Pro-Ject T1 Phono SB

Any try and commit the Pro-Ject turntable vary to reminiscence could be a satisfactory Mastermind topic. The variety of fashions that the corporate builds is huge and, at occasions, there appears to be an inexplicable stage of overlap to them. At first look, the T1 Phono SB appears prefer it sits within the latter class with barely any respiratory room between it and the extra inexpensive Primary sequence under it and Essential above. In actuality, it’s the first rung on the ladder for specialist sellers, with the Primary aimed extra on the mass market.

The fundamental elements of the T1 Phono SB seem typical sufficient. It’s an unsuspended, belt-driven turntable that follows an underlying design sample courting all the way in which again to the unique Debut. Look just a little nearer, although, and it exhibits some intriguing variations to the opposite inexpensive fashions. All three variations make use of an 8.6in tonearm within the conventional Pro-Ject trend, however the arm itself combines a tube that has a detailed resemblance to the model used on the Essential, with a bearing that’s extra akin to the Primary. This has a set antiskate and comes with the counterweight already fitted and set (very precisely, it must be stated) for the Ortofon OM5e moving-magnet cartridge that it comes provided with.

Like all arms of this sort, there are arguments for and in opposition to such a design. If you might be wedded to the concept of your turntable being one thing you could increase over time, the fastened antiskate makes this largely inconceivable (though a stylus improve could be easy sufficient). The counter to that is that setting the T1 Phono SB up is a breeze and doesn’t require a monitoring drive gauge. Quite what number of turntables at this worth level ever get to expertise such upgrades can also be open to query, so Pro-Ject has virtually definitely achieved its homework on this respect.

Another refinement that helps setup in addition to efficiency is that it makes use of a sub platter that the drive belt acts on. This ought to cut back interference on the enjoying floor, but additionally makes becoming the drive belt an amazing deal less complicated than on the variants which have it run across the outer fringe of the platter. This is created from glass and other than the plain enhance to aesthetics that it presents, ensures that there’s extra mass out there in a given quantity compared with the MDF platters featured on the less complicated fashions.

There are three variations of the T1: a fundamental one for connection to a phono stage, the model seen right here with a switchable phono stage on board and one which has each the phono stage and the means to stream your records to a Bluetooth receiver. The center choice of the three is essentially the most fascinating because it additionally consists of an digital velocity management, which makes it one of the vital inexpensive fashions I can recall seeing with such a characteristic. For causes I don’t totally perceive, this isn’t out there on the Bluetooth mannequin which, in case your connection choices are wired, makes it seem like the candy spot within the vary.

Where all the T1 variants have a bonus over a number of the different Pro-Ject decks is that in addition to making them ridiculously easy to arrange, the refinements to the arm and platter have additionally resulted in one of many best-looking inexpensive turntables going. The simplified bearing housing and the glass platter with no seen belt assist to offer the turntable clear and uncluttered strains which can be additional abetted by a sensible choice of finishes that features black, white and walnut.

Some extra conventional Pro-Ject virtues stay, too. An honest-quality grounded interconnect is provided and the toes, whereas pretty fundamental of their design, are unusually efficient at isolating the enjoying floor from its environment. The T1 Phono SB additionally manages to keep away from feeling low-cost. The construct high quality is strong and the main points are properly labored out. I can’t bear in mind putting in any turntable that went collectively as logically and simply as this one does. It actually ought to take not more than 5 minutes between popping the seal on the field and spinning a document – even for an entire novice.

Sound high quality
With the setup accomplished, the T1 Phono SB demonstrates another optimistic attributes. Connected to a Cambridge Audio Edge A and Kudos Titan 505 loudspeaker (HFC 451), there is no such thing as a signal of any undesirable hum or noise from the turntable at idle, even with out both floor connection on the provided interconnect secured. For a product that makes use of a wall-wart energy provide, that is no small feat. Pitch stability can also be good, with solely the marginally agonised groan that the assessment pattern shows on startup counting in opposition to it. This signifies that each optimistic efficiency attribute that the T1 Phono SB possesses is aided by first rate underpinnings.

The excellent news is that there are many positives to the style through which it performs records. A phrase that often repeats itself in my notes is “energetic”. The memorably odd Cool, Dry Place on Traveling Wilburys, Vol 3 is delivered with a spring in its step and a powerful, head-nodding movement. This is an inexpensive, light-weight chassis and because of this absolutely the bass weight on provide goes to be restricted in contrast with extra refined rivals, however the low finish that the T1 Phono SB does possess is wielded with commendable dexterity.

Further up the registers, the information can also be good. Tom Petty’s distinctive drawl is convincingly reproduced and whereas the soundstage that the Pro-Ject creates isn’t huge, there’s a convincing portrayal of the band itself performing as a bunch with plausible layering. The higher registers can come throughout as just a little brilliant at occasions; listening to the trad eighties manufacturing of Fischer Z’s Red Skies Over Paradise – which is a reasonably sizzling urgent – can see just a little sibilance creep in sometimes.

Given a good-quality urgent, although, just like the 45rpm repress of Peter Gabriel 3 (Melt), the T1 Phono SB does sufficient to make sure that you overlook the medium and benefit from the materials as a substitute. The unsettling emotion of Family Snapshot is one thing that it effortlessly extracts from the recording and this sluggish constructing monitor that begins from a really deep stage highlights the low noise flooring to assist protect the dynamics of the recording. One welcome if barely mysterious profit is that it appears much less prone to finish of aspect distortion than Pro-Ject’s Primary – which shares the identical cartridge and pre-aligned settings.

An prolonged interval attempting out a big selection of fabric solely serves to underline this statement. With the caveats about brighter pressings already talked about, there isn’t a lot that can unsettle the T1 Phono SB or trigger the efficiency to be something apart from very pleasant. Spending extra money will naturally yield higher outcomes, nevertheless it doesn’t have to make any apology for what it’s. What is fascinating is that, though a while has elapsed since I examined them, it feels nearer to Pro-Ject’s Essential III (HFC 420) in what it does than the Primary (HFC 444). It additionally makes for a really efficient different choice to its fundamental rival on the worth.

The solely actual shortcoming of the Pro-Ject isn’t actually perceivable from taking it out of the field and utilizing it, as is. We’ve lined that the cartridge is successfully a set object, however there’s a wider sense that the entire turntable is simply too. Switching the phono stage out of the circuit and connecting the T1 Phono SB to a Cyrus Phono Signature phono stage (HFC 408) doesn’t actually yield any important enchancment and neither do checks with isolation platforms and mains remedies. It is, primarily, very a lot because it seems and whereas it’s a excellent document participant for beneath £300, there isn’t a hidden reserve of potential to be unlocked with add-ons. As famous, the quantity of people that will do that in all probability isn’t that prime, however there are alternatives out there for comparable cash that do have a bit extra room for manoeuvre.

This mustn’t distract from what’s a really likeable and succesful turntable that manages to do the issues we count on from an inexpensive Pro-Ject and mix it with a newfound class to the aesthetic. This signifies that the marginally frumpy look of a number of the inexpensive fashions of outdated has been properly and actually banished. If you might be in search of a turntable that can be up and operating in minutes and is ready to ship a fascinating efficiency, the T1 Phono SB is a perfect place to begin. ES    

Product: Pro-Ject T1 Phono SB
Type: Belt-drive turntable


● 33 and 45rpm

● 8.6in aluminium tonearm

● Ortofon OM5e MM cartridge

Read the total assessment in  Issue 464

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