Posted on Tue, 07 Nov, 2017
Posted by Bob

Pro-Ject Essential III turntable range gains new, expanded model variants with the Phono and SB models.

The Pro-Ject Essential has been the ‘Go To” budget Audiophile turntable since… well as long as the segment has existed really! Now, Pro-Ject adds welcome additions in the form of the Phono and SB models.

Let’s take a look at these very welcome additions to a legendary line of turntables…

Pro-Ject Essential III

Yes, it’s a cliché to say it, but vinyl has enjoyed a tremendous revival in recent years, with a whole new breed of buyers discovering the format for the very first time. What is, perhaps, disappointing, is when those new to the format lose interest thanks to a poor quality turntable.

A poor quality turntable, arm and cartridge can not only ruin the enjoyment of one’s prized records but also potentially ruin the records themselves! Thankfully, even for those on a modest budget, one need not suffer!


Pro-Ject Essential III


The Pro-Ject Essential III is an absolutely solid recommendation for a “My First Turntable”; a high-quality, complete turntable setup with quality tonearm and Ortofon OM10 elliptical diamond stylus, for less than the price of some phono cartridges alone!

Partly credited with kick-starting the vinyl resurgence in the 1990’s with their legendary Pro-Ject Debut turntable, the Pro-Ject Essential III is the latest revision in the Essential turntable range. The Essential is everything the Audiophile vinyl enthusiast on a budget could ask for.

A dense, MDF based plinth and platter provides a stable, resonance resistant platform for the two speed, belt-drive motor. An optional Acrylic platter is available as part of the Pro-Ject Essential III A package, which reduces resonance yet further and was described by What Hi-Fi as “money well spent” in a 5-star review.

Pro-ject Essential III A Turntable


Pro-Ject Essential III Phono

One of the “stumbling blocks” encountered by those new to vinyl, can be the requirements for a phono pre-amplifier stage. Thanks to the low output of a phono cartridge, and the particular requirements of the RIAA equalisation curve, a dedicated phono stage is required.

Whilst most amplifiers and receivers of the 70s and 80s incorporated these as standard, from the late 90s onwards, integrated phono stages became an option, at best, and were often omitted entirely.

Pro-Ject Essential 3 Phono

For those wishing to plug their turntable directly into a regular line-level input, the Pro-Ject Essential III Phono is an ideal choice. The integrated phono stage is based upon Pro-Ject’s award-winning Phono Box range, for high-quality reproduction.

The integrated phono stage features a convenient switch on the side of the output terminals, allowing the user to turn the phono stage off. If the vinyl bug hits, the integrated phono pre-amp can be bypassed allowing a future upgrade to an even higher quality phono stage.

Pro-Ject Essential III SB

Whilst most Audiophile listeners will spend the majority of their vinyl listening lives at 33.3RPM, those with a sizeable collection of 7″ singles or 12″ dance vinyl, may require the ability to switch between 33.3 and 45RPM at will.

Essential III SB close up

The standard Pro-Ject Essential III turntable permits speed change via the repositioning of the drive belt onto a secondary motor pulley. Whilst effective, it can soon become tiresome for those who switch between playback speeds regularly.

The Pro-Ject Essential III SB turntable incorporates an integrated speed control function which is operated by a simple push button on top of the plinth. This also brings with it an improved version of the motor generation system, ensuring a clean power supply to the motor, reducing resonance and unwanted noise.

Rolling Stones Edition

Looking for something that little bit special? Pro-Ject have a history of special edition themed turntables, created in conjunction with some of the world’s most legendary artists.

Pro-Ject Primary Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones edition is just such a deck; featuring very similar specifications to the Essential III, it is instantly recognisable by the signature “Rolling Stones Lips” motif on a gloss black or white plinth.

It’s certain to be a collectable which will always be a talking point, as well as an enjoyable piece of Hi-Fi equipment in its own right!

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