Pro-Ject is another turntable manufacture like Rega, Music Hall etc. One thing that sets them somewhat apart from the rest though is that they offer many models, no less than 22 models ranging from $200 to $12,000. That’s a lot of turntables! We are focused on the tables up to around $3000 here though. Pro-Ject is headquartered in Austria. All their turntables are made in the Czech republic and Slovakia. Under the name of Box Design they also manufacture a range of micro hi-fi components such as Amps, CD Transports, Phono Stages, Streaming Devices and more. I’ll get to listing those items later.
I’m starting with the Essential line. There are 3 offers in this line:
Essential II standard
Essential II Phono USB
Essential II Digital
The USB model has a built-in phono preamp with USB output while the Digital model is for connecting to multi-room systems such as Sonos or soundbars, bluetooth speakers, etc. I’m focused on the standard table here.
The other thing Pro-Ject has done recently is that they have upgraded most of their tables in some way without raising prices too much or at all. In the case of the Essential line they upgraded the tonearm and motor control.
Here is the Pro-Ject Essential II which can be had for a song. Manufacture site: http://www.project-audio.com/main.php?prod=essential2&cat=turntables&lang=en
• Belt drive with silicone belt
• Low vibration synchronous motor
• Integrated motor control with DC power supply secures silent running
• Main platter bearing made from stainless steel runs in bronze bushing with Teflon bottom
• 8,6” aluminium tonearm with sapphire bearings
• Ortofon OM5e cartridge, pre-mounted
• Pre-mounted gold-plated RCA interconnect cable
• Special turntable feet for effective decoupling
• Color options: Black, Red, White.
• Dust cover included
Available on Amazon:http://amzn.to/2atieDr and other fine audio retailers.
A quiet-running synchronous motor with silicone belt is driving a low-resonance platter made from laminated particle board. (They also offer an acrylic platter at additional cost *shown in picture*). A new motor control with DC power supply. The main platter bearing consists of stainless steel spindle and bronze bushing with Teflon bottom to secure low friction.
The main chassis is made from lightweight, but very stiff particle board. Essential II utilizes a straight 8,6“ aluminium tonearm design made from a single piece of aluminium with sapphire bearings. Special feet effectively decouples the turntable from the surface.
The Pro-Ject tables have one part of set up that is slightly different from most others. It’s not a big deal, but just so you know (you tube video):https://youtu.be/Ps-Pq6khGQk
Here’s Michael Fremer showing us some of Project’s turntables at CES 2016:
Here is what Michael Fremer says about the Pro-Ject Essential II. (Review is from 2012, so it doesn’t cover the upgrades, but you get the general info. I include this because Mr. Fremer is an analog master and if he says it’s good you can take it to the bank) Used with kind permission:http://www.analogplanet.com/content/how-low-can-you-go-pro-jects-299-essential-turntable#TdivJVysoLgIdXks.97
Want to see a bit of the factory?
Part 1: https://youtu.be/zprqk0OqFR4
Part 2: https://youtu.be/vIYK6QrUzKE
Part 3: https://youtu.be/WmJ6nc8wT3o
Part 4: https://youtu.be/yKVAEMHXQyY
Part 5: https://youtu.be/G4Eden2eGIU