For the love of VinylFeatured

Written by GURSIMRAN SINGH
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Project Elemental makes for a budget turntable with amazing sound quality

Vinyl has seen a sort of global resurgence over the years, with more people interested in buying it than ever before. I jumped on the bandwagon recently and bought a turntable.

Project Elemental is a budget turntable with amazing sound quality. The turntable can be bought online for around Rs 18,500 approximately. Buying and setting up a new turntable can be a daunting experience, what with fine-tuning the arm, balancing the cartridge or figuring out which amplifier to match it to.

The Elemental Phono USB is a great example of a real plug-and-play experience. There is no hassle of doing these fine tunings and adjustments as they are already taken care of for you by the manufacturers.

All you need to do to set it up is unpack, unlock the arm, attach your speakers and enjoy your favorite vinyls.

The turntable is belt driven and can play LPs at either 33 rpm or 45 rpm. To change the speed you need to manually move the drive belt between the two-step pulley.

The only bug bear I found was the belt, which is attached to the platter. This, at times, tends to come off when removing or changing the side of the LP; with practice one tends to get the hang of it, however.

The cartridge of the turntable is high quality and is the Ortofon one. This gives you a nice warm sound without the danger of it damaging your records.

Connecting up the Elemental is simply a matter of connecting up a pair of active speakers or an amplifier – It hooks up via an RCA cable which is included. While your speakers will have a determining effect on sound quality, the Elemental produces a warm tone across all the speakers I tried it with.

As the name implies, the Elemental Phono USB also has a USB type-B connection. What this means is that if you want to rip your vinyls into a digital format such as mp3 or .wav formats, it’s a simple and convenient process. I downloaded the adobe audition, connected the turntable to my laptop through the USB cable provided, and ripped away. The process happens in real time and you get your favorite vinyl in a digital format, too. I did this with a few of my favourite vinyls and the quality was great.

The Elemental Phono USB is a capable turntable, for those new to vinyl, as well as for those looking to make a comeback into the analog world. It is easy to install and the need for investing in an expensive amplifier is lessened. Getting everything working is easy and the components are of good quality. The experience of listening to a record and the tangibility of music ownership are a bonus.

One thing that I feel is a must in India but lacking, is that this model comes without a dust cover. Now we all know the amount of dust we encounter everyday in India. This dust is a killer for turntables. I suggest you keep the turntable in a clean area or fabricate a dust cover with some transparent fibre glass or plastic.

Pros

  • Light weight
  • Easy to setup; Plug n play
  • High-quality cartridge
  • Great audio quality at a reasonable price

Cons

  • No dust cover

Tech points

  • Belt drive system with low vibration DC motor; central gravity mass point made from artificial stone
  • Pre-adjusted tracking force and anti-skating; gold-plated RCA contacts and cartridge pins
  • Main platter bearing made from stainless steel runs in bronze brushing with Teflon bottom
  • Speed 33, 45 (manual speed change); Output RCA to phono input; Speed variance 33: 0.2 per cent 45: 0.18 per cent;
  • Wow and flutter 33: 0.14 per cent 45: 0.13 per cent
  • Low resonance MDF platter with felt mat; 8.6” ultra low mass tonearm with straight arm tube
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