Pro-Ject 175 Vienna Philharmonic Recordplayer turntable Page 2

It wasn't quite achieved with the laser precision of an SME 10, admittedly, but still sounded revealing in a smooth sort of way. There was great space to the sound, with some beautifully etched acoustic guitar work located smartly in the centre. At the same time, the distinctive (and now rather dated) fretless bass guitar was powerfully carried, strongly underpinning the track. This bass was taut and supple too, while never becoming overblown.

And Funky Too...
A quick sashay over to some classic jazz funk, and it was clear to hear that the 175 Vienna is quite an animated music maker. Light Of The World's 'Time' [Round Trip; Ensign ENVY 14] came over in an engagingly propulsive way. True, I have heard this track carried more convincingly, yet still this deck went hard to work conveying the subtle counterpoint between the bass guitar, rhythm guitar and percussion. It's a pacy-sounding player, far less sedate-sounding than looks suggest, and the taut yet supple low end is allied to loads of detail in the midband. So rather than giving a nostalgic, opaque, rose-tinted rendition of the music, this turntable digs down into the detail and hammers out an enjoyably catchy rendition. True, there is a hint of warmth, but who wants vinyl to sound so devoid of character that it might as well be 'bad digital'?

Tactile Sax
There's something special about hearing jazz music on vinyl – many folk still don't think digital can do it justice, and you remember why when you hear the genre on a serious analogue source. Cannonball Adderly's 'Autumn Leaves' [Somethin' Else; Blue Note 1595] is a seminal slice of early-'60s musicianship, and here the 175 Vienna proved to be in its element. Despite its issues, the tonearm tracked securely with its matching special-edition cartridge, indeed, rather flattering the latter.

This tuned-Cadenza MC was well able to show off this sublime recording, with a pleasing vibrancy to the instruments. Adderly's alto sax was delightfully raspy, sounding eerily tactile in a world where we're often used to rather two-dimensional facsimiles. Amidst a torrent of harmonics, it gave a delightfully live and vibrant feel. Miles Davis' trumpet was a treat too – lustrous and sparkling, yet 'earthy' and organic, it gave the feel of a live instrument being played. Behind this the stable, secure drum work kept pace efficiently and in an orderly way. Cymbal playing was another highlight – sparkling and glistening like real ringing, metallic objects in the room.

I ran the gamut of my record collection, including the classic rock of Fleetwood Mac's 'Don't Stop' [Rumours; Warner Bros P-10233W] which was delivered in a fast yet expansive sounding manner, the turntable capturing the nuances of this classic recording without a care in the world. Kraftwerk's 'Techno Pop' [Electric Café; 064-24 06541] is a seminal slice of '80s electronica and sounded taut and tight with fine detail rendition.

However, the real treat was with classical music – which absolutely flies on a serious vinyl-spinner. Elgar's Cello Concerto [Jacqueline du Pré, Philadelphia Orch/Daniel Barenboim; CBS Masterworks 76529] was a delight. The turntable told me that while this is no hi-fi demo recording, du Pré is still a prodigious talent.

Is It Live?
It really locked into the emotional force of the music, showing her beautiful dynamic accenting and nuanced playing. The cello was pleasingly expressive, while here the 175 Vienna also pulled off the 'hi-fi' aspects too where there was a deep, inviting timbre to stringed instruments, and they were placed perfectly in space. It was fascinating to be able to hear right to the back of the recorded acoustic too, right down to the sound of incidental coughing. Just as you might experience hearing the VPO live...

Hi-Fi News Verdict
One never tires of the Pro-Ject 175 Vienna's crisp, detailed and engaging nature – and the fact that it's so even-handed regardless of the music you play. It is a distinctive and modern-sounding turntable solution with one simple mission in life: to have fun. Yes, there are some question marks about its finish and the high mass of the tonearm, but the package breezily exceeds the sum of its parts.

Pro-Ject Audio Systems
Supplied by: Henley Designs Ltd, UK
01235 511166