At CES 2019, Cambridge Audio announced the Alva TT, which was the world’s first aptX HD Bluetooth turntable. It offered turntable enthusiasts the convenience of high-quality wireless streaming.
Three years later and the British hi-fi company is back with two new efforts in the Alva TT V2 (£1,700 / $1,999) and Alva ST, and the flagship TT V2 model is on sale just in time for Record Store Day 2022.
Vinyl has experienced an upswing in popularity – 4.8 million LPs were sold in the UK in 2020, while revenues in the US grew 94% in 2021 – and so the new Alva turntables look to take advantage of the increased interest by offering more convenience and a cheaper entry price for the series.
The Alva TT V2 is a direct drive turntable with built-in switchable phone stage and aptX HD Bluetooth (like the original model) that allows for 24-bit/48kHz hi-res streaming. The aluminium top plate and polyoxymethylene (POM) platter is retained, as is the pre-installed Alva MC cartridge.
What’s new is the improved tonearm, with a detachable headshell that offers listeners an easy upgrade path. Plus, there’s a switchable phono stage and the means to turn the Bluetooth on and off, both features introduced as a response to feedback received from the original model.
The switchable phono stage is based on the Alva Duo, and presents the choice of using the Alva TT V2 with the phono stage in their stereo amplifier, and leaves open the door for future upgrades down the line.
The Alva ST model keeps a number of the Alva TT V2’s features with the switchable phono stage, aptX HD streaming and new tonearm, but swaps the cartridge out for an Audio-Technica AT-VM95e moving magnet (which can be swapped out for another if you desire) and opts for a belt drive motor. The 1mm aluminium top plate with a layer of EVA (Ethylene Vinyl Acetate) absorbs any vibration that could spoil the performance.
The Alva TT V2 is priced at £1,700 / €1,999 / $1,999 and on sale now from the likes of Richer Sounds. Pricing for the Alva ST is TBC but it is expected to go on sale in May 2022.