A quick spin
Article was published in Hi Fi World September 2012 edition
Tony Bolton packs his bags and takes a quick spin around the Pro-ject turntable factory in the Upper Moravian Vale. Find out where that is by reading on...
Having reviewed a great many Pro-Ject turntables over the years I was pleased to be invited by UK distributor, Henley Designs, to visit the factory in the Czech Republic.The factory is in Litovel, a pleasant little city with a population of 10,000 in the Upper Moravian Vale. It straddles the River Moravia which is bridged by the 1692 Bridge of St. John, the third oldest bridge in the Czech Republic.

The factory is on the edge of the city, and in the Communist era was the home to Tesla Litovel. In 1992, following the fall of Communism, it was incorporated into a company called ETA Hlinsko.At this time, Heinz Lichtenegger, founder and owner of Vienna based Pro-Ject Audio, started using the factory for the production of Pro-Ject turntables. In 1999 Sev took over the premises and production facilities, and currently employs 190 workers. The establishment is comprehensively equipped and all parts of the manufacturing process, from the machining of raw materials through to the packing and distribution of the finished turntables, take place here.
Litovel is surrounded by farm land and is situated on a plain fringed by distant hills and mountains.
The finished pulleys awaiting delivery to the assembly department. The alloy rods on the right, and stacked vertically on the left, are the raw material from which these motor pulleys are produced.
The imposing exterior of the SEV (pronounced seff) factory in Litovel in the Olomouc region of the Czech Republic. The town is also home to one of the world's oldest breweries.
One of the many CNC machines that populate the factory. This one creates motor pulleys from long alloy rods inserted at one end.
An acrylic turntable platter being machined. These are a standard fitment on the Debut Esprit and are available as an after-market upgrade to most of the Debut range (see this month's Soundbites for a review). These will also fit most older Pro-Ject turntables that are fitted with a glass and felt platter.
Machined and balanced acrylic platters on their way to the assembly room.
All painted components are sprayed by hand...
... before being left to dry on racks. These will later be wheeled through to the assembly department.
Each motor is individually tested. The screen shows motor resonance readings that are compared with the graphs on the wall. Motors that fail are recycled. Those that pass are divided into three grades based on performance parameters, and will be distributed to the appropriate product assembly line.
Each drive belt is individually machined to remove any excess material left from the moulding process, and to provide a surface that will grip the smooth edges of the platter. The pile of pale grey belts on top of the grey cabinet at the front are already machined, the darker ones near the machinist's arm await the process.
Various components, including arm tubes and counterweights, on their way to the assembly department.
Assembling a Pro-Ject Debut Carbon turntable.
A Pro-Ject 6 Perspex part way through assembly.
After assembly each turntable is calibrated and adjusted using a test record.
After assembly and calibration each turntable is then plugged in and left to run for 24 hours to ensure that it is working correctly. Note the variety of plug sockets for models for the UK, Europe and the USA.
The finished product. The new Pro-Ject Xtension 10. It comes fitted with the 10 inch Evolution tonearm and retails at £2000.