Project Essential Premium Phono/USB in the Test

The record is booming: current pop and rock albums are increasingly also again offered on vinyl. Listening pleasure it takes only cheap and good sounding player – like with built-in A/converter of d, to inspire even the digital polarized young for analog sound treasures. Whether the new entry-level model from Pro-Ject has what it takes?

Who before few years known, vinyl beschalle four walls of his home, often got attributes such as “Sound nerd” or “Vintage fanatics” head tossed. Because when it comes to the playback medium, music fans into two camps split. The majority supported digital media such as CDs and hassle-free way to play them – while other, considerably smaller part loves the warm analog sound of vinyl. Therefore the comeback, which celebrates the record for several years is even more surprising. New products appear not only as CD or download, but also again as LP. With the growing popularity of vinyl, the record player market is booming. Several manufacturers supply now excellent entry-level devices that you can afford as normal income earner. The next generation of vinyl friends seems so sure–even more if a player has an own A/D converter on board and allows therefore the entry into the digital world.

A representative of this genus is our test subject – premium/phono USB by Pro-Ject essential. His more destructive name it just indicates its lush features: not only he has already a phono-preamp on board, but he emits an excellent companion for vinyl newcomers also an A / DWandler. Thus, who want to put any more money in external devices. The combination of analog and digital connectors allows Moreover a perfect integration into existing systems. And no matter which way you may choose: the Pro-Ject has ready for pretty much every situation the right answer.

In the age of network streaming and co. opened up thanks to the A/DWandlers a completely different field of application: you can send the signal of its LP treasures in digitised format in the PC or Mac via the USB output. While the turntable recognised by the computer as the default device, eliminates the need for an additional driver installation. In combination with a corresponding computer program can be in this way make excellent recordings of records. Even in relatively loud discs like chic “Le Freak Live” (Sireena), kept the USB chip cool and delivered crystal clear signals without clipping. The integrated A/chosen performs no miracles though, but still good values achieved with a maximum sampling rate of 48 kHz with 16 bit (for comparison: the CD quality is 44, 1 kHz/16 bit).

Feeling blue

Another highlight in the facilities is the cartridge: the German distributor of ATR did not splash out and donated an Ortofon 2 M blue the essential premium. He lined up with dynamic, vibrant sound (almost) audiophile Harriers and blossomed in combination with the a point downstream aluminium tonearm “8.6 UniPivot” to the real insider’s tip.

To change the speed, the music fan must put However even hand and change the location of the silicone strap on the pulley. For a speed of 45 rpm by placing the belt in the lower (larger) and for 33 RPM in the higher lying, smaller Groove now brought a plate off the shelf and placed on the MDF plate – and the fun can start.

Addiction factor: Music

The Pro-Ject delivered together with his little blue friend, the 2 M blue, excellent Sonic results. The AUDIO testers were especially impressed by its impressive dynamism and naturalness. Such as “Swanee River” by Dave Brubeck (“gone with the wind”): the Ortofon came even while the piano solos with his dynamic leaps not in sweat and made for an absolutely distortion-free listening experience. The music sounded rich in detail, with defined bass and clear Heights. Fascinating, Ella Fitzgerald’s expressive voice for “Little White Lies” (“Ella swings Lightly”) sounded: very fine aufloesend and at the same time musically, typical warm for these shots with the sound. And when CHICS show from the “Budokan” Tokyo the spatial went so naturally that the band reach was close.


Pro-Ject delivers the essential premium phono / USB an excellent complete package for records newcomers – the quality is right as well as the price. Thanks to the Ortofon 2M blue, it sounds so great, that you prefer no longer wants to take the needle plate. And: he does his job via USB equally well – analog or digital and supplied with modern equipment features as the next generation of LP fans.