Pro-Ject Essential II is an entry-level record player with all the basic functionality. It provides vinyl fans with a strong dynamic and rhythmic ability. Pro-Ject Essential II specs lack innovative techs but boast the durable build. It also has a high-quality cartridge onboard and makes the setup pretty easy.
Let’s start the Pro-Ject Essential II review with its rectangular cabinet. It’s made of sturdy MDF and comes in matte black, red, and white optionally. However, the unit in the latter two colors is more expensive. The on/off button is on the left side.
The turntable’s plinth is rather small that’s why fitting the belt takes some efforts. At least, manual switching speeds for 33 or 45 RPM is easy due to the pulley that is next to the platter. The turntable’s tonearm is short (8.5 inches) and its counterweight comes with a tracking-force dial. It boasts single piece aluminum construction that makes the tonearm both rigid and light.
The record player has an optical digital output to hook it up to the soundbars and wireless speakers, as well as RCA stereo phono output and delivers good sound from both of them. However, it lacks treble’s subtlety that adds a little mud when two voices sound in a duo.
This model doesn’t support a tracking-force gauge to adjust the counterweight for the proper tracking force but just introduce instruction on how to set the optimal force manually.
The model got a new engine that operates smoothly and makes no noise. Besides, it can minimize unwanted vibrations. The record player comes with Ortofon OM5e magnetic cartridge with an elliptical stylus to ensure well-balanced and clear playback without distortions. This MC has a replaceable stylus that is not expensive.
The unit is not automatic and requires shifting the drive belt manually to the larger step on the motor sheave for playing a track.
The Pro-Ject Essential II has a rather thin turntable mat that can be replaced with the more sturdy cork one to prevent the records from dust and static. Besides, one can replace its MDF platter with an acrylic one to reduce turntable resonance. In this case, the cork mat isn’t required.
The Pro-Ject Essential II is not digital-ready turntable with tons of options, but it does its job for home listening if you’re not a too avid audiophile. This model is durable and can be used for many years hassle-free. It has good scalability to improve some of its characteristics.