The Pro-Ject Debut includes a pre-mounted Ortofon OM-5E moving magnet phono cartridge and is an excellent choice for the audiophile seeking a cost effective vinyl playback solution. A felt-covered steel platter mates to a chrome plated stainless-steel axle running in a brass bearing housing for exceptional speed stability and accuracy. The aluminum tonearm employs inverted hardened stainless-steel points for superior tracking with the supplied phono cartridge. A silicone-damped armlift is supplied. Matte Black finish. 16.5îw x 4.5îh (dust cover down) x 13.25îd. 14 lbs
This is a review of the Debut III (which I bought in yellow). My higher end table is in need of some repairs and adjustments, after more than 20 years of faithful service, so I decided to spring for the Debut III as a temporary fill-in while my other table is in the shop.
I am happy to say that this turntable has renewed my love affair with vinyl. It's a simple little table, well designed and constructed, attractive, and fabricated of high quality - if not high end - materials. So far, so good. Initial impressions out of the box and prior to actually playing records are of a good value for the money.
But it's once you start spinning discs that the real value of this product comes to light. I had read the strongly positive Robert Reina review in the February 2010 Stereophile, and assumed, as I do with most professional reviews, that there was a good deal of hyperbole mixed in with the truth. I was wrong. He observed that he was startled by the level of musical realism available at this price, and I have to agree wholeheartedly.
While it may fall short of the highest performance possible by a high-end table, it does everything that one would ask of a high end table very well, with no glaring weaknesses. As such, its performance is very well balanced and easy to live with. Pick your category, and the Pro-Ject will score well: dynamic pacing, clarity of transients, bass extension, natural air of each instrument, treble extension, midrange bloom. This is performance at a level that I would never have imagined could be attained at anything close to this price point, with a moving magnet cartridge, no less.
I haven't stopped playing records since I bought it. Highly recommended.
This review is of the debut 3. I was actually looking for used speakers in the basement of a local hi-fi store when I noticed the line of Pro-ject tables on display. Turns out that I had enough cash on hand to take home the debut 3.
Although I was told that it was easy to set up, this may not be the case if you have never set he downforce on a tonearm. The instructions are written in a way that clouds the obvious. Once I figured it out the instructions seemed to make sense, but it took me an hour or so to figure out the counterweight!
Now the fun part. My system at the time consisted of a panasonic dvd player, vintage Rotel reciever, and Acoustic Profiles standmounters. I was hoping to be blown away by my first experience with a quality TT, but this was not the case. I would say the sound was slightly better than the Panasonic DVD.
After a round of upgrades my digital source was a Nad 541i, and the Debut 3 had an Ortofon MC1 turbo installed. /With the MC1, the Debut smoked the NAD. When the MC1 wore out, i re-installed the stock om5. With the om5 cartridge, the debut lost by a hair to the NAD. It is a tough call to make becasue CD and LP sound so different, but I was playing more CD's than LP's and itching for an upgrade.
This is perhaps the achilles heel of the Debut 3. Now I was hearing that MC Cartridges are not reccomended for the Debut because the metal platter may damage the magnet (although my MC1 worked fine till the stylus wore out) , and due to the non adjustable VTA on the debut's arm the only real upgrade options are the Ortofon OM20 and OM 30. I thought the OM 20 would be a good choice, but commercial electronics doesnt stock it. They said they could order it for around 160-170 cdn. I held off, and was considering saving for a Clearaudio Emotion or Project RPM5. Then I decided to give the debut one more shot. I found an OM 20 at another store, at a whopping 70% over suggested retail (what gives!?) Shook my head and walked out. Then I went back to Commercial Electronics. Still no OM-20, but they had a Goldring GX-1012 for $215. It is nearly a gram overweight and I wasnt sure how the height would work, but I took a gamble. I had to "guestimate" the downforce, and the Goldring is shallow, so I stuck an old 78 rpm rocord from the thriftstore under the felt mat to get the arm parallel. Audiophiles everwhere may cringe, but the set-up smokes my CD player again, and that is all I really wanted.
While on holiday in the UK I always check out the audio magazines and ivist dealers and retailers. I was looking for a new turntable with low mechanical noise compared to the Dual CS 5000 that I had been using as I wanted to begin putting many of my favorite 45 RPM records onto Compact Disc. I found that the Debut was a UK Only model at this time so I contacted the UK Distributor to ask if conversion parts ofr 120 V 60 Hz operation were available ( retail dealers had no knowledge of this since at that time the Debut was a UK only model ). Henley designs had the motor and pulley to make the Debut USA Mains compatable so I bought it from them along with a Pro-Ject " phonobox" pre-amp. A friend I was visiting at the time drove me to pick up the items and as a gift I bought a Debut for my friend who had been using a Garrard 401 for decades. I decided to leave mine in the box for the journey back to the USA. My friend set up his and we used it on his system. We were both quite impressed and we were comparing it to a Garrard 401 ! Considering the cartridge & stylus we felt we had excellent sound quality on records in good and somewhat worn condition. Mechanincal noise comming through the audio was minimal and hardly noticeable unless we cranked up the volume on a silent groove. Set-up took only a few minutes after removing the Debut from the box. We checked the stylus pressure and it was accurately set well within the published specifications. We both concluded that you would have a difficult time finding a better turntable at this price.
Soon after my arrival home in the USA I unpacked my own Debut, changed out the 240 V motor for the 120 V motor and installed the 60 Hz pulley I had purchased separately. I had similar results to the turntable we tested in the UK, Excellent.
One thing I did notice however that after having the turntable playing for about half an hour the motor ran quite hot. Although the motor is a 120 V model I believe it may still be a 50 Hz motor which would run hotter feeding it from 60 Hz mains. Since the motor is synchronous, I reduced the input voltage to 100 V 60 Hz and the motor ran cooler with no sacrifice in speed accuracy as measured with a strobe disc and a hand held digital readout tachometer. Two years later and both of these turntables are still going strong other than a stylus change from normal wear and use. I am well pleased with the sound quality finding no need to upgrade the stylus. If I am satisfied with a lower cost cartridge and lower replacement cost stylii I would rather stay with that as I regularly change stylii before they become well worn.
The build quality is good, mechanical noise in the audio is very low, if even noticable in many cases, the drive system is durable for non-commercial home use, the supplied audio cables and RCA type connectors are perfectly suitable and the entire package is appealing to the eye.
Make no mistake, this is not a high end audiophile product and it has not been marketed as such. For the price of the Pro-Ject Debut and Debut II the result and performance are quite surprising and you should not be dissapointed.
I have been so enthusiastic about this turntable, the nest time I was in the UK I picked up another one and brought that one back to the USA , factory boxed in my suitcase. By this time Pro-Ject had changed to a 16 Volt motor and buying a small AC output wall plug type trasnformer was no problem. I once again installed a 60 Hz pulley and I was all set. I have been running this one on 12 V 60 Hz which keeps the motor nice and cool during extended periods of operation.
It is apparant that the Debut is now being marketed in the USA under the brand name of Music Hall fully equipped to be plug in ready for USA Mains. You just can not beat the performance of the Debut for the price. I have recorded hundreds of my 45 RPM Records onto CD ( with a dedicated CD Recorder ) using my Pro-Ject Debut Turntable with the supplied Ortofon OM5E cartridge with excellent results.
This is my wife's Pro-Ject Debut III with a Dynavector 10x4 MKII. The system includes a Kenwood M1 amp and C2 preamp. Her record collection includes quite a few from after CDs had taken over, so I'm guessing some of them are a little rare. REM's [I]Murmur [/I]is spinning now. The motor is nice a ... Read More »
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So a few days ago i was at sound hounds to deal with my broken rega p1, and this is the turntable they were offering me to up grade to for 50 bucks. I gotta say i really like this Project, it seems better built than the rega, it looks nicer and sounds incredible. When i move and get into my bigger r ... Read More »
I think we may have done this many moons ago, but perhaps a retread thread is better than noe at all. Here are mine, in no particular order;
The Smiths - S/T
Joy Division - Unknown Pleasures
Pavement - Slanted and Enchanted
The Shins - Oh, Inverted World
Bob Dylan - Bob Dylan
The Strokes - ... Read More »