What is a Pro-Ject Essential II Digital?
The Essential II Digital is a plug-and-play turntable with a difference. Its built-in phono theatre facilities an visible outlay that means it can feed a digital vigilance to all demeanour of modern-day soundbars and wireless speakers.
Pro-Ject Essential II Digital – Design and Features
Pro-Ject has turn good famous over a past decade, essentially for a glorious Debut entry-level record players, yet also a some-more ambitious, stylish RPM range. The Essential II Digital sits closer to a Debut models in a pattern and build.
It has a silken rectilinear plinth – accessible in black, white or red – that houses a bearing, a engine with a pulley stepped for 33/45rpm, a tonearm and a built-in phono pre-amplifier. An on/off switch sits on a left side.
The platter simply slips onto a temperament and a silicone belt is stretched around a platter and over a pulley to expostulate a turntable. A felt pad is granted to cocktail on tip of a platter.
Fitting a belt can be a small frustrating since of a platter’s shoal depth, yet we shouldn’t have to do it often. Very most on a upside, a pulley sits subsequent to a platter, rather than underneath it, so switching speeds for 33 or 45rpm annals is super-easy – simply offshoot a finger around a expostulate belt and cocktail it adult or down a pulley.
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The tonearm is a short, 8.5-inch aluminium indication that looks unequivocally identical to, if not a same as, a one used on a Pro-Ject Debut S. The counterweight facilities a useful tracking-force dial, and there’s a good prolonged finger-lift too. As with many Pro-Ject tonearms, it uses a elementary weight for a anti-skate mechanism, that I’ve always found adds some visible seductiveness yet can be a small fiddly.
Fitted and pre-aligned to a tonearm is an Ortofon OM 5E moving-magnet cartridge value only over £50. You can’t reinstate a stylus, yet a cost is low adequate that this shouldn’t unequivocally be a worry.
The phono theatre is underneath a plinth towards a back-right corner, and sports an RCA stereo phono output, a belligerent tie and that S/PDIF visible hollow that puts a “Digital” in this turntable’s name.
The Essential II Digital comes with a lid, that can be simply private – nonetheless unless we get a screwdriver out to take off a hinges, a equipment are left adhering adult from a behind when a lid isn’t in place, like a integrate of nauseous antennae. The lid’s chamfered front corner gives a altogether outcome of one of those turntables that used to lay atop a midi-system in a early 1990s, so I’d be tempted to embankment it, take off those hinges and get into a robe of powdering regularly.
I also found that a rug slid around a bit if we pulpy a on/off switch too hard; a whole package is unequivocally light in weight and a felt-bottomed feet don’t do most to offer any friction. In general, a Essential II Digital looks and feels a small cheap, and can’t utterly compare adult to a considerable Flexson VinylPlay.
Pro-Ject Essential II Digital – Performance
Setting adult a Essential II Digital is maybe a small bit some-more than “plug-and-play”, yet not by too much. Once you’ve propitious a platter and expostulate belt, all we need to do is supplement a anti-skate weight to a tonearm and set a counterweight to a scold tracking force for a cartridge. Pro-Ject doesn’t supply a tracking-force sign for that final step, yet offers decent instructions for how to get to roughly a right force.
I bending a Essential II Digital to a accumulation of systems, yet mostly a Leema Acoustics Elements integrated amp, that authorised me to bond a visible and analogue outputs concurrently and switch between them during a hold of a button. For a while we also ran a Pro-Ject directly to a span of Dynaudio Xeo 2 wireless speakers, creation for a unequivocally neat 21st-century vinyl setup.
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The sound peculiarity by both outputs is solid. It’s comfortable and full-bodied, assisting to communicate those properties for that vinyl is so loved. This is no weedy-sounding deck.
It lacks a small three-way honesty and subtlety, though. On Sam Beam and Jesca Hoop’s pleasing “Soft Place to Land”, Hoop’s vocals are some-more nasal and clipped than they should be, and when Beam chimes in with a harmonies a dual voices murky together a small too much.
However, during this cost we have to accept some sonic compromises, and a Essential II Digital still does a good job.
Should we buy a Pro-Ject Essential II Digital?
If you’re looking for a digital-ready, plug-and-play record player, there aren’t too many options – yet this is a flattering good one. Its warm, unsubtle sound won’t be for everyone, though.
The Flexson VinylPlay sounds some-more sparkling and feels improved built, yet it lacks a digital outlay (other than USB). The Pro-Ject is also a distant improved choice for anyone who frequently changes between 33s and 45s.
A plain digital-ready vinyl spinner that only lacks a small subtlety.