The black version of the Essential II vinyl turntable with the OM 5e cartridge was replaced by the Essential II Référence vinyl turntable that comes as standard with an OM10 cartridge.
The Pro-Ject Essential vinyl turntable has served as the Austrian brand’s entry-level model for the past five years. With its musical and design qualities, it is very popular among music lovers and enthusiasts on a low budget. This vinyl turntable also provides a great high-quality alternative to competing models in its price range, which are often entirely made out of plastic.
But now the company has released the Essential MKII, complete with several upgrades. Actually, you will realise that it has little in common with its older sister. It has the same base and feet, platter and spindle/bearing. The AC synchronous motor has been replaced by a DC power supply. The platter is driven directly around the platter by a round silicone belt, without a sub-platter. The small unipivot arm has been replaced by a more traditional version. Fans will consider this tonearm as a tried and tested best buy. In fact, this 8.6" aluminium tonearm is none other than the one that was fitted to Pro-Ject's now discontinued Pro-Ject Debut III vinyl turntable. The cartridge is an Ortofon OM5e cartridge, a safe bet for this range. It can however be upgraded over time. The cables are captive and specifically designed for Phono systems. These are not the basic low cost interconnect cables that often come with competitor products. It also comes with a dust cover.
The listening experience has noticeably improved in terms of precision and consistency. The frequency response also seems wider than with the old Pro-Ject Essential vinyl turntable. And it would seem that the tonearm has something to do with it. We compared it to a Debut III and they have a similar sound quality. Maybe the Essential II vinyl turntable is a bit more physical?!
Yet another great product from the Austrian manufacturer at a low price that leaves little hope for potential competitors. Highly recommended
What Hi-Fi? 2013 & 2015 - Best turntable up to £400
"The Essential II is a frill-free entry-level product that gets all the basics spot-on." Franck
Speeds: 33⅓, 45 RPM (manual change)
Drive principle: Silicone belt
Rotation accuracy: 33t/ 0.14%, 45t/0.25%
Wow & Flutter: 0.12%
Platter: MDF 300mm
Platter mat: black felt
Bearing: Stainless steel
Cartridge: Ortofon OM 5e
Effective tonearm weight: 8g
Counterweight: for 3.g-5.5g cartridges
Built-in RIAA preamplifier: NO
Outputs: RCA + ground
Power supply: DC
Dust cover: YES
Consumption: 4.5 watts