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Victrola V1 Soundbar System Review: A Solid Entry-Level Record Player

Rating: 7/10 ?
  • 1 - Absolute Hot Garbage
  • 2 - Sorta Lukewarm Garbage
  • 3 - Strongly Flawed Design
  • 4 - Some Pros, Lots Of Cons
  • 5 - Acceptably Imperfect
  • 6 - Good Enough to Buy On Sale
  • 7 - Great, But Not Best-In-Class
  • 8 - Fantastic, with Some Footnotes
  • 9 - Shut Up And Take My Money
  • 10 - Absolute Design Nirvana
Price: $314
Victrola V1 Soundbar and S1 Subwoofer resting next to each other on a desk
Marcus Mears III / Review Geek

Record players were a thing of the past until people of the present realized there’s just no other way to get that vinyl sound. Records are now as popular as ever, but sometimes, a Bluetooth speaker is all you need to enjoy your favorite songs. With Victrola’s V1 Soundbar, you don’t have to choose.

Barring a few hiccups like a dust cover that you have to stow away when not in use and loud robotic alerts that you can’t customize, the V1 Soundbar and included S1 Subwoofer sound terrific, look fashionable, and work in more ways than one.

Here's What We Like

  • Bluetooth, aux, optical connectivity
  • Great sound quality with subwoofer
  • Fashionable
  • Reasonable price tag

And What We Don't

  • Dust cover
  • Loud, uncustomizable robotic voice
  • Large jumps in volume from notch to notch

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Setup and Tuning: Simple When You Know Your Way Around

Victrola V1 Soundbar and remote control on table
Marcus Mears III / Review Geek

  • Connections: TV/optical, Aux, Bluetooth
  • Bluetooth Version: 5.0
  • Operating Distance: 10m (33ft)

Opening the box, you’ll likely notice the parts list and myriad setup instructions on the underside of the lid before digging in any further. While the quick start guide is helpful, it has a few unnecessary steps that can muddle the setup process.

For instance, it includes instructions for adjusting the counterweight and tonearm, though there were styrofoam blocks attached to these pieces stating they had already been pre-set to the recommended configuration. This made the V1’s setup easier overall, but it’s curious that these steps are found cluttering the quick setup guide when they’re already configured, and the manual mentions the same procedures.

Victrola V1 Soundbar tonearm
Marcus Mears III / Review Geek

Once you figure out which instructions you need to look at, the setup is fairly simple: place the platter on the turntable, remove the silicone slipmat to reveal the belt underneath, and use the guide string to pull the belt onto the motor pin.

Since your tonearm and counterweight are already set, connect the record player to an outlet via the power cord and press the knob down for a few seconds to turn it on. Voila, a fully-functional record player and Bluetooth speaker.

Note: I use the terms “record player” and “turntable” interchangeably in this review, though they technically describe two different products. The V1 is a record player.

Now you’re ready to sync your S1 Subwoofer. Power on both the V1 and subwoofer, press the Mode button on the S1 until the LED flashes blue, then hold the Mode button down until the LED flashes quickly. Now, hold the Pair button on the V1 down until a connection chime informs you of a successful syncing.

You don’t need to sync the S1 if you don’t intend to use the subwoofer, but as discussed later on, I highly recommend you do.

Design, Connections, and Build Quality

Victrola V1 Soundbar and Subwoofer on table
Marcus Mears III / Review Geek

  • Dimensions: 16.5 x 15.1 x 8in (419.1 x 383.54 x 203.2mm)
  • Weight: 17.4lbs (7.89kg)
  • Power Consumption: 20W
  • Cartridge Type: Moving Magnetic Cartridge
  • Supported Record RPM: 33 and 45

If you like bright, boisterous colors for your speakers, the V1 isn’t for you. Its design says “sleek and elegant, a refined record player of the present.” All sides of the turntable are lined with rich espresso woodgrain, except for the front-facing side, which features a textured mesh panel that houses the soundbar’s internal stereo speakers. This wood and mesh combo is also found on the sidekick S1 Subwoofer.

The included remote control is pretty simple, offering a power button and volume controls for the price of two AAA batteries. This theme of simplicity carries over to the record player itself, which features a single knob for power, mode switching, and volume control on the front side of the device.

The backside is significantly more populated. A rectangular panel, located on the back right side of the V1, houses a host of buttons and ports. The Pair button (discussed in the section on setup) is your solution to pairing the V1 with a subwoofer. The Sub (Subwoofer line), R, and L ports (RCA output) allow the V1 to hook up to external audio devices that have various output configurations (including the S1 Subwoofer if Bluetooth isn’t working out for you).

If you want the warm, nostalgic sounds of vinyl to fill your ears and no one else’s, plug a pair of headphones into the 3.5mm audio jack. Just be sure the volume is down almost as low as it can go before donning your headphones, otherwise, your eardrums will take as much of a beating as those in the song. On the other hand, the Aux port is useful for sharing music with others through an auxiliary speaker. One more slot to the right, the Optical port can connect the V1 to your TV so you can use it as a soundbar.

In the last two positions, there’s a switch to change between 33 and 45 RPM for any record you may have, and a port for the AC power cord.

In a victory for the Victrola V1, it doesn’t feel cheap. I wouldn’t go tossing it around or consider traveling with it, but the chassis it provides feels more than capable of supporting and safely playing records for the foreseeable future. With that said, be extremely careful with the needle. There are currently no replacements for sale that fit model VPA-583 (the V1 Soundbar). If it or the cartridge wears out or breaks, you’ll need to replace the entire unit (or research applicable alternatives). Thankfully, they won’t break as a result of scratching against the record’s label since the V1 features auto-off when you finish the last song of the album.

Now onto the dust cover—I’m not a fan of this accessory. Rather than a dust cover that flips back like you may have seen on other record players, the V1’s is entirely removable. This means you have to find a place to stash it when you’re not using it. Not to mention, it lays flush atop the turntable, so you can’t use it while a record is playing. The dust cover feels like an afterthought to an otherwise quality solution for vinyl audio.

The Best Turntables of 2022

Best Turntable Overall
Pro-Ject Debut Carbon EVO
Best Budget Turntable
Fluance RT85 Reference High Fidelity Vinyl Turntable
Best Cheap Turntable
Audio-Technica AT-LP60X
Best Turntable for Audiophiles
Marantz TT-15S1 Manual Belt-Drive Premium Turntable
Best Turntable with Speakers
Victrola 8-in-1 Bluetooth Record Player & Multimedia Center
Best Turntable with Bluetooth
Audio-Technica AT-LP60XBT

Stellar Music Quality, Lackluster Dialogue

Blue Pentatonix record on Victrola V1 Soundbar
Marcus Mears III / Review Geek

When it comes to record players and soundbars, few questions matter more than “do they sound good?” The V1 on its own sounds alright, but the V1 paired with the S1 Subwoofer sounds great.

For music, that is. I wouldn’t go about using the V1 as your main soundbar for TV and movies unless you don’t have another option. Dialogue has more of an echo to it than I’d like, and you’re just not going to achieve the surround sound immersion that other audio solutions provide at a comparable cost.

As a record player and Bluetooth speaker for music and radio, though, the V1 is more than satisfactory. If you’ve been listening to music on something like a Google Home or another smart speaker, you’re in for a world of difference. The first thing I noticed, beyond the bellowing, robotic “VINYL” screech the V1 gives when powered on, was how holistic the sound is.

The vinyl sound generally prevents highs from becoming too shrill, and the S1 Subwoofer gives a full life to the deep bass and lows. The sound system can get extremely loud, making it the choice for holiday get-togethers, but resigning conscientious apartment dwellers to the lower end of the volume wheel. There’s a considerable jump in volume from notch to notch, too, which can lead to an annoying middle-ground between music that’s too quiet to enjoy and too loud to bear.

Now, if you’re searching for the best of the best audio setup for vinyl records, the V1 isn’t it. It’s a convenient, all-in-one solution for under $500 that’s sure to satisfy non-audiophiles and newcomers to the world of vinyl.

Should You Buy the Victrola V1 Soundbar System?

The Victrola V1 Soundbar System comes with a few cons, but I believe the pros and reasonable price easily outweigh them. If you’re in search of a modern-day record player, you won’t be disappointed with the V1—but if you’re looking for a solution that plays records and doubles as a soundbar for your TV, I wouldn’t stop the search here. Dialogue audio falls short in contrast to the full sound the V1 and S1 provide when playing music.

The soundbar and its accessory subwoofer are fashionable, but only come in the style depicted in this review. Say you’re not big on the espresso side panels or black frontside aesthetic; you’re out of luck with this model.

If the price tag looks a little high to you, you may want to check out our picks for the best turntable, which feature alternatives like the $149 Audio-Technica AT-LP60X. Otherwise, the V1 Soundbar and S1 Subwoofer combo provide a great-sounding, elegant all-in-one record player and Bluetooth speaker for kitchen-floor slow dances, holiday get-togethers, and vinyl record appreciation. The soundbar and its subwoofer accessory are yours for $499.99.

Rating: 7/10
Price: $314

Here’s What We Like

  • Bluetooth, aux, optical connectivity
  • Great sound quality with subwoofer
  • Fashionable
  • Reasonable price tag

And What We Don't

  • Dust cover
  • Loud, uncustomizable robotic voice
  • Large jumps in volume from notch to notch

Marcus Mears III Marcus Mears III
Marcus Mears III is the Reviews Editor for How-To Geek and Review Geek. He’s a lifelong technology enthusiast with over three years of experience developing prose that keeps readers in the know. With hundreds of articles across a number of tech publications like MakeUseOf and iGeeksBlog, Mears’ work helps readers around the globe learn to make the most of their devices and software. Read Full Bio »