PRO-JECT Xtension Evolution 9 SP

MJ17.10.2015

Analog sources

Pink Floyd's The Wall became the evidence of how great the analogue sound could be - the set-up of the Xtension 9, at the price of less than 4kEUR  including the preamp and the cartridge, could easily crush down any CD players in  8kEUR category.

Function and form

79%
Ease of use
78%
Sound
85%
Appearance

The Xtension Evolution 9's chassis is made from MDF filled with metal granulate, that gives high mass and is non-resonant. Magnetic feet, which decouple the main plinth from its base, are combined with a weighty 16kg total turntable mass. The result is a unique combination of 'mass loaded' and 'floating turntable' design principles. For the main platter an alloy was used - it is damped with thermo plastc elastomers with recycled vinyl records glued to the top (which act as a perfect mat). The platter runs on an inverted ceramic ball bearing with magnetic suspension. Pro-Ject Xtension 9 Evolution includes a top-class highend tonearm 9cc Evolution.

Bass management

Weight
80
Slam
78
Articulation
80

Though this is not a flagship model for Pro-Ject it represents high standards by any measures. My expectation bar was raised high but I landed hard with the sound of the Xtension - the music appeared dynamically flat, uninvolving and nervous. I got to manipulate with settings of the Phono Box RS' s front panel, especially with its input sensitivity, but with no result. The solution was elsewhere - there are four small switches at the rear of the phono box and the correct setting was with the first one (marked as 10R) on and with the rest off. Only then the music regained its poise and the Xtension 9 proved itself to be superior to the Xperience Acryl.

Clarity & delicacy

Detail
75
Air
77
Transparency
76

The improvement projects into all sonic attributes - except of the spontaneous drive and passion that remained the only parameter I felt was not bettered comparing to the Xperience Acryl. The Xtension 9 replaced the spontaneity with maturity and control, however. The good thing is that the performance can be still improved by replacing the turntable's components - another good thing is that I did not fell necessity to do so. The music was fluid and detailed with rock numbers as it was with blues and jazz, yet the biggest transformation towards a live event was audible with classical music. The color, tonality, microdynamics and textural resolution made huge progress from the Xperience. Also the soundstage's layers got finer and the turntable more readily portrayed ambient envelopes of the instruments.

Tonal accuracy

Timbre
81
Dynamics
78
Temporal resolution
77

The turntable has the a speed box integrated in it so the RPM can be changed electronically from 33 to 45 and back. In the "SP", the Super Pack, a dustcover and Ortofon Quintet Black catridge are included. RCA outputs are provided in standard, XLR is for extra fee.

Spatial resolution

Holography
82
Soundstage width
82
Soundstage depth
82

For the upper mids got clearer and more precise the Xtension 9 gave the impression of being 'lighter' than the Xperience. This was due reduced overhang and smear in the turntable's bass spectrum - its lows were more impressive that the lows of the Xperience but much more controlled so they did not stay longer than necessary, thus giving the impression of the less thick sound. The concert drum, for example, was like a punch in my stomach when listening at high volumes. I also liked that the drama and scale that I appreciated with the previous model was here too, now enriched with more insight into what happened on the podium - it was like the listener was viewing the event from the conductor's point of view. I hope it is clear by now that I really loved listening to the Pro-Ject's Xtension 9 SP turntable.

Price as reviewed:72 000,- Kč

Recommended resellers

AQ s.r.o., Červenka, tel. +420 585 342 232

Associated components

  • Turntable: Pro-Ject Xtension 9 SP (Super Pack) turntable
  • Catridge: Ortofon Quintet Black (MC)
  • Phono preamplifier: Pro-Ject Phono Box RS
  • Analogue cable: provided in the Super Pack

(Price for this set-up: less than 3,500,- incl VAT)

 

  • Loudspeakers: Acoustique Quality AQ Donna Prima
  • Interconnects and speaker cables: Audioquest Rocket 44, Audioquest King Cobra
  • Amplifier: Arcam FMJ A49

Gallery

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