Pro-Ject is expanding his empire. We are dealing with a financially strong global player. The nice thing: the fans are also given a present. Like the superb, affordable Xtension 9 Evolution.
How is Pro-Ject defined? Until recently, you were on the road as a provider of amazingly affordable turntables. Now you have already reached a stately portfolio, which goes up to the highest heights of the high end. The company boss Heinz Lichtenegger managed cleverly and expanded the catalog bit by bit. He has just succeeded his latest coup: He has bought the British electronics manufacturer Musical Fidelity. That’s how you create an empire. The man may call himself a prince.
Where does the Empire want to go? Pro-Ject is the biggest winner of the current vinyl boom. The sales are famos. From Vienna, the manufacturer dominates a complete world. Will Pro-Ject eventually set up its own speaker series and become a full-range provider? It is still a guess, the future will show.
How far the Viennese have already rolled up the market, the turntable model Xtension 9 Evolution shows exemplary. Here it is no longer about fondling an entry-level community, here is already the finest high-end operated. We are facing a noble player, a belt drive with many high-quality details.
Even the chassis lures the fingers and eyes. Here is painted in piano finish or converted into the finest veneer. The Xtension 9 Evolution is available in mahogany, olive, walnut, rosewood or eucalyptus. For damping Pro-Ject fills the base with metal granules.
Proud 16 kilograms brings the overall construction on the scales. The plate is ground from aluminum and topped up with a thermoplastic elastomer. In addition, a heavy plate puck ensures the perfect support of the grooves. King customer also does not have to turn the belt consuming, he wants to change times between 33 and 45 turns: The engine control does it by pressing a button. Another practical plus: The acrylic hood is included in delivery.
Clever combination: In the “SuperPack” there is the Pro-Ject Xtension 9 Evolution with the great MC system Ortofon Quintet Black.
As a tonearm Pro-Ject has donated its own model 9cc Evolution, which we have already appreciated in detail. Here carbon is stretched to nine inches. Cleverly, Pro-Ject contributes four differently heavy counterweights. Any pickup that is so unusual can be sensibly leveled. The competition often saves on height adjustment, not Pro-Ject. One turn of a screw is enough, and the 9cc Evolution can be adapted to the ideal needle-to-vinyl ratio.
Anyone who has followed so far and opens his wallet, would have to realize that he still lacks a matching pickup. Pro-Ject truncates the search and offers an Xtension 9 Evolution “SuperPack”: Here is an MC system, the Ortofon MC Quintet Black, included in the package. A clever, sonorous combination, which is also financially tempting. The Black alone would cost 800 euros and represents the spearhead of the Quintet series dar.
The spool was made from gold-plated, monocrystalline copper, and at the top of the boron needle carrier sits a Shibata-cut gemstone. We are impressed by the conceptual strength and the still affordable price. Pro-Ject requires 2,650 euros for the Xtension 9 Evolution SuperPack. The target group is clear: newcomers or smart beginners who can invest that little bit more.
Where do we stand tonally? Far above the price range. This player fascinated and made us happy. Here is the analogous attitude to life as well as the finest, analytical yield. As the first black disc, we have put on an already mythical Decca Decca: Sir Georg Solti conducts the London Symphony Orchestra in Bela Bartok’s music for string instruments , drums and celesta. The music you do not know? Oh yes, Stanley Kubrick used it extensively in his film Shining .
Even in the soft tones a strong emotionality is sent out. The Pro-Ject showed in the test this enjoyable way, the goose bumps generated. In addition, the mix of direct presence and spatial information – even into the forte moments – was right; there was an amazing compressive force on the membranes. The drive provided the sovereignty of the drive, the fine resolution came from the combination tonearm and pickup. That gave the most beautiful joy of playing. Unknowingly we would have estimated the overall combination significantly more expensive.
Another luxury pressure that one should have: Till Brönner and Dieter Ilg interpret the album “Nightfall” – trumpet meets double bass. Less can not fail a jazz cast. These are miniatures, made of very great art. The sound engineers have done perfection. The instruments sound direct, warm, rich – ultra-precise to the room information. If so the beginning of the chain plays along. The LP version sounds almost better than the HiRes download.
The Xtension 9 Evolution revealed every little piece of information. Class, how we got the phrasing of Till Brönner heard; superb, how spacious the basses of Dieter Ilg formed. A big recommendation from us and of course a “highlight” on top.
Open View: The Pro-Ject Xtension 9 Evolution motor pulley is usually covered by a metal plate. The different drive variants are electronically controlled.
You have to be able to combine. We have already met some manufacturers who have gambled. Not so Pro-Ject.
The squadron named Xtension 9 Evolution SuperPack is a great combo – smart and powerful. It all starts with the needle: the MC Quintet Black is a wonderfully sovereign customer. Then the fine tonearm made of carbon, to the unwavering drive. Sonically we are in the top class at home.
- sovereign customer
- fine tone arm made of carbon
- unwavering drive
- top tonal class