Pro-Ject Juke Box E
The Pro-Ject Jukebox E & Speaker Box was released as an all in one vinyl setup. What does that mean? Well in basic terms you receive a turntable, amplifier, phono stage, and Bluetooth all in one compact setup, so all you need to do is add speakers and you’re ready to dust off those old records, and begin listing to the old favourites. In this review, I paired the JukeBox E with Pro-Ject’s own Speaker Box 5, which comes in the same three finishes (Black, White or Red) so aesthetically it matches perfectly, however the Juke Box E will work with most speakers, with it putting out 50W per channel, the world is your oyster when it comes to speaker choice (within reason of course). For me looking at this setup, this is screaming out to me as a potentially brilliant idea, as for anyone wanting to get into vinyl for the first time, or perhaps getting back into it, this is potentially the ticket!
Out of the box, it looks quite similar to a lot of other Pro-Ject turntables, with the only main exception being that it is slightly deeper, which is understandable given it has to house an amplifier and phono stage (amongst other things) but looking at it, you wouldn’t know that it is any different to a stand alone turntable, which I really like as in the past I have seen ideas like this come about, but they are chunky, rough looking products, which doesn’t have that classic turntable look, so the Juke Box E has got the designing bang on for me.
The turntable is traditionally “Pro-Ject”! It’s solidly built, finished really well, with good components all around. With some turntable manufactures (even at the more entry level price range) I get the feeling they are “fragile” and easy broken, but with the Juke Box E, no such worries cross my mind. The connections in the back are compact, which aesthetically looks great, but for any of us “larger fingered gentlemen and ladies” it can be a little fiddly, but all in all nothing to worry about.
The supplied Acrylic lid slid right on, and out of the box, i had it up and running within 10 mins… It’s that easy!
The Speaker Box 5 connects right up with standard speaker terminals to the rear, and are again nicely built, very nicely finished in this case a vibrant gloss white, and they do blend fantastically to the turntable. For the test I used a standard piece of copper Vivanco Speaker Cable (about £2.50/meter) so I could get a proper feel for how the turntable and speakers sound without any helping hands 😉
So the main question, how does it sound? Well I put on “John Mayer – Paradise Valley.” and sat down for a listen. I was slightly taken back by this setup, it instantly surpassed my expectations. Given that this setup, all in retails for around £500, this is one heck of a sound! The vocals are clear and crisp, with no harshness. The mid range is rich, yet carries subtle qualities that I really enjoyed. The low end was full, and compact, with no directionless boomy bass firing in all directions. I tried a few more albums of different genres to get a better “universal” appeal of this turntable, moving form “Foo Fighters – Best Of” to “Sarah McLaughlin – Afterglow” and continued through most genres, including tracks from Halsey, Lauren Daigle, Metallica, Dolly Parton, Mary Black, Tracy Chapmen and several others. The little Juke Box E really impressed me! It didn’t falter once on any track I threw at it, it kept those same qualities I mentioned above, and I just frankly really enjoyed sitting listening to it. When I close my eyes, if you told me it was a complete system of separates I wouldn’t have fluttered an eyelid, and also though it naturally isn’t going to compete with turntable systems at greater price points etc… I think I would be looking at spending a reasonable amount more (£1000 + on a system) to complete with this.
I switched over to the Bluetooth, because while this is unlikely to be the main application of this product, it is an interesting, and desirable feature for most people. I connected up my iPhone 8, (which it picked up right away, and connected in seconds) and opened up Tidal (HiFi) and sat down for another listen. I tried many of the same tracks I had previously tried on vinyl, so I had a better reference point to compare it too and while they weren’t naturally as good as vinyl, they certainly were more than enjoyable to listen to, and certainly did the tracks justice.
If I personally owned this set up, the bluetooth won’t be my main listening preference, and in truth I think I would use the bluetooth more for background music, or perhaps if I was entertaining someone, but if I was sitting down for a good listen to my favourite tracks, the vinyl set up would be my only thought.
So overall, what do I like and not like about the Juke Box E & Speaker Box 5. Overall, I don’t have many complaints, I think for the price you are getting an entry level audiophile sound, and it certainly does tracks justice, the bluetooth addition is good, again I personally probably won’t use it as much as the vinyl aspect, but its a nice inclusion, and certainly doesn’t sound bad! While the bluetooth antenna that sits up out of the back of the Jukebox doesn’t annoy me in any way, I can think of a few people that would say it takes away that nostalgic feel of a turntable, making it too modern. Personally I like that mix of old and new, and I think its refreshing to see a product that can do both. The supplied remote control is easy to use, and worked perfectly the whole time I was listening, its not going to set the world on fire in terms of aesthetics, but it does it job very well, and personally that’s all I want from a remote.
I have to be really picky to find any faults, and as a quick summary, if you are getting in vinyl, or looking to rekindle that passion, look no further than the Juke Box E & Speaker Box 5, it is a fantastic product, and at its price, its frankly unbeatable!