Pro-Ject RM-5.1 SE review
The Pro-Ject RM-5.1 SE is a stunning minimalist turntable with a delightful audio performance.
It features a Sumiko Blue Point No.2 high-output moving coil cartridge. The cartridge is pre-mounted, so you don’t have to worry about mounting the cartridge to the tonearm. If you’re just getting into vinyl, this makes this turntable purchase less intimidating, does it not? The Sumiko Blue Point is an audiophile classic and one of the best cartridges in its class (it sells alone for $299). Its specially ground elliptical stylus sits lower in the grooves than other elliptical designs, offering excellent resolution and tracking. As a result, the sound is warm and rich, and is marked by an impressive definition and rhythmic incisiveness (heightening the sensation of a musician playing the guitar for example).
The Medium-density fibreboard (MDF) platter has a suspended motor assembly optimized for low resonance and speed stability, and comes with a vinyl mat. The Pro-Ject RM-5.1 SE’s stainless-steel and Teflon bearing assembly (housed in a bronze sleeve) also gives superior speed accuracy. The turntable rests on three aluminum cone feet, further reducing noise and vibration.
The fixed headshell 9-inch carbon-fiber tonearm (stronger than aluminum) with precision Swiss bearings provides superior tracking and cartridge control. Accurate adjustment of VTA is easy.
Finally, how could we not mention the gorgeous teardrop-shaped high-gloss gray-lacquered finish?
Precise construction and careful attention to design and materials allow this player to retrieve ear-opening layers of sonic detail from the grooves of your favorite albums.
No matter the record, the sound coming out of the Pro-Ject RM-5.1 SE is magical: clean, warm, and natural, with powerful, defined bass and crystalline highs. The sound is so well-defined that you’ll be able to truly enjoy the difference between a 12-strings guitar and a 6-strings guitar. The soundstage is more three-dimension and has better focus than cheaper Pro-Ject models, with more separation among the musicians on the stage.
Just as noteworthy is what isn’t heard: There’s no rumble from the platter, no unpleasant feedback or annoying resonances. Those who complain about vinyl’s surface noise and other artifacts would be silenced hearing LPs on this turntable, the songs emerging from a still, black background. The turntable plays music with so little perceived effort that it’s easy to lose yourself in the sound. The record clamp holds records tight to the platter and keeps all in order.
Pro-Ject knows that turntable setup can be a challenge for the novice and that’s why it has adopted a hassle-free plug ‘n’ play design: this turntable comes out of the box virtually ready to play. The RM-5.1 SE’s factory-mounted tonearm and phono cartridge take the guesswork out of getting started, so you can enjoy optimized sound quality with minimal effort. A few minutes to dial in key settings like tracking force, anti-skating, and platter speed are all that’s needed to unlock the best sound you’ve ever heard from your record collection.
The turntable should be positioned on a low-resonance surface such as wood or multiple layer ply board to avoid structural vibrations disturbing replay.
If you are worried (paranoid would be a better term) about speed accuracy (most people will not have any problem with it) get the SpeedBox, it’s only $159 on Amazon. For most though, adding it is just the icing on the cake. With the SpeedBox II added, the music opens up and sounds even better: attacks and images are sharper and backgrounds blacker, while the pitch stability remains great.
Apart from that, there’s no real need to upgrade to a better MC cartridge, unless the difference is earth-shattering and you’re prepared to drop hundreds of additional dollars.
The Pro-Ject RM5.1 SE has received 5 stars reviews all around.
“…the RM-5 SE is musically involving, with a warm balance, stunning rhythmic incisiveness, fine dynamic shading, good detail, and natural depth.”
— The Absolute Sound, “Editor’s Choice”
“The RM-5 and Blue Point No.2 make a formidable combination in the sub-kilobuck sweepstakes, and the carbon-fiber arm is a pleasant surprise…it brings forth more of the fine details that make listening more engaging and rewarding. Its sound is far closer to the bigger Pro-Ject ’tables and worth the extra coin.”
— Jim Hannon, The Absolute Sound, June 2007
This record player looks great, sounds fantastic, and is priced very fairly. If you are considering getting into vinyl this is the way to go. For some, $1,000 for a record player may seem like a bit much –but not if you take a long-term view. It will provide noticeably better sound quality than a CD player and will last you a lifetime.
Most people don’t think twice dropping $1,000 for a laptop computer that will be obsolete and replaced in two or three years when a thinner version comes up. The RM-5 will bring you musical enjoyment for decades, while allowing you to expand your music collection at a very low cost, and discovering music you may never have tried before.
Run the RM-5.1 SE with a TubeBox II preamp and the listening experience will be absolutely stunning, nay, unbeatable. A cheaper alternative that will also blow you away is the Cambridge 640P phono pre-amp, that we’ve mentioned here.
If you want an outstanding listening experience, look no further than the Pro-Ject RM-5.1 SE. This is probably the best deal in entry-level audiophile going. With the stock Sumiko Blue Point No.2 it ends up being a much better deal than getting a cheaper Pro-Ject or Rega and upgrading to a good MC cartridge.
|PRO-JECT RM-5.1 SE Turntable with Sumiko Blue Point No.2 Cartridge|
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|Pro-ject Rm-5 Se Turntable W. Blue Point Cartridge|
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- Piano-lacquered dark grey chassis
- MC-Cartridge: The turntable is supplied with a Sumiko Blue Point No. 2 fitted MC-cartridge. The Sumiko Blue Point cartridge offers exceptional performance and musicality. It features a moving coil design, high-output (2.5-mV), alloy cantilever, elliptical diamond stylus, and standard 1/2″ mounting.
- 9″ Carbon Tone-arm: The headshell and arm-tube are fashioned from a single piece of carbon-fiber. The conical-shaped arm-tube avoids standing wave reflections. The inverted tone-arm bearing comprises four hardened stainless tips. Rings provide very solid arm bearing housings, while the outside ring is open to avoid resonances. The solid arm-base permits accurate height adjustment of arm-tube and VTA (vertical tracing angle). The Single-screw fixing of the arm-tube allows rotation for easy adjustment of needle azimuth despite the fixed headshell.
- Belt Driven: A quiet running AC motor with a two-step pulley drives the hub and platter via a flat-ground belt. The RM-1.5 supports 33-1/3 and 45 rpm speeds.
- Resonance-Optimized Platter: The resonance-optimized platter is a sandwich construction utilizing the hub, a medium density fiber (MDF) platter, and a screw-down record clamp. The platter’s low-tolerance chrome-plated stainless-steel axle runs on a Teflon bearing plate in a sintered bronze bearing housing. A central metal block optimizes center of gravity and dampens the main bearing.
- The plinth stands on three height-adjustable rubber-damped aluminum cones.
- Decoupled Motor: The motor is decoupled from the plinth to reduce vibration transmission.
- Counterweight: The turntable’s design of the counterweight effectively counteracts unwanted resonances. When Counterweight shaft is lowered to record level it reduce cantilever forces and dynamic wow when playing warped records. The counterweight supplied is suitable for cartridges weighing between 0.21-0.35oz (6-10g).
- Internal Wiring: The turntable’s internal wiring consists of flexible high-purity copper from the headshell right through to the gold-plated phono sockets.
- RCA Connection with Grounding Screw: Connection to the phono input of your amplifier can be made with connecting cables of your choice through the turntable’s gold-plate stereo RCA phono jacks and grounding screw.
Nominal Speeds: 33-1/3 / 45 rpm
Speed Variance: ±0.5%
Wow & Flutter: ±0.08%
Signal to Noise: -70dB
Downforce Range: 10-30mN
Effective Tonearm Length: 9 inches
Power Supply: 15V/550mA AC
Power Consumption: 2W
Connection: Gold RCA phono jacks
Dimensions (WHD): 14.6 x 5.7 x 11.8 inches
Weight: 14.4 lbs.
Finish: Dark Grey Piano Lacquer Plinth, Silver Platter