Pro-Ject helps vinyl lovers find true balance
Sales of music on vinyl have been steadily increasing for several years, which also means the turntable has returned to home hi-fi systems. Austria’s Pro-Ject launched a disc spinner aimed at people looking for true balance back in April and has now added another to the family.
The new model is essentially a “True Balanced Connection” update of the company’s existing X2 turntable, now making it compatible with balanced hi-fi systems to promise improved dynamics, lower noise and better signal-to-noise ratio.
Like its sibling from the more expensive range, the X2 B turntable comes with a pre-installed moving coil cartridge, although for the X8 Pro-Ject have opted for an Ortofon Quintet Red rather than the Blue. Moving coil cartridges can extract more detail from a record’s grooves than their more common moving magnet counterparts, but a lower output signal puts them at risk of interference from other electronic and wireless devices, which Pro-Ject calls electrosmog.
“The use of balanced audio connections is common among professionals in recording studios or at live concerts,” the company explains in the press release. “A stable and interference-free connection is very important because these signals, especially microphone signals, are heavily amplified. The same applies to the connection from the turntable to the phono preamplifier. The great benefit of a balanced connection is its ability to remove picked-up noise and interference.”
In addition to the standard RCA outputs, the new turntable features a dedicated mini XLR connector for connection to fully balanced phono preamps such as the company’s Phono Box S3 B and Phono Box DS3 B. Signal transmission also needs to shell out the extra cash for one Apply True Balanced phono cable.
The X2 B’s massive MDF chassis – built to reduce resonance to an “almost imperceptible level” and resting on muffled aluminum feet – houses an overhead motor that drives the TPE belt to power the 2kg ( 4.4 lb) acrylic platter with electronically controlled speeds of 33 and 45 rpm, but also supports 78 records with belt changes plus compatible cartridge.
Its 9-inch (228.6mm) tonearm with a TPE-damped counterweight is made up of three layers of carbon to keep things stiff, while an aluminum inner tube handles the damping duties. It rests on an aluminum base with variable azimuth and vertical toe angle adjustment.
The X2 B True Balanced Connection turntable is available now at a suggested retail price of €1,599 (US$1,799), but like the X8 before it, listeners will also have to select a 5-pin/XLR cable and balanced phono preamp . Amplifier to get the most out of the setup.
A €999 ‘Balanced Ready’ model is also available, which includes a pre-mounted Ortofon Pro-Ject S2 moving magnet cartridge. To become part of a listener’s True Balanced system, users must swap the MM cartridge for an MC cartridge before connecting it to the optional balanced phono preamplifier and balanced mini XLR cable combo.