Feature-Packed 'Table with Built-in Preamp and USB
The Essential II USB is Pro-Ject's entry point to the world of USB based turntables. But even though it's entry level, the Essential comes packed with goodies. Featuring a Pro-Ject 8.6" aluminum tonearm factory fitted with an Ortofon OM5e moving magnet phono cartridge, this 'table delivers excellent sound quality at a reasonable price and the ability to make digital files from your vinyl records. For enhanced performance, this latest version of the Essential II USB uses a new DC motor for ultra-quiet operation.
"Spot-On Imaging and Tremendous Instrumentation Detail"
"The Pro-Ject Essential is a great choice for an entry-level turntable, delivering spot-on imaging and tremendous instrumentation detail," reports Arlen Schweiger in his April 27, 2012 review for CEPro.com. "With more pristine records, the Essential makes it so you’d be hard-pressed to tell the difference between vinyl and CD in terms of sound cleanliness."
In a review of the non-USB version of the Pro-Ject Essential, England's What Hi-fi? magazine notes, "Details levels are good, and rarely does the turntable sound flustered, even when it's asked to replay something demanding… The Essential is decently made, easy to set-up and sounds great."
Features for Accurate Playback
A resonance-optimized particleboard platter helps to quell plinth vibration. A two-step pulley drives the platter’s outside edge via a precision silicon belt. The Essential II USB incorporates a chrome plated stainless steel axle that rests on a polished steel bearing in a bronze housing for low wow-and-flutter and speed accuracy.
Quality Tonearm Included
A single-piece fixed headshell 8.6" tonearm features hardened stainless steel bearings and rigid aluminum tube to provide superb tracking and resonance reduction. Accurate adjustment cartridge azimuth is easily accomplished.
Built-in MM Phono Stage
Another unique feature of the Essential II USB is the addition of a built-in MM phono preamplifier and analog-to-digital converter with USB connectivity. The phono preamp allows for direct connection of the Essential Phono USB to a preamplifier, receiver, or integrated amplifier’s auxiliary input for analog recording playback.
Additionally, the Essential II USB allows for high-quality transfer of your vinyl record collection into the digital file format of your choice. Use of this function is compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems and requires music-recording software, which is not included with the Essential. But you'll find recording software on the Web, including the excellent freeware Audacity program.
The Essential II USB also includes chassis-fitted RCA interconnect jacks and comes with a 1.0 meter stereo RCA cable, a 1.5 meter USB cable, a 3.5mm mini-jack adapter, and a dust cover.
Turntable / Tonearm
"The Pro-Ject Essential is a great choice for an entry-level turntable, delivering spot-on imaging and tremendous instrumentation detail."
"The Essential delivers a high performance level for a turntable costing only a few hundred bucks… With more pristine records, the Essential makes it so you’d be hard-pressed to tell the difference between vinyl and CD in terms of sound cleanliness."
"Pro-Ject does not include any ripping software, but free programs such as Audacity make it easy and fun to use the USB feature. And if you transfer and play back tunes at compressed MP3 bitrates, an A-to-B demo can underscore the difference in dynamics that turntables such as the Essential deliver."
- Arlen Schweiger, CEPro.com, April 27, 2012
"Details levels are good, and rarely does the turntable sound flustered, even when it's asked to replay something demanding."
"Considering the price point there's little of substance to criticise here. The Essential is decently made, easy to set-up, and sounds great."
"You can't ask for much more than that, especially at this price level."
- What Hi-fi? magazine, review of non-USB version of Pro-Ject Essential