Pro-Ject has announced a new model in its Automat series of turntables, which are built in the old Dual factory in Germany’s Schwarzwald. 2022’s Automat A1 gave us the niceties that normies expect from an entry-level belt-drive turntable – autocue, auto-lift and a built-in phono stage – and the incoming Automat A2 is an attempt to up that ante.
The new model, like its baby brother, features ‘just press start’ functionality: it gives us one-click play and automatically lifts the tonearm at the end of a side but the A2 allows us to specify a drop-down point (for 33s or 45s) and adds support for 78rpm discs.
Getting more audiophile focussed, the A2 sports an 8.3″ “ultra-light mass” aluminium tonearm but of larger diameter in order to better suit the factory-fitted Ortofon 2M Red cartridge (or a Sumiko Rainier in the USA). Also new is a redesigned tonearm bearing that’s made from aluminium and features a “4-pin-point gimbal construction with steel-tip ball bearings”.
Pro-Ject asserts that an ultra-light tonearm is needed for an automatic turntable so that it can run like a mechanical watch: “small and precise”.
The plinth has also seen some serious development. It is made from “heavy MDF” in order to reduce resonances reaching the “damped aluminium platter” – which in turn sits on its own floating sub-chassis – and is reportedly hand-painted with an “8-layer matt black finish”. Other features include a damped counterweight, silicon-damped aluminium feet and a dust cover.
We think this turntable is a real looker, especially as it’s kitted out with many of the mod cons demanded by the mass market. Well, almost. Isn’t an in-built phono pre-amplifier one such mod con? The press pack contains no photos of the A2’s backside, which makes it hard to tell if it features an internal phono stage or not. The press release doesn’t say but the video below suggests not.
What the press release does say is that “The A2 comes with our Connect it E phono cable. It is a semi-balanced, low-capacitance cable, with superior shielding purpose-designed for phono applications.”
The Automat A2 goes on sale this month for €1199.
Further information: Pro-Ject