Victrola Hi-Res Onyx Review: A Solid Record Player With Bluetooth

Key Takeaways

  • The Victrola Hi-Res Onyx turntable offers high-fidelity wired and wireless vinyl experiences with Bluetooth 5.4, Bluetooth LE, and aptX Adaptive support.
  • The turntable features a simple, all-black design that can fit well with various decors.
  • While the Hi-Res Onyx has a built-in pre-amp and provides a convenient Bluetooth option for wireless streaming, it’s recommended to use it with a higher-end Bluetooth speaker for optimal sound quality.

Turntables aren’t supposed to be known for their wireless connectivity, but more often than not, in 2023, the inclusion of Bluetooth or Wi-Fi isn’t a niche feature of a record player. Victrola already ventured into this space with its Sonos-compatible models, but now it has a more universal Bluetooth option with its Hi-Res Onyx.

Victrola Hi-Res Onyx
Victrola Hi-Res Onyx

$299.99 $399.99 Save $100

Hi-Res Onyx expands Victrola’s premium turntable offerings with high-fidelity wired and wireless vinyl experiences, including Bluetooth 5.4, Bluetooth LE, and aptX Adaptive support.

Built-in Pre-amp

Bluetooth 5.4; support for aptX Adaptive

Speeds (RPM)
33 and 45

Bluetooth and RCA

  • Simple, all-black design should fit with a lot of decors
  • Both RCA and Bluetooth connection options
  • Built-in pre-amp
  • Dust cover doesn?t block dust to all areas
  • aptX isn?t widely available on all listening devices

Hi-Res Onyx Design and Features

Top view of Hi-Res Onyx
Tyler Hayes / How-To Geek

Whether it was the plan all along or not, the Hi-Res Onyx copies the design of the Stream Onyx, which uses Wi-Fi to connect directly to Sonos speakers. The Hi-Res version matches the low profile, all-black aesthetic and is virtually indistinguishable from casual observation, aside from only having a button on the front, instead of a twisting knob.

Although Bluetooth is the touted highlight, the Hi-Res Onyx turntable still has RCA connectors and comes with the cables in the box. I’m a proponent of fewer wires for most things, but it seems a little silly to make room for a record player and vinyl records, but not for some speakers to be in near proximity. (That’s just a small aside that doesn’t affect anything about this product.)

If you are set on using Bluetooth, Victrola offers “best-in-class” aptX support to help justify wireless streaming because of the high transmission throughput offered if your playback device also supports it. That means you could connect a pair of headphones directly to the record player, not just speakers.

The Sound of a Bluetooth Turntable

close up of the Hi-Res Onyx tonearm and cartridge
Tyler Hayes / How-To Geek

I connected the Hi-Res Onyx to several different speakers in several ways, including the ever-so-popular Edifier R1280DB bookshelf speakers with RCA ports and Bluetooth.

My first use of listening wirelessly with this turntable, however, came through the Marshall Stanmore III. I put on Georgia’s “Euphoric” album and, frankly, was reminded just how bombastic that speaker can sound. Over the Bluetooth connection, songs boomed and played with impressive clarity. At times, while doing other tasks, I even forgot it was a turntable spinning the tunes I was hearing.

The existential question then crept in of whether I needed to be listening on a vinyl record if I couldn’t tell the audio was coming from plastic grooves. Part of that minor crisis might have been caused by the unapologetically electronic music on the album, but not all.

I listened to at least a dozen records wirelessly and there was some analog presence that came through the digital passageway. Leon Bridges’ “Coming Home” was one that stuck out as being able to retain some of its vinyl qualities.

Back of the Hi-Res Onyx turntable
Tyler Hayes / How-To Geek

Personally, I did prefer connecting the Hi-Res Onyx using its wires, but the Bluetooth option was absolutely viable for people who want that. There shouldn’t be any judgment about how people use a turntable. A higher-end Bluetooth speaker is certainly recommended, especially if you’re considering this turntable that has been as low as $299.99—but play your music however you see fit.

There’s no automatic arm return, but I did appreciate the automatic stopping when a record finished. It afforded me the time to return to the room and flip sides. The counterweight was easy to attach with pre-marked lines. A simple knob to switch between 33 and 45RPM speeds felt solid to manipulate.

the dust cover on the Hi-Res turntable
Tyler Hayes / How-To Geek

The worst part of the Victoria Hi-Res Onyx was its dust cover. When I first saw the design, also used with the Stream Onyx, I was intrigued, but now, after some time, I’m solidly not a fan. It doesn’t make the product not worth buying, but I much prefer more traditional dust covers that cover the entire turntable.

Connecting Bluetooth Devices

It’s worth mentioning that connecting Bluetooth speakers was much easier than I expected. I would press the front button so it blinked blue and then put the speaker into Bluetooth connection mode and the two devices would link automatically. The next time I turned both on, they were still paired and worked instantly.

I didn’t experience any signal interferences, audio delays, or drops in connection. Overall, I was impressed by the simplicity of using the wireless tech.

Price and Availability

The Hi-Res Onyx initially retailed for $399.99 but is currently selling for $299.99. Its more premium sibling, the Hi-Res Carbon, currently sells for $499.99, down from $599.99.

Hi-Res Onyx vs. Hi-Res Carbon

Thankfully, Victrola debuted both the Onyx and Carbon models of the Hi-Res at the same time. When it launched its Sonos-compatible Stream models, it did so separately, which might have affected some people’s buying decisions.

This time around, potential buyers have the opportunity to compare the choices directly from the start. There are two primary differences and $200 between the two turntable choices—tonearm and cartridge.

I purposefully chose to try the less expensive Hi-Res Onyx model so I could hear what the lower-end model was offering. I liked the sound of the Audio-Technica AT-VM95E cartridge. While I can’t comment on the Ortofon 2M Red one, it is priced and positioned as the premium option. Any amount of research will show that each cartridge has its enthusiasts and detractors. So I wouldn’t fret about that aspect too much.

The Hi-Res Carbon has a silver metal front plate, which is supposed to look more premium than the all-black Onyx model. The namesake feature is the carbon-fiber tonearm, which Victrola also advertises as “vibration dampening.” Depending on what mood I was in when browsing Victrola turntables, I might be tempted to splurge on the Carbon model for its lightweight tonearm. More times than not, I would probably save the money and stick to the Onyx model.

Should You Buy the Victrola Hi-Res Onyx Turntable?

close up of the counterweight on the Hi-Res Onyx
Tyler Hayes / How-To Geek

At a $300 price point, I like the Victrola Hi-Res Onyx turntable as good starter option. It has a lot of modern conveniences like auto-stop and Bluetooth, but it also gets the basics right and sounds good in whatever way it gets connected to speakers. At its full $400 retail price, it’s a much harder sell compared to entry-level offerings from other companies like Pro-Ject or Audio Technica.

It’s an option that can grow with someone as they explore the world of vinyl records. The Hi-Res Onyx probably shouldn’t be someone’s forever turntable, but there’s no reason it can’t help facilitate plenty of listening sessions.

Victrola Hi-Res Onyx
Victrola Hi-Res Onyx

$299.99 $399.99 Save $100

Hi-Res Onyx expands Victrola’s premium turntable offerings with high-fidelity wired and wireless vinyl experiences, including Bluetooth 5.4, Bluetooth LE, and aptX Adaptive support.


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