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This year Pro-Ject has been very busy both introducing new models and designing improvements to existing models that improve performance. Here's a synopsis of what's new:
The entry-level Essential and Essential USB have been upgraded to the Essential II at $329 and the Essential II USB at $429, both including cartridge, by changing the tonearm to the gimbaled bearing model previously used on the Debut III. This is a serious upgrade that makes a significant improvement to the performance of this audiophile starter turntable.
Pro-Ject has been optimizing the power supplies for all their turntables to meet strict energy regulations in Europe and, in doing so, they have been able to incorporate many of the features from the Speed Box into these new DC versions. This means that these models, as discussed below, will now have many of the Speed Box performance enhancements built right into the turntable.
The Debut Carbon DC and Debut Carbon DC USB have the new DC motor enhancements at the slightly higher prices of $449 and $549, respectively, including cartridge.
New for this year is the Debut Carbon DC Esprit SB, which is a Debut Carbon DC with an acrylic platter upgrade and a built-in Speed Box so you can change speed by simply pushing a button. The Esprit is $599 with cartridge.
The Xpression Classic we described in our last issue has been joined by the new Xpression Carbon. Both models use a new carbon-fiber, 8.6-inch CC Evo carbon tonearm and the DC power supply upgrades. The carbon version is available in black with a damped steel platter and a Sumiko Oyster phono cartridge, while the Classic offers four high-end finishes, a damped aluminum platter, and a custom Ortofon 2M Silver phono cartridge.
Also new this year is a 9-inch tonearm version of the extremely popular Xtension 10 turntable that was released last year. It offers much of the performance of the Xtension 10 at a new lower price-point of $2499.
Finally, Pro-Ject has released the HL Signature 10, A slightly smaller version of their top-of-the-line HL Signature turntable. It incorporates a 10-inch version of the Signature tonearm and has a scaled-down plinth shape. It has most of the performance of its big brother at half of the price.
Many of the higher end Pro-Ject models are also available as packages with superb phono cartridges. Please see our Turntables and Tonearms webpage for more details.
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