Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC Review
Marketed as the best-selling under-$400 turntable on the market, the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC is a high-quality player at a mid-range price. They achieve this by removing all frills. This is just a turntable and nothing else. But as a turntable, it punches well above its price range.
It has an 8.6 inch carbon fiber tonearm and an Ortofon 2M Red cartridge. The sturdy tone arm is stiff, decreasing unwanted resonances, which leads to a clearer sound. The combo of tonearm and the the critically acclaimed 2M cartridge gives you exceptional tracking and reads every musical nuance withing the grooves of your records.
An updated DC power supply that gives you reliable speed stability. A hefty platter with a felt mat, a low-noise motor with effective decoupling and stable isolation feet all protect the Debut Carbon from vibrations. This player will not allow the environment to interfere with your music.
Every component of this record player is high-quality and looks beautiful. This is not a cheap record player, but it delivers far above its price. It is one of the best values we’ve ever reviewed.
Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC Features
- 16.3 by 12.6 by 4.7 inches: very small and ultra-portable design
- 12.3 pounds: one of the lightest on the market
- DC motor: consistent platter speed
- Carbon fiber tonearm: decreases unwanted resonance for better sound
- Ortofon 2M Red Cartridge: exceptional data retrieval for clearer sound
- Heavy platter and isolation feet: reduce vibrations
- Felt mat: superior record support
- Available in multiple colors: you’re sure to find one you like
- Dust cover: protect your records while playing
- Lightweight yet very sturdy and stable
- Extremely high-quality components for exceptional sound
- Very low price given the quality
- Available in multiple colors
- Consistent speed and reduces almost all vibrations and unwanted resonances
- Comes with 2-year manufacturer’s warranty
- No AM/FM radio
- No Bluetooth connectivity
- No internal speakers
- No USB port
- No headphone jack
Summary of Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC Review
The Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC is the quintessential no-frills record player. You get none of the features so many of today’s players have: no jacks for headphones, speakers, USB, smartphones; no internal speakers; no CD player, AM/FM radio, cassette deck and it does not play MP3s.
What you do get is extremely high quality components and the best sound by far at this price range. In fact, the quality is reminiscent of much more expensive turntables. Every component is designed to reduce all environmental interference like vibrations, etc. and to read every piece of musical data contained in the grooves of your records.
If you are looking for an all-in-one player that plays music from various sources and has its own speakers, this is definitely the wrong player for you.
The Pro-Ject Debut Carbon is only for people who want the highest possible sound quality at the lowest possible price. In order to achieve this, Pro-Ject removed ALL bells and whistles.
We’ll start with the Rega RP1. It is very similar to the Debut Carbon in that Rega eliminated all extraneous features and focused solely on making the highest quality turntable possibly for a reasonably low price.
It is actually priced below the Pro-Ject turntable. The main reason for that is quality. Both are high-quality units, but the Debut Carbon is exceptionally high-quality for this price range.
The Teac turntable has a USB port, but apart from that, it doesn’t have any frills either. It is the cheapest of the three, but the quality is a bit below the others as a result. Don’t get me wrong: this is a high-quality record player, just not quite as good as the other two.
Their quality control lags behind the others a bit. There are more reports of issues with a wobbly plate and a humming sound. Of course, if you purchase from Amazon, you can return a faulty unit, but it will cost you some time.
The big question in deciding between these three products is: does the increase in quality justify the increase in price?
Unfortunately, there is no easy answer. The best advice I can give you is to check out all three on Amazon (use the links provided above) and read through some of the reviews, especially the negative ones. There is actually a great review on page for the Teac TN-300 page comparing it with the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC. He ends up preferring the Teac, but the actual points of comparison are the more interesting part for anyone trying to make the same decision.
Personally, I prefer the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC. Yes, it costs more, but I would rather have the higher-quality unit.
I also like the design better and in the end, that may be what ends up deciding it for you, too. Which unit looks the best to you? In addition to the design, I liked the many color options you get with the Pro-Ject turntable.
But the bottom line is this: all three are great turntables and you really can’t go wrong with any of them. Your decision will come down to whether you mind spending the extra money for a better build quality and to the external appearance.
Having three great products to choose from makes it much harder to come to a decision, but it’s also nice to know you’ve got several viable options. I don’t mind struggling a bit more to make my purchasing decision, if it means I have more choices. And if you absolutely can’t decide: just go with the Debut Carbon. It’s perhaps the best value in the industry.