This is a review of the Roth VA4 Active Speakers. If you are in the vinyl spirit and you want to get started, this is where I would start. The Roth VA4s have a Phono stage or line level input, 3.5mm jack input a digital optical input AND Bluetooth (4.0) connectivity! There’s even a remote control included!
Roth VA4 Design
The Roth VA4 features the following inputs:
- an MM phono stage or line level input
- 3.5mm jack
- digital optical input
- Bluetooth (4.0) connectivity
They are all selectable from the remote control, as is volume control.
The line-level input can be either Phono or RCA input style, there is a switch at the back. So I have quite simply lined up my Rega RP1, plugged it the back of one of the speakers, selected Phono and dropped the needle within about 5 minutes of getting the box open. The alternative is you have a line in for a tuner, CD or another streamer. Separately, I have plugged in my BlueSound Node into the Optical input.
There is a line level input dial at the back to boost the input signal to the Line in RCA. I had to turn mine only half way to get the RP1 signal nice and clear. The remote Control is what I would describe as functional. It is light and cheap but it works, there are tone controls on the remote which need to be played with a little for a bit of bass response. Overall, you can’t really complain at this price.
There is an auto-off function which is useful for small people around.
The class D speakers are rated 40W per channel which is pretty impressive. The is one speaker doing all of the work, sound processing and amplification and a simple cable between left and right driving the second speaker.
The Roth VA4 come in gloss red, white or black. I have the black ones and they are well finished with a 4″ woofer and a 1″ tweeter each. The dust covers are neat and detach should you not have any children about. Overall, both speakers weight in at 5.6kg and they are 22cm high x 14cm wide x 17 cm deep each.
These guys are retailing at £200. For what you are getting they are pretty good and solid. There is a load of rubber feet included in the box and the speakers benefit from a solid connection to the planet. Though they are light with a presumably MDF case they do the job, the bass reflex at the back is overkill but completes the sound.
Roth VA4 Performance
Test Rig and verdict
I have just come off the back of listening to the incredible Focal Sopra No2s, so you will forgive me for feeling a bit blue, having just seen them go out of the front door. I’m using the VA4s with an old style RP1 from Rega, that is probably suitably matched and a Bluesound node for the Optical test. I’m using my Nexus 6P smartphone for the Bluetooth test.
Overall the sound is perfectly acceptable for the solution it provides. The Phono signal carries a surprising amount of detail from the excellent entry level RP1, I have a Carbon cartridge with it. The remote is excellent and responsive with a light on the controlling speaker to let you know it is working. Bluetooth connection was surprisingly clear and intuitive and the Optical streaming play was fun. You’re not going to run a disco for forty with the volume here but there is nothing to complain about here unless you are being particularly meally.
Really for this price, circa £200, this is your modern day entry to the vinyl world with a digital hat on. In other words, if you’re already streamed up, or smartphoned up, you might feel the vinyl options are limited but this is the solution. I really like this as a solution, indeed it could be moving into my daughter’s bedroom as a bit of weekend digital Bluetooth fun with a few older less prized pieces of plastic (Coldplay, for example, smiley-face).
Plug and Play Vinyl Solution
Brilliant place to start off with Vinyl in a largely digital world
Sound is better than expected
USB charger included
I had the Sopra No2s back