One of the best budget turntables just got better — here's why

Pro-Ject Primary E in walnut plinth on black background
(Image credit: Pro-Ject)

If you're just starting out with playing vinyl records, a Bluetooth turntable such as one of those in our 7 great turntables that cost less than $500 guide will help you to experience the much-loved analog format for the first time. These are all excellent budget options and many are remarkably versatile. You can also check out our simple guide on how to set up a turntable

Although some may argue that Bluetooth connectivity isn't the best way to unleash the sound quality benefits vinyl has to offer, they're a popular and practical choice thanks to their compatibility with Bluetooth wireless speakers and headphones. I'm betting that as a music fan considering buying a turntable, you already own a speaker and/or headphones. But if you don't, you may want to consider browsing our best Bluetooth speakers or best wireless headphones guides for our top picks. 

Bluetooth turntables are a fuss-free way for the vinyl curious to experience the rich sound of the old-school analog format in an intuitive way without the need for any fussy setup concerns, and the ability to stream vinyl may appeal to those who are more familiar and comfortable with today's wirelessly connected digital world. (Similarly, this device delivers even better TV audio than a soundbar, in my opinion.) 

In fact, I've been so impressed with some of the designs myself and how Bluetooth turntables enable the vinyl curious to get into listening to the format for the first time, that I wanted to bring your attention to a newly launched model that caught my eye since we ran the feature.  

Close up of Ortofon cartridge on a record

(Image credit: Pro-Ject)

One for all

Pro-Ject makes more turntable models than any other record player brand I know. It shows no sign of slowing down — or missing any opportunity to introduce new audiences to its brand and the wonders of listening to vinyl — and has recently announced another new series that introduces three Primary E1 turntables to its already extensive line up.

As the name suggests, the Primary E1 BT offers Bluetooth connectivity and is perhaps the most interesting of the three newly launched models. The design of the Primary E1 series is based on Pro-Ject's original E design priced at $329 / £189 with manual speed change. Pro-Ject tells us that the 'manual' model is set to continue, while the new E1s introduce electronic speed change for switching between 45 and 33.3RPM platter speeds without needing to fiddle around with a drive belt and motor pulley.

The E1 BT priced at $499 / £369 is the most flexible model, with a switchable phono stage should you want to connect it directly to a line-level amplifier and/or speaker system. Bluetooth 5.0 support connects the deck wirelessly to all kinds of Bluetooth speaker systems and headphones, and once paired records will stream to whatever device it's connected to.

The Primary E1 is the most basic in the range and is priced at $349 / £269. It has captive interconnect cables at the back to hook up to a separate amplifier with a built-in phono stage. The middle model in the new series is the Primary E1 Phono. Priced at $399/ £299, it has a built-in switchable phono stage, so you can connect directly to a line level input of a separate amplifier or make use of an external phono stage. 

The new series shares the original E-line's robust plinth and each model's tonearm is fitted with an Ortofon OM 5E cartridge that's preset and aligned so that buyers can get on with playing vinyl as soon as the turntable is unboxed and connected up.

Available to buy right now, each model comes with a dust cover and is available in gloss white, piano black and satin walnut finishes.

If you're in the market and considering a Bluetooth turntable to spin up your latest record store purchases, from what I've seen of Pro-Ject's original Primary E turntable, the new E1 series look worthy of consideration.

Next: I tried a vinyl for the first time — this is what I love and hate about it.

Lee Dunkley
Audio Editor

As a former editor of the U.K.'s Hi-Fi Choice magazine, Lee is passionate about all kinds of audio tech and has been providing sound advice to enable consumers to make informed buying decisions since he joined Which? magazine as a product tester in the 1990s. Lee covers all things audio for Tom's Guide, including headphones, wireless speakers and soundbars and loves to connect and share the mindfulness benefits that listening to music in the very best quality can bring.