When the Core Of The Poodle shop opens as well as selling records and CDs, they’ll also be HiFi. To start with there will be two demo systems from Project Audio Systems; the Primary E and the Jukebox E. They are both entry level turntables and therefore relatively affordable. Other turntables from Project will also be available, as well as record cleaning machines and a range of accessories; whilst I won’t be holding stock, they’ll be available in a day or so. The UK distributor is well-known and supports physical stores to allow parity with primary online retailers.

From box opening to some excellent jazz/funk took less than 15 minutes; my tea was still warm

The Jukebox E is a turnable, amplifier and a complete hifi (the speakers are optional extras or you can source your own). It has bluetooth and input for other devices which can use the built in amplifier. It has a decent Ortofon OM 5E cartridge and comes set-up from the factory. Project do include both a protractor and counter-balance to help set up the cartridge if needed, which is a really nice touch.

Nicely packaged

Project claim and easy set up for the belt-drive system and I only needed to check the manual to ensure I’d turned on both rocker switches on the underside of the deck and then it was over to the remote control. I’d a pair of small Denon speakers which were hooked up. The cover and the hinges are really well made, even compared the fragile things you see on much more expensive decks. The belt drive system allows for easy change for 33 and 45 rpm (much easier than on the same standard Regas (which I also have owned in the past).

For testing I played three albums; Ramon Morris for some jazz/funk; Carole King : Tapestry for classic 70’s sound and Black Sabbath Vol 4 for some classic rock. Out of the box without changing the bass/treble, Ramon Morris sound good, given the speakers and turning up the volume to 25 (out of a max 33) produced nice results. Very acceptable start, the the album was an 180g repress on Pure Pleasure (titles from which will also available in the shop). I needed to up the treble on Carole King; it’s a 1970’s repress so sounded a little muffled. The felt mat on the Jukebox E could be easily updated to a thicker cork mat (also available from Project) and would make a difference. Black Sabbath unsurprisingly needed a bit of bass, but also sounded great.

I also tried out the Bluetooth connection and followed the instructions provided. Rather than showing as ‘Juke Box E’ it came up as ‘Juke Box S2’ (the other variant offered by Project) on the Android paring list. It took a couple of attempts to be recognised as both being enabled for calls and audio, but eventually it came good and I played Lera Lynn (a recent find from the CD hoard from Market St); sounded nice and clear on the Denon Speakers and range was good on the Bluetooth. I’ve not tested the other inputs but there’ll be a CD player in the shop I can hook up to it.

The RRP for the Jukebox E is £429 (without the matching speakers, add £100 for those). Comes in Black, White and Red. Though not cheap-cheap, it comes with an amp and is in effect a complete hifi system and a massive step up from Crossley record killing devices.

Overall impression is very positive having used and owned in the price range; I’ve never owned a Project but had really good feedback from friends who’ve owned them. The Jukebox E makes sense for people who want to play and own vinyl and haven’t got a Hifi to plug it into straight away. You might want to go down that route, the Jukebox E doesn’t add up then, though any turntable will potentially need a preamp to.