Pro-Ject has launched a new turntable just in time for Vinyl Week. The Pro-Ject X8 combines minimalist looks with some features usually only seen with turntables costing more than its £2099 asking price.
Chief among them is its XLR connections. By cancelling out opposing signals, XLR make for a cleaner sound with less noise than models using RCA connections.
Then there's the design. Its over-sized, heavyweight wooden plinth, precision-lathed, TPE-damped aluminium platter, and 9-inch Evolution tonearm finished with a Quintet Blue all combine to make it look much pricier than it is.
These design touches aren't purely aesthetic. The MDF chassis and damped main platter make for a stable base with very little fluctuation, meaning less distortion. The platter is mounted on an inverted ceramic-tipped main bearing which is bolstered with magnetic support, making for fluid rotation without resistance and operation smoother than butter.
That tonearm is pretty special, too. It's found on high-end decks with a one-piece, tapered carbon fibre tonearm tube, mounted in a heavyweight bearing block with ABEC 7 ball bearings. The tonearm is also VTA and azimuth adjustable for perfect cartridge mounting.
In the UK, the Ortofon Quintet Blue moving coil cartridge comes as standard. This picked up a 2021 What Hi-Fi? Award.
Also as standard are height-adjustable TPE-damped feet, a removable dust cover, a felt mat and a semi-balanced Connect-IT E 5P>RCA phono cable for easy set-up. Your colour options are high gloss black, high-gloss white or real-wood walnut veneer.
Pro-Ject has also announced two new phono stages. The Phono Box DS3 B (pictured) is a dual-mono, fully discrete moving magnet and moving coil phono stage with balanced inputs and outputs.
Featuring discrete circuits for a more vivid sound, the DS3 B can be connected to two turntables at the same time, and each input will save its previous settings in memory. That means the Impedance, Capacitance (for MM cartridges) and Gain will all be optimised as you switch between turntables. And if you're using a turntable with a moving coil cartridge, you can adjust the impedance using the load-impedance dial on the front panel.
This is joined by the Phono Box S3 B, a more affordable moving magnet and moving coil phono stage. Like its pricier brethren, it features a dual-mono layout, discrete circuitry and balanced inputs and outputs. It has five Impedance, four Capacitance and four Gain options, making it versatile enough to accommodate almost any turntable cartridge.
Both phono stages come in silver or black and feature external power adapters to keep the internal signals free from interference. The DS3 B costs £529, while the S3 B is £349. All three of these devices are available now.
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