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Pro-Ject RPM10 review

It’s beautiful, but in an audition you might find this Pro-ject doesn’t stand out from the class-leader Tested at £1500.00

Our Verdict

A Pro-ject ‘table with issues’ is a rare thing: the RPM10 doesn’t have the across-the-board ability of some of its cheaper siblings

For

  • Exciting materials and great looks
  • sweet, articulate midrange and solid low end

Against

  • Doesn’t oversee tempos as martially as it might

Pro-ject has been our budget deck hero for some time now. The Czech specialist has done more than most to keep the vinyl flag flying, but – naturally – it has ambitions above and beyond the entry-level.

The range-topping RPM10 is an impressive and substantial carbon-fibre, acrylic and aluminium affair: £1500 buys you an extravagant carbon-fibre tonearm and headshell combination along with a weighted plinth-cum-equipment base, but no cartridge, alas.

We fitted an Ortofon Rondo Red cartridge (£300) – probably the minimum you should consider on a deck of this price. Sadly, it proved too heavy for the counterweight supplied with the RPM10, so Pro-ject had to send us a heftier one.

That small problem is typical of the anomalies we encountered with the Pro-ject: we had trouble getting the drive belt to run true, and certain components – the motor unit, counterweight, and arm-lift – don't quite have the class of the best at this price level.

Beauty more than skin deep
Still, in action the Pro-ject offers a solid, taut and generously expansive sound, underpinning the likes of The Wailers' Stir It Up with an immovable anchor. The midrange is beautifully realised, granted the sort of humanity and articulation that seems to be the exclusive preserve of top-end turntables.

However, the RPM10 doesn't handle tempos entirely naturally. The laid-back reggae lacks a little snap, and a hard-charging tune like Bruce Springsteen's Thunder Road doesn't have the full dose of drive.

It's beautiful, but in an audition you might find this Pro-ject doesn't stand out from the class-leader.

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, New York and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.


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