Pro-Ject has been making turntables for 20 years now, and for that time they have been one of the go-to value turntables on the market. This year they upped the ante by introducing the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon, which features both a Carbon Fiber tonearm, but also uses an Ortofon 2M Red cartridge that is beyond what you get with most budget tables. They also have a range of product upgrades available for the Debut Carbon, starting with a Speed Box for easy 33/45 RPM speed control and an updated platter, the Acryl-It.
Arriving at my door clad in a glossy red finish, the Pro-Ject certainly looks like it costs more than $400, but does it perform like it? Armed with a series of recent vinyl releases and eager to give them a listen, I put the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon into my system and prepared to give it a through listen. Compared to the prior entry level table I had from Music Hall, the Pro-Ject certainly sounded like a good step up, even without the upgrades, and was way ahead in the bass department.
Adding on the Speed Box just increased the performance, with less pitch error than before. Easily moving from 33 RPM to 45 RPM was a huge improvement, as that small barrier to listening to certain albums was now gone. The Acryl-It didn’t make a really noticeable change in quality, but I found the lack of static from the felt mat to be worth that upgrade as well. You can find far more detail and bench tests over in the full review at Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity, which is linked below.