Upgrading Pro-Ject Essential II

marweb

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Aug 26, 2015
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I've been umming and ahhing over my replacing my Squeezebox2 for a while, but that decision can wait because I promised my Pro-Ject Essential II to my son. And, he's collecting at the end of February.

So, what is a good upgrade? That is, what do I need to spend to see an improvement? I'm pairing with my Arcam FMJ A19 and Dali Zensor 7s.

I don't mind the manual tone arm. Indeed I quite enjoy that part of the listening experience. :) But, I rarely listen to a stack of 45s because changing the belt over is a PITA.

The Pro-Ject Essential II has been great, and to be honest, I probably wouldn't upgrade now if I hadn't agreed to give it away as a gift. So be it. I'm thinking the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Esprit SB and Rega RP3 are contenders. Any thoughts?
 
Feb 18, 2015
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There's not going to be much in it between the two,I'd be more inclined to buy a cheaper tt and put a good cart on it as opposed to a decent tt with average or below average cart.....it's all about the cartridge at this level of turntable buying and makes such a difference.
 
Mark Rose-Smith said:
There's not going to be much in it between the two,I'd be more inclined to buy a cheaper tt and put a good cart on it as opposed to a decent tt with average or below average cart.....it's all about the cartridge at this level of turntable buying and makes such a difference.
Quite true. Either of these turntables will do the job. Just don't get them with their usual cheapo cartridge.
 

stevebrock

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Nov 13, 2009
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I would go with the Rega RP3, only as I have owned a few Rega TTs, easy to set up etc - however Rega carts are not the best and you would be better off getting a better cartridge.

What is your overall budget for TT & Cart
 
Feb 18, 2015
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Vickers hi-fi is still selling the xperience 2 classic at just £24 more than the carbon ukx,admittedly though without any cart,but it's got that 9cc tonearm and is a steal at that money . it's where I purchased my own.
 
marweb said:
Thanks for the suggestions. Thinking about upgrading a TT I've yet to buy is not the way I want to go ... at least not in the near future. I've not set a budget, but £500 is a good guide.

Having read the forums I read quite a lot about Pro-Ject and Rega that suggests the Pro-Ject may be a better match for my amp. I'm also adding the Pro-Ject 1 Xpression Carbon UKX into the mix. It looks like this is available for a little over £500 at the moment. Pro-Ject has the upper hand because (i) I've got one of their decks and (ii) the stylus can be changed without replacing the cartidge. I can also add a Speedbox later and play my 45s to my heart's content!

I'll have to line up some auditions or a home trial.
The Carbon UKX is very good for that sort of money and comes with Ortofon 2M Silver which is better than the usual 2M Red offering.

Well worth an audition although the cheapest I can find it for is £575, still not a bad price.
 
Mark Rose-Smith said:
Vickers hi-fi is still selling the xperience 2 classic at just £24 more than the carbon ukx,admittedly though without any cart,but it's got that 9cc tonearm and is a steal at that money . it's where I purchased my own.
Nice deck but with a decent cartridge it's going to push the budget up by about £120.
 
Feb 18, 2015
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Very true Al,but sometimes the boat just needs to be pushed that little bit further out.lol.oh dear...I believe I'm starting to contradict my earlier post.but I always go above my means when it comes to hi-fi equipment and don't mind recommending others do the same.lol.
 
Mark Rose-Smith said:
Very true Al,but sometimes the boat just needs to be pushed that little bit further out.lol.oh dear...I believe I'm starting to contradict my earlier post.but I always go above my means when it comes to hi-fi equipment and don't mind recommending others do the same.lol.
Fair enough. I often feel vinyl newbies quite often want a system on an unrealistic budget and then are quite often dismayed with the sound quality when they get it.

I always said decent vinyl playback cannot be done on a shoestring budget.
 
Feb 18, 2015
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Agreed,mine is sounding very nice at the moment,but as you say it's came at a price,dino mk3 £500,project 2 xperience classic £599,ortofon 2m blue £170,and not even at the amp and speakers yet.So that's where the ppi has went this year!!lol.
 

marweb

Well-known member
Aug 26, 2015
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The Xperience with an Ortofon 2m Silver is £725. That's going to break the bank! Also, it looks like both share the same tonearm and cartridge, so I'm wondering if there is that much between them. Have I missed something?
 
marweb said:
The Xperience with an Ortofon 2m Silver is £725. That's going to break the bank! Also, it looks like both share the same tonearm and cartridge, so I'm wondering if there is that much between them. Have I missed something?
It's pretty much all in the design and looks of the plinth and materials that make up the platter.
 
Feb 18, 2015
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The xperience classic has the 9cc tonearm,if you look closely at some images you'll notice it's a one piece unit unlike the carbon ukx's which has a headshell.Also the 9cc has more adjustability is more rigid and will be less prone to vibrations and if you search it usually retails for £500,thats why the xperience Classic is a bit of a bargain .but yeah it's quite a bit extra and the ukx is a fine tt.
 
Mark Rose-Smith said:
The xperience classic has the 9cc tonearm,if you look closely at some images you'll notice it's a one piece unit unlike the carbon ukx's which has a headshell.Also the 9cc has more adjustability is more rigid and will be less prone to vibrations and if you search it usually retails for £500,thats why the xperience Classic is a bit of a bargain .but yeah it's quite a bit extra and the ukx is a fine tt.
Sorry to have to correct you but the Carbon UKX is actually fitted with a one-piece carbon tonearm, it's one of its selling points, it is however not the 9cc.
 

marweb

Well-known member
Aug 26, 2015
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Thanks for the suggestions. Thinking about upgrading a TT I've yet to buy is not the way I want to go ... at least not in the near future. I've not set a budget, but £500 is a good guide.

Having read the forums I read quite a lot about Pro-Ject and Rega that suggests the Pro-Ject may be a better match for my amp. I'm also adding the Pro-Ject 1 Xpression Carbon UKX into the mix. It looks like this is available for a little over £500 at the moment. Pro-Ject has the upper hand because (i) I've got one of their decks and (ii) the stylus can be changed without replacing the cartridge. I can also add a Speedbox later and play my 45s to my heart's content!

I'll have to line up some auditions or a home trial.
 

marweb

Well-known member
Aug 26, 2015
6
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4,520
I'm pleased to say that I am now the owner of the Pro-Ject 1 Xpression Carbon UKX in black. Bought for £518 and with cashback it will come it in at £500. I think that's a bargain! Also, it's a good match to the Arcam and a marked improvement over the Pro-Ject Essential.
 
marweb said:
I'm pleased to say that I am now the owner of the Pro-Ject 1 Xpression Carbon UKX in black. Bought for £518 and with cashback it will come it in at £500. I think that's a bargain! Also, it's a good match to the Arcam and a marked improvement over the Pro-Ject Essential.
Excellent, glad you're enjoying it. That's a very good price.
 

marweb

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Aug 26, 2015
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Al ears said:
Excellent, glad you're enjoying it. That's a very good price.
A couple of dozen albums in and I'm thoroughly enjoying my vinyl ... well most of it anyway. I put on Joanna Newsom's Have One On Me and thought something was terribly wrong with the deck, but it seems to be the pressing (scratchy sound on the right channel.)

Vinyl I bought in the 1970s and 1980s has never sounded so good. So pleased I went for a higher spec model.

Thanks for the suggestions and feedback.

PS. How much of an improvement would I hear with an Ortofon Blue? Yes, I've got the bug.
 
marweb said:
Al ears said:
Excellent, glad you're enjoying it. That's a very good price.
A couple of dozen albums in and I'm thoroughly enjoying my vinyl ... well most of it anyway. I put on Joanna Newsom's Have One On Me and thought something was terribly wrong with the deck, but it seems to be the pressing (scratchy sound on the right channel.)

Vinyl I bought in the 1970s and 1980s has never sounded so good. So pleased I went for a higher spec model.

Thanks for the suggestions and feedback.

PS. How much of an improvement would I hear with an Ortofon Blue? Yes, I've got the bug.
Ski p a stage and go for the black. If not change from Ortofon completely.
 
D

Deleted member 108165

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Al ears said:
Skip a stage and go for the black. If not change from Ortofon completely.
That would be skipping two stages Al *smile* and a very big difference in price *shok*
 
D

Deleted member 108165

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marweb said:
PS. How much of an improvement would I hear with an Ortofon Blue? Yes, I've got the bug.
It is an upgrade but I have never heard the 2M Silver so can't comment as to how much of an upgrade it would be. The Blue would be a relatively cheap and simple change requiring the stylus only. You can fit a Bronze or Black stylus to the same cartridge but it would only offer say 70% of what they are capable of as their OE cartridge body is more exotic. I've been through the entire 2M range: Red, Blue, Bronze and Black and can say I am a fan of Ortofon - they suit my personal taste. The Bronze is an excellent cart, very quiet, but the Black trumps it on sheer brilliance, however, because of this the Black can be noisy - it picks up every snap, crackle and pop.

Currently I'm trying a Nag MP300 and it is similar to the 2M Bronze.
 

thescarletpronster

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Nov 17, 2012
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marweb said:
I put on Joanna Newsom's Have One On Me and thought something was terribly wrong with the deck, but it seems to be the pressing (scratchy sound on the right channel.)
I had four copies of that album and all of them were faulty - scratches plus pressing faults .... not the fault of your deck. I'd love a dcent copy of it,
 

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