Pro-Ject aims for playback detail with X8 True Balanced Connection turntable
For the past few years, sales of vinyl records have been on the rise, prompting many new listeners to search for quality turntables. Austrian hi-fi gear maker Pro-Ject has announced its first turntable to feature "True Balanced Connection" technology for improved signal purity and the promise of more detailed playback.
Where many budget and mid-range turntables come supplied with a Moving Magnet cartridge, the X8 ships with an Ortofon Quintet Blue Moving Coil cartridge (though it can be supplied without any cartridge).
Moving Coil cartridges retrieve more information from the vinyl's grooves than their MM counterparts but have a lower signal output which can put them at risk of interference from other electronic devices as well as wireless tech – something Pro-Ject refers to as electrosmog.
Though the turntable ships with a semi-balanced RCA cable that's connected to the new 5-pin port, to essentially cut any interference noise out of the equation listeners will need to plug True Balanced phono cables into an external balanced phono stage – both of which are available separately.
However, users who choose to invest in this True Balanced solution will reportedly be rewarded with a better signal-to-noise ratio, improved dynamics and lower noise to bring out the finer details in vinyl recordings.
"True Balanced Connections can access details embedded in the valuable grooves of your records that you've never heard before," said Pro-Ject in a document accompanying the press release.
Elsewhere, the X8 draws tech from higher-end models, including the TPE-damped mass-loaded platter that weighs in at 5.1 kg (11.2 lb), is lathed from a single block of aluminum and is mounted on an inverted ceramic-tipped bearing with magnetic support. The belt-drive turntable benefits from built-in electronic speed control for playback stability at 33 or 45 rpm, benefits from an oversized MDF chassis standing on height-adjustable damped metal feet and comes with a "top of the line" 9-inch carbon tonearm with inverted gimbal bearings.
The X8 turntable is available now for US$2,499 in black, white or walnut, but to make that "True Balanced Connection" you will also need to fork out an extra $219 for the 5-pin/XLR cable and $799 for the new recommended DS3 B Phono Box. While certainly a pricey package, the X9 and X10 turntables from which this new model gains much of its tech are priced at $3,999 and $5,999 respectively – and that's just for the turntables.
Product page: Pro-Ject X8