Hands-on review: Victrola Revolution Go portable record player
Image credit: Victrola
The turntable specialist’s venture into portable models lets record enthusiasts listen to their vinyl at home or on the move.
Victrola is a turntable specialist originally founded in 1906, with models that tend to have nostalgic designs, so the Revolution Go is a new, contemporary look for the company and perhaps aimed at a new audience.
This unusual portable turntable has a built-in rechargeable battery so you can spin vinyl anywhere, such as at a picnic in the park. The guitar-style thick strap gives it a messenger bag look and the lid pops off to display up to five albums.
Campervan-owning retrophiles may wish to take a briefcase-style portable turntable on their travels, but most will require mains power or some form of rechargeable source. The Revolution Go is a rechargeable turntable, with a design aimed more at modern hipsters picnicking or who just can’t wait to get home from Rough Trade to listen to their latest purchases, so they feel compelled to give their vinyl a spin in the park.
Unboxing was pretty pedestrian and the turntable is quite big; boxy but light for its size, like a chunky messenger bag. If you loved vinyl first time around, we’d say its lidded design is equivalent to the size of a portable typewriter. If you’re newer to it, this device is more than large enough to theoretically store every song ever made in digital form.
Pros and cons aside, vinyl has its charm: the analogue sound quality; the spinning of a disc rather than skipping of a playlist; the large format of a 12" sleeve. The use of a guitar-style strap adds to the turntable’s muso aesthetic. You could even customise the Go with the guitar strap of your choice.
The sound is a key reason to enjoy vinyl, so after charging the Victrola Revolution Go (its battery is good for 12 hours of playback) we turned it on, ready to give it a spin.
Squeeze a tab to lift the lid. Tilt the lid up by 45° and squeeze the sides of it in if you want to pop it off, rather than just open it. The inverted lid has slots designed to hold up to five albums on display. Two slots are wider, designed for double albums, with the other three narrower for regular albums. The wider slots could fit the triple heavyweight vinyl of Radiohead’s glorious reissue 'OK Computer OKNOTOK 1997 2017', the fattest album in this writer's collection.
It’s also a favourite album and it sounded good on the Victrola. You hold the round button down for two seconds, a digitised voice says “vinyl” and the turntable starts spinning. The computer voice seemed fitting for this record. You then need to move the arm over manually to start playing, but there’s an optional auto stop. There’s also a switch to select between the belt-driven turntable’s three (yes, three) speeds: 33, 45 and 78rpm.
The round power switch lights up when in use and it doubles as a volume knob. You can turn the sound up loud enough to fill a room, without distortion. It’s not high fidelity, but it’s not half bad. That’s thanks to its built-in stereo speakers and passive bass radiator.
Sound quality also benefits from its careful design, to isolate from vibrations, plus the Audio Technica AT-3600LA, a popular moving magnet cartridge that’s well respected for its price. It doesn’t have the skate control or adjustable counterweight that you’d expect in a hi-fi turntable. Practically though, as you’ll presumably be moving the Go around a lot, the retention clip is great. This secures the tonearm so it doesn’t accidentally move and get damaged while you're out and about.
Another press of the round button for “vinyl stream” disengages the built-in speakers and instead pairs the Go with any nearby Bluetooth speaker so you can listen at even louder volumes.
Press the button one more time for “Bluetooth” which does the opposite, turning the Victrola’s built-in speakers into a Bluetooth speaker. You can stream digital music to it from your phone or other device. A good plan for when you’ve exhausted your vinyl collection but want to keep on listening.
This two-way Bluetooth adds to its potential as a party-in-the-park music machine, but the Victrola is quite chunky to buy just for use as a portable. It’s a cute, contemporary turntable with a decent sound. We’d say consider buying it to add vinyl playback to your home hi-fi, but to also have the option of music on the move, away from mains power, when you want it.
For use at home, it’s good that there are RCA line outs on the rear to hook it up to an amp, as well as a headphone socket. However, there’s no USB output, so you can’t simply connect it to a laptop to digitise your vinyl.
Its 12 hours of wireless playback is plenty: enough to enjoy a whole day of music or entertain fellow campers at a festival. And the contemporary design has its charm for modern vinyl lovers. It’s frustrating that it can display albums in the upturned lid but not carry them on the move, but the Victrola Revolution Go’s perfect accompaniment is a bag from your favourite record store.
From the makers of the Crosley Cruiser, this elegant briefcase-style turntable needs mains power, but it does boast two-way Bluetooth 5.1 so you can stream digital music to its built-in speaker or use external speakers for a bigger sound from your vinyl. It plays three speeds and three sizes of record.
Scratch and cut anywhere with this three-speed portable deck, which can be battery-powered. It has a built-in, adjustable Scratch Slide Switch. It also features a speaker and USB, so you can use it to digitise your vinyl collection by plugging it into a laptop. Comes with a dust cover and built-in handle.
A briefcase-style record player for a great price, considering that it’s rechargeable (four hours playback time) and contains stereo speakers. It even has built-in USB for digitising your record collection by connecting it to a laptop.
From £50 amazon.com
Sign up to the E&T News e-mail to get great stories like this delivered to your inbox every day.