The V1 is a unique entry into the world of turntables and comes as part of Victrola’s Premiere range. Most turntables need a stereo system of some sort to plug into, and even the ones that come with built-in speakers are light on functionality. The Premiere V1 not only comes with everything you need to start listening to records right away, including two built-in drivers and an optional wireless subwoofer. The slightly cheaper T1 model lacks the built-in speaker but has the option to add Bluetooth speakers.
It’s not just capable of playing records though, the V1 also comes with enough functionality to become your go-to audio solution at home. Of course, a system that should work as your turntable, Bluetooth speaker, and home theater system (or at least as a soundbar) is offering up a lot of different features that you don’t typically find in a single unit. But, you find them all here. Is it able to execute them all well? The short answer is mostly. There are a few flaws, as I’ll discuss, but, as a multi-faceted home audio solution, it’s quite appealing.
I tested the Victrola V1 in a home setting with a range of vinyl as well as inputs from a phone for streaming audio and a TV system for the cinema functionality. To find out more about T3's testing, take a look at how we test.
Victrola Premiere V1 Soundbar System review: price and release date
The Victrola Premiere V1 Soundbar System comes at quite a cost. In fact, it’s on par with some of the best turntables that only audiophiles would consider. However, its £440/$500 price tag does include a built-in speaker system and a bluetooth-connected subwoofer. Taking its all-in-one setup and features into account, that’s relatively good value, as long as you’re looking for both a stereo turntable and home theater audio solution.
It’s also a pretty new addition to the world of record players, having been released on November 15, 2021. Outside of the suitcase record players that adorn the back wall of the nearest Urban Outfitters (or the mobile Victrola Revolution Go), all-in-one type turntables are few and far between. And, none of them come with a subwoofer.
Victrola Premiere V1 Soundbar System review: design and features
It’s clear that the Victrola Premiere V1 is a well-built and well-thought out audio solution. Not only is its matte black finish and wood veneer accents elegant enough to fit into and possibly dress up any home audio situation, it fits a full stereo audio system and turntable into just two pieces, comes with a number of features, and is as durable and stable as you can ask a turntable to be.
As far as its build, its hard plastic shell and wood veneer siding (which seems to be textured plastic) is very strong without any possible bending. The tonearm has plenty of heft so that it doesn’t bounce around while a record is playing. On that note, the Premiere V1 is billed as having anti-vibration technology for extremely smooth playing. Keep in mind that this turntable is essentially sitting on a pair of speakers. Thankfully, it works as billed and no matter the volume, I haven’t experienced issues with skipping or uneven play.
Victrola didn’t cut corners either, as the V1 comes with a metal platter and silicone slip mat as well as a shiny black dust cover to protect the turntable when not in use. That dust cover is a bit of a head scratcher. It’s not attached to the turntable and so cannot be lowered and lifted like a lid. Instead it sits on a few protruding rods including the spindle in the center of the metal platter and the 45 adapter holder standing near the base of the tonearm. That means that you have to pick it up and set it aside every time you want to play vinyl. And, since it’s shaped to ergonomically follow the shape of the record player, you can’t play vinyl while the dust cover is on as the tonearm has to be in the rest position. Most turntables have a lid that can protect not only the platter and tonearm but a record during play.
That tonearm is also a testament to the Premiere V1’s quality. It’s custom, has plenty of heft to it including an adjustable counterweight on its end to finetune play as well as an anti-skate knob to mitigate issues with skipping on warped or dirty records. It also carries its own magnetic cartridge, the VPC-190 (the company’s first).
The turntable is belt-driven, like most consumer-grade record players and offers two speeds, 33 and 45. For fans of old records, you should be aware that there’s no 78 speed, a surprising oversight for something that costs this much.
Of course, you’re getting a lot more than just a turntable. Its speaker system consists of two 10-watt drivers for a total of 20 watts of power as well as a 6.5-inch 70-watt subwoofer that connects to the turntable wirelessly (you still need to plug it into an outlet). There’s plenty of power here. And, that wireless pairing makes for a cleaner setup.
The Premiere V1 Soundbar System is just that – a music system. You can use it to play vinyl, but you also have bluetooth connectivity, vinyl streaming (a Victrola technology that lets you pair the turntable with external bluetooth speakers), optical audio connectivity to use with a TV, and an auxiliary input in case you want to connect to an external source like a CD player or smartphone.
Controls are fairly simple. The turntable has a big front-facing dial that you hold to turn on and off and that you press to go between the various audio sources mentioned above. The subwoofer also has its own controls; a volume and low-pass crossover control that lets you dial in how low of a frequency you want boosted. While finding the right settings for the sub can take a little fiddling, it’s straightforward enough that you should find a sound you’re happy with in a few minutes.
Lastly, the system wouldn’t be complete as a system without the inclusion of a remote. The remote keeps the matte black look of the turntable itself and has streamlined controls. There are three buttons. The first one works the same the press function on the big dial on the unit – it powers it on and off and cycles through the different audio input modes. The other two buttons are volume up and volume down. Replacing batteries is a cinch on here as you slide a battery door on its base to gain access. The one issue the remote has is that you can’t just point in the general direction of the turntable and use it. You need a strong line of site for the turntable to register the remote.
Victrola Premiere V1 Soundbar System review: performance
An all-in-one audio solution, especially one that positions itself as a potential home theater add-on, needs to have plenty of volume on tap. Thankfully, the Victrola Premiere V1 can get very loud and maintain its quality of sound. Now, if you’re trying to recreate an IMAX experience at home, its 20 watts of power might not be enough. But, for everything else, this will give you all the volume you could possibly need – including that low-end that most soundbars can’t really supply.
Just as important though, is how it sounds. This system definitely has a particular sound profile to it. It doesn’t matter if you’re listening to vinyl, streaming from your phone via bluetooth, or using the optical audio to watch TV, the sound is warm with rich mids, a somewhat rolled-off high end and present, if somewhat mushy, bass. This is great depending on what you’re listening to and how discerning you are with your audio. This is not close to a neutral sound.
Vinyl sounds very good, especially older records that have a more mid-focused frequency response. And, when listening to something via bluetooth, you almost feel like you’re listening to a record. For example, I listened to Kamasi Washington’s Harmony of Difference on both vinyl and streaming and couldn’t really tell a difference in audio quality. It’s not the most detailed sound since the Premiere V1 is trying to lean into the whole “we listen to vinyl because of the warm sound” idea that has somewhat spurred this boom in vinyl.
That warm, less crisp sound doesn’t have that same positive effect when used with a TV. The lack of high-end made the audio quality of whatever I watched seem almost boxy. When compared to a low-end $150 soundbar from Sony, this sounded only slightly better. At least, I’m able to get plenty of rumble thanks to that subwoofer.
So, when it comes to the use in a home theater, it works well. But, if you’re a stickler for audio quality when watching movies, you’ll want to invest in a separate audio solution there. Still, if you’re using the speakers on your TV, this will be an improvement.
As mentioned before, this is a well-built turntable. One of the quickest ways to see the quality of a turntable is by playing a record. Does it play at consistent speeds? Is the platter even when spinning? Is the tonearm heavy enough to avoid vibrations? The Premiere V1 is rock-solid on all accounts. When it comes to spinning records, it will perform as good as any other turntable out there.
Victrola Premiere V1 Soundbar System review: verdict
The Victrola Premiere V1 is quite fantastic on a lot of fronts. It’s a good looking, sturdy addition to your home entertainment. And, it packs enough features to simplify your home audio situation. Not only is it a solid turntable, but also a great (and loud) bluetooth speaker as well as a serviceable addition to your home theater.
Of course, its sound profile is not ideal for watching TV, which detracts a little from the appeal of its all-in-one solution. It’s also a bit pricey, though you’re getting a powerful subwoofer in the process. There are a couple design flaws as well, namely the strange implementation of the dust cover, the lack of the 78 speed, and a remote that needs to be pointed directly at the turntable to work. But, considering everything you get and how robust of an audio solution the Victrola Premiere V1 is, it is more than worth the price of entry.
Victrola Premiere V1 Soundbar System review: also consider
The Victrola Revolution Go is not only much cheaper at £200/$200/AU$270 but it’s also portable thanks to its rechargeable battery and relatively slim profile. Of course, you’re giving up that oomph the subwoofer provides and a tiny bit of sound quality. But, if you’re not interested in the home theater aspect of the Victrola Premiere V1 Soundbar System, the Revolution Go will give you most of the same functionality, features, and sound quality at a fraction of the price.
Or, if the Victrola Premiere V1 Turntable Music System is a bit out of your price range, you can get the Victrola Premiere V1 Stereo Turntable which is the same setup, just without the subwoofer, for $300 (roughly £240/AU$430). And, if you would like to add that low-end rumble back in at a later time, you can purchase the subwoofer separately for $250 (roughly £200/AU$360).