From the horse’s mouth
Pro-Ject T2W Wi-Fi turntable
The vinyl revival is upon us whether you are a young person who didn’t grow up with playing records or an older person who habitually played records on that stereogram or hi-fi system and maintained that record collection. But a significant number of turntable manufacturers have moved away from the purely-analogue “back-to-basics” approach to the classic LP record by bridging digital technologies with that classic music medium.
In a lot of cases, turntable manufacturers have issued at least one turntable model in their range that uses Bluetooth to stream audio from that record to Bluetooth speakers or headphones. Yamaha recently issued the MusicCast VinylPlay 500 turntable that streams the record you are playing through your home network to their MusicCast speakers and amplifiers or plays online sources using a MusicCast app.
But Pro-Ject have come forward with a network turntable that uses UPnP / DLNA to stream the music off that record you have put on to a wide range of network audio equipment using your home network.
Pro-Ject have had a significant hand with the vinyl revival. This is with designing and releasing a value-for-money manual turntable that answers the expectations of “born-again” vinyl enthusiasts and participating in the Australian edition of Record Store Day which celebrates independent “bricks-and-mortar” record stores.
The Pro-Ject T2W Wi-Fi turntable is a belt-drive manual-operation turntable that works with 33rpm and 45rpm records. Records are placed on a glass platter rather than a plastic or lightweight-metal platter, which does a better job of absorbing unwanted vibrations. The tonearm is equipped with a Sumiko Rainier moving-magnet cartridge most likely
But this turntable streams the music content over your Ethernet or Wi-Fi home network to any UPnP / DLNA network audio endpoints with it supporting a best-case FLAC lossless audio stream. The Wi-Fi wireless network connection works best case to Wi-Fi 6.
You have to use the Pro- Ject Control App on your smartphone or tablet to set the T2W up for your home network. But this also works as a UPnP / DLNA Media Controller, allowing you to “push” the music stream from your currently-playing LP to a DLNA audio endpoint. The turntable also has a button to “push” the music stream to the last-connected DLNA endpoint so you don’t have to get out your smartphone to do this before you lift the arm on to that album. The Pro-Ject Control App also can allow you to use Sonos or Apple AirPlay 2 compatible equipment to hear that album.
Between the moving-magnet phono cartridge and the Wi-Fi streaming subsystem exists a high-quality analogue split-passive phono preamp which also yields the sound from that album to a line-level input on an amplifier. This would come in handy with music systems that don’t have a phono input that you would typically connect a turntable to. I have done further research and there doesn’t seem to be the ability to run the audio signal to an external phono preamp such as the one built in to that 70s-era hi-fi receiver.
Pro-Ject recommends that you use the control app associated with a UPnP / DLNA capable network multiroom setup to discover the turntable and push its output across the speakers in that setup. This is to assure proper synchronous sound output because one device would be used to “collect” the signal and synchronise it across the different member endpoints in that setup. Pro-Ject doesn’t assure that the T2W’s UPnP setup will lead to proper sync across different devices due to differing buffering capabilities.
This may appeal to people who have an Internet-capable audio system that uses UPnP / DLNA and want to play records through that system via the home network without it being necessarily close to the turntable. But I would like to see Pro-Ject or another company offer similar functionality in a standalone box that can be connected to existing hi-fi equipment.
But I see Pro-Ject’s effort with the T2W as linking the vinyl revival with the home network using standards-based technologies like DLNA. Time to put that record on through the home network!