Pro-Ject Audio Systems has expanded its home audio line with the high-end X8 turntable and two new phono stages, the Phono Box SB3 and the Phono Box DS3B. Both Phono Box models have electronics that support turntables with moving magnet (MM) cartridges as well as turntables with moving coil (MC) cartridges. Both phono stages also feature balanced inputs and outputs, which should result in lower noise and a higher signal to noise ratio. Pro-ject says buyers will hear “the sort of quiet, deep background typically only experienced in esoteric high-end systems.”
Both Phono Box units offer balanced inputs, a feature previously available only in far more expensive preamps. This balanced signal promises to deliver lower noise and the company claims you’ll hear “the sort of quiet, deep background typically only experienced in esoteric high-end systems.”
Pro-Ject X8 Turntable
Pro-Ject describes the new X8 turntable as means to experience one of its mass-loaded and true balanced turntables for the lowest price ever. The turntable comes with the company’s top-of-the-line Pro-Ject 9cc EVO carbon tonearm and is available with walnut, high-gloss white, or high-gloss piano black finishes.
The heavy, TPE (thermoplastic elastomer) damped, mass-loaded platter is precision lathed and balanced out of a single piece of aluminum. The turntable ships with the company’s standard semi-balanced Connect it E 5P-to-RCA cable, or you can upgrade to XLR cables to enjoy all the benefits of its design.
The Pro-Ject X8 is priced at $2,399 without a cartridge. It is also available with a factory-installed Sumiko Blue Point No. 3 MC cartridge for $2,699.
Phono Box SB3
The Phono Box SB3 features a steel and aluminum chassis that’s available in either silver or black. Its dual mono design features both RCA inputs and a 5-pin mini XLR balanced input. Its balanced design features two symmetrical signal chains and two discrete amplifier sections, which Pro-Ject says has been engineered to remove noise and to offer the cleanest phono signal possible.
All controls are accessible from the front panel. You can connect two turntables at the same time and the Phono Box SB3 stores your settings for each turntable, allowing for easy switching. Pro-Ject expects to fetch $499 for the Phono Box SB3.
Phono Box DSB3
The Phono Box DSB3 integrates all the technology from the SB3 and adds in a few extra features. The DSB3 also comes in silver or black, but you can buy wooden side panels that attach magnetically to the sides of the unit. You can choose walnut panels that work with either color, or dark eucalyptus panels for the silver unit.
The Phono Box DSB3 uses an external power adapter to further reduce the potential for interference. The unit allows tighter and continuous control over load impedance with a potentiometer control on the front of the device. The higher-end Phono Box DSB3 is priced at $799.