Victrola Music Edition 2 Portable Bluetooth Speaker review: retro-styling with great sound

The retro-looking Victrola Music Edition 2 is a capable portable Bluetooth speaker with solid audio quality

Victrola Music Edition 2 Portable Bluetooth Speaker review: woman using a speaker outside
(Image credit: Future)
T3 Verdict

The Victrola Music Edition 2 has plenty of volume, the kind of sound quality that is good enough for small gatherings, and a battery life that’s as good or better than most of the alternatives. While it does lack stereo sound and that low-end thump, that’s to be expected with this form factor. At least in its price range, you’ll have a hard time finding much better.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Lots of volume and decent sound quality

  • +

    Has wireless charging

  • +

    Long battery life

  • +

    Solidly built

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Must buy a second speaker for stereo audio

  • -

    Sound quality can get a little harsh and lacks any deep low-end

  • -

    Controls need a little extra pressure to register

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The Victrola Music Edition 2 is more than a retro-looking curiosity. This speaker is both portable and comes with that Bluetooth connectivity that’s so crucial to listening to music off most devices these days. And, as we’ll see in this review, it’s not only a functional portable Bluetooth speaker but a good one as well.

Between its solid if not amazing sound quality, long battery life, and extra functionality, it certainly gives plenty of the best Bluetooth speakers out there a run for their money. In fact, outside of some elements of its sound quality, our biggest gripes with this speaker will be present in most of the other options such as the lack of stereo audio or limited bass response.

So, if you like the look and size, and are willing to drop $200 / £200 on a portable Bluetooth speaker, the Victrola Music Edition 2 should be on your short list.

Victrola Music Edition 2 Portable Bluetooth Speaker review: price and release date  

Though they may look retro, Victrola’s new portable Bluetooth speakers, the Music Edition 1 and Music Edition 2, have only been out since October of 2022. The Music Edition 2, reviewed here, retails for $199.99 (opens in new tab) / £199.99 while the smaller ME1 goes for $99.99 / £99. The fact that the ME2 is double the price comes down to the fact that it has a larger 3.5-inch driver vs the ME1’s 2-inch one, provides 20 hours of use on a single charge as opposed to the ME1’s 12 hours, and comes with wireless charging, something you won’t find on the ME1.

Around $200 / £200 may seem like a lot for a portable speaker. But, if you look at alternatives with a similar size and feature set, this Victrola speaker looks to offer pretty good value. For instance, the Marshall Action III will set you back $280 / £240 yet doesn’t come with the Victrola’s wireless charging or water resistance. If you’re hoping to get something of this size for cheaper, there’s always the Edifier MP230, which at $149 / £99 is easier on the pocketbook, but is decidedly less rugged.

Victrola Music Edition 2 Portable Bluetooth Speaker review: design and features 

Victrola Music Edition 2 Portable Bluetooth Speaker review: speaker placed on a desk

(Image credit: Future)

Aesthetically, the Victrola Music Edition 2 harkens back ever so slightly to tabletop radios of some bygone analog era. Whether you get it in silver or black, its retro look is understated enough that it can easily fit in with most decor.

It has a rectangular shape measuring 8.98 x 3.54 x 4.41 inches (22.8 x 8.99 x 11.2 cm) that doesn’t require too much desk space and can easily fit on a bookshelf as well. It’s also relatively easy to carry around as it weighs 4.09 lbs (1.85kg).

Just as importantly, it’s ruggedly built. The chassis is a solid metal construction while the top and bottom are covered in a rubber or silicon non-slip material to not only keep the unit stable but to keep any controls covered. The ME2 does have an IP67 rating after all, meaning it can be temporarily submerged up to 3 meters of water, making it the kind of workhorse speaker that can function just as well next to a pool as it can on a sandy beach or a picnic.

The metal chassis opens up at the front and back of the speaker for the sound to escape. It might seem strange that there are two grills but there’s a reason for that. The one in front is where most of the audio is emanating from as this is where the 3.5-inch driver and one-inch tweeter are facing. However, the ME2 also has a passive bass radiator to help with the low-end. And, it seems that the passive radiator is facing that back grill since the sound coming out the back is much bassier.

Victrola Music Edition 2 Portable Bluetooth Speaker review: speaker from the back

(Image credit: Future)

The top of the speaker houses all the controls as well as a wireless charging station. There are six buttons: power, charger, Bluetooth on the left side and Volume Up, Action, Volume Down on the right. While the buttons are mostly self-explanatory, the action button does things like pausing, skipping or backtracking depending on the amount of presses. To that point, a lot of buttons have multiple functions. The charger button will turn the wireless charging on and off with a single long press while a short press will let you know if wireless charging is on or off. If it’s on, an LED will flash.

While the buttons are thoughtfully placed around the wireless charging pad, they require a little pressure to register as you’re pressing through that soft-touch material to the actual switch. At least the wireless charging works pretty well. Just don’t expect fast charging out of it.

The Victrola also comes with two ports, both situated on the lower right side on the back of the speaker. There’s a USB-C port which not only powers and charges the speaker but can be used to play MP3s from a USB-C flash drive and an Aux Input for those occasions that you want to connect a source with an analog connection.

Victrola Music Edition 2 Portable Bluetooth Speaker review: performance 

Victrola Music Edition 2 Portable Bluetooth Speaker review: speaker from above

(Image credit: Future)

The sound quality on the Victrola Music Edition 2, while good, comes with all the caveats that single unit speakers come with. Mainly, there’s no stereo audio unless you have a second unit to pair with, a feature it shares with other portable Bluetooth speakers like the Beosound A1 2nd Gen. There’s also no deep sub-bass. At least, there’s a lot of volume on hand. If you want to power a pool party with this, it will keep the soundtrack going as everyone will be able to hear it but it’s not going to give you that deep thump (and neither will any other speakers of this size).

Though it doesn’t get that deep sub-bass, it  does have a decent amount of bass for a speaker this size. No matter what you listen to, it won’t sound thin or like that low-end is missing. Though you get a punchy low-end, it can distort a little depending on what track you’re listening to, probably because there’s not a lot of headroom when there’s just a 3.5-inch driver and a passive radiator responsible for that low end. 

Even though there’s not a lot of headroom, the mids are full without being rich. While I was concerned about it possibly getting distorted, I didn’t have any issues with that. The high-end isn’t quite as good as it’s present but slightly harsh. It’s not that noticeable unless you’re listening to a bright-sounding song or singer with a thin, higher-pitched voice. It’s not quite fatiguing but it could be better. It’s not the most refined sound but somehow this is still a warm-sounding speaker.

If, for some reason, you want to use this speaker for your audio when watching something, you’ll be pleased to know that this speaker has Bluetooth 5.0. There’s very little latency so you can easily use this in conjunction with a portable projector or iPad to watch a movie while camping.

Lastly, the Victrola Music Edition 2 comes with solid battery life as it has 20 hours of use on a single charge. The Beosound A1 2nd Gen speaker we mentioned before gets 18 while the Edifier MP230 gets only ten. To fully charge this Victrola speaker, you’ll have to leave it plugged in for five hours. While that’s not bad, we would have hoped for some fast-charging.

Victrola Music Edition 2 Portable Bluetooth Speaker review: verdict 

Victrola Music Edition 2 Portable Bluetooth Speaker review: black speaker on a white background

(Image credit: Victrola)

In its price range, the Victrola Music Edition 2 is hard to beat for a portable Bluetooth speaker. If you want to spend less, you’ll likely give up on its long 20-hour battery life or extra features like wireless charging. And, both its battery life and wireless charging are worth spending for.

This portable speaker also sounds pretty good. Yes, you won’t have stereo audio unless you get a second one to pair it with, but that’s to be expected with portable single-unit speakers. And, you’re not going to get a very low-end, which, again, is to be expected. Overall, it sounds pretty good if a tiny bit harsh.

Another thing the Victrola Music Edition 2 has going for it is solid build. While this speaker has an attractive, retro look to it, it’s also built to last with its metal chassis, rubberized tops and bottoms and IP67 rating.

Victrola Music Edition 2 Portable Bluetooth Speaker review: also consider 

The Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 2nd Gen is one of the best sounding portable Bluetooth speakers I’ve come across. Its excellent, almost hi-fi sound and thoughtful elegant design is hard to beat in this form factor. Of course, it’s a bit more expensive than the competition, coming in at $250 / £200.

If you want to spend a little less without downsizing, then the Edifier MP230 is probably your best bet. It goes for $149 / £99 which is certainly more affordable. It sounds pretty good as long as you don’t max out the volume and has enough battery life to last a full day out, even it it’s not as good as what the Victrola ME2 has to offer.

If you don’t care so much about the portability aspect, the Marshall Acton III is a solid alternative. Not only does it have that stylish, traditional Marshall aesthetic but it has a powerful sound as well as manual EQ controls, something many Bluetooth speakers, the Victrola ME2 included, don’t have. Of course, it will cost you a little more at $280 / £240.

James is an avid follower of the latest trends happening around tech, particularly when it comes to headphones or anything music-related, gaming, and exercise gadgets. He’s also active in the music industry and has been for the last 10 years. When not writing for T3, he likes to travel, try new foods, and find quirky attractions nearby.