Pro-Ject Audio launches its True Balanced Connection collection

Pro-Ject Audio Systems has launched three new made-in-Europe products that are all encompassed by an overriding philosophy: True Balanced Connection.

All Pro-Ject turntables are balanced signal sources by their nature, but the ability to exploit this beneficial technology has traditionally only been available to more high-end or bespoke analogue systems. Pro-Ject’s True Balanced Connection concept intends to extend these benefits to a broader variety of vinyl enthusiasts than ever before, and the benefit is a louder, cleaner musical signal that has doubled in size with almost no remaining noise.

The X8 turntable

The X8 is a mass-loaded high-end turntable with over-sized, heavyweight wooden plinth and precision-lathed, TPE-damped aluminium main platter. This is driven by a perimeter drive belt, connected to a low-noise AC motor.

The motor is controlled by an AC generator with adjustable speed control for convenient switching between 33 and 45 RPM as well as a clean, low-noise power signal.

The X8 is pre-installed with Pro-Ject’s popular 9CC Evolution carbon fibre tonearm, found on many high-end turntables, and in the UK, it is also supplied with the award-winning Ortofon Quintet Blue moving coil cartridge as standard.

As the X8 is supplied with a Moving Coil cartridge, it is also part of Pro-Ject’s True Balanced Connections concept. By upgrading to a 5pin > XLR cable, and connecting to one of the company’s balanced phono stages (such as the Phono Box DS3 B), you can benefit from increased dynamics, less noise and improved signal-to-noise ratios.

The Phono Box DS3 B

This is a dual-mono, fully discrete moving magnet and moving coil phono stage with balanced inputs and outputs. The Pro-Ject design team took the decision to employ discrete circuitry in the Phono Box DS3 B; discrete circuits involve no operational amplifiers (op-amps), and the result is a more neutral, natural, dynamic, and vivid sound.

This philosophy for the best possible performance carries through to the variety of conveniently-placed features the Phono Box DS3 B has on offer. The phono stage can be connected to two turntables at the same time, and each input will save its previous settings in memory so the Impedance, Capacitance (for MM cartridges) and Gain will all be set as you switch between turntables. For MC cartridges, the continuously adjustable load-impedance dial on the front panel allows you to perfectly set the impedance to suit your cartridge and your ears.

As the Phono Box DS3 B – which is finished in a steel chassis, covered by silver or black aluminium panels, or can be further enhanced by the addition of retro-inspired, magnetically installed wooden side panels – is equipped with both balanced inputs and outputs, it is also part of Pro-Ject’s True Balanced Connections concept.

The Phono Box S3 B

This is a compact, affordable moving magnet and moving coil phono stage with dual-mono layout, discrete circuitry and balanced inputs and outputs. With its spacious, minimalist design layout, it is easily customisable to suit any connected cartridge.

Based on the Phono Box DS3 B, the S3 B employs fully symmetrical and discrete circuitry in the gain stage that involve no operational amplifiers (op-amps). It is also extensively customisable to suit the moving magnet or moving coil cartridge it is connected to. With five Impedance (Ω), four Capacitance (pF) and four Gain options on offer, there are very few cartridges this box of tricks cannot accommodate.

The Pro-Ject Audio team said the S3 B boasts engineering that has never been seen at this price point and opens up iconic mid-level turntables, such as the Debut Pro, to the benefits of True Balanced Connections.