What is a Pro-Ject Elemental?
The Elemental is a entrance indicate to Pro-Ject’s immeasurable operation of great-value turntables. But it defies all you’d pattern of a indication from a bill finish of a market, with well-developed pattern and a important cartridge.
This isn’t utterly a plug-and-play solution, given it doesn’t have a built-in phono stage, yet it’s usually about a starting indicate for critical vinyl replay.
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Pro-Ject Elemental – Design and Features
The Elemental creates a good initial impression. The slight frame of vinyl-coated MDF plinth is simply finished, and a dull ends orderly relate a round platter and engine pulley above. My examination unit’s plinth has a red tip and black sides, yet a Elemental is also accessible with a grey or white top.
If you’re endangered that such a spare MDF plinth isn’t going to reason all plain when a engine starts to spin, a discerning peek underneath a MDF platter should assuage those fears. Here you’ll learn a estimable front of synthetic mill that adds mass and binds a stainless-steel categorical temperament with a bronze bushing. Four felt pads underneath this mill act as a turntable’s feet.
The front-left finish of a plinth houses a engine and an on/off switch, that is discreetly tucked divided on a front edge. The engine pulley is stepped, so changing between 33 and 45rpm speeds is achieved by popping a expostulate belt adult or down a turn on a pulley. It’s a elementary adequate process, given a pulley is always unprotected and not underneath a platter like it is on many turntables.
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On a behind left is a arm mount. The tonearm is an 8.5-inch low-mass section that appears to have been finished privately for a Elemental. It has a unequivocally thin, non-tapered arm tube and apart headshell, and, nonetheless flimsy, it still feels some-more estimable than a infancy of arms you’ll find on a record actor during this price.
There’s a high-quality, serf phono wire with gold-plated RCA plugs already connected to a arm, that is a good touch. Sadly, it doesn’t have an anti-skate mechanism.
The pre-fitted cartridge is a moving-magnet Ortofon OM5e, that is a same cartridge found on Pro-Ject’s next-step-up Essential II array and costs usually over £50 on a own. A deputy stylus is rather high during £40, though.
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A felt pad is supposing to tip a platter, yet in terms of extras, that’s your lot. You’ll need to cause in a cost of a apart phono pre-amp, unless your hi-fi amplifier has one built in. Pro-Ject sells a Phono Box E for £39, that still keeps a altogether cost next £200.
The Cover-IT E dirt cover is an discretionary additional during a rather pricey £60, that unexpected creates this package seem reduction good value – a Essential II is £209 and comes with a lid (but looks distant some-more prosaic).
Pro-Ject Elemental – Performance
Setting adult a Pro-Ject Elemental is impossibly simple, as you’d wish during this price. The platter is already fitted, as is a cartridge and counterweight. All that’s left is to place a felt pad on a platter and fit a expostulate belt around a platter and engine pulley.
Switching on a Elemental suggested a identical niggle to one we encountered while contrast a Pro-Ject Essential II Digital. Pressing a side-mounted on/off switch caused a whole rug to slip around on a shelf it was sitting on, as a felt feet don’t unequivocally yield most friction. we had to get used to steadying a plinth with one palm while flicking a switch.
That aside, a knowledge of spinning vinyl on a Elemental was a pleasure. The tonearm’s finger lift is simply designed for simply overhanging a needle onto a record, changing speeds is a string and, crucially, a sound peculiarity is truly glorious during this price.
Pro-Ject has finished good to gold a Elemental with such a high-spec cartridge during this price. The Ortofon OM5e has a warm, full mid-range that helps this bill turntable sound like it should cost a lot more.
It does a plain pursuit with vocals and acoustic guitar – with Gregory Alan Isakov’s That Sea, The Gambler came by a Elemental with all a cognisance and ardour intact. There could be a small some-more refinement to a mid-range and some-more of an aggressive corner to a treble, yet you’d have to compensate twice as most as this to hear any critical improvement.
Bass isn’t neglected, either. A spin of De La Soul’s 3 Feet High and Rising showed this Pro-Ject/Ortofon combo can strike and rebound along unequivocally simply indeed.
Most importantly, a Elemental manages to conjure a sorcery of “proper hi-fi” – it creates we wish to keep listening, digging out annals we haven’t listened in ages, usually given we wish to know how they’ll sound on it.
Should we buy a Pro-Ject Elemental?
The Elemental unequivocally is well-developed value – even when we supplement a cost of an outmost phono stage. It’s a good performer that unequivocally offers a ambience of what vinyl can do. And it does it but looking in any approach tasteless or plasticky.
The usually problem will come if we confirm we need a dirt cover, given a cost of adding one could unexpected strike your altogether investment above a £250 cost of a Flexson VinylPlay. The Flexson has a built-in phono theatre and lid, is some-more solidly built, and sounds a small bit some-more exciting, despite a small leaner in a mid-range.
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The best sub-£200 turntable by a nation mile. Looks cool, too.