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Pro-Ject Xpression III

Manual belt-drive turntable with dust cover

3 Reviews

Item # 252XPRSSN3

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Our take on the Pro-Ject Xpression III

One of the great things about vinyl records is that they force you to slow down and savor the act of listening. But Pro-Ject's xPression III won't slow you down much, because of its hassle-free plug 'n' play design. Pro-Ject knows that turntable setup can be a challenge for the novice. That's why this 'table comes out of the box virtually ready to play. Its factory-mounted tonearm and phono cartridge take the guesswork out of getting started, so you can enjoy optimized sound quality with minimal effort. A few minutes to dial in key settings like tracking force, anti-skating, and platter speed are all that's needed to experience the superior performance that's waiting for you on your favorite records.

Expressive sound, classic looks

Job one for any turntable is to provide smooth and stable rotation for your records. Pro-Ject's xPression III delivers in spades. This solid, refined player quietly maintains accurate playback speed with minimal wow and flutter, letting the music flow from your LPs with breathtaking realism and clarity. You'll experience a wide, deep soundstage with instruments and vocals that fill the room. Careful design and beefy construction give the xPression III excellent isolation from vibration, creating silent backgrounds and powerful dynamics.

Precision-built for high performance

The xPression III's MDF chassis rests on damped, aluminum cone feet for a solid, low-resonance foundation. And the feet are adjustable, making the 'table easier to level. A precision-machined acrylic record platter spins on a top-quality axle and bearing for smooth rotation and ultra-quiet operation. The decoupled motor mount and belt drive system physically isolates vibration from the chassis to prevent motor noise from being audible through your sound system. An external AC power supply helps reduce the chance of hum, and can even be upgraded with Pro-Ject's Speed Box II for enhanced speed accuracy. The xPression III features a carbon fiber tonearm tube with a fixed aluminum headshell for greater rigidity. The arm offers easy adjustments for optimizing playback, and makes future cartridge upgrades a snap.

Praise for the Pro-Ject Xpression III from The Absolute Sound

"The Xpression III features an acrylic platter, machined cone feet, a carbonfiber arm tube, and other refinements rare at this price. Supplied with Sumiko's excellent Oyster cartridge, the Xpression III has excellent clarity, smoothness, and a wide and deep soundstage."

The Absolute Sound 2013 Editors' Choice Awards: Turntables under $2000

Get the best sound, without the hassle

One of the great things about vinyl records is that they force you to slow down and savor the act of listening. But Pro-Ject's xPression III won't slow you down much, because of its hassle-free plug 'n' play design. Pro-Ject knows that turntable setup can be a challenge for the novice. That's why this 'table comes out of the box virtually ready to play. Its factory-mounted tonearm and phono cartridge take the guesswork out of getting started, so you can enjoy optimized sound quality with minimal effort. A few minutes to dial in key settings like tracking force, anti-skating, and platter speed are all that's needed to experience the superior performance that's waiting for you on your favorite records.

Product Highlights:

  • precision-machined 12" acrylic platter provides excellent speed stability
  • precision bearing system for smooth, quiet platter rotation
  • carbon fiber tonearm with fixed aluminum headshell for superior rigidity and low resonance
  • includes pre-mounted Sumiko Oyster moving magnet cartridge
  • tonearm offers easy adjustment of vertical tracking angle and azimuth for optimized playback performance and cartridge flexibility
  • medium density fiberboard (MDF) base with adjustable damped aluminum cone feet
  • high-performance AC motor decoupled from base for reduced vibration transmission and better sound
  • manual operation with silicone-damped tonearm lift
  • 33-1/3 and 45 rpm speeds
  • speed variance: ±0.5%
  • wow and flutter: ±0.1%
  • signal-to-noise ratio: 70dB
  • frequency range (with included cartridge): 20-20,000 Hz
  • channel separation (with included cartridge): >22dB
  • attached RCA audio cable
  • external power supply reduces likelihood of electro-mechanical interference
  • compatible with Pro-Ject Speed Box II electronic speed regulator for enhanced sound and speed-changing convenience
  • weight: 12.4 lbs.
  • 14-1/8"W x 5"H (with dust cover down) x 13-1/16"D
  • warranty: 2 years (1 year warranty for the supplied cartridge)
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee
  • requires a phono preamp or phono input on receiver or preamplifier

What's in the Box:

  • Turntable base (tone-arm and Sumiko Oyster cartridge installed)
  • Turntable hub (installed)
  • Acrylic platter
  • AC power adapter (with attached 6.5' DC cord)
  • Drive belt
  • Dust cover
  • 47" Stereo RCA audio cable (with ground wire)
  • Counter weight
  • Anti-skate weight
  • 45 RPM adapter
  • 3 Metal weights
  • Hex-key
  • Plastic hook tool
  • Instructions for Use
  • Two-Point Cartridge Alignment Protractor

Pro-Ject Xpression III Reviews

Average Customer Review(s):

(3 Reviews)

Upgrade after 30+ years

Grigori from Granville, OH on 7/5/2013

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

My vinyl collection of classical, jazz and blues, acquired from the early '60s to the CD era had been mostly sitting on the shelf for many years. Now that I have more free time I have begun a long process of digitizing this collection so that it is more easily accessible. My old system consisted of a Kenwood KD500 turntable, a Formula 4 arm, and a Shure V15 Type V-MR cartridge. I needed to replace the cartridge, but I decided to upgrade the whole rig. The Pro-Ject Xpression III seemed to provide what I needed, a good quality table and tonearm without spending a ridiculous amount of money. Also, the higher output of the Sumiko Oyster allows me to maximize recording levels. Set up of the system was a snap and I was up and running in less than an hour. My initial impressions of the sound, both analog and digital is very favorable. I am definitely hearing more detail in orchestral works along with a warmer tone, which is characteristic of the Sumiko cartridge. So far, very happy.

Pros: Easy set up. Clean, minimalist design. Power supply separate from unit. 60Hz hum measured at -97dB! Acrylic platter is cool.

Cons: None so far.

It's Alive!!!

Joe D. from Louisiana on 9/29/2012

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I spent an entire week prior to the arrival of my Project XPression III playing the same 3 LP's (The Who - "Live at Leeds", Little Feat - "Waiting for Columbus", and Santana - "Caravanserai") on my Denon model DP-300F in order to "memorize" the frequency response, presence, and soundstage for later comparison to the Project. OK, so the setup is a little bit tedious, but it's not difficult! The result was rewarding beyond my expectations! Apparently, none of the other three turntables I've owned over the past forty-something years (Akai, Denon, and something else I don't even remember) belong in the same category as the Project; I was honestly blown away from the first few seconds of "My Generation" (Live at Leeds is not necessarily noted for being a well-engineered recording), I can truthfully say, this album never sounded so good. The Project sends a much higher volume signal to by Denon AVR-2009 receiver than the old turntable did, the instruments have a much more pronounced separation and expanded frequency range! Not only am I impressed with the Project turntable, I've got a bit more respect for the engineering of this album (which sounds closer to a mono recording on my old system). "Caravanserai" was the true test, the wide range of frequency response and channel separation allowed me to pick out indiviual musical components previously overlooked. "Waiting for Columbus" is pure pleasure; the Tower of Power horns are in my living room! My albums never sounded so good!

Pros: It delivers!

Cons: I would like to have been able to order the "Pearl" cartridge pre-installed.

I can't compare this to another turntable, but...

hiNasty34 from Salt Lake City, UT on 7/14/2011

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Setup was a bit more cumbersome than expected, especially since I've never done it before. Once complete, I threw on a brand new LP and noticed the difference in sound quality immediately. Now as the title states, I can't really compare this to another turntable so my comparisons are limited to vinyl, CD, and MP3. Here's a breakdown of the pro's and con's in my experience: Pro's - extremely tight sounding percussion, instruments sound almost like your listening to them in the studio, hi-frequency reproduction of cymbals, hi-hats, etc. is excellent, noise (hiss) is less than I expected, the acrylic platter just plain looks nice, analogue "warmth". Con's - nothing is automatic (it's surprising just how fast you can blaze through one side of an LP), vinyl requires diligent care, some pops and clicks are unavoidable. What I've read from other reviews seems consistent with my experience. This is a relatively high-end turntable and the sound it produces is consistent with this statement. Now there's more to overall sound quality than just a turntable (or any other means of listening), but it is obvious just how much the Xpression III contributes.




Hands-on research

Features and Specs

Operation Manual
Speeds 33-1/3, 45
Cartridge Type MM
Phono Preamp No
USB Output No
Pitch Control No
45 RPM Adapter Yes
Signal to Noise Ratio 70
Wow and Flutter 0.1
Weight 12.4 lbs.

Product Research



Overview: The Pro-Ject Xpression III is a manual belt-driven turntable with a fitted MM-cartridge (Sumiko Oyster). Employing machined cone feet, a low-noise motor with precision flat-ground belt driving a new precision machined acrylic platter, the table operates in virtual silence. A carbon-fiber tone-arm tube with integrated aluminum headshell is pre-mounted with a Sumiko Oyster cartridge. Additionally, the tone-arm features an inverted thrust bearing with two hardened stainless steel points resting in sapphire thrust pads to maximize the Oyster's performance. Furthermore, the tone-arm provides for easy adjustment of the stylus rake angle (VTA), azimuth, and tangency to greatly optimize analog playback performance and cartridge flexibility.

Belt Driven: A quiet running AC motor with a two-step pulley drives the hub and platter via a flat-ground belt. The Xpression III supports 33-1/3 and 45 rpm speeds.

Note: The optional Pro-Ject Speed Box II (252SBIIB, sold separately) can be connected to the turntable to change speeds electronically between 33-1/3 and 45 rpm.

Acrylic Platter: The Xpression III turntable features a 12" acrylic platter (4.8lb/2.2kg). The platter's low-tolerance chrome-plated stainless-steel axle runs on a polished ball bearing in a brass bearing housing.

MDF Plinth: The medium density fiber (MDF) plinth stands on four height-adjustable rubber-damped aluminum cone feet.

Note: The turntable should be positioned on a low-resonance surface such as wood or multiple layer ply-board to avoid structural vibrations disturbing replay.

Decoupled Motor: The motor is decoupled from the plinth to reduce vibration transmission.

RCA Connection with Grounding Screw: Connection to the phono input of your amplifier can be made with connecting cables of your choice through the turntable's gold-plated stereo RCA phono jacks and grounding screw.

Note: The Pro-Ject turntable comes supplied with a 47" stereo RCA cable with ground wire.

8.6" Carbon Tone-arm: The Xpression III features a 8.6" carbon tone-arm with an integrated aluminum headshell. The conical-shaped carbon-fiber arm-tube avoids standing wave reflections. The tone-arm's inverted bearings consist of four hardened stainless steel points. Its solid arm-base permits accurate height adjustment of the arm-tube and VTA (vertical tracing angle).

Integrated Aluminum Headshell: The tone-arm features a low mass aluminum headshell securely glued to the arm-tube. The Single-screw fixing of the arm-tube allows rotation for easy adjustment of  the needle azimuth despite the fixed headshell.

MM-Cartridge: The turntable is supplied with a Sumiko Oyster MM-cartridge. This moving magnet phono cartridge features an alloy cantilever, bonded spherical stylus, and 4.0 mV output.

Note: If your amplifier does not have a suitable Phono MM input, you will need a separate phono pre-amplifier (252PBIIB, sold separately) to connect the turntable to your amplifier.

Damped Arm-lift: Silicone-damped arm-lift can be adjusted to suit working height of the arm.

Counterweight: The tone-arm's flexible counterweight shaft avoids vibration at undesirable frequencies. The counterweight reduces cantilever forces and dynamic wow when playing warped records. The counterweight is suitable for cartridges weighing between 0.25-0.42 oz (7-12g).

Dust Cover: The Pro-Ject Xpression III comes supplied with a dust cover to prevent dust build-up on the turntable.

Internal Wiring: The turntable's internal wiring consists of flexible high-purity copper from the headshell right through to the gold-plated phono sockets.

External Power Supply: The Xpression III utilizes an external power supply to avoid potential electro-mechanical interference.


Filter Cartridge: Sumiko Oyster (output voltage: 4.0mV)

Amplifier Connection: MM-input (recommended load resistance: 47 kohms)

Nominal Speeds: 33-1/3, 45 rpm

Tone-arm Length: 8.6" (218.5mm)

Tone-arm Mass: 0.299 oz (8.5g)

Overhang: 0.728" (18.5mm)

Counterweight: 0.25-0.42 oz (7-12g)

Speed Variance: +/-0.5%

Wow & Flutter: +/-0.1%

Signal-to-Noise: -70 dB

Down-force Range: 10-30 mN

Power Consumption: 2W

Outboard Power Supply: 15V/550 mA AC (AC 120V / 60Hz, 13.0W)


  • Dust Cover Close: 16.375" (wide) x 5.0" (tall) x 13.0625" (deep)
  • Dust Cover Open: 16.375" (wide) x 14.6875" (tall) x 15.75" (deep)

Weight: 12.4 lbs (5.624kg)

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team. They verify what’s in the box, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.