My solely criticism in regards to the Stream Carbon’s design is its considerably wonky mud cowl, an unremarkable piece of plastic that covers the platter and tonearm. It’s not related to the turntable in any approach, and I typically discovered myself questioning what to do with it once I was truly enjoying data. Not an enormous deal, however price understanding about forward of time.
Setup was fairly easy. The tonearm counterweight has two marks on it, every of which corresponds to the cartridge the Stream Carbon contains; my evaluation unit got here with the Ortofon Crimson 2M. Then it’s only a matter of placing the belt into place and dropping the platter and mat excessive. If I have been utilizing commonplace audio system, I’d simply plug them in, however the entire level of testing the Stream Carbon was to get it hooked as much as my Sonos community. Thankfully, that too was straightforward.
After putting in the Victrola Stream app on my iPhone, it was only a matter of tapping “add a turntable” and including it to my WiFi community. You then want to inform the turntable which Sonos speaker or group to make use of by default; I had arrange two Play:1 audio system subsequent to the turntable for this check. At that time, I didn’t have to do the rest within the Victrola app as all the things playback associated went by means of my Sonos system.
I kicked issues off with my shiny pink Carly Rae Jespen EMOTION file; transferring the tonearm mechanically began the file spinning, and after a brief delay the tunes began coming by means of my Sonos audio system. From there, I might use the Sonos app to bounce that music anyplace I needed in my home. I’ve audio system on every ground of my dwelling and will play all of them without delay, or only a single set. It felt fairly bizarre and moderately indulgent to placed on a file on the primary ground and hearken to it up in my third-floor workplace, however it’s undoubtedly one thing I attempted. Placing apart that considerably odd use case, although, the Stream Carbon reliably labored with any and all Sonos merchandise I’ve in my home – that features a pair of older Play:1s, some gen-2 One audio system and the first-gen Beam soundbar.
After getting arrange, I noticed there was no actual have to have a pair of audio system situated straight subsequent to the Stream Carbon. That ought to have been instantly apparent once I began setting issues up, however it felt a little bit bizarre to have music mechanically begin enjoying on the Beam under my TV (the one different Sonos speaker in my lounge). However there’s undoubtedly one thing releasing about with the ability to place the Stream Carbon anyplace you need with out having to fret in regards to the bodily proximity of the audio system you’re utilizing. It didn’t make sense to place the turntable anyplace else in my lounge, however I’d undoubtedly contemplate a much less conventional placement if I used to be constructing my setup from scratch.
As for audio high quality, that depends upon your audio system and the situation of your data. When enjoying my newer vinyl, although, the Stream Carbon sounded nice. I jumped between the sparse acoustic tones of Gustavo Santaolalla’s rating for The Final of Us Half II and Howard Shores majestic orchestral compositions for the Lord of the Rings movies to pop tunes just like the aforementioned Carly Rae Jepsen file and a biggest hits compilation from Canadian electro-rock outfit Metric.
I’m no audiophile, however I used to be constantly impressed with the detailed soundscapes I heard with the combo of my Sonos audio system and the Stream Carbon. Noise from the data themselves was additionally minimal – my older albums like an authentic urgent of Metallica’s Grasp of Puppets and a late ‘70s copy of Pink Floyd’s Animals didn’t sound almost as pristine, however the crackles and different sounds you hear from well-kept data have been barely noticeable.
One of many extra uncommon issues about sound high quality I seen whereas utilizing the Stream Carbon was that the Sonos Trueplay speaker tuning applies to file playback. In case you haven’t used it earlier than, Trueplay makes use of the microphone on an iPhone or iPad to hearken to how a Sonos speaker sounds and modify the audio to optimize it for the speaker’s placement in a room. When you do that, the setting applies to something being performed by means of the speaker, whether or not it’s streaming audio by means of the Sonos app, audio from a related TV or the Stream Carbon turntable.
Whereas I nearly at all times use Trueplay on my Sonos audio system, having it turned on whereas utilizing the turntable felt prefer it additional abstracted the idea of “listening to a file.” I used to be already turning the analog audio into ones and zeros by streaming it to the Sonos, and now I used to be making use of a layer of digital enhancement to that music. At this level, I would as properly have simply streamed an album straight from Spotify or Apple Music to my audio system.