Pro-Ject unveils X8 turntable and two phono stages

Pro-Ject has launched three new products: the X8 turntable, matching Phono Box S3 B and Phono Box DS3 B phono stages. These benefit from what the company is describing as True Balanced Connection, stating: “An interconnect cable between a record player and a phono stage is prone to pick up noise on the way. That noise and interference can stem from a lot of unavoidable sources, such as household appliances, wi-fi and Bluetooth devices, other power cables and audio amplifiers. Unshielded (ie RCA) interconnects can amplify the picked-up noise and make it audible through your speakers, interfering with the pure musical signal.

“Balanced (typically XLR) cable connections double the wires carrying the musical signal – with one side inverted. In this case noise still gets picked up by both wires, but with one side reversed. When the signals are re-joined at the phono stage, the picked-up noise is cancelled out by the opposing signals. The benefit of this is a louder, cleaner musical signal that has doubled in size with almost no remaining noise.”

The X8 turntable is mass-loaded with a heavyweight wooden plinth, precision-lathed, TPE-damped aluminium main platter and 9in Evolution tonearm finished with an Ortofon Quintet Blue (HFC 389) moving-coil cartridge. It boasts a thick, heavy MDF chassis while the main platter is precision cut from a single piece of aluminium and lined with a ring of TPE rubber damping to produce a heavy non-resonant base that is claimed to contribute to highly accurate speed stability with very little fluctuation. The platter is mounted on an inverted ceramic-tipped main bearing, bolstered with magnetic support for fluid rotation without resistance. It is driven by a perimeter drive belt, connected to a low-noise AC motor. The motor is in turn controlled by an AC generator with adjustable speed control for switching between 33 and 45rpm.

The 9CC Evolution carbon fibre tonearm features a one-piece, tapered carbon fibre tonearm tube, mounted in a heavyweight bearing block with high-quality ABEC 7 ball bearings. It is also VTA and azimuth adjustable for cartridge mounting.

The X8 is supplied with height-adjustable TPE-damped feet, a removable dust cover, felt mat and a semi-balanced Connect-IT E 5P > RCA phono cable for easy setup out of the box. It comes in high-gloss black, high-gloss white or real-wood walnut veneer finishes and is priced at £2,100.

The Phono Box DS3 B is a dual-mono, fully discrete moving-magnet and moving-coil phono stage with balanced inputs and outputs. The company says it took the decision to employ discrete circuitry in the Phono Box DS3 B because: “Discrete circuits involve no operational amplifiers (op-amps), and the result is a more neutral, natural, dynamic and vivid sound. They are more complicated to put together and involve a greater variety of components, but the result when utilised in a well-organised electrical layout is a true high-end sound.”

The phono stage can be connected to two turntables at the same time and each input is able to save its previous settings in its memory so that the impedance, capacitance (for moving-magnet carts) and gain will all be set as you switch between turntables. For moving-coil carts, the continuously adjustable load-impedance dial on the front panel allows you to set the impedance to suit the cartridge.

The £350 Phono Box DS3 B is finished in a steel chassis, covered by silver or black aluminium panels, for rigidity and isolation. The minimalist aesthetic can be enhanced by the addition of retro-inspired, magnetically installed wooden side panels (available separately). It also features an external power adapter, to protect the sensitive internal signals from any interference.

The Phono Box S3 B is a compact moving-magnet and coil phono stage with dual-mono layout, discrete circuitry and balanced inputs and outputs and the company says it’s extensively customisable to suit the moving-magnet or coil cartridge it’s connected to, boasting five impedance, four capacitance and four gain options. It comes finished in a steel chassis, covered by silver or black aluminium panels, and is priced at £530. Pro-Ject adds: “The neat minimalist aesthetic allows for good spacing between controls on the front panel and connections on the back panel, despite its smaller size. It additionally features an external power adapter, to keep the sensitive internal signals free from any interference.”

Available to buy now, you can find out more about the new products on Pro-Ject's website.

Henley Audio Ltd (UK distributor)