In this Pro-Ject X2 review, I’m going to cover the following key points to help you best determine if this turntable is ideal for you (especially if you consider yourself to be an audiophile):
-What the Pro-Ject X2 has to offer consumers in terms of features and overall quality
-How the X2 justifies its relatively high price tag (about $1,300)
-How you can set up the Pro-Ject X2 and be spinning records in no time
-How the X2 compares to other notable record players on the market, especially its less expensive brother—the Pro-Ject X1.
And, to better help you navigate this Pro-Ject X2 review, please use the interactive guide below, where you can directly compare the Pro-Ject X2 against other notable competitors on the market:
|Audio Technica AT-LP60X||$||Plug and Play via Built-In Phono Preamp|
|Music Hall MMF 5.3||$$$||Premium 9” Alloy Tonearm|
|Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC (Red)||$$||Red Gloss Finish|
|Clearaudio Concept (MM)||$$$||Silver Trim|
|Rega Planar 3 (White)||$$$||No Cartridge Included|
|Technics SL-1500C (Black)||$$$||Direct drive turntable w/built-in phono preamp|
|Pro-Ject X2 (White)||$$$||Extended 9" carbon fiber for better tracking|
|Pioneer PLX-1000||$$||DJ Turntable Similar to Technics 1200|
|Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Esprit SB||$$$||Pro-Ject Speed Box Built-in|
|Pro-Ject T1 (Black)||$$||Features Ortofon OM5e Cartridge|
|Thorens TD-102A||$$$||Features Built-In Phono Preamp|
|MoFi StudioDeck||$$$||Pre-mounted StudioTracker MM Cartridge|
Who Is the Pro-Ject X2 For?
The Pro-Ject X2 is for, in my opinion, a very specific group of individuals.
It’s for someone that wants to really jump into the deeper (albeit certainly not the deepest) end of the turntable pool.
It’s for those that have enjoyed cheaper turntables like the U-Turn Orbit Plus or the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon, but are finally ready to make a significant jump in quality that they know will make their records shine.
And the Pro-Ject X2 is aimed at someone that really appreciates quality turntable construction, and understands that higher quality materials in your turntable means a higher quality record playing experience.
If you fall into one or more of these categories, I think it would be wise to give the Pro-Ject X2 strong consideration.
Key Features of the Pro-Ject X2
Here are a few things I love about the Pro-Ject X2.
The decoupled motor. If you know anything about turntables (and I know you do), then you know that higher quality turntables tend to have isolated motors. When the motor is decoupled or isolated from the main plinth, you get a free floating effect.
This is important, because motors in turntables can bring about nasty distortion issues. When a motor vibrates, the vibrations can come up through the platter. Once that happens, there’s a chance that vibration can affect your cartridge. And, by proxy, the sound coming through your speakers.
So an isolated motor helps to eradicate this problem, and on the X2, it does so quite effectively.
The next thing I really love about the Pro-Ject X2, especially when compared to the Pro-Ject X1 (let alone something like the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC), is that you get a considerably thicker chassis/plinth, as well as a thicker and heavier platter.
In short, the X2 increases the density of the turntable. If you look at the X2 side by side with the X1, you’ll notice that the chassis looks to be almost double the size in thickness.
When it comes to things like footfalls, the solution to all vibrations is to increase the mass within the turntable. When that’s done (such as have a thicker plinth, for example), you lessen the chance that your sound will suffer due to your kids running through the room, or your dog bumping into the surface holding your turntable.
When you want to remove unwanted resonance, always shoot for a turntable that has a thick, heavy plinth and a thick, heavy platter.
And speaking of platters, the X2 comes with an acrylic platter—just like the X1. This is a definite improvement over the glass platters that come with the Pro-Ject T1 line (such as the Pro-Ject T1, Pro-Ject T1BT, and Pro-Ject T1 Phono SB).
The platter on the X2 is an improvement over the X1, as it’s virtually 50% thicker.
One additional thing. What’s always great about acrylic platters is that it allows you to discontinue the use of a felt mat.
When you use an acrylic platter, you can just place your record directly on top of the platter’s surface—you don’t need to use a felt mat anymore.
It would probably be a good idea, though, to use a record clamp to clamp down a bit on your record (and further flatten it onto the platter’s surface). You do this because, whenever there is any air between your record and your platter, you have a chance of encountering unwanted resonance.
On top of that, if you are playing a record that’s a bit warped, a record clamp or record weight will do a pretty solid job of eliminating a bit of the edge warp, as well.
The third key feature which is really great is the cartridge, which is the Pro-Ject Pick It 2M Silver. This is a fast, very precise moving magnet cartridge (with silver coils). It uses Ortofon’s technology, and 2M’s tech allows for the ability to reach the same levels of flat frequency response that you’d find in more expensive Moving Coil cartridges.
One additional feature I really think is worth discussing on the X2 is that it actually has a longer tonearm than the Pro-Ject X1 turntable.
And that’s a good thing. Why? Well, because the longer the tonearm, the less potential for a mistake to occur when it comes to the positioning of your cartridge. The longer tonearm helps to reduce the potential for distortion.
For comparison sake, while both the X1 and X2 are rocking a carbon/aluminum sandwich constructed tonearm, the tonearm on the X1 is 8.6” long, while the tonearm on the X2 is 9” long.
How to Setup the Pro-Ject X2
Let’s now briefly go over the Pro-Ject X2 setup process (it has a somewhat similar setup to the X1, but there are a few differences):
-First, unpack all of the accessory items from the box and put them to the side. You should have the following accessories:
- RCA cable
- Drive belt
- White gloves
- Anti-skating weight
- Single adapter
- Allen Key
-Next, remove the dust cover from the box, and then lift the wrapped turntable out of the box. Next, take out the acrylic platter, which you’ll find at the bottom of the box.
-Next, you’ll find the power supply inside of a small square box. Take it out and put it to the side for now.
-Now, remove the protected covering that’s wrapped around the turntable.
-Next, you need to install the drive belt. To do this, first put on the pair of white gloves. Next, grab the belt and wrap it around the small diameter of the motor pulley. Then, extend the belt around the entire diameter of the sub-platter.
Do note—if you ever were to acquire a 78 RPM record, you can indeed play them on the Pro-Ject X2. To do so, you’d first have to remove the flat drive belt and replace it with the round drive belt. But remember that you’ll need to wrap the drive belt around the larger diameter of the motor pulley—not the smaller one.
-Next, grab the platter and carefully place it on top of the spindle.
-Now, let’s remove the twist tie that secures the tonearm during shipping. After that, you can unpack the anti-skating stub and screw it into the pre-drilled hole (right above the tonearm).
-Next, it’s time to put the counterweight in place. To do so, just slide it onto the back of the tonearm—make sure the numbers are facing the same direction as the entire tonearm.
-Now, remove the stylus guard.
-Next, be sure to lower the tonearm lift and place the tonearm in between the platter and the armrest. We do this so we can properly set the tracking force for the installed cartridge (for this cartridge, the Pick It 2M Silver, we want it to be set at 18mN).
-Now, you need to balance the tonearm by turning the counterweight slowly until you notice the tonearm stays level—basically floating at about the same height as the platter. If the tonearm drifts too high or too low, slowly rotate the counterweight accordingly.
Always make sure you’re paying close attention to your stylus here. The last thing you want is your stylus to come crashing down onto the turntable’s plinth and inflicting serious damage to the stylus itself.
-Next, turn the front scale or front ring of the counterweight to zero without actually moving the weight itself.
-After that, turn the entire counterweight counterclockwise until the scale reads 18. You have now set the tracking force for this cartridge to 18nM.
-Next, pop the stylus guard back onto the cartridge for protection purposes. You can keep the guard off permanently if you want, but if you’re not using the record player and want to ensure the integrity of your stylus (because accidents can and do happen), it’s wise to keep the stylus guard on your cartridge whenever you’re not playing a record.
-Next, we need to install the anti-skating weight. To do this, simply take the anti-skate weight and place its loop into the second groove of the tonearm post.
-Now, we are ready to install the dust cover. To do so is quite easy. First, locate the two metal rods that stand vertically in the back of the turntable. Place the dust cover onto the back of those two rods, as appropriate. Your dust cover is now on and is protecting your turntable.
-Now, install your phono cable and your ground wire. Also, be sure to install the power supply cable, as well.
-The final thing you need to do is install the other end of your phone cable correctly. If you have an integrated amplifier with a PHONO input, simply connect the RCA cable there (along with the ground wire).
If you have a receiver or amplifier that doesn’t have a PHONO input, then you’re going to need to get an external phono preamp. I’m a big fan of relatively inexpensive but good quality phono preamps like the Schiit Mani or the Vincent PHO-8. If you go that route, connect the RCA cable (and ground wire) into the back of the external phono preamp.
-Also, always remember which speed you need your platter to spin at. If you’re playing 12” records, you almost always will spin them at 33 1/3 revolutions per minute (although there is the rare except, such as Ed Sheeran’s “X” album, which spins at 45 RPM).
If, however, you’re playing 7” records, you’ll need to press the speed control button an additional time to select the 45 RPM speed. The selected speed is shown by the flashing LED. When the platter has reached full speed, you’ll notice that the LED’s stop flashing.
If you need more help setting up your turntable, be sure to check out the Pro-Ject X2 manual, which includes several helpful images in its tutorial.
Pro-Ject X1 vs Pro-Ject X2: Which is Best?
The Pro-Ject X2 costs quite a bit more than the X1, and so you may be logically wondering if the additional price is really worth it.
In my opinion, I think that depends on how much detail matters to you—whether that’s detail in construction or detail in sound quality.
On the surface, the X2 appears to have fairly incremental changes over the X1.
For example, the tonearm is a little bit longer than the X1.
The cartridge is a bit better than the X1.
The platter and the plinth are a bit heavier than the X1.
The X2 has a more sophisticated suspension of the motor than the X1.
But none of these changes, on the surface, scream “MAJOR UPGRADE.”
But that’s why it’s always important to dig into the details.
I’ve talked a bit about the improvements within the X2 over the X1, but I do think some of them are worth repeating here.
With the X2, you get a platter that’s almost fifty percent thicker than the X1. You also get a plinth that’s thicker and heavier too. These details matter greatly, because that extra thickness and overall mass helps to dampen—if not outright eliminate—loads of unwanted vibrations and unwanted resonance.
If the platter and plinth wasn’t as heavy, you might notice everything from your record skipping while it’s playing because the tonearm and stylus isn’t tracking the groove correctly, to the sound quality being negatively impacted because the vibrations that are coming from around the room (walking, running, etc) are being picked up by your stylus/cartridge.
And as mentioned before, the tonearm is longer on the X2, so that helps to cut down on any potential distortion issues.
Make no mistake about it—the Pro-Ject X1 is a great turntable. And you’ll be very happy with it. But if you want a superior product, the Pro-Ject X2 is likely for you.
Pro-Ject X2 vs Rega Planar 3
Outside of the Pro-Ject X1, the Rega Planar 3 might be the biggest competition for the X2.
What’s nice about the Rega Planar 3 is that not only do the Planar turntables have an excellent track record of quality and consistency, but they also give you loads of options when it comes to improving your sound quality.
If you want the Rega Planar 3 with no cartridge, you can usually find it for about $950.
If you want the Planar 3 with the Rega Elys cartridge pre-installed, it’ll cost a little over $1,100.
The Planar 3 with the Rega Exact 2 cartridge is probably the best bundle to compare to the Pro-Ject X2, as the prices compare someway favorably for both turntables.
The Planar 3 does come with a glass platter. I’m a big fan of acrylic platters (as seen on the X2), but I will say that the Planar 3’s glass platter is 12mm thick, which is really quite nice.
However, where I think the X2 really shines—at least from a stability standpoint when it comes to preventing unwanted resonance—is in the thickness of the plinth. The X2 has a heavy, 50mm thick chassis. This dense plinth is really going to help prevent vibrations from ruining your music.
The Rega Planar 3’s chassis, by comparison, seems quite thin (perhaps almost as thin as the cheaper Pro-Ject T1 line of turntables, but I’d have to really take a closer examination of both to know for sure).
This doesn’t mean the Planar 3 isn’t going to provide you with a wonderful record playing experience. But I’m always a fan of heavier turntables that can help ward off unwanted vibrations and interferences that can color or outright distort the record’s sound.
- You can read my Rega Planar 3 review right here.
The Pro-Ject X2 is a fantastic turntable. Built like a tank, yet not too cost prohibitive, I think Pro-Ject was really able to strike a delicate balance between quality and cost.
I’m not quite sure if the Pro-Ject X2 beats out other turntables I really love, like the sleek Clearaudio Concept or even the frosted acrylic beauty that is the Marantz TT-15S1. But the X2 is definitely going to give you a great record playing experience that will satisfy you for years to come.
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