New from Pro-Ject Audio Systems: the X8 mass-loaded belt-drive turntable. X? It’s short for Xtension. The X8 lands below Xtensions 9 and 10 in Pro-Ject’s higher-end turntable line-up. Mass-loaded? This is a 15kg deck with over a third of its weight attributable to the 5.1kg platter, which Pro-Ject points out is cut from a single block of aluminium, damped with TPE and balanced by a neodymium magnet. That platter is mounted to a ceramic-tipped inverted bearing that is mounted to a plinth made from MDF. The feet fitted to the underside of the plinth are height-adjustable.
The X8’s tonearm is Pro-Ject’s carbon 9cc Evolution which optionally comes factory fitted with a moving coil Ortofon Quintet Blue for an RRP of €2299. Bring your own cartridge and you pay €1999. The package is rounded out by an electronic speed control module and dust cover.
That’s the news but what’s the story?
Pro-Ject is hanging its X8 hat on “true-balanced” connectivity, all the way from the cartridge to the phono stage. According to Pro-Ject, any pre-mounted moving coil cartridge – including the factory-fitted Ortofon – will dispatch a balanced signal via the Austrian company’s 5-pin output jack when adapted to XLR with a 5P/XLR cable (sold separately). In the box, we get a semi-balanced Connect-it E 5P/RCA fly-lead.
A balanced output then readies the X8 to be connected to a balanced-input-loaded phono stage – like Pro-Ject’s DS3 and S3 – for “increased dynamics, lower noise, and improved signal-to-noise ratio” (according to the press release).
The X8 is handmade in Europe and is available in walnut, high-gloss piano black or high-gloss white.
Further information: Pro-Ject Audio Systems