pro-ject essential iii vs t1

Battle of the Turntables: Pro-Ject Essential III vs. T1

When it comes to vinyl enthusiasts, the turntable is the heart and soul of their music setup. Two highly regarded options in the market are the Pro-Ject Essential III and the T1. Both turntables offer exceptional audio quality, sleek designs, and reliable performance. In this article, we will delve into a detailed comparison of these two turntables to help you make an informed decision on which one suits your needs best.

Design and Build Quality

The Pro-Ject Essential III and the T1 both boast sleek and modern designs that can easily complement any home decor. The Essential III features a minimalist aesthetic, with a plinth made of dense composite wood and a high-gloss finish. On the other hand, the T1 offers a more contemporary look, with a plinth constructed from a durable MDF material and a matte finish.

In terms of build quality, both turntables are solidly constructed and exhibit excellent craftsmanship. However, the Pro-Ject Essential III takes the lead with its superior attention to detail and use of high-quality components.

Sound Performance

When it comes to audio quality, the Pro-Ject Essential III and the T1 are both exceptional performers. The Essential III features a precision belt-drive system and a low-vibration synchronous motor, ensuring smooth rotation and minimal interference. It also comes with an 8.6-inch aluminum tonearm and a factory-fitted Ortofon OM10 cartridge, providing a balanced and dynamic sound reproduction.

Similarly, the T1 offers outstanding sound reproduction with its belt-drive system and precision motor control. It comes equipped with a 9-inch aluminum tonearm and a pre-installed Ortofon OM5e cartridge. The T1’s audio output is detailed, warm, and immersive, making it a compelling choice for audiophiles.

Setup and Ease of Use

Both turntables are relatively easy to set up and use, even for beginners. The Pro-Ject Essential III comes pre-adjusted out of the box, requiring minimal assembly and alignment. Its plug-and-play nature makes it an attractive option for those who want a hassle-free experience. However, for users looking for more customization options, the Essential III may not offer as much flexibility.

The T1 also offers straightforward setup, and it provides more flexibility for customization. It allows for easy adjustments of tracking force, anti-skate, and vertical tracking angle, which can be beneficial for users who prefer fine-tuning their turntable setup to their liking.

Additional Features

The Pro-Ject Essential III and the T1 have a few notable differences in terms of additional features. The Essential III includes a built-in phono stage, allowing direct connection to an amplifier or powered speakers without the need for an external phono preamp. This feature is particularly convenient for users who want a simple setup without investing in additional equipment.

In contrast, the T1 does not come with a built-in phono stage, but it offers a USB output, enabling users to digitize their vinyl collection by connecting the turntable to a computer. This feature can be appealing for those who want to enjoy their records while also having the option to create digital copies.

Price and Value

The Pro-Ject Essential III generally falls in a more affordable price range compared to the T1, making it an excellent entry-level option without compromising on quality. It offers exceptional value for money, given its sound performance and build quality.

On the other hand, the T1 positions itself as a more premium offering with its additional features and slightly higher price point. It caters to users who prioritize flexibility, customization, and the ability to digitize their vinyl collection.


Both the Pro-Ject Essential III and the T1 are impressive turntables that deliver superb audio performance and solid build quality. The choice between them ultimately depends on your specific needs and preferences.

If you are a beginner or looking for a hassle-free setup with excellent sound quality, the Pro-Ject Essential III is a fantastic choice. Its plug-and-play nature, pre-adjusted components, and built-in phono stage make it incredibly convenient. You can simply connect it to your amplifier or powered speakers and start enjoying your vinyl collection without any additional equipment or complex adjustments. With its sleek design and affordable price, the Essential III offers a great entry point into the world of high-quality vinyl playback.

On the other hand, if you value customization options and the ability to fine-tune your turntable setup, the T1 might be the better option for you. Its adjustable tracking force, anti-skate, and vertical tracking angle allow you to optimize the performance based on your personal preferences and the characteristics of your vinyl records. Additionally, the T1’s USB output provides the flexibility to digitize your vinyl collection, making it a versatile choice for those who want to enjoy their records while also having the option of creating digital backups.

It’s worth noting that while the Pro-Ject Essential III and the T1 are both excellent turntables, they cater to slightly different needs and price points. The Essential III offers simplicity, convenience, and affordability, making it an ideal choice for beginners and those seeking a straightforward setup. On the other hand, the T1 provides greater customization options, flexibility, and the ability to digitize your vinyl, appealing to more experienced users or those who want additional features and possibilities.

Ultimately, the choice between the Pro-Ject Essential III and the T1 comes down to your personal preferences, budget, and the specific features that matter most to you. Both turntables excel in their own right and will undoubtedly provide you with an immersive and enjoyable vinyl listening experience.

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