When I got the opportunity to review the Victrola Revolution Go Portable Rechargeable Record Player, I met it with a bit of skepticism. I’ve come across plenty of retro and suitcase-style turntables, especially in the further reaches of various Urban Outfitters. And, I was even given one that I tried to give away just as fast (though it was not a Victrola).
But, this portable turntable has proven me wrong. The actual performance is quite solid with no issues with skipping or uneven play. The sound quality is surprising to say the least. And, there are about as many features on this as you can expect in a turntable.
Of course, it is a strange device. How many people would be better off with just a Bluetooth speaker instead of a portable turntable? After all, you still have to lug vinyl around – though the Victrola Revolution Go does have Bluetooth capability. But if you’re in the market for a turntable and want something that can fit into any setup as well as go on the road, then this is quite a mighty little record player.
Victrola Revolution Go review: price and release date
Released in October 2021, the Victrola Revolution Go may be one of the only portable speakers of its kind. Of course, there are plenty of those suitcase speakers that Victrola and Crosley are known for, along with plenty of knock-offs that you’ll find on Amazon. But, those don’t come with a lithium battery to be used away from an outlet. This is an interesting combination of a suitcase turntable and a portable Bluetooth speaker.
So, its price of $199.99 (£199 / AU$270) is not unreasonable. You can find many suitcase speakers for less than half price. And, you can find plenty of quality Bluetooth speakers for half price as well. But, you won’t find a turntable that can function as both. So, while the price seems a little steep for those younger enthusiasts looking to get into vinyl, it is a unique offering.
Victrola Revolution Go review: design and features
You can’t fault Victrola for skimping on its design or features. Not only is th Revolution Go portable, complete with a handle that’s easy to tuck away, a guitar strap for over-the-shoulder carry, and a storage compartment for the power supply, it also comes with three different speeds to play records at, a converter to use with wide-holed 45s (which is usually a separate purchase), and three different audio modes: Vinyl, Vinyl Streaming, Bluetooth.
This is a well-thought-out turntable. It’s a bit thicker than a typical record player – it houses two 5-watt drivers and a rechargeable lithium battery – but its length and width are smaller than you’ll find on most record players, lending itself for use in smaller spaces as well as for easy portability.
The Revolution Go is a belt-driven turntable, ideal for anyone not planning on using one for a DJ gig, and uses an easily replaceable Audio Technica AT-3600LA stylus. While you could easily upgrade the stylus to something more expensive, the included AT-3600LA is more than good enough.
As far as physical controls go, there’s not much in the way of automation here. You have a lever to lift and lower the tone arm, a selector to switch between the three speeds to play 33,45, and 78, and a selector to toggle auto-off when the needle gets to the end of a record. It also comes with a RCA line-level and headphones out if you want to connect external speakers or a pair of headphones.
There’s one large knob to control power, volume and connectivity modes situated near the front of the turntable. Holding it down for two seconds will turn the turntable on and off. Turning it will control the volume. And, pressing it will let you cycle through three connectivity modes: Vinyl, Vinyl Stream, and Bluetooth mode. Pairing is incredibly simple with the latter two modes. Speaking of, Vinyl Stream is a somewhat unique concept where you can use the functionality of the turntable while using an external speaker system via Bluetooth. It’s a nice, if somewhat niche, feature that makes sense if you have access to a larger Bluetooth-enabled sound system and want to connect a turntable.
A few other details of note with the Victrola Revolution Go include its removable lid which has five slots on the inside, letting you display your vinyl. The built-in speaker also offers voice notifications of mode and battery level whenever you turn the Revolution Go on (though it will only say full, medium, or low instead of actual percentages).
Victrola Revolution Go review: performance
The overall performance of the Victrola Revolution Go is very good, if not quite great. Of course, the first issue with cheaper record players is the speed at which they play records. Sometimes they’ll play too fast or too slow. And, more importantly, they may not maintain a constant speed. Luckily, the Victrola Revolution Go is fairly accurate here.
But, it's the sound quality that keeps me from saying it’s great. It has a very colored sound that most people getting into vinyl will enjoy. It’s warm with a slightly overemphasized mid-range and slightly rolled-off high-end that will give everything that vinyl warmth, even when you’re using it as a Bluetooth speaker. It actually surprised me by the quality. However, it has the kind of sound that future audiophiles will eventually find a bit too colored. Of course, this is not meant as a HiFi product. And, for its price, functionality and features, it’s hard to ask for more. But, if you’re hoping for a transcendental auditory experience, you won’t find it here.
There’s plenty of volume on tap from the built-in speaker, so if you want to use it for gatherings, whether as a turntable or Bluetooth speaker, it’s more than capable of keeping a small party entertained. And, all its functionalities and features work with no real need to consult a manual. The only real question remains whether you’re better served getting this over a dedicated Bluetooth speaker. It is cumbersome in comparison but what it does, it does well.
Victrola Revolution Go review: battery life
Since there aren't a whole bunch of turntables out there with built-in battery life, it’s hard to say whether the battery life is good or not. After all, there are a lot more moving parts with a turntable than with a portable Bluetooth speaker, where you can expect up to 18 hours of battery life depending on the model. Of course, there are some that will give you just 12 hours like the Revolution Go is advertised as having.
This turntable is also a bit larger with larger speakers than a lot of Bluetooth speakers so you’ll get a little more volume and a fuller sound than some of the competition as well. If only you could use the full 12 hours of battery life.
While it will give you 12 hours of play (which I tested with a mix of vinyl and Bluetooth), it will start announcing that the battery is low every minute or so once it gets to about 8 and a half hours. That means that the last 3 and a half hours will probably not be used unless you’re absolutely desperate. As an owner of many Bluetooth audio devices, I’ve never seen this elsewhere. You would only get constant notifications when the battery is about to die.
Victrola Revolution Go review: verdict
The Victrola Revolution Go is one of a kind. It’s a turntable that also happens to be a portable Bluetooth speaker and it fits both roles quite well. While some potential users might be better off going with a more typical Bluetooth speaker – this will never be quite as portable – budding vinyl enthusiasts will enjoy what the Revolution Go has to offer. Of course, it does have a quirk or two, such as its constant reminders when the battery is low which makes the last third of its battery life unusable. But, it offers very good sound quality with a ton of features that are mostly executed quite well.
Victrola Revolution Go review: also consider
If your main concern is portability and great sound, consider the Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 2nd Gen portable speaker. The sound is about as phenomenal as you can get out of such a tiny package. It’s very easy to carry around, has 18 hours of battery life, and is water and dust-resistant. And, it’s only about $50 more than the Revolution Go.
If you’re in the market for a turntable however and want to spend less, consider Victrola’s The Eastwood. It has a lot of the same functionality such as Bluetooth and Vinyl Stream capability as well as a smaller footprint. It just comes without portability-related features such as the lithium battery or retractable handle. It has a little volume on tap as well. But, getting one will only set you back $99.99.