pro ject turntable review

pro ject turntable review

pro ject turntable review
image credit: Project-audio

The Pro-Ject Juke Box E turntable is a complete all-in-one stereo system, minus the speakers. Although in the appearance of this model nothing indicates its versatility, in reality, it is exactly so. Pro-Ject Juke Box E combines two signal sources of different formats, a stereo amplifier, and also has a line input for connecting external devices. And the two music sources available in the Pro-Ject Juke Box E are Bluetooth and vinyl.

pro ject turntable review

This seems like a very smart decision. Indeed, both Bluetooth and vinyl are now very popular formats for listening to music by music lovers. With the Juke Box E, according to Pro-Ject, you won't need any physical media other than vinyl, and Bluetooth will take care of your digital content needs. Is this model a true all-in-one system or is it just a turntable with some extra features?

pro ject turntable review
image credit: Project-audio

Pro ject Turntable Characteristics

At the heart of the Juke Box E is a manual, belt-driven turntable. According to its design features, the player belongs to the Elemental series. The Juke Box E platter is made of MDF with a felt mat, and the belt is worn along its outer edge. The tonearm is 8.6" long and has an aluminum tube, and looks like the first tonearms of the famous Debut turntables (although there are some differences in its design). The turntable comes with an already installed Ortofon OM5e pickup, which is very attractive since this cartridge is noticeably more expensive and of higher quality than those that are usually equipped with players of a comparable class. This cartridge can be upgraded to the level of the OM10 simply by installing a replacement stylus for the latter.

To make life as easy as possible for the future owner, the pickup is already adjusted (and very accurately) on the tonearm. The counterweight is also set and adjusted at the factory, which is quite unusual, at least for Pro-Ject. Thus, a novice user will not experience any difficulties with the initial setup of the player and will be able to start listening to records literally immediately after unpacking the Juke Box E. The only remark here may be that the counterweight in the player is set to 2 grams of downforce, although the recommended value for Ortofon OM5e is 1.75 grams. However, fine-tuning can be done very easily.

But let's not forget that Juke Box E is not just a turntable, but an all-in-one system. On the rear panel of the unit are screw terminals for connecting the right and left speakers. The power of the built-in amplifier is 50 W at a load resistance of 4 ohms, and the presence of a built-in phono stage allows you to connect the Juke Box E to an external amplifier.

The player has built-in Bluetooth, which greatly expands the ability to receive a signal from various portable devices to use the applications installed on them. Also available is a standard line input on RCA connectors, as well as outputs from the phono stage and directly from the pickup. The presence of the latter allows the user, if desired, to send a signal from the Juke Box E to the appropriate external devices, and such an opportunity can only be welcomed.

Since the Juke Box E comes in a “just add speakers” configuration, we paired it with Speaker Box 5 speakers for testing purposes. These bookshelf speakers feature a 25mm soft dome tweeter and a 130mm bass reflex-loaded fiberglass cone woofer. Our choice of this particular model for the Juke Box E was made because the Speaker Box 5 has already received good reviews in the reviews and yes, they looked great with the player.

It must be admitted that in the case of the Juke Box E, Pro-Ject has demonstrated a very unusual approach to creating all-in-one systems. So if you like fancy metal cases of small size and multi-color displays in the design of such devices, then Juke Box E is clearly not for you. But in itself, this device looks great and is very easy to use. This player has very high-quality workmanship and finish, which, however, is typical for all Pro-Ject models, regardless of their cost. The thin and light tonearm moves precisely and smoothly, has the necessary damping and a micro-lift that is pleasant to use. Even miniature terminals for connecting acoustics are very convenient to use.

Juke Box E has a convenient control system based on a single push-turn control on the front panel. However, the display showing the operating modes of the system is located on the top, which makes visual control not very convenient if you are sitting in front of the Juke Box E. However, the amount of information displayed on the display is not too large, and the player itself is equipped with a convenient remote control, which makes their use is simple. The external power supply of the Juke Box E is quite large, but still, it can be placed more or less imperceptibly. If you lift the dust cover, the rear-mounted Bluetooth antenna will tilt back. However, this is not a problem, since the antenna has a corresponding hinge, and, in addition, a reliable wireless connection is achieved even when it is located horizontally.

pro ject turntable review

How was the testing

The Juke Box E was mounted on a Quadraspire QAVX and tested with and without the optional Quadraspire Soundbase isolation platform. The Bluetooth operation was evaluated using a Motorola G4 (Android) smartphone and iPad Air, and a Yamaha WX-AD10 was connected to the line-in. The sound of the player was also evaluated through the Naim Uniti Star (both with and without the Cyrus Phono phono stage connected. In addition to Speaker Box 5 speakers, we also connected Spendor A1 to the system. Test material, in addition to vinyl, included High resolution and Lossless files in FLAC format, as well as content from Spotify and Tidal.

Sound quality

After a simple initial set-up procedure, the Juke Box E clearly demonstrated the benefits of having a phono stage and an amplifier in one box. Even by raising the volume almost to the maximum, we did not hear a noticeable background in the speakers, and the sound of vinyl records always had a fair amount of overload. And we must admit that the Juke Box E really "played". Playing Ouroboros Ray La Montana, the turntable perfectly conveyed the drive and fluidity of the sound of this excellent album. The instruments sounded weighty and natural, and in general, it was possible to fully appreciate all the advantages of this analog format even on a player of such a moderate cost.

The noise level was minimal, as was the instability of the disk rotation speed even when playing test recordings. It seems that in the design of the Juke Box E, Pro-Ject has tried to take into account and eliminate the shortcomings that are traditionally inherent in inexpensive turntables. The Juke Box E has quite a powerful bass that is most noticeable when listening to vinyl rather than devices connected to the line-in. But in any case, the tonal balance of the system can be adjusted using the tone controls in the bass and treble areas.

Unfortunately, this setting does little to improve sound quality over a Bluetooth connection. This version of listening to music gives good results on its own but noticeably loses in sound quality when compared with similar new generation wireless devices.

But the line-in Juke Box E works very well, which was confirmed by listening through it Yamaha WX-AD10 MusicCast. With this compact device, it was possible to listen to high-quality music from a variety of online resources, as well as stored on available network devices.

It should also be noted Speaker Box 5, which formed an excellent tandem with Juke Box E. They sound amazing, energetic, and elegant, and do not tire when listening to music for a long time. Comparatively, listening through the Spendor A1 gave more resolution and better tonal balance, but not enough to justify a fivefold difference in price.

The even higher sound quality was obtained when the Juke Box E was connected to an external phono stage, which indicates the fine-tuning of the entire turntable design. Such an opportunity may be of interest to enthusiasts, but let's not forget that this model is primarily an all-in-one system, and as such, it is very good. This is an excellent choice for those who are just starting to get acquainted with the world of analog sound.

pro ject turntable review


Pro-Ject Juke Box E is a unique model. It is unlike other all-in-one systems as it is based on a classic turntable. Perhaps the only weak link in it is the outdated Bluetooth.

However, the high-quality sound from external sources connected via the line-in, as well as the excellent work of the turntable itself, certainly make the Juke Box E worthy of our recommendation.

Price: $449.00         /    Crutchfield


Sound quality 8 out of 10

Build quality 8 out of 10

Connectivity 8 out of 10

Ease of use 9 out of 10

Features 8 out of 10

Value for money 9 out of 10

Verdict 8 out of 10

Pros and Cons


Quality vinyl reproduction

Excellent upgrade options

Ease of use


Legacy Bluetooth

It is advisable to use an external source for streaming

Large external power supply

Post a Comment