Pro-Ject Audio Systems X8 Turntable Lab Report

Lab Report

The bare bones of Pro-Ject's X8 turntable can be traced right back to the Xtension 9 Evolution [HFN Aug '14] – both decks featuring what looks like a very similar AC synchronous motor driving a heavy, TPE-damped alloy platter around its edge and supported on a 'magnetically assisted' inverted ceramic bearing. The Xtension's 5.4kg platter was a little heavier than the X8's 5.1kg version, but the former also included an extra surface of 'recycled vinyl', traded in the X8 for a traditional felt mat. Drilling into the detail, both decks have a glued (rather than continuous) round-section belt which is often associated with drift and slightly high peak-wtd wow, as is the case with both these decks at 0.07% [see Graph 1]. The X8 is also running about +0.6% fast and while this injection of 'pace' is unlikely to be audible, it's also likely to slow, and become more accurate, with age. Bearing rumble, however, is much improved in the X8 from –67.6dB (Xtension 9 Evo) to –68.5dB here, and to a very fine –72.2dB through-the-groove (20Hz-20kHz, DIN-B wtd re. 1kHz/5cm/sec).

The partnering Pro-Ject 9cc Evolution tonearm features a lightweight but very rigid, woven carbon fibre tube that defers its main beam resonance to a high 195Hz alongside harmonics and twisting modes up at 350Hz, 510Hz and 615Hz, the latter moderately high-Q but quickly damped on the CSD waterfall [Graph 2, below]. Effective mass is between 9-10g while the four ABEC 7 tolerance ball races offer very low (<10mg) levels of stiction/friction. Tested with the supplied (TPE-damped) counterweight, the 9cc Evolution's downforce proves about 10% lower than the dialed-in value, so 2g on the 0-3.5g 'watchface' delivers closer to 1.8g. Better to err upwards. PM


Wow and flutter re. 3150Hz tone at 5cm/sec (plotted ±150Hz, 5Hz per minor division)


Cumulative tonearm resonant decay spectrum, illustrating various bearing, pillar and 'tube' vibration modes spanning 100Hz-10kHz over 40msec

Turntable speed error at 33.33rpm 33.55rpm (+0.63%)
Time to audible stabilisation 5-6sec
Peak Wow/Flutter (Peak wtd) 0.07% / 0.05%
Rumble (silent groove, DIN B wtd) –72.2dB
Rumble (through bearing, DIN B wtd) –68.5dB
Hum & Noise (unwtd, rel. to 5cm/sec) –61.5dB
Power Consumption 5W (1W standby)
Dimensions (WHD, with lid) / Weight 465x150x350mm / 15kg
Price £2099 (inc. arm and cartridge)

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