust off the top of the unit.
The flaws and deviations from Stream Onyx were minimal but avoidable, which left her even more disappointed.
Is the Victrola Stream Onyx worth its price?
The Victrola Stream Onyx is a fine turntable that gets most of its value from its Works with Sonos integration.
As surprising as it may sound, we still think Stream Onyx is a solid option for those in the Sonos ecosystem. Network issues were random enough that it’s hard to write off Unity to everyone. It’s something we’ll continue to monitor over the long term.
We’d recommend looking into the Victrola Stream Onyx for anyone who defines themselves as a music lover specifically looking for a modern option. In many ways, it felt like a casual Sonos turntable.
But most people who are interested enough to listen to vinyl are also willing to go through the hassle of getting better value on a less expensive turntable or spending more on better components.
- Works with Sonos integration
- The volume knob is easy to use and works well
- Stylish and modern design
- Audio leakage when using wireless or ethernet
- A dust cover could be more efficient and easier to use
Rating: 3 out of 5
The rating would have been higher if this product was $50-$100 cheaper and had fewer connection issues. However, we liked the Stream Onyx better than the Stream Carbon for the savings.
This turntable is available for purchase at Victrola for $599.99.