Elevating Analog to Digital: Victrola at CEDIA 2023

While at the CEDIA 2023 Expo in Denver, I had the opportunity to visit Victrola's new headquarters and discuss the future of turntables and audio technology with Don Inmon, the head of product and brand at Victrola. The conversation offered a first look at Victrola's new Hi-Res variants of its two turntables, the Onyx and the Carbon, and explored the shift toward wireless, high-quality audio experiences.

The New Lineup
Building on the success of their Stream Carbon turntable, which is designed to work with Sonos, Victrola has released two new models: the Hi-Res Onyx ($400) and Hi-Res Carbon ($600). According to Inmon, the new turntables aim to cater to listeners who are looking for alternatives to mainstream options like Sonos but still want high-quality audio. The Onyx comes with a Audio-Technica VM95E cartridge, metal tonearm and a plastic front bezel. The Carbon upgrades to a metal front bezel and features an Ortofon 2M Red cartridge and a Carbon Fiber Tonearm.

Leveraging Wireless Technology
Both models offer AptX Adaptive capabilities, allowing for nearly lossless transmission of audio from analog to digital. This feature enables users with AptX-enabled headphones or speakers to connect wirelessly, creating a seamless listening experience. Inmon pointed out that as the market for high-end wireless headphones has grown, Victrola aims to serve consumers who want to enjoy the audio quality usually reserved for wired systems.

Inmon addressed a common belief that digitizing vinyl could ruin its unique sound quality. He argued that modern analog-to-digital conversion technology ensures that the audio remains largely unaltered. In fact, Victrola is in the process of writing a white paper to demonstrate that high-quality wireless transmission might even be preferable due to less noise interference compared to traditional analog systems.

Real-World Validation
Victrola recently showcased its new turntables at the Rocky Mountain Record Show, drawing attention from dealers and audiophiles alike. Inmon recounted that some dealers were using Victrola's system to audition vinyl records for imperfections due to its accurate reproduction capabilities. The ease of setup, as highlighted by Inmon, lowers the barrier to entry, allowing anyone to enjoy high-quality audio without needing intermediary devices.

A Change in Review Criteria
The conversation shifted toward the evolving landscape of audio reviews. I posited that in an era where competent design is increasingly standard, reviewers should focus less on measurements and more on factors like connectivity, ergonomics, and aesthetics. Inmon agreed, suggesting that the key attributes consumers value have shifted over the years.

Victrola has a pipeline of innovations in the works for the next couple of years, although specifics remain under embargo. Inmon emphasized that the company is dedicated to bringing both innovation and style into the audio space.

Don provided valuable insights into Victrola's approach to blending traditional analog systems with modern wireless technology, notably the comp[any being first to market with a Sonos-compatible turntable last year. The new models build on this approach.. As the line between wired and wireless audio continues to blur, Victrola’s new offerings promise to offer consumers an option that doesn't compromise on sound quality. I could only agree when Don played a few tracks through the Hi-Res Carbon that was wirelessly connected to a pair of Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 headphones, the result was captivating and genuinely qualifies as a high-fidelity listening experience.

saulmorrison's picture

This is a great product. Thanks to it, I can listen to music while working or playing geometry dash lite