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Turntables up to £499

Project Primary E

The Primary E is a new reduced cost version of the Primary turntable (detailed below), making entry into quality turntables cheaper than ever. The key changes are a simpler motor and power supply arrangement (a direct wired 240v motor in place of an external wall wart power supply), a single finish option and more basic Ortofon cartridge.

Speeds: 33.3 & 45rpm, manual change

Cartridge: Ortofon OM1 prefitted

Lid: Yes

Finishes: textured matte black only

Project Primary E turntable: £159.00

Project Primary E Phono turntable with build in phono stage: £199.00

Optional extras:

Project Acryl-IT E Acrylic platter upgrade: £90.00


Project Elemental

The Element is the latest budget turntable from Project, and what a wonderfully unpretentious thing it is. To keep costs low there’s no lid and barely a plinth - just a simple plank onto which arm, bearing and motor are attached. Beneath this, to give it stability, there’s a single large  ‘artificial stone’ foot to add mass and damp vibration. Atop there’s a wood platter, and that’s basically it! The result is an incredibly compact and surprisingly stylish turntable.

The supplied cartridge is an Ortofon OM5E, and thanks to the factory fitted counterweight there’s absolutely no setting up necessary, just unbox it and plug it in and you’re ready to go.

Interestingly the motor is a AC design which is run off an internal power supply (a DC wallwart is supplied, from this the power supply then creates an independent AC waveform to drive the motor), which is a good thing and very unusual at this price point. Speed is changed between 33rpm and 45rpm by moving the drive belt on the pulley, which given its location at the left front of the deck (right next to the power switch) makes it wonderfully quick to do.

Sonically, whilst the deck is no giant killer, it is certainly a fun thing to listen to and a brilliant entry into the world of vinyl - and far superior to all of the sub £200 decks we’ve experienced recently. The sound is brimming with excitement, with a nice clean low frequency performance that keeps bass lines flowing well, and LP surface noise is relatively well suppressed for a budget design too.

There are three different finishes available (on the top surface of the plinth) and two different model specifications, a standard design for use into systems that have their own phono stage and the Phono USB version which has both a USB output for making easy recordings onto computer as well as line level RCA outputs, enabling connection into amplifiers/systems without their own phono stages.

Speeds: 33.3 & 45rpm, manual change

Cartridge: Ortofon OM5E prefitted

Lid: Not included (lift off lid available as an optional extra, see below)

Finishes: Silver (as pictured here), Red or White top inlay

Project Elemental turntable: £175.00

Project Elemental Phono USB turntable: £229.00

Optional extras:

Project Cover-IT E lift off dust cover: £60.00

Project Acryl-IT E Acrylic platter upgrade: £90.00

Project Primary

The Primary is a neat turntable with easy speed change and a lid. It comes factory fitted with the Ortofon OM5E cartridge and the arm features quality sapphire bearings. The composite wood platter is driven by a belt around its perimeter, from a pulley in the rear left corner, which makes changing speed the work of as moment.

Speeds: 33.3 & 45rpm, manual change

Cartridge: Ortofon OM5E prefitted

Lid: Yes

Finishes: textured matte White (pictured below), Red and Black.

Project Primary turntable: £199.00

Also now available is the Primary Phono USB version, which features an internal phono stage as well as an onboard 24bit/96kHz analogue to digital convertor (ADC) outputting via USB for use into a connected computer. This combination provides both analogue line level outputs (for connection into an amplifier without a phono stage) as well easy ripping of vinyl onto a computer.

Project Primary Phono USB turntable with integral phono stage and ADC: £249.00

Optional extras:

Project Acryl-IT E Acrylic platter upgrade: £90.00

Pro-ject T1

The T1 turntable is one of the more conventional designs to come from this prolific producer of new turntable models. In probably their biggest design change for years, it features a felt mat topped 8mm thick glass platter. The rest of the design follows their normal recipe for turntables at this level, it has an 8.6” long aluminium tonearm (with preset anti skate), an Ortofon OM5E cartridge pre fitted and a solid plinth with removable and hinged lid included.

Three versions of the  turntable are available, they are detailed in the pricing summary below.

Speeds: 33.3 & 45rpm, manual change

Cartridge: Ortofon OM5E

Lid: Included

Finishes:  Gloss Black, White or Vinyl Walnut finish (as pictured below)

Pro-Ject T1 turntable: £239.00

Pro-Ject T1 Phono SB turntable with electronic speed switching and bypassable internal phono stage: £289.00

Pro-Ject T1 BT turntable with Blue Tooth transmitter with a circa 10m range and bypassable internal phono stage : £289.00


Rega Planar 1

New for 2016, the Planar 1 is the replacement for the wonderful RP1. It features a large number of changes over its predecessor .

Most obvious is the gloss laminated plinth, which is available in black or white. The tonearm is a new model too, called the RB110 it features a new patent pending ultra low friction bearing design which is claimed to have zero play. The headshell has been re-engineered to make it more rigid as well as being easier to use. As with the previous model, a Rega Carbon cartridge is factory fitted as standard.

A 24 volt motor with aluminium pulley offers improved speed stability and it drives a thicker 23mm phenolic platter, which has a stronger flywheel effect than the previous version. The platter spins upon a new brass bearing assembly which also has a patent pending design that improves fit and reduces stress on the contact points, whilst minimising the transfer of potential energy.

In our opinion, this is the benchmark for ‘starter’ audiophile turntables. It has been incredibly well judged, offering great toe tapping musicality with refinement that is not normal at this price point. We can’t recommend it highly enough - another classic from Rega and one that’s exceptionally affordable too!

Speeds: 33.3 & 45rpm, manual change

Cartridge: Rega Carbon factory fitted

Lid: Included

Finishes:  Gloss Black or White

Rega Planar 1 turntable package: £249.00

Pro-Ject VT-E

The VT-E is always a talking point - as whilst playing LPs (almost) vertically is not a particularly new thing, it’s still rather uncommon. Whilst the concept is a little gimmicky, there’s no denying the style of this deck, and if ultimate performance is not the highest priority (although it has had a rave review in Hifi World magazine), and the benefits of a shallow foot print (245mm) are required then I suspect there’s no cooler way to play your LPs.

The deck is based upon the Elemental turntable, a highly regarded model and like the VT-E is one that’s ready to go straight out of the box - the cartridge is included and aligned, the counterweight fitted, so just connect it up and you’re good to go. A record clamp is included to hold the LP securely to the platter.

The deck can also be wall mounted (mountings included, and reduces the depth to 130mm) and there’s even a version with a Bluetooth transmitter fitted, for wireless transmission to a suitable receiver, as well as an internal phono stage for connection into a line level input.

Speeds: 33.3 & 45rpm, manual change

Cartridge: Ortofon OM5E factory fitted

Lid: None

Finishes:  Matte Black, Matte Red & Matte White.

Project VT-E turntable: £269.00

Project VT-E BT (Bluetooth and phono stage equipped) turntable: £399.00 (this model is available in high gloss Red, White and Black)

Project Essential III range

Above: Essential IIIA in gloss red

The Essential III is actually a wide family of turntables with various specifications and features. They all share a common gloss plinth available in various colours, hinged acrylic lid, aluminium tonearm and an Ortofon OM10 cartridge. The drive belt runs around the perimeter of the platter, making the manual models a breeze to change speeds Beyond that most other aspects vary, I’ve done my best to cover the differences below

III has high gloss platter made from mdf

Turntables without phono stages built in

Essential III turntable £279.00

Essential III A as above but the mdf platter is replaced with the Acrylic-It E acrylic platter (also available separately): £319

Essential III SB as per the Essential III but with electronic 33.3 and 45 rpm switching and speed control: 349.00

Turntables with phono stages built in

Essential III Phono built in phono stage, ready to plug into a line level input, but can also be bypassed: £349.00

Essential III BT as above with Blue Tooth transmitter with a circa 10m range: £349.00

Essential III Digital built in phono stage with Toslink Optical digital output as well as a bypassable analogue line level output: £349.00

Essential III Record Master built in phono stage with USB digital output as well as a bypassable analogue line level output & electronic speed switching: £389.00

Optional extras for all models other than the Essential III A (as it’s pre fitted):

Project Acryl-IT E Acrylic platter upgrade: £90.00

Speeds: 33.3 & 45rpm, manual change

Cartridge: Ortofon OM10 prefitted

Lid: Yes

Finishes: Gloss black, White and Red

Rega Planar 1 Plus

The Planar 1 Plus is a combination of the excellent Planar 1 turntable with an inbuilt phono stage, making it ready to connect straight into the Line Level input on any amplifier.

The Planar 1 Plus can also be upgraded with the Performance Pack, which improves the cartridge, mat and drive belt.

Speeds: 33.3 & 45rpm, manual change

Cartridge: Rega Carbon factory fitted

Lid: Included

Finishes:  Gloss Black or White

Rega Planar 1 Plus turntable package: £329.00

Rega Performance Pack upgrade kit (does not include an RP1 turntable): £100.00

Rega Planar 78

The Planar 78 is a mono, single speed turntable designed specifically for playback of 78rpm records only. It features the same 24v motor and RB220 arm as found on the Planar 2 with the phenolic platter from the Planar 1. A matching Rega mono RB78 cartridge is available, please see our cartridge section for more details.

Speeds: 78rpm only

Cartridge: See pricing below

Lid: Included

Finishes: Gloss Black

Rega Planar 78 turntable £349.00 excluding cartridge

Rega Planar 78 turntable £419.00 with Rega RB78 cartridge included

Project RPM1 Carbon

The RPM 1 Carbon features a new arm design from Pro-Ject, the ‘S’ shaped tube uses a carbon fibre layer wrapped around an aluminium core and is made using a complex 3-step process with heat treatment and 100bar of pressure. The result is an arm Project claim is very rigid, well damped and low resonance.

 The motor is an AC synchronous design which is fed from an internal DC driven power supply. The main turntable bearing features a ceramic ball bearing, and the mdf platter is topped with a felt mat. An Ortofon 2M Red cartridge is factory fitted, making setup very straight forward.

Speeds: 33.3 & 45rpm, manual change

Cartridge: Ortofon 2M red prefitted

Lid: Optional extra, see below

Finishes: Gloss Black, Red or White

Project RPM1 Carbon turntable: £375.00

Project Cover-II, free standing acrylic cover suitable for the RPM1: £70.00

Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC

The Project Carbon combines the value for money underpinnings of the classic Debut turntable design with a beautifully made tonearm made whose tube and headshell is made from woven carbon fibre. To top it off the Ortofon 2M Red cartridge completes the package - a remarkably accomplished cartridge to be packed with a turntable at this price level.

Available in Gloss Black, White, Red Yellow, Green, Silver and Blue

Speeds: 33.3 & 45rpm, manual change (can also play 33.3 & 78rpm with the addition of the 78rpm pulley kit)

Cartridge: Ortofon 2M Red

Lid: Included

Finishes: All the following are Gloss finishes: Black, White, Red Yellow, Green, Purple, Light Grey and Blue

Project Debut Carbon DC turntable package: £349.00

Project Debut Carbon DC USB turntable package with internal phono stage with both line out and USB: £399.00

Optional extra:

Project Acryl-IT Acrylic platter upgrade: £110.00

Rega Planar 2

The Planar 2 is a model that has been missing from the Rega range for several years, so it’s great to see it back.

What always made the Planar 2 special was the tonearm, and that’s still the case today. The new RB220 naturally features a one piece cast arm tube and has been fitted with a new patent pending bearing assembly which is claimed to offer zero play and ultra low friction.

The plinth is a high gloss black or white acrylic laminated design which is rigid, lightweight and very attractive. A 24 volt motor drives a new patent pending self securing main bearing, which is claimed to offer improved fit and reduced stress on the bearing, as well as reduced energy transfer into the plinth. On top spins a 10mm thick glass platter with white frosted edging.

Speeds: 33.3 & 45rpm, manual change

Cartridge: Rega Carbon factory fitted

Lid: Included

Finishes:  Gloss Black, Red or White

Rega Planar 2 turntable package: £399.00


Pro-ject Debut Carbon Esprit SB

The Carbon Espirit SB is based upon the Debut carbon featured further up this page. The basic design is the same, but the Esprit SB benefits from an acrylic platter and internal electronic speed control for easy speed switching of 33 and 45rpm. 78rpm is also possible, this requires fitment of a different belt (supplied) and stylus (not included).

Speeds: 33.3, 45 electronic change (78rpm also possible, see above)

Cartridge: Ortofon 2M Red

Lid: Included

Finishes: Gloss Black, Gloss Red and Gloss White

Project Debut Carbon Esprit SB: £469.00

Jump to turntables between £500 and £1,000

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