If you thought Victrola was a turntable company, well, you’re not wrong. That said, the company has been branching out lately, including a new line of Bluetooth speakers. The Victrola Music Edition 1 is the smaller, more portable version of these new speakers.
With so many Bluetooth speakers in the wild, Victrola needs a way to differentiate its offerings. With both of the Music Edition speakers, Victrola is focusing on two aspects: toughness and design sensibilities. Most Bluetooth speakers treat design as an afterthought, but the Victrola Music Edition 1 (as well as the Music Edition 2) offers a more modern design than many speakers.
Is the combo of weather resistance and design enough to make the Victrola Music Edition 1 a better choice than other Bluetooth speakers? Or should Victrola stick to turntables?
Build and Portability
- Dimensions: 136 x 80 x 45mm (5.35 x 3.14 x 1.77in)
- Weight: 500g (14.1oz)
While the Victrola Music Edition 1 has the size, portability, and controls of a Bluetooth speaker, the look is different. Available in black and silver, the speaker is designed with a mesh of triangles over a silver grille cloth that makes the speaker look more like a serious piece of home audio equipment, just shrunk down.
This isn’t just a painted-on look on a plastic speaker, either. The Music Edition 1 is made from aluminum, and it feels quite tough. Dropping the speaker might end up denting the aluminum, but I doubt it would break the way some similarly sized speakers would.
This toughness extends to weather resistance as well, with IP67 water and dust resistance. Speakers with this type of protection rarely look as nice as the Music Edition 1, with the only hint that it’s a rugged speaker coming in the rubberized buttons for the controls.
One final interesting detail of the Music Edition 1 is the included wrist strap. There’s a mount for this on the same side of the speaker as the controls, and is handy to keep from dropping the speaker while on the move. At the same time, it doesn’t get in the way when it comes time to listen to music.
- Bluetooth version: 5.0
- Bluetooth profiles: A2DP V1.3, AVRCP V1.6
The Music Edition 1 is equipped with Bluetooth 5.0, and that comes with all the connectivity you’d usually expect. The maximum range is around 33 feet, unlike other speakers that have been increasing the maximum range in recent years.
More and more Bluetooth speakers have been adding the option to pair multiple speakers for stereo sound, and Victrola has included this option here as well. You can pair two Music Edition 1 speakers for either stereo or dual-mono sound, depending on what you’re looking for.
In a feature I’m surprised we don’t see more often in Bluetooth speakers, the Music Edition 1 also supports USB-C MP3 playback. Plug in a flash drive loaded with MP3s, and you can take your music with you without even having to reach for your phone.
Looking at the controls, it’s a fairly standard affair. You have a power button, dedicated volume buttons, a Bluetooth button for pairing, and a multifunction button. This takes care of pausing and resuming playback, as well as double and triple taps and multiple button combos that activate other features.
Double tapping the multifunction button skips to the next track, while triple tapping it plays the previous track. Holding the button for five seconds activated USB-C MP3 playback mode.
To pair multiple speakers, press and hold the Bluetooth and multifunction buttons on both speakers for one second. Once they’re paired, tapping this button combo swaps between stereo and dual mono modes.
- Driver: 50mm (2in)
- Frequency range: 80Hz-20KHz
Looking at the sheer specs, the Music Edition 1 doesn’t exactly look impressive. The speaker boasts a 2-inch driver and passive bass radiator, and that’s it.
Despite the tiny driver, the Music Edition 1 has plenty of volume and even a fair amount of bass. It’s not going to power a party, but it’s easily got enough volume for a single person and even enough to provide background for a small group.
I first gave the Music Edition 1 a challenge, listening to the Big Walnuts Yonder song “Heat Melter.” This is very much a stereo headphone song, and not one I thought would suit a small Bluetooth speaker. That said, the Music Edition does a good job collapsing everything down to mono, and Mike Watt’s bass comes through well without distorting.
Next up was The Kinks’ “The Contenders,” and the acoustic opening worked well on the Music Edition 1. In a way, the speaker sounds like a big stereo shrunk down, but with adequate bass, especially once the song kicks off. Some lower bass notes did seem to disappear from time to time.
Finally, I queued up The Casual Dots’ “Descending,” a song with a sparse arrangement that could easily sound bad on a small mono speaker. The Music Edition 1 delivered here, highlighting small details like reverb tails very well.
Looking at the grille design on the back of a speaker, you may imagine that sound comes out of both sides of the speaker, but that isn’t the case. The sound only comes out of the side of the speaker with the Victrola logo, and is very directional.
The sound changes slightly when you flip the speaker between portrait and landscape orientation, but it’s not really noticeable.
- Battery type: Rechargeable Li-ion
- Battery capacity: 7.4V / 2500mAh
Despite the small size, the Victrola Music Edition 1 offers decent battery life. A full charge will get you up to 12 hours of music playback. This will vary based on the volume you’re playing music at, but you can expect to stay close to that 12-hour figure as long as you’re not playing the speaker too loud.
When it comes time to charge up, you can charge via the USB-C port on the back. Assuming your charger has enough power, the speaker can charge from empty to full in around two hours.
I mention your charger because while Victrola includes a USB-C cable with the Music Edition 1, it doesn’t include a charger.
Should You Buy the Victrola Music Edition 1?
While the IP67 weather resistance is nice, it’s not unique to this speaker. Instead, the main strong suits of the Victrola Music Edition 1 are the design and portability. There are plenty of other factors here, but the eye-catching look and wrist strap are among the more unique features.
The Music Edition 1 is smaller than you may expect, and for the size, it sounds bigger than you may expect. No, you don’t get the booming bass you’d get from a larger speaker, but that larger speaker wouldn’t be as easily portable as the Music Edition 1.
Considering the price, picking up two Music Edition 1 speakers and pairing them for stereo may be a better pick than a single, more expensive speaker. If Victrola started offering a bundled pair, that would be a great buy, but you can always start with one and expand later.
Victrola Music Edition 1
$43 $100 Save $57
- Unique look
- Sounds great for the size
- Wrist strap is handy
- 12-hour battery life
- USB-C MP3 playback is handy
- Can lack some bass, depending on the track
- Controls for pairing two can be tricky