Purists bemoan turntables with Bluetooth capability. It’s lossy they say. It’s digital they say.
Meanwhile back in the real world Bluetooth turntables are selling well. Particularly to those just getting into vinyl. My own son uses his Pro-ject T1 via Bluetooth. The flexibility it gives him on positioning means he can actually get the turntable into his lounge. Sure the sound quality drops a little, but he can live with that. And so what if it’s digital.
Bluetooth does limit you to point-point connection though – one turntable to one amplifier or powered speaker. Multi-roomers might see that as a limiting factor. And better sound quality would be nice, it is supposed to be a big part of what vinyl is about.
The T2 W’s Wi-Fi board
Step forward the Pro-ject T2 W turntable that uses your home Wi-Fi to stream music, not Bluetooth. Losslessly. 24-bit / 48kHz PCM lossless to be precise. Better than CD quality.
On the surface the T2 W looks like a grown up T1. Longer tonearm (9”), thicker glass platter, Sumiko Rainier cartridge. The latter sells for £160 as a standalone purchase, which partly explains the T2 W’s £899 / €999 / US$tbc price tag. No that’s not beer money but it does include a phono stage and analogue-digital converter. Plus the WiFi streaming module and accompanying Pro-ject Control app.
Black, white and walnut finishes are available
The streaming module uses the common UPNP standard (Universal Plug And Play) to communicate with any compatible device in your home. Many wireless speakers use UPNP, as do most streamers (standalone or built into an amplifier). Smart TVs too. Numerous smartphone and tablet apps do UPNP as well.
You can stream from the T2 W to all of them, simultaneously. In theory hundreds of devices at the same time, although whether your network could handle the traffic is a moot point. And Sonos devices can join the party too – the T2 W will stream to them, although they won’t be recognised in the Sonos app (yet?) Whole-home Custom Installers are also likely to be very interested in the T2 W.
The setup guide shows some interesting details
All in all it’s really interesting to see wireless turntables moving up the sound quality ladder. If the technology takes off expect to see it in more and more upmarket decks. With smaller price premiums as volume sales bring the price of the streaming module down. Maybe Pro-ject will even consider licensing the technology to other manufacturers to establish a standard for WiFi vinyl.
All that’s conjecture on my part. In the short term expect to see the T2W on the market in September. I’m not the only one who’s impressed by the way. EISA has just given it Best Product 2023-24 in the Vinyl System category.
See here for more information.
The Atmos control at the base of the tonearm. What?