REVIEW – Ever since the Vinyl Revival began around 2007, I’ve been trying to convince myself to buy a new turntable. I’m a child of the 70s and 80s, so growing up I had a pretty big collection of LPs and 45s. I vividly remember the excitement of hearing a needle hit a new record for the first time. The first albums I ever owned were KISS Double Platinum and The Monkees Greatest Hits and I played those records until the grooves were practically worn smooth, every click, pop, and hiss etched into memory.
My hesitation in buying a turntable has always been because of cost, functionality, and space. Good turntables have always cost too much for me to justify, cheap turntables never had enough functionality to make them worth buying, and all turntables seemed to take up a ton of space in my always-too-small apartments. So, imagine my joy at finding the Eastwood turntable by Victrola. The Eastwood hits all the marks for me. At $99 it’s pretty affordable, it has Dual-Bluetooth functionality allowing me to stream my records to Bluetooth speakers or headphones, and it has a stylish, compact modern design. The Eastwood isn’t perfect, but I’m able to look past its shortcomings since it’s allowed me to once again feel that excitement I felt as a record-loving kid.
What is it?
The Eastwood turntable by Victrola is a 3-speed record player with Dual-Bluetooth connectivity that allows you to stream music from a smart device to its speakers, or stream records from it to any external Bluetooth speaker or headphone. The ability to stream out to Bluetooth devices is pretty significant. Most turntables in this price range have Bluetooth functionality, but rarely does that include a Bluetooth Out option. The majority of Bluetooth turntables only allow you to stream sound to the device, and since turntables in this price range rarely have quality speakers, the Eastwood being no exception, it’s kind of a pointless feature in my opinion.
The Eastwood Bluetooth turntable arrives already assembled and well protected in a box detailing all of its various capabilities.
What’s in the box?
- The Eastwood turntable
- 5V Power supply
- User manual
- Size: 12.7″ (322mm) W × 12.3″ (312mm) D × 5.2″ (131mm) H
- Weight: 4.5 lbs (2kg)
- Operating Temperature: 5°C – + 40°C
- Turntable Speeds: 33-1/3 RPM, 45 RPM & 78 RPM
- Ports: RCA Out & 1/8″ (3.5mm) Headphone
- Bluetooth Version: V4.0
- Bluetooth Profiles: A2DP, AVRCP
- Bluetooth Frequency range: 2.402GHz – 2.480GHz
- Bluetooth Operating Distance: 33 ft (10m)
- Power Adapter: DC 5V/1A
- Power Consumption: 5W
- Power Output: 2 × 2W
- Cartridge: Audio-Technica AT-3600LA
- Replacement Stylus: ATN3600L
- Output voltage: 4.2 mV
- Frequency response: 20Hz-20kHz
- Channel balance: 1.5dB
- Channel separation @ 1kHz/10kHz: 24/15dB
- Tracking force: 2.5 – 3.5 g
- Stylus type: Highly polished and shaped .0006 inch conical diamond
- Stylus construction: Bonded round shank
Design and features
The Eastwood has a modern, sleek design that implies it costs much more than it does.
From the smooth bamboo finish sides to the faux metal plastic turntable, the Eastwood hits all the aesthetic notes expected of a high-end turntable, but at a $99 price point.
The Bluetooth turntable, knobs, buttons, and faceplate are all plastic but look surprisingly like textured aluminum. The faux metal faceplate has five buttons, two knobs, and a 1/8″ headphone port for wired listening.
The buttons control power, record play functions, and Bluetooth Out pairing. The knobs control volume and switching between phono play and Bluetooth In operation.
The spartan control layout helps maintain the clean lines of the Eastwood, you’re provided with only the controls you need and nothing more. This is great for looks, but there were times when I was frustrated by the minimal control scheme, more on that in the setup and performance sections.
The front of the Eastwood houses two 2W speakers behind a black screen adorned with a plastic Victrola logo.
The smooth bamboo wood finish covers the sides and back of the Eastwood, further selling the looks-more-expensive-than-it-is appearance.
The back of the Eastwood holds the power port and RCA out ports for connecting it to wired external speakers.
The Eastwood ships with an external power supply instead of utilizing an internal power supply used by more expensive turntables.
The dust cover is also plastic and connects to the turntable via two tabbed plastic hinges. Releasing these tabs makes the dust cover removable, which is a nice feature.
There’s an integrated 45 rpm adapter set into the body of the Eastwood.
It’s easy to pop the adapter out and into the faux metal turntable for playing 45 rpm records.
The straight tonearm has a standard plastic tonearm lock to prevent it from moving when not in use.
There’s a cueing lever for carefully raising and lowering the tonearm onto records.
Controls near the tonearm allow you to change the turntable speed for 33 1/3, 45, or 78 rpm records. There’s also an auto stop switch so you never have to deal with that end of record skipping sound, unless you’re into that sort of thing.
The Eastwood features the popular Audio-Technica AT-3600LA magnetic cartridge.
The great thing about this cartridge is that it provides great sound quality and it’s really easy to replace. A replacement stylus usually only costs between $20 to $25.
In keeping with the overall minimalism of the Eastwood, its display screen shows few indicators, PH for Phono, BT for Bluetooth, and a little Bluetooth icon for pairing. Oh, it also displays HI for a second when you turn it on, which is cute.
The Eastwood can accommodate a record with the dust cover open or closed.
Although, I almost damaged my precious Beastie Boys Paul’s Boutique album when closing the dust cover too quickly, so that’s something to be concerned about.
Setting up the Eastwood for basic record playing through its internal speakers is simple.
Remove the instructions from the turntable. Untwist and remove the plastic tie holding the tonearm in place. Unlock the tonearm.
Remove the stickers on the display screen and near the tonearm and carefully remove the plastic needle guard from the cartridge on the end of the tonearm.
To play a record, set an album down carefully on the turntable and turn the unit on. Turn the BT/PHONO knob to PHONO and PH will show on the display. Press play and then gently lower the tonearm down onto the album. Adjust the volume once the album starts playing. If you plug in headphones, the internal speakers should stop playing, this didn’t always work for me though.
If you want to play your record through Bluetooth speakers or headphones, there’s a little more setup involved. The first trick I learned is that the record needs to be playing BEFORE you try to stream it to your Bluetooth device. Knowing this would’ve saved me a lot of time and frustration. To begin, follow all the directions I gave for playing a record. Once the record is playing press the BT OUT button. PH will show on the display screen and the Bluetooth icon will start flashing. Put your Bluetooth device into pairing mode and wait. The devices will automatically pair after about 10-20 seconds. You’ll know the pairing succeeded when the icon stops flashing and sound stops coming from the Eastwood speakers and comes out of your Bluetooth device instead. Volume is controlled only by your Bluetooth device at this point. This process was hit or miss for me and was pretty frustrating at times. I wish there more controls to enable the pairing or more information displayed on the screen to know the process was working.
If you want to stream a Bluetooth device to the Eastwood’s speakers, that process is pretty straightforward. Simply turn on the unit, switch the BT/PHONO knob to BT and BT will show on the display screen. Set your device to pairing mode, select Victrola Eastwood in your device’s pairing menu, and start streaming. This worked every time for me, but it’s the one function I’ll probably never use on the Eastwood.
Once I figured out all of the Eastwood’s little setup quirks it was time to start playing records. I grabbed some of my all-time favorite albums; Matthew Sweet’s power-pop magnum opus Girlfriend, the Beastie Boys’ hip-hop masterpiece Paul’s Boutique, and Weezer’s groundbreaking debut Blue Album.
I played all of the albums through the Eastwood’s internal speakers, wired headphones, RCA out ports, and through two different sets of Bluetooth headphones. The wired headphones were great, but I was never able to get the internal speakers to completely shut off which affected the overall sound quality and experience. The RCA out ports worked great as well since they were wired through my Yamaha home theater receiver and out to some really good Sony speakers.
By far, the best listening experience was playing the albums via Bluetooth through my FIIL CANVIIS Pro headphones, which I reviewed way back in 2017. The sound was crisp, warm, and startlingly clear. I also tested the Bluetooth playback on my Zolo Liberty+ earbuds and the results were similar, just not as impressive as on the FIIL CANVIIS Pros.
With the FIILs I could hear every random background sample on Paul’s Boutique, every unintentional guitar finger squeak on Girlfriend, and every inward breath on the Blue Album. The experience was incredibly enjoyable and made me miss all those years of listening to music by turntable alone.
The Eastwood can definitely produce great sound playback when using the right equipment. But the internal speakers definitely don’t measure up. The bass never sounds deep enough, and the tiny speakers do little justice to any albums with depth or nuance. So, all of your Nickelback albums should sound about the same as always.
For such an inexpensive turntable, I was really impressed with the sound quality of the Eastwood. The added functionality of being able to play Bluetooth devices through the Eastwood is cool and might be useful for some, but the real gold for me is being able to stream from the Eastwood to my Bluetooth headphones. And it was great to get back to listening to vinyl music again.
What I like
- Dual-Bluetooth connectivity
- Modern design
What needs to be improved
- Speakers weak and tinny
- Bluetooth pairing can be difficult
- Easy to damage record when closing the dust cover
The Victrola Eastwood is the turntable I’ve been waiting for. The ability to stream records via Bluetooth to headphones or speakers is well worth the $99 price tag. And while I’ll most likely never use the weak internal speakers, it’s nice to have the option to do so. The Eastwood’s clean, modern design fits in well with the rest of my AV equipment, and its compactness makes it easy to find a spot for it in my small apartment. It’s also good to know that when I do need to replace the stylus after playing it so much, it’s a pretty cheap and simple fix.