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Following the recent announcement of two new portable Bluetooth speakers, Victrola has begun shipping. This brace of powerful and portable Bluetooth speakers is ideal for indoor or outdoor use and each has an attractive retro finish and a premium build quality.

I’ve now managed to get my hands on these two new speakers and was pleasantly surprised. For those of us of a certain age, the Victrola brand sums up images of dusty old gramophone machines for playing 78rpm shellac records. The name hardly conjures up the picture of innovative technology. Well, these two new speakers are a revelation.

The larger model of the two new speakers is the Music Edition 2 . This tabletop speaker is solidly built with an anodized aluminum case with a retro-looking grille echoing the golden age of Art Deco. It reminds me a little of the old wireless sets our grandparents and great-grandparents listened to before TV came along.

But don’t let the retro design fool you. The Victrola Music Edition 2 is a fully-fledged Bluetooth speaker with a wireless charger built into its top, which can replenish your smartphone while you listen to music. The Music Edition 2 is rated at IP67 for water and dust resistance, making it ideal for pool parties, beach barbecues or a long soak in the bath.

The Music Edition 2 feels solid and well-built. It has enough power to fill a medium-sized room with sound. It’s ideal for parties and outdoor gatherings thanks to its 3.5-inch driver, 1-inch tweeter, plus the passive bass radiator for giving more heft to the lower frequencies. A full charge of the built-in battery will yield up to 20 hours of continuous listening time, plus there’s a 3.5mm stereo input for connecting almost any analog sound source.

In use, the Victrola Music Edition 2 is very capable. It has an energetic sound and pumps out a good level of sound. Setting up is straightforward and, once paired with a smartphone, tablet or computer, the Music Edition 2 will reconnect automatically every time it’s turned on. However, there’s no automatic function to turn the speaker off after a period of activity so you do have to shut the speaker down manually if you’re not using it for a while.

The second of the two new Victrola speakers is Music Edition 1. This handheld speaker has the same solid metal finish as its larger sibling and can be used vertically or horizontally. There is a row of buttons across its top, which are used to control playback, volume and Bluetooth pairing. There’s also a point for securing a wrist strap. The design and feel of the Music Edition 1 remind me of the early transistor radios of the 1960s that almost every teenager used to carry around on their wrist, back in the days of the Beatles and the Monkees.

The sound produced by the Victrola Music Edition 1 is louder than I expected. The tone is more treble than the Music Edition 2, but there’s plenty of volume in this compact speaker, making it an ideal speaker for listening on a nightstand or taking on a picnic. It’s water and dust resistant to IP67, meaning it can shrug off a lot of water or even a minor sandstorm.

The Music Edition 1 has a powerful two-inch driver and a passive bass radiator to provide a bit of oomph. A full charge of the built-in battery via a USB-C charging port provides up to 12 hours of continuous listening time, long enough for the most leisurely picnic or party. The design echoes the retro look of the Victrola Music Edition 2. I think it would look even better if Victrola made a smart retro leather case to protect the speaker, just like those transistor radios of the 1960s.

Verdict: I was pleasantly surprised when I listened to these two Bluetooth speakers from Victrola. Their sound is precise and rhythmic, each adapting well to various musical genres. There are a lot of Bluetooth speakers on the market and not all of them are as good as this pair from Victrola. For use in a kitchen, living room or outdoor seating area, I’d recommend the Victrola Music Edition 2. It’s got enough power and sufficient stamina to stay the course between charges with sufficient volume to fill medium-sized spaces. Alternatively, the cute and compact Music Edition 1 is a superb handheld Bluetooth speaker. Its stylish retro look is beautiful, while the 12 hours of playing time is pretty good for a handheld speaker. The Music Edition 1 is a great buy and would make an ideal Christmas gift for the music-loving aesthete in your life.

Pricing & Availability: The Victrola Music Edition 1 costs $99.99 while the Music Edition 2 sells for $199.99 and both are available from www.victrola.com, Amazon or Best Buy. The speakers are available in black and grey finishes. Additional colorways will be released in 2023.

More info: victrola.com


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