Primary E : Review23rd February 2021
Following on from the review of the Jukebox E , next up is the entry level turntable the Project Audio Systems Primary E. Well packaged and available in 3 colours, it will be the other demo system in the shop @ 26 Market Street. I’ve got the version without the built-in phono stage, so you’ll need an amp that can take a turntable input or buy a separate phono stage. The Primary E Phono might be a better option for people with neither option, though conscious we could be getting into Not The Nine O’Clock News hifi-shop mode.
The Primary E has an easy to set up belt-drive, with 33 and 45rpm as an option and the Ortofon OM entry-level cartridge. The build quality is good, especially for the cheapest entry level system and it took about 2-3 minutes to set up. Power cable is direct (no transformer like the Jukebox E) and the audio cables are relatively good quality and can be plugged straight in. Comes with an earth spade if needed.
My testing used a Rega photo-stage and a Quad 34/303 amp/power amp set and through my Linn Ceilidh speakers. I played a ORG John Coltrane album (2x 45rpm discs) and a first press Beatles Revolver (on mono), which were both to hand. Both played nicely and the sound was more than acceptable coming through my Hifi. The only issue I had was when I moved the belt from the 33 to the 45rpm pulley, as it slipped from the platter when I started the motor. Like other turntables (including my 1970’s Pink Triangle), there’s a bit of slip when starting up in 45rpm, so a helpful finger push doesn’t do any harm 🙂 Adding a cork mat (or a thicker one) to the platter would be a good investment. The on-off rocker switch is under the deck to the left hand side and you’ll see the mark of the left thumb after a while. The dust cover and hinges are solid and much better than you might see on a more expensive item. Adding an Ortofon Red cartridge would be an affordable and impactful upgrade. No motor noise and it looks pretty good too.
The RRP for the Primary E is £179 online and given the support from the UK distributor we can match that price in the shop. It comes in Red and White as well as the Black. The Primary E Phono is £239 and might be the way to go if you’ve not got a phono stage, however getting a separate one is a good idea if you intend to upgrade your turntable at some point in the future. The Primary E is a nice product for the price and looks and sounds like the real deal for playing vinyl, new or old.