Pro-Ject builds on Essential III turntable with feature-packed FlexiRange

Over the last two decades, Pro-Ject has made a name for itself producing quality decks across a wide range of prices.

Now that many modern record players also offer digital, Bluetooth and recording options, Pro-Ject is using its budget Essential III (£240) deck as the basis of five new models. Collectively, they fall under the ‘Essential III FlexiRange’.

All five turntables are built around the original Essential III’s design, meaning they have high-gloss MDF plinths and platters, decoupling feet, aluminium tonearms and Ortofon OM 10 cartridges. But each has its own selling point…

The Essential III Phono (£280, pictured above) integrates a phono stage (based on Pro-Ject’s Phono Box range) so it can be plugged straight into an amplifier or a pair of active speakers. A switch also allows users to bypass the phono stage, allowing them to upgrade, should they desire.

The Essential III SB (£320, pictured at the top) is designed for those with a diverse range of records, from 12” LPs to 7” singles, featuring an integrated speed control function to switch between 33 and 45rpm.

The Essential III BT (£320), meanwhile, lets you stream your vinyl to Bluetooth-enabled headphones, systems, DACs or speakers within a 10m range of the deck. Like the Phono model, the Essential III BT’s phono stage has optional phono or line level outputs.

The Essential III BT can stream vinyl straight to your Bluetooth speakers.

The Essential III BT can stream vinyl straight to your Bluetooth speakers.

The Essential III Digital (£320) borrows a phono stage taken from the Essential II Digital turntable, that offers both a line level output and a 24bit/96kHz digital optical output. The latter uses an analogue-to-digital Converter (ADC) so that vinyl can be played through an external DAC.

Last, but by no means least, the Essential III RecordMaster (£350) combines the integrated speed control from the Essential III, and the phono stage in the Essential III Phono. It can switch between 33 to 45rpm at the push of a button, but the key feature is its USB output for ripping vinyl to a PC or laptop – much like the Sony PS-HX500.

The five new models will be available in the UK by the end of October in the same gloss black, red or white finishes as the original Essential III.

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Becky Roberts

Becky is the managing editor of What Hi-Fi? and, since her recent move to Melbourne, also the editor of Australian Hi-Fi magazine. During her 10+ years in the hi-fi industry, she has reviewed all manner of audio gear, from budget amplifiers to high-end speakers, and particularly specialises in headphones and head-fi devices. In her spare time, Becky can often be found running, watching Liverpool FC and horror movies, and hunting for gluten-free cake.