Rating: 7/10?
  • 1 - Does not work
  • 2 - Barely functional
  • 3 - Severely lacking in most areas
  • 4 - Functions, but has numerous issues
  • 5 - Fine yet leaves a lot to be desired
  • 6 - Good enough to buy on sale
  • 7 - Great and worth purchasing
  • 8 - Fantastic, approaching best-in-class
  • 9 - Best-in-class
  • 10 - Borderline perfection
Price: $400
Victrola Premiere V1 and S1 subwoofer
Kris Wouk / How-To Geek

The idea of buying a complete turntable setup can be daunting for some people, but all-in-one solutions are attractive. These are often loaded with trade-offs, but the Victrola Premiere V1 Soundbar System aims to pack all your music listening and maybe even your home theater into a single package.

Unlike many all-in-one turntable solutions, this Victrola system is relatively modern looking, and it’s packed with modern technology and even includes a wireless subwoofer. It can stream music from your phone and transmit records to Bluetooth speakers or headphones.

Did Victrola try to pack too much functionality into one box, or is this truly everything you need?

Here's What We Like

  • Easy setup
  • Turntable is high quality for an all-in-one system
  • Sounds great for music from records to Bluetooth streaming
  • Modern classic look should fit in with many decor options
  • Connectivity options make it multifunctional

And What We Don't

  • No DSP means no faux surround sound
  • Sound signature isn't well suited to TV
  • Unique dust cover won't work for everyone

How-To Geek's expert reviewers go hands-on with each product we review. We put every piece of hardware through hours of testing in the real world and run them through benchmarks in our lab. We never accept payment to endorse or review a product and never aggregate other people’s reviews. Read more >>

Who Is the Victrola Premiere V1 For?

Victrola is a name that is practically synonymous with the vinyl record player, though if you recognize the name, it’s just as likely for the company’s recent products. Many of Victrola’s newer products are either portable record players or retro-styled all-in-one solutions that pack a turntable, AM/FM radio, CD player, Bluetooth, and more into a single package.

The Victrola Premiere V1 is more of a premium product. That’s not to say that Victrola is cheating out on its other products, but that the Premiere series is a higher-end offering from Victrola.

Victrola VPC190 stylus on record
Kris Wouk / How-To Geek

If you mainly listen to music on your phone with headphones, but you’re looking to start listening to vinyl, a system like this could be a great way to get started. Instead of having to buy a separate turntable, A/V receiver, and speakers, you get it all with one purchase.

This isn’t a one-trick pony, either. For example, you can connect the turntable to another stereo or powered speakers, connect your TV to use it as a 2.1-channel soundbar, or stream records to another speaker or stereo system.

Build Quality

  • Record player dimensions: 16.5″ x 15.1″ x 8″
  • Record player weight: 17.4 Lbs
  • Subwoofer dimensions: 9.1″ x 9.1″ x 10.2″
  • Subwoofer weight: 10.4 Lbs

Many of Victrola’s designs intentionally hearken back to the time period the company’s name brings to mind. Fortunately, the company opted for a more subdued, modern look for the Victrola Premiere V1. The retro look can be nice, but Victrola’s choice for a more neutral appearance means this system can fit in well in most rooms.

Victrola Premiere V1 with S1 subwoofer
Kris Wouk / How-To Geek

The look is mostly black, with wood veneer accents on the sides of the main unit and on top of the dust cover. The wireless subwoofer follows suit, matching a mostly black exterior with wood veneer on the sides.

Taking the main speaker/turntable unit out of the box, I noticed it was heavier than I suspected. Part of this is the sturdy metal record platter, but the body of both the main unit and the soundbar feels well-made, despite the material feeling like MDF plywood.

The dust cover is likely to be one of the more divisive design elements here. It has a unique, striking look, made from slightly transparent black plastic with a dash of woodgrain on top. It isn’t hinged as some dust covers are, instead sitting on top of the platter and a few precisely placed posts.

Victrola Premiere V1 dust cover
Kris Wouk / How-To Geek

Some people won’t like this, mainly since the cover sits directly on the platter, meaning you can’t have it on while a record is playing. The design also means that some dust will make it through the sides and the open portions.

The upside of this style of dust cover is that you can fit the turntable into much tighter spaces than you would with a hinged cover. If you’re using the Premiere V1 as a soundbar, this could be quite handy.

Aside from the 33/45 RPM rocker switch on the back of the player, the only control is a single knob. Turn this to control the volume, long-press it to turn the Premiere V1 on or off, or click it to switch between inputs and modes of operation.

Setup

Everything in the box that arrived carrying the Victrola Premiere V1 was carefully packed. On the turntable, the tonearm was taped in place and had the counterweight was held in place by a foam block.

There is a big piece of cardboard visible immediately when opening the box that walks you through the entire setup process. Most of this is simple to follow, with only the platter installation requiring some patience and care.

This is a belt-drive turntable, and the platter comes with the belt pre-installed. All you need to do is place the platter on the turntable, line up the hole to the belt drive motor, and use a piece of string taped onto the platter to pull the belt over the motor. Once this is done, the turntable is ready.

Hole in Premiere V1 platter, showing belt motor
Kris Wouk / How-To Geek

At least on my review unit, there was a sticker in place letting me know that the counterweight and anti-skate had already been set. I didn’t need to touch these controls at all, either during setup or later on, when I was listening to records.

This easy setup extends to the subwoofer. Again, there was a sticker letting me know that the subwoofer had been pre-paired with the V1. All I needed to do was plug the subwoofer in and set the volume and crossover. We’ll touch on this more later.

Connectivity

  • Bluetooth version: 5.0
  • Subwoofer connection: Wireless, wired
  • Inputs: TV/Optical, Aux, Bluetooth
  • Outputs: RCA Line-Level, Vinyl Stream, Headphone

Knowing Victrola’s other products, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Premiere V1 is loaded with connectivity. To start, this model features Bluetooth 5.0, letting you stream music from your phone if you don’t yet have a massive vinyl collection.

What if you just bought a new record but feel like listening to it on your wireless earbuds? Victrola’s Vinyl Stream feature lets the Premiere V1 act as a Bluetooth source rather than a speaker, so you can play your records over anything you can connect to with Bluetooth.

Inputs and outputs on the back of the Victrola Premiere V1
Kris Wouk / How-To Geek

If you’d rather integrate the Victrola Premiere V1 with your home stereo or home theater system, it has jacks for that too. A line out lets you connect the turntable to another amp or powered speakers, while a line-in lets you connect a CD player or MP3 player.

Victrola refers to this bundle, which pairs the V1 and the S1 subwoofer, as a Soundbar System. To that end, the V1 features an optical digital audio input that lets you route sound from your TV through the V1.

You also get a functional but very barebones remote. It has volume buttons and one other button that works the same as pressing the volume knob on the main unit.

Turntable

  • Cartridge: Victrola VPC-190 Moving Magnetic Cartridge
  • Speeds: 33 RPM, 45 RPM

While this is a sound system more than just a turntable, Victrola did include a quality turntable here.

I mentioned earlier that the Premiere V1 has a rather heavy metal platter. This is a plus for a belt-drive turntable, as while this weight will take longer to get up to speed, it is less prone to speed variations that can alter the pitch of the music you’re listening to. Victrola also includes a silicone slip mat.

Victrola Premiere V1 slip mat
Kris Wouk / How-To Geek

For the Premiere V1, Victrola opted for its own Premiere VPC190 cartridge. We’ll get to how it sounds later, but it’s a nicer cartridge than I’d expected to see here. That said, it doesn’t have a replaceable stylus or needle.

The stylus is a wear part on a record player, so you’ll need to replace it eventually. Since the stylus isn’t removable, you’ll need to replace the entire cartridge. Presently, it doesn’t seem that Victrola sells replacement cartridges.

Victrola VPC190 cartridge

The tonearm is stiff and lightweight, with adjustable counterweight and tracking force controls. This means that if you can’t find a direct cartridge replacement, you can always opt for another cartridge and head shell, balancing the weight with adjustments to the tonearm.

As I mentioned before, there is a switch for 33/45 RPM, and Victrola included an adapter for 7-inch records. Presumably to keep the design clean, the company placed the switch on the back. This isn’t a problem if you have the player somewhere easy to reach, but if you’re using the Premiere V1 as a soundbar, this could be hard to adjust.

Finally, while the turntable does feature auto-stop, it doesn’t have any fancier transport controls like automatic start or return.

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Subwoofer

  • Subwoofer connectivity: Wireless Sync to Victrola V1, RCA Line In, LFE
  • Subwoofer controls: Volume, Low Pass Crossover

A big part of the oomph that you get from the Victrola Premiere V1 comes from the included subwoofer. This is a modest 6.5-inch powered affair, but it’s got a few tricks up its sleeve.

Victrola S1 subwoofer
Kris Wouk / How-To Geek

To start, this isn’t powered by a single 6.5-inch driver. Instead, it has both frontward-firing and downward-firing speakers, the combination of which makes for a larger-sounding subwoofer than you’d expect.

While I found the wireless connectivity to work flawlessly, Victrola does include a cable in case you’d like a wired connection to the main unit. If you’re prone to Bluetooth interference, or you find you want to use the subwoofer with another system, this is handy.

Victrola S1 controls on back
Kris Wouk / How-To Geek

There are two main controls on the back of the subwoofer: volume and crossover. While the volume knob is self-explanatory, the crossover could use an introduction.

The crossover basically controls the frequencies that the subwoofer produces. Turn it down, and it only reproduces the lowest frequencies, turn it up, and it starts reproducing higher frequencies. You’ll typically set this around the halfway mark or a little lower.

Sound Quality

  • Victrola Premiere V1 power: 20W [2 x 10W(RMS), (PMPO 40S)]
  • Subwoofer power: 70W

Because of the “Soundbar System” in the name, I first tried the Victrola Premiere V1 as a soundbar, and I’ll admit I was disappointed. Mainly, it’s because this model doesn’t have any of the digital signal processing (DSP) that soundbars often use for pseudo-surround sound.

The Premiere V1 is clearly tuned for music, and this gave TV and movies too much lower midrange. Dialogue frequently had a boxy sound. It’s still likely better sound than your TV manages alone, but I wasn’t initially very impressed.

Fortunately, things changed dramatically when I turned to music. First, I had to set the crossover and volume on the subwoofer to make sure I had them balanced.

Music Band’s “Day Stealer” proved to be perfect for setting the crossover. I tuned it low enough that low frequencies from the initial guitar line didn’t leak through. When the bass kicked in, I was able to tune it perfectly.

Wanting to make sure I did indeed have the subwoofer dialed, I turned to Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” to make sure. This is a song propelled by the bass line, and it instantly sounded great. I was mainly surprised at how well the Premiere V1 system reproduced the depth of Stevie Nicks’ voice.

Victrola Premiere V1 tonearm
Kris Wouk / How-To Geek

To make sure that the system held up, I next chose the Minutemen’s “The Glory of Man” from my old copy of “Double Nickels on the Dime.” This song can sound bad on the wrong system, but that wasn’t the case here. The subwoofer and main speaker worked together perfectly to carry Mike Watt’s bass, while the treble-heavy guitar didn’t sound overly shrill.

There’s one main issue with the sound of the Premiere V1, due to its small physical size and the lack of DSP I mentioned earlier. Songs can sound narrower here than on other systems. This isn’t a dealbreaker, but I did find it noticeable.

Should You Buy the Victrola Premiere V1?

Whether the Victrola Premiere V1 is the right product for you depends less on its actual performance than the type of product it is. First, decide if you want an all-in-one system at all. If you do want an all-in-one, the Premiere V1 has plenty on its side.

What it doesn’t have is great sound for TV and movies. Sure, it’s more than passable, but it’s not going to outperform even the better budget soundbars. If you’re looking for a soundbar, look elsewhere.

That said, if you’re looking for an all-in-one music system, and you’re just starting to enjoy the perks of listening to vinyl records, this is a solid option for the price.

Rating: 7/10
Price: $400

Here’s What We Like

  • Easy setup
  • Turntable is high quality for an all-in-one system
  • Sounds great for music from records to Bluetooth streaming
  • Modern classic look should fit in with many decor options
  • Connectivity options make it multifunctional

And What We Don't

  • No DSP means no faux surround sound
  • Sound signature isn't well suited to TV
  • Unique dust cover won't work for everyone
Profile Photo for Kris WoukKris Wouk
Kris Wouk is a freelance tech writer and musician with over 10 years of experience as a writer and a lifetime of experience as a gadget fan. He has also written for Digital Trends, MakeUseOf, Android Authority, and Sound Guys. At MakeUseOf, he was Section Editor in charge of the site's Mac coverage.
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