What's the diffference between this turntable and its Award-winning predecessor, the RPM5? The most obvious changes amount to a £25 price rise and swapping out the old Ortofon 510 cartridge for a recently introduced 2M Red (which costs £60 on its own).
Pro-ject has also re-engineered the deck's drive motor for a smoother operation. So given the changes, does the RPM 5.2 remain a competitive proposition? The short answer is yes. This is a fuss-free turntable: it's easy to set up, and comes pre-fitted with the cartridge. All you need do is follow the well-written manual: it's simply a matter of screwing on the feet, adding the platter and sorting out the arm settings.
The RPM5.2's isolation system is limited to squashy feet, so we'd advise you to site the turntable well away from the speakers and on a dedicated light and rigid support. If you have a suspended wooden floor, use a wall shelf. Trust us, the results will justify the hassle. Also, a deck such as this deserves a decent phono stage: budget about £100 if your amp doesn't already have one.
Attack and drive aplentyThe RPM5.2 sounds notably better than before. The 2M Red cartridge rightly deserves most of the credit, delivering greater clarity, composure and dynamics than the original unit. That said, the real strength of this package remains its sonic balance. The RPM5.2 has enough attack and drive to make the most of Nirvana's Nevermind while having the refinement and dynamic reach to make Orff's Carmina Burana a real rollercoaster ride.
Few rivals we've heard can cover all these bases with such skill.
More after the break
To sum up: this Pro-ject deck was great in its original form, and is a better buy in its latest guise. Very few audio products do everything well, but, at the price, the RPM5.2 is among those rare creatures.