Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC

Is this table as good as advertised for it's price or is there something better for the same price or for a little more in cost?Thank you.
I owned the Pro-ject Debut Carbon for about a year. I upgraded the stock MDF platter with the acrylic platter for a total investment of roughly $540. TheDebut carbon was paired with a Prima Luna tube amp, a Musical Fidelity phono preamp, a Musical Fidelity cd player/ pre amp, and Opera floor standers. At the end of the day, I was just not that wild about the Pro-ject.

The set-up sounded ok, but nothing special. Vocals were ok. Guitars and drums sounded ok. The only records that sounded special were my Sinatra records. Digital sounded much better on my system (Musical Fidelity CD PRE 24) than vinyl did.

So what to do? I went with a Stanton STR 150 ($600) . I could have gone with an Audio Technica LP1240 at $400, which is essentially the same machine.

I changed out the stock cartridge with a Shure 35C Cartridge .

I am having a lot of fun with this set-up. I know it is a DJ turntable, but there really is something to these Technics 1200 Super OEM turntables. Vocals and instruments are spot on.

I wish I had gone this route initially. Glad I discovered it.
The Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC comes with some great features such as a carbon fiber tonearm that's used in their higher-end models. It's a belt-drive with a built-in frequency generator to keep a stable speed. Also comes with an Ortofon 2M Red cart.

A lot of members new to vinyl started with this table...just check the archives.
Well I wanted to go with a table I would be happy with for sometime and not feel the need to upgrade.I'm not an expert at turntables per say but had read good reviews about this table and thought I'd get some info.Buying used is a gamble especially with tables so I wanted some guidance in making a good choice.
Are the Music Hall or Rega that are in the same price range a better choice?

The Music Hall turntables in this range (MMF 2) are made by Pro-ject. the Rega is similar to the Pro-ject, but made by Rega in its factory.

The Debut Carbon performs fine for an entry level, audiophile type turntable. And that was part of the rub for me. With anything audiophile it always the conversation ... how do I do better?

With the Stanton, which is similar to the Technics SL1200, I don't feel like upgrading. Because it has a standard mount head shell, swapping out cartridges is simple enough.

You might want to consider this turntable Pioneer PLX 1000 .

Was wanting something a bit more sleek and reserved looks wise I guess you could say.Have a Technics SL-1900 that needs a few adjustments.Thought buying something new would benefit in the long haul.
Can't speak to the Music Hall mmf-2.2, but I've auditioned a few Rega models and although people seem to like the RP1 for it's sound, it is very lightweight and can pickup extraneous sounds (you need to use footers instead of the feet).
The Rega to look for is a used RP3, it's very good build quality and has an excellent tonearm. It's also an upgradable table.

You should audition the Rega's. But, in the archives, the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC seems to be the popular choice for a plug and play table.
And Rar1,
that Pioneer PLX-1000 is to die for. It's the new generation Technics SL-1200.
The Stanton ST 150, Audio Technica LP 1240, and Pioneer PLX 1000 are all examples of Super OEM turntables, most, if not all, are manufactured by Hanpin.

I believe that these TTs are worth exploring as alternatives to the similarly priced Pro-ject, Music Hall, Rega TTs. And yes, there are many features that are DJ oriented, but the build construction, motors, and dampening are ridiculously superior. Granted, I had to swap out the cartridge. But quite frankly, the Shure 35C cartridge that I picked up for $35 is every bit as good as the Ortofon Red, if not better ... certainly livelier.

The point I had been making was that I spent $540 on a Pro-ject Debut Carbon (upgraded platter) and $599 on a Stanton ST 150 and to me, the Stanton is the way to go. With the Pro-ject I was questioning my decision to get back into vinyl. The thought has never crossed my mind with the Stanton.

I know that this is not a particularly popular claim to be making, but I think that I have sufficient hearing and judging chops and I have been at it for the last 45 years. Granted there are few, if any reviews to back me up on this and my apologies if this comes across as argumentative, as that it not my intent.

And yes John, these TTs are not sleek looking, they are pretty looking, as my wife put it, especially the ones that are in black finish. The set-up is minimal.

Good luck with whichever TT you choose, it is a great time to get back into this part of the hobby.

Boy,and I was under the impression that these budget tables were pretty good reading the reviews?Cant believe everything you read huh!
Hi John:

They are perfectly fine, but there are other options. I went through the same thought process that you are going through now. First, I went with a vintage Denon 37p, which I really liked and the motor eventually called it quits. It was while owning the Denon that I learned more about direct drive turntables, which 30 years ago were crapped all over by the audio magazines. Quite frankly, I like the DD tables and when executed well, make a lotta sense.

I am using a SONY PSX600, which I picked off of Craig's List, in another system. The previous owner upgraded the cables and power cord on this one and I paid what a basic Pro-ject would cost. I popped a Shure 35C on the SONY and it is really nice sounding. I am listening to a Rosanne Cash record as I write this.

You will land just fine, whatever you choose. It is just that the Pro-ject is not the only and final word in the $400-$500 range.

The Technics SL-1900 cosmetics are pretty good,and I'm pretty sure cleaning the speed and tonearm functions would do the trick.Was weighing my options as to selling the Technics,buying something new or just keeping and fixing the Technics.
I got back into analogue a few years ago, though in my mind I never really left.
So I didn't want to spend much in the beginning and got me Pro-Ject Debut, I think, for $599 plus used Simaudio inexpensive phono stage. That set-up didn't do it for me at all, played OK. And I thought, well... . After some hesitation I sold all that and bought used Nottingham Analogue Spacedeck/Spacearm and AcousTech PH-1 phono. That was a totally different experience.
If you get that Pro-Ject or Stanton, for that matter, you will almost certainly want to upgrade soon enough.
Good analogue is expensive in the beginning, but if you make the right decisions and kind of spread the cost over the years, it is acceptable.
I would say that one must be prepared to spend about $1500 on table/arm, new or better used, plus at least $300 on new cartridge and $500 on used phono stage to have a reasonably good analogue rig to keep for years. It's worth it.
Well I was looking in the $1000 or less catagory.Its funny how I spend less than $50 dollars on three components, $5 on a vintage NAD 3020,$25 on a JVC XL-Z1050 $15 on the Technics table and thought I was doing pretty good.
$2300? Ouch! I bought the previous generation Pro-ject after becoming dissatisfied with my plug and play Sony table. I could not believe how good the Pro-ject sounded. With some albums it was better than my Oppo 95 in imaging. I think system synergy DEFINITELY comes into play.

I'd give a big thumbs up and it's certainly as good as advertised.
I bought my son this table / cartridge combo to get him started in Vinyl. A nice table forthe money.
A couple of years ago I went to an audio store to audition a used Perreaux power amp. I took along my own LPs. The store brought in some Axion floorstanding speakers (dual 8" woofers plus a 1" dome tweeter) to approximate my rig at home Source was a Debut Carbon. Phono and line stages were Naim. I was really impressed with how the whole rig sounded and bought the amp. I use it to this day.

So I'm thinking, maybe the Debut Carbon isn't as bad as it's being made out on this thread, and that it would sound better with a phono stage far beyond the phono stage typically matched with a $399 turntable.

My home rig is an extensively modified SL1210M5G, but my recommendation for sub-$500 TTs has been the Debut Carbon ever since that audition. In fact I recommended the Debut Carbon DC it to a budding audiobuddy and he's thrilled with what it can do over the belt drive Goldring he had before. His phono stage is what's in a Marantz PM8004 integrated amp, a phono stage with a good rep. He's really happy with the combo.

So maybe there's not so much wrong with the Debut Carbon DC as with the downstream electronics. Personally I like the better speed consistency of a quartz-locked direct drive, but that Debut Carbon (with the Naim electronics) sounded really good--good resolution, tonal balance, bandwidth, and engaging musicality, which is the most important part.
I concur, Johnnyb, the downstream electronics matter. Everything matters. My phono stage is whatever's in the Parasound Halo P7 which is connected to the Halo A21 with good quality Morrow Audio MA3. The Paradigm Sigs get Audioqest Type 4 cables. The sound is great top to bottom.
With money restraints I use the vintage NAD 3020 which I know is old but heard that back in the day the phono section was pretty good.Probably will get some negative feed back about using its phono stage but I'm not a vinyl or turntable expert,thats why I ask questions.To me it sounds pretty good.
Hey, that NAD 3020 is legendary. I have an audiobuddy who tried a 3020 in his vinyl rig and it immediately replaced his standalone Cambridge 640P phono stage. At $5 that's another no-brainer.

There are some tweaks you could do to your SL1900 to update its performance a bit. Take it to a good TT tech to get it checked over. Oil the platter bearing. Wrap the tonearm in some teflon pipe thread tape. Unscrew the feet and replace them with Vibrapod Cones sitting atop #2 Vibrapod Isolators.

Replace your headshell with an LpGear ZuPreme headshell.

I have done all these mods to my SL1210 M5G and each one was a noticeable improvement in clarity, dynamics, inner detail, smoother tonal balance, and frequency extension.
Thanks for that info Johnnyb53!
The NAD 3020's phono section is okay, but I bettered(is that a word?) it with a RGR preamp(based on both the 3020 and 1020[I think that's what the stand-alone phono section of the 3020 was called.]. I just wanted to give you a general idea of your phono section. Down the road, it can be improved upon.
However,to improve upon the 3020 as a whole is another story.
People seem to like it. Probably sounds good and a good value.

In general, build quality of Project tables has never impressed me at various price points in the past. I don't think I would likely choose project were my old Linn table to suddenly go up and have to be replaced unless they've gotten better in the last couple years.

I'm not super familiar with this one so take my comments with some salt.

FWIW. I'm sure its a very solid choice

I've seen many decent looking and affordable tables recently at local B&Ms. Seems like a good time to be getting back int o vinyl. Its been a couple years since I last sorted through recent table offerings that I would consider if needed. I'm thinking one likely must spend more to get something a little more solidly built, which usually matters when it comes to turntables.
Guess the RGR is similar to the NAD.But the NAD is in pretty good condition as I just recently had it looked over and serviced for one wire that had "worked" it's way loose.The gentleman that serviced it said it should be good another 10 years.He had very high praise for this amp.So how much do you need to spend to better it?
I'm pretty sure the performance of John421's NAD 3020 stands alone at the $5 he paid for it.

I think you'd have to shell out $129 for a Schiit Mani for an improvement, and even then I'm not sure. My audiobuddy said his eBay 3020 *smoked* his $100 (or so) Cambridge 640P with passive EQ.
I just love listening to music and though my system may not be good enough for most,it is for me!
At the end of the day, the DC is a good option. One poster here found what many vinyl fans know, that a given model may sound better on a system than another. This is nothing new. Pushing the Stanton model over the Project, however, is just another crap shoot. The Project sounds quite impressive on my Parasound gear, but that's no guarantee that it'll sound good on a given NAD model.

I think the thing to do is, research what brand may sound good with the specific Nad one has and go from there.
^^^Always a good point to remember.

However, the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC has shown itself to interface well with a variety of systems. I heard it plugged into Naim phono and line stages, from there to a 30+ year-old Perreaux PMF1150B amp driving a discontinued pair of Axiom floorstanders. I couldn't believe how *right* it sounded, record after record. I was there to audition the Perreaux, which I bought. I was listening for weaknesses in entry-level belt drive tables when I heard it--too-casual sense of pace and rhythm, lower dynamics, lack of bass extension and slam. I heard none of that, just good music on a wide variety of material that made me forget about the mechanics altogether.

Anyway, I have an audiobuddy who decided to upgrade and he asked me whether he should get a Debut Carbon on closeout or a Carbon DC for $50 more. I told him to go for the DC. He bought it and has been ecstatic about it. He plugs it into a Marantz PM8004 integrated amp driving a pair of Monitor Audio Bronze series stand-mounted speakers augmented by a modest MartinLogan sub. He's *really* happy with that combo.

And there is no shortage of reviews on the Carbon and the Carbon DC out there, sourcing to a variety of electronics and speakers to good effect.

What Hi-Fi?
ToneAudio Magazine
Sound & Vision

Another nice thing about the Carbon DC is the included Ortofon 2M Red, one of the best $100 cartridges on the market. And if the buyer wants to upgrade, he can swap in a nude 2M Blue stylus without having to install and align a new cartridge on a fixed headshell.

It's also easy to find and buy, sold by Crutchfield, Amazon, Guitar Center, and Musicians Friend along with just about any B&M audio store htat carries Sumiko-distributed products.
Well I trust people's opinions here more so than magazine reviews.Thank you.
Amen to that John421 !
Johnnyb53, that's one of the things I like about the project aside from the sound. The Ortofon cartridge is really good, and the stylus upgrade is so easy.
I have the Music Hall mmf2.2 which has a ProJect non-carbon arm, but it does have VTA.

The stock cartridge is made by Goldring and is pretty decent but lacks body, or what I call that meat on the bones sound. A different cartridge make a huge improvement on this tt.

But what really was the icing on the cake that put this turntable into another class for me was re-wiring the arm w/ KAB SuperFlex Litz tonearm wire with Cardas cartridge clips.

I'm using my best cartridge, an Audio Technica AT-1200SA cartridge w/ Shibata stylus. This turntable/cartridge sounds better than it should at its price. I'm sure a better cartridge would even up the ante.
Take your 3020 to a dealer and listen to the Debut carbon through it. Much of the interaction between the TT and electronics is due to the cartridge/phonostage synergy.

I believe that in your situation the Debut Carbon makes for a good choice.