Pro-ject Pri­mary E £150

What Hi-Fi (UK) - - Awards 2018 -

Our favourite en­try-level record player this year is Pro-ject’s ex­cel­lent Pri­mary E. It’s a won­der­ful back-to-ba­sics deck that does ev­ery­thing we would want from a prod­uct at this level.

The E is a mild de­vel­op­ment of the five-star Pri­mary we re­viewed a year or so ago. The dif­fer­ences be­tween the two play­ers are slight and essen­tially amount to a power sup­ply that’s mounted on the deck rather than be­ing an out­board unit, and a colour choice lim­ited to just black rather than hav­ing the Pri­mary’s red or white op­tions.

Im­por­tantly, this new deck (in­clud­ing an Orto­fon mov­ing-mag­net car­tridge) costs £20 less than the orig­i­nal.

That’s en­ter­tain­ment

While our sonic ex­pec­ta­tions are rightly tem­pered for a £150 turntable, we can’t ar­gue with the Pri­mary E’s pri­or­ity: en­ter­tain­ment. It con­fi­dently nails the ba­sics, from an even tonal bal­ance to a de­liv­ery that’s clear and clean and spa­cious enough to keep things co­her­ent – no mean feat at this price.

De­tail lev­els are pleas­ing for the money and the Pro-ject has the skill to or­gan­ise all this in­for­ma­tion into a co­he­sive and mu­si­cal sound.

Body and sub­stance cling to every fre­quency as re­li­ably as the belt does to the plat­ter edge, and that’s made all the more en­joy­able by a spir­ited sense of drive and mo­men­tum. You’ll have to move up to the likes of Rega’s Pla­nar 1 to do ap­pre­cia­bly bet­ter in these re­spects.

The Na­tional sounds grand

We lay down The Na­tional’s Trou­ble Will Find Me, and the Pro-ject wil­fully pro­motes the LP’S warmth and sweet­ness, com­mu­ni­cat­ing the ru­mi­na­tion in Berninger’s la­conic tongue as well as the con­trast­ing sense of ef­fort be­hind his band­mate’s drum beats.

It’s sen­si­tive to the sul­len­ness of the band’s heart-swelling in­stru­men­tals, demon­strat­ing lev­els of in­sight and pre­ci­sion that are way more than pass­able in the com­pany of bud­get am­pli­fi­ca­tion and speak­ers.

By the time we’ve lis­tened to all four sides and the nee­dle has slipped off the last track, Hard To Find, we’re ask­ing our­selves what more we could want from a £150 deck. The an­swer is very lit­tle.

Set-up is straight­for­ward too. With the anti-skate weight and the 1.7g track­ing force pre-set (there’s a sty­lus pres­sure gauge in the box for check­ing the lat­ter), all you’re re­quired to do is at­tach the belt to one of the two mo­tor pul­leys, de­pend­ing on whether you’re play­ing a 33.3rpm or 45rpm record.

For some­one who just wants a ca­pa­ble and fuss-free af­ford­able turntable, the Pro-ject Pri­mary E is a bril­liant buy, and a wor­thy Award-win­ner.

The Pri­mary E is a great-value, easy-to-use deck that gets its sonic pri­or­i­ties just right

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.