With great power comes great responsibility…
There’s no denying Project have released many classic turntables. Their range have won countless awards over the years. It seems whenever the Austrian company unveil a new turntable they can expect glowing reviews across the board. And with such high expectations, Project have released their latest turntable.
The catchy-named 2Xperience SB DC is a high end proposition indeed. It’s certainly a heavy-weight in terms of build. The sturdy MDF chassis is available in a range of attractive finishes. The Project would add great aesthetics to many a home. As you would expect from a turntable at this level, the attention to detail is not lacking either. It has a luxury feel to it that more budget models simply lack.
The motor is tastefully suspended on the plinth to minimise vibration. Other stability designs, such as three metal cone feet and a precision balanced sandwich platter, combine to give an extremely solid performance.
The SB suffix in the turntable’s name refers to ‘speed-box’ – a simple solution to switching between 33rpm and 45rpm records. In my opinion this is a very welcome addition to the Xperience range – this solution ensures a constant speed and pitch of your records, whilst improving the lifespan of your equipment.
At the other end of the turntable is the pick-up department. You will find the award-winning 9cc Evolution tonearm, which also appears on the Xtension 9 turntable at over twice the price of the ’Xperience. This carbon-fibre tonearm is a design masterpiece, featuring a complex design that will help the needle track the vinyl, and is complimented by a shock absorbent counter weight. As many vinyl enthusiasts will know, a good turntable is nothing without a cartridge to match. Project have included an big exclusive with this model. The 2M Silver is currently only available on selected Project models. It uses pure silver coils to achieve higher quality and more dynamic playback. This gives the same flat responses associated with moving-coil cartridges, but with replaceable stylus and high level output found on similar moving-magnet cartridges. The final included item in the package is a lightweight record clamp. The small puck screws firmly to the threaded centre of the platter and holds the vinyl in pace. We tested it both with and without this weight and found that it made the bass a little more controlled, with slight improvements to the timing too.
Having taken care to set the turntable up (which was in fact more straightforward than expected), I eagerly sat down to give the 2Xperience SB DC a thoroughly good thrashing. I dug deep in my own personal crate to find a collection of music to see what the turntable was truly capable of.
First on the queue was Led Zeppelin’s 2014 remastered re-release of II. Side 1 track 1 Whole Lotta Love provides an ample test to any system. The well produced guitar track flings itself from distortion to precision, while the drums keep time with plenty of pace. The stereo imaging produced by the Project was, quite frankly, amazing. Individual musicians could be placed with great accuracy. Overall the album felt exciting, with sufficient groove when called for.
Next up was 2000’s Lift Yr. Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven! from Canadian multi-instrumentalists Godspeed You! Black Emperor. The album contains many string instruments layered with electric guitars and samples. The overwhelming feeling from this album was a sense of scale. The turntable never struggled in reproducing the complex layers, leading with great bass response that never seemed boomy or flat.
The Beatles’ 1967 masterpiece Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was considered one of the first great concept albums, paving the way for many more ‘outside of the box’ albums. Album closer A Day in the Life provides one of the greatest tests of a system. When done correctly it can evoke new emotions you never thought existed. The song’s mid-track crescendo layers a constant bass over a cacophony of sound. The initial impact of the low frequency punches with rhythm, without ever being overbearing or lost. The vocals are as clear as day, sounding like Lennon and McCartney are sat in the room with you.
After the initial three albums I wanted to find the perfect music to display the turntables skills. The Specials’ 1979 self-titled debut offers a solid rhythmic bass track and energetic drum playing. The Project gave life to the album, highlighting all the charm that makes this Elvis Costello-produced album such a genre-defining piece. The inherent forward pace of the turntable kept my foot tapping, and the initial attack on the notes benefited the low frequencies superbly.
Overall I found the Project 2Xperience SB DC a thoroughly enjoyable listen. It is energetic and fun, controlled in the mid-range and bass, and never struggles with layers or imaging. System matching is important however. I would definitely recommend pairing this turntable with a big-sounding amplifier and pair of speakers, to be able to handle the room-filling sound it can produce. Personally I would avoid overly bright or fast amplifiers as it could result in a slightly frantic sound. If you like to hear every note of the song, feel every emotion and discover your favourite songs all over again, I would definitely recommend adding the Project 2Xperience SB DC to your shortlist… I certainly have!
To speak to one of our many friendly experts, or to book a demonstration of a Project turntable, simply pop down or give your local store a ring.