Pro-Ject Audio Systems have announced the Pro-Ject X1 B and Pro-Ject X2 B Balanced Turntables which will be available for purchase in North America in September 2022; both tables are designed to work with the recently released Phono Box DS3B and Phono Box S3B Phono Pre-amplifiers.
Does balanced really make a difference?
My experience suggests that it does if you have to contend with certain noise issues.
Almost 22 years ago, I invested in a very expensive turntable and felt that I had reached vinyl nirvana. I paid a professional $200 to properly install the cartridge, setup the table which had a finicky suspension system, and help me mount the turntable shelf to the wall.
My building at the time was a pre-war in downtown Toronto that needed an upgrade on the electrical front. Noisy to say the least.
No matter what I tried, my turntable setup always sounded noisy; ground loop issues, constant hiss, and it became a a source of depression (first world problems). Why bother spending almost $8,000 on such a system if it sounded terrible.
A local dealer suggested that I have my arm and table modified so that I could run a fully balanced rig; which also included upgrading to a balanced phono stage. I sold a few other items to facilitate the changes.
But when I listened to the same records that mattered to me — I was stunned by the differences in clarity, noise floor, and overall dynamics of the sound.
Does a balanced setup always sound better? Not necessarily and I’m not convinced that every manufacturer who markets “balanced” is really offering that.
I have faith that the two new Pro-Ject turntables will deliver what they are advertising.
Handmade in Europe, the Pro-Ject X1 B and X2 B are designed to deliver the best possible performance for under $1,700 USD; the new lineup of truly balanced connection products are the brand’s first turntables with dedicated, fully balanced mini XLR outputs.
This connection optimizes the performance of moving coil cartridges when used with a compatible phono preamplifier. A Sumiko Rainier Moving Magnet cartridge ($149 value) is factory installed for immediate use through the turntables’ RCA unbalanced outputs.
Can a balanced version of the Pro-Ject Debut PRO be far behind? I was very impressed with the new turntable and my review makes it rather clear that this is the table to consider right now if your budget ceiling is $1,000 USD.
- New True Balanced Connection by Pro-Ject
- New RCA phono & 5-pin mini XLR output
- New Phono box S3 B & DS3 B
- Pre-adjusted Sumiko Rainier MM Phono Cartridge
- Electronic speed control with 33/45 rpm speed change
- New dedicated mini-XLR output jack
- 9“ carbon/aluminum tonearm
Pro-Ject is also releasing complementary Connect it True Balance phono cables to support the range. The E, S, DS, and RS lines will be released to maximize your connection from the Pro-Ject turntable to the Phono Box of choice.
Price & Availability
Both turntables will be available via authorized Pro-Ject dealers in September 2022 for $1,299 (X1B) and $1,699 (X2B) USD. Both models are available in black, white or walnut finishes.
For more information: pro-jectusa.com