Cambridge Audio invited us to its CES 2019 suite at the Hard Rock Hotel yesterday to hear its Alva TT turntable, the first of its kind to stream high-resolution audio over Bluetooth using the aptX HD codec.
Named after the inventor of the record player—Thomas Alva Edison—the Alva TT is as beautiful to look at as it is to listen to. The turntable digitizes the analog audio that its stylus picks up and streams it in 24-bit resolution and at a 48kHz sampling rate to Bluetooth audio devices that also support aptX HD.
Certain models of headphones support aptX HD, and Cambridge demoed the turntable with a pair of Audio-Technica ATH-DSR9BT as well as one of its own Edge-series amplifiers. The turntable is designed to match the aesthetic of those amps.
The Alva’s body is milled from a single piece of aluminum, with a medium torque direct-drive motor. The tone arm is likewise made from a single piece of aluminum, and the turntable will come with a high-output, moving-coil cartridge mounted to it when it ships in April.
Buyers will also be able to provide their own cartridge, provided it’s a high-output moving coil or moving magnet model. The platter, meanwhile, is fabricated from the synthetic polymer polyoxymethylene and is extremely dense to limit vibration transfer from the motor to the platter.
The turntable has analog RCA stereo outputs, and there’s an onboard phonostage, so you can connect it to any amplifier or powered speakers without needing a preamp. The phonostage, however, cannot be defeated. Cambridge says the product is focused on consumers who want the simplest high-quality solution for listening to vinyl, and they don’t think anyone will complain about not being able to turn off the onboard preamp.
Cambridge Audio says the Alva TT will ship in April for $1,699. We hope to put it through its paces at that time.
Michael is TechHive's lead editor, with 30+ years of experience covering the tech industry, focusing on the smart home, home audio, and home theater. He built his own smart home in 2007 and used it as a real-world test lab for product reviews. Following a relocation to the Pacific Northwest, he is now converting his new home, an 1890 Victorian bungalow, into a modern smart home.