Updated 6 Oct 2015

Pro-Ject Audio

Elemental Phono USB

Snapshot: The Pro-Ject Audio Elemental Phono USB is a belt drive turntable with a synchronous motor, and a built-in, always on pre-amp. It comes with an MM cartridge and a elliptical stylus. It can play 33 1/3 and 45RPM. But what’s the sound like with the needle on the record?

Elemental Phono USB
Consumer score
SCORE
Avg price

$499

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Test results

Overall score
73
Listening
?/10
Ease of use
?/10
Technical
?/10

Good points

  • OK to use.
  • Good sound quality.
  • Very good technical accuracy.
  • Has built-in, always-on preamp.
  • Has damped cueing.
  • Has non-removable lid.

But

  • Cannot play 78RPM.

How we test

Overall score includes:

Listening (60%)
Ease of use (20%)
Technical (20%)

To test sound quality we used three experts. They assessed each turntable using two records: Pixies’ Best of, and ABC’s The Lexicon of Love, which is an older worn LP also used to check for skipping.

The reference speakers are Mordaunt-Short Aviano 1 bookshelf speakers. They are positioned about two metres away from the listeners, with the panel judging overall sound quality.

For ease of use, one tester assessed setting up the turntable out of the box, including attaching the platter, belt, and any adjustments that were needed before operation. He also evaluated the instruction manual. Operational aspects judged include speed selection and cueing a track.

Technical score was a bit more, well, technical – if you don’t know the following terms, don’t worry. Our tester assessed the difference between claimed and measured figures for wow and flutter, tracking force, and frequency response using calibrated reference LPs. He also measured rotational speed accuracy.

Key data

Model

Avg price
$499
Type
Regular turntable

Specifications

HxWxD
90 x 430 x 300mm
Weight
2.8kg
Recommended tracking force (g)
1.75

Features

Lid
Yes
Hinged lid
No
Removeable lid
No
Power control
Rocker
Motor type
Synchronous
Drive type
Belt
Pitch stabilisation
Internal AC sync
Reverse play
No
Pre-amp
Built-in, always on
Auto operation
Manual only
Damped cueing
Yes
Tone arm clamp
Yes
Feet levelling adjustment
No
Speakers
-
Stylus
Ortofon 5E
Stylus shape
Elliptical
Stylus illuminator
No
Cartridge
OM 5E
Platter construction
MDF
Platter mat
Felt
45RPM spindle adapter
Plastic

Playing speeds

33 1/3RPM
Yes
45RPM
Yes
78RPM
No

Connections

RCA stereo
Yes
USB
Yes
AUX in
-
Memory card slot
-

Encoding

USB cable
Yes
Encoding software supplied
No
Software Mac OSX compatible
n/a

Technical

Wow & flutter, claimed, WRMS, 33RPM (%)
0.14
SNR, claimed (dB)
Not stated
Output level, LINE, claimed, mV @ 1KHz 5cm/s
160
Output level, PHONO, claimed, mV @ 1KHz 5cm/s
n/a
Pre-amp gain, claimed (dB)
32
Could play older LP without skipping
-
Measured tracking force
-g

More Info

Notes

Standard turntables in our database have been tested to a different method than USB turntables.