Pro-Ject Debuts The Fully Automatic $499 AUTOMAT A1 Turntable

Pro-Ject today introduced the $499.00 AUTOMAT A1 its first fully automatic turntable.

The new AUTOMAT A1, handmade in Germany by a company Pro-Ject says has a 'wealth of experience in making automatic turntables", has fully automatic start/stop and during play the automatic mechanism completely disengages. Because the mechanism is fully mechanical no additional electronics are required, which helps keep down the cost.

The AUTOMAT A1 features an 8.3" low mass aluminum tone arm fitted with an Ortofon OM10, perfectly suited to the low mass arm. Tracking force and anti-skate are factory pre-set, making this a "plug and play" turntable. The arm features a new carbon fiber reinforced polymer head shell designed specifically for the A1.

The aluminum platter, 100% made in Germany, is first stamped, bent and perforated then sent to a second supplier for phosphatic and de-oiling after which is added an inner damping ring to increase mass and reduce resonances. Next the platter is turned and precision balanced and finally it's painted black (you devil).

The AUTOMAT A1 features a built-in switchable MM phono preamp and comes with Pro-Ject's Premium semi-symmetrical "Connect E" phono cables. It sits on four silicon damped feet and includes a dust cover.

Think about what this means! Now even old people, many of whom have never even heard of vinyls, and who are too fumbly to handle a tone arm, and who when they hear "AUTOMAT" think of a place to get bad food pushed through a glass door, can enjoy records!


Speed: 33, 45 (electronic speed change)
Drive principle: belt drive, fully automatic
Platter: damped aluminum platter
Wow & flutter: 33: +/-0.27%; 45: +/-0.25%
Speed drift: 33: +/-0.75%; 45: +/-0.65%
Signal to noise: 65dB
Tonearm: ultra-light-mass 8.3” aluminum tonearm
Effective arm length: 211mm
Overhang: 19.5mm
Included accessories: 15V DC / 0.8A power supply, dust cover, 7″ single adapter, felt mat, phono cable
Power consumption: 1.5W
Dimensions: 430 x 130 x 365 mm (WxHxD)
Weight: 5.6 kg net

azmoon's picture

depending on how it sounds based on reviews (hopefully by you). I know a disabled person who could use something like this just to make things a bit easier. Since it's Project, this looks great for anyone who wants to go automatic.

And thanks for the laugh at the end of your description!

AnalogJ's picture

Of course, the ancient Luddites (Look 'em up. They're in the Old Testament.) who are unfamiliar with this new-fangled technology MAY have the expectation that a bowl of soup WILL appear on the platter.

OldschoolE's picture

Of course it is from Pro-Ject, only Heinz is crazy enough to do it, that is why he is one of the few rockstars. Just think, swap out the cart and bypass the built in phono preamp for an outboard phono preamp of choice and vola! Decent standby TT at least and full auto for that price!

RaphaelMabo's picture

It’s actually not from Pro-Ject. It is a Pro-ject branded version of the Dual CS415 EV that’s been available in Europe since the 1990’s. A low cost entry level turntable with fixed ”pre-set” settings.
But it’s no longer sold under the Dual brand name since the manufacturer Fehrenbacher lost the license to make turntables under the Dual brand name.

my new username's picture

The company is REKKORD; this is the F100 with an OM10 instead of the A-T '3600. The OM-series is the proper cart for this tonearm, a simplified version of the Dual ULM design. They even call it ULM on the site:

Anyway, this is 1998's Dual CS-435; several the later Dual models are still available in European markets. Pro-Ject is bringing this design to North America.

Michael Fremer's picture
We previously reported on the German Dual-Pro-Ject relationship
RaphaelMabo's picture

No, The Pro-Ject Automat is not the Dual CS435, it’s the low end CS415 EV. The 435 has a better tonearm with adjustable counterweight. On the Automat/CS415 it’s fixed.

Trevor_Bartram's picture

the Dual name associated with a quality product. My circa 1982 CS505 is still going strong after some minor refurbishment last year. The Grado cartridge of the same era had to be replaced though.
I see a lot of cheap Dual badged products, I assume two separate companies are operating with the same badge, that must hurt.

Bobbeatlesvan's picture

Two questions:
If I have the den on 300 with the ortofon blue think this is worth upgrading to? Call me crazy but I like having an automatic? And could this be upgraded to a blue?

mrl1957's picture

If the Denon's automatic mechanism is anything similar to that of the A1 and otherwise performs well, then maybe the 300 is still a keeper. As for the second question, there's no mention of an adjustable tracking force or anti-skate on the A1. If that's the case, you'd have to stick with the OM 10 since the arm probably isn't designed to handle a heavier cartridge like the 2M Blue.

Mikey, please correct me if I'm wrong.

RaphaelMabo's picture

This is a Pro-Ject branded version of the Dual CS-415 entry level automatic with a fixed counterweight and antiskating, so you can only change to a cartridge with similar weight and tracking force. This design has been around since the 1990's and it uses the Schneider multiformat platform from the late 1980's. (designed when Schneider/Thomson owned Dual).

The only Pro-Ject thing in it is the new Pro-Ject designed carbon headshell, and the Pro-Ject tonearm cable.

It is made by Fehrenbacher who got a license to make turntable under the Dual brand name and they used Dual's old designs with some updates. This license has expired, so Fehrenbacher has teamed up with Pro-Ject to make their older Dual turntables for Pro-Ject. Fehrenbacher also now has their own brand "Rekkord Audio" that sells the same turntables as they previously sold under the Dual name.

And regarding Dual, they have a new lineup of both manual and automatic turntable. Designed in-house by the Dual-enthusiast and engineer Dr. Alfred Langer, but made in Taiwan. The Dual CS429 is the entry level offering from the new Dual, it has fully adjustable tonearm, heavier platter and more substantial plinth - but it's more expensive. The new Dual will release the CS329 this spring, this a 429 with a simpler tonearm (fixed counterweight and anti-skating, like this "Pro-Ject") and lower price.

This Pro-Ject is twice as expensive as the Teac TN-175 with similar features, I would rate the Teac the better buy.

The specification numbers for wow and flutter etc are quite high for this Pro-Ject, which is not surprising since it's an entry level turntable. It's even the entry level of entry level.

Anton D's picture

I still love my Technics SL 1700.

I had the arm madder was back and still silky smooth.

Of course, the late 70s and early 80’s required some form of auto pick up or return, if you know what I mean.

I also still use a Sony PSX 800, “Professor Bzzt” still mods them and they are amazing.

“Auto” doesn’t mean low fi!

audioholic63's picture

hmm...maybe this will motivate me to finally refurb the DUAL 1219 I've had sitting here for the past 3 years. Still, that won't bring back the Automat...but I still have fond childhood memories of banks of glass doors magically issuing forth food and a handful of nickles empowering a child to make their own choices...

hifiandrew's picture

I asked you once why we didn't see more fully automatic TT, you said it probably compromised sound quality too much. I'll be looking forward to a review to see if that's the case here. Fully auto is make or break for me, I used to have an SL1200 but sold it bought an old Sony because it was auto.

halfordloudspeakers's picture

The Marantz TT42/P (no longer available) was almost identical but had a Dual labeled cartridge which was rather mediocre so an OM10 is a big improvement. The big issue that I encountered with the TT42's was that they all ran FAST, 34.2 RPM fast. My hope is that Pro-Ject holds them to a better QC standard.

Tom L's picture

If you can't easily upgrade the cartridge, adjust the downforce or change antiskating this thing is a waste of money for anyone seriously interested in playing LPs.

Burphy's picture

When Pro-Ject announced that it was preparing an automatic turntable, I hoped that it would build on the Tesla Litovel MC 600 Q Turntable. The turntable was manufactured in 1985-1989 at the Tesla Litovel plant in the former Czechoslovakia. As far as I know, the same manufacturing plant is producing Pro-Ject turntables today. I still own the old one and I was looking forward to the new one, which will be just as smart and meet current HiFi standards.

ribaf's picture

Thanks for your article! A
white screen can be seen as a clean canvas for brand new concepts.