Pro-Ject turntables

I was interested in Pro-Ject turntables...are they as good as the reviews say? And which model is the one to get? It could be the less expensive one, no problem. Thanks!
I think the Pro-ject turntables sound very good. I have heard the Extension 12 at length and thought it was a great price performer. A friend purchased one and used an Ortoform arm in a Shindo/Devore system with excellent results.
Yes, Pro-Ject turntables sound quite good. My suggestion would be to consider the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon. Depending on where you buy, you can get demo models for $299. As you go up the Pro-Ject line, you'll find that much of what changes is cosmetic. Spend the savings you generate on the table and fit it with a nice cartridge. Personally, I purchased a demo Pro-Ject Debut Carbon and fitted it with an Ortofon 2M Black MM cartridge. Sweet. Good luck.
Funny; this is the 3rd thread regarding Pro-Ject turntables in a week. I totally agree with Wescoman, the Debut Carbon is the model to buy since it performs as well as TTs at a much higher price.

It comes with a good tonearm and an Ortofon Red cart. And to take it to a higher level, follow Wescoman's advice and upgrade the cartridge.
I agree with the other responses with one caveat ... stay away from the USB option. They have a built-in phono pre-amp which is unreliable beyond the warranty period and cannot easily be by-passed.
Pro-ject; Rega; Marantz; Music Hall and VPI (i.e. Traveler etc) are below Hi-Fi entry level TT's that are a pure waste of money.

Anything sold as "Analog Gear" on sites like Music Direct and their ilk are a good indicator of mass produced low quality TT that should be avoided.

You can do much better...
I had a used Xpression mk i it was good for $300.00 but there are much better out there like VPI
I was interested in Pro-Ject turntables...are they as good as the reviews say? And which model is the one to get? IT COULD BE THE LESS EXPENSIVE ONE, no problem.

Notec; so what then is your advice if all the under-$1000 TTs are crap? And at what level does a turntable newbie start at?
Sorry Notec, but you are dead wrong. One can put together a very satisfying system with ANY of the tables you so casually dismiss. Have you ever even heard them? I notice that you say you can do "much Better" but then don't list any alternatives.
Just purchased the Debut Carbon. It is a great sounding TT in it's price category. I agree with others to upgrade the cartridge and also get the acrylic platter.
I would like to find one of those 10.1s if only because it looks so dangerous, but my Linn Basik/Akito rig keeps chugging along...Sumiko Pearl, replaced/upgraded tonearm cable (rat bites in the original...seriously). I recently cleaned the dustcover with that considered an upgrade? I use the table with the dustcover off, so the smudges only have an impact on the table when it's not running. I think this phenomena is technically known as "visual smudging."
Per Notec...
"Anything sold as "Analog Gear" on sites like Music Direct and their ilk are a good indicator of mass produced low quality TT that should be avoided."....

Wow, even the Avid tables that Music Direct sells are to be avoided? Because they handle these too along with VPI and all the other brands you site. Its amusing that you do not think the 26K Acutus SP is not Hi-Fi? I am curious at what price speakers and amps must start at to be considered real Hi-Fi in your world.

To the OP...The Pro-ject tables sound very good for the money and they put together some very attractive table/cartridge packages. The Carbon with an Ortofon 2M Red is an outstanding entry level table. Since you don't site budget and ask which one to get, I normally don't recommend what I have, but if 1K is doable, I suggest you check out the Pro-ject RM5.1 SE. Its comes with a Sumiko Blue Point No. 2 high output MC cartridge that is a $400 cartridge if purchased separately. The 9CC tonearm this table comes with is a $700 stand alone item. In fact, Oracle uses this tonearm on their 5K Paris model and I understand that Linn uses this same arm of some of their tables too. While all good, I really believe the RM5.1 SE is the best value in the Pro-ject lineup. Hope some of this helps.
As usual I agree with the Wolf, my rich buddy just bought a 10.1, haven't heard it yet but that is a baaad looking TT !
Message to Sumiko: Please send Shubert a 10.1, and also send one to me, and we will say nice things about it so you'll sell more of them...a "win win" I say...
I believe Pro-Ject falls under the Sumiko umbrella.
Vienna Acoustics, the Pear cartridge, Sonus Faber, all good stuff.
I use a Pro-Ject Wood with a Lyra Helikon and a Pro-Ject tube phono preamp right now and this combo is hard to beat for the money I have invested.
Notec could not be more wrong. Pro-Ject has manufactured some great analog gear in the past and from what I see lately looks like they still do.
The RM 9.2 appears to offer the best price/performance ratio. The 10.1 and Xtension models offer a plinth which might create added vibrations/colorations even with the added mass. I was considering a Xtension 10 but using a wallwart as a power supply was a deal breaker(for me) for a $3k table.
But the Xtension 10 has Pro-Ject's outboard, upgraded power supply built in. So what if that's powered by a wallwart?
The 9.2 was blown up in a Jason Statham movie so I give it points for that.
I wonder what kind of table Notec owns?

Back to the post:

I've owned more than 15 tables in my 25+ years as a vinyl aficionado. In 25 years I have learned two things:

1. You don't have to spend lots of money to get it right.
2. Like a new car, you will end up trading, selling, or modifying your table/cart a few times before you get "the sound you're looking for" right.

I remember I owned a Pro-ject RPM 6.1 SB for about 2 years with great results. Bought it second hand for about $600.00. Great table for the money!

4.25 kg platter, brass record puck, inverted main bearing with ceramic thust-pad, integrated speed box, gold plated RCA phono sockets, 9"C carbon fibre tone-arm, even 78 speed switchable. It performed extremely well paired with a DV 10X5 and DV P-75 and gave me 2 years of happiness until the trade bug hit me.....again.

Now I'm a big fan of Rega new tables, specifically the RP3 which I find to be the "best bang for the buck" at $895.00 and with an upgradeable path.

Rega's philosophy of light and rigid makes a lot of sense. Always decent tables but now with the new double brace technology, 24V motor, and RB303 tone-arm it's (IMHO) in another league of its own.

I currently own a heavily modified RB3 that now its closer to RP8 standards and I can tell you that I have never been so happy with ANY other set-up, including the late and rather expensive Linn Sondek/Ekos/Akiva/Lingo/Linto.

There are MANY tables out there. Ultimately it boils down to taste and synergy.

Happy listening!
Ok, thanks for all the recommendations. My current 'table is the Technics 1210M5G and I might want to upgrade in the future. That RM 9.2 looks good, so I'll see if I can get an audition around here...I just wanted to make sure the quality was up to snuff.
Dave72-I demoed a 9.1 several years ago when I was getting ready to jump back into vinyl and it sounded better(not as thin) then the entry level Rega's(P3/5)at the time. Can't remember what cartridge was used but it was relaxed yet focused.
Thanks Dayglow for your input. That sounds good. And thanks Kiko65 for the advice. I will take all of this into consideration. Right now, I'm content with the Technics, but there has to be better, true? Another brand I've been eyeing is Clearaudio, but that is more expensive. Worth it?
I run Clearaudio, Technics, Rega and Project tables. Each one tells you something different about your records. I have a new Pro-ject Essential2 for my small system and I am very impressed. I upgraded the cartridge tip to an OM20 and it sound very good for $500 plus tax.
I am utterly sold on the Rega stuff with the exception of the lack of VTA adjustment...shims...I don't want to no no
There are many nice vta adjusters for the regas that make things very easy.
Nice VTA adjusters? Do they come to your house? "Bob, the VTA adjuster is here."
I see Banerjba, I figured that much...
Wolf, they come to your home, and they are very nice, but they only visit Rega turntables.
The wall wart for the Xtension 10 has absolutely nothing to do with the quality of sonic reproduction. In fact, it keeps a noisy power supply AWAY FROM the tonearm wiring. That fact that it powers the equivalent of the Speed Box SE makes it a moot point: good, clean, steady power to the motor is what matters here. The wall wart is quite high quality, and a clever design which takes slide-in adapters for worldwide use. That and it apparently auto-senses or converts any worldwide voltage.

As for the plinth, I can assure you it's about as dead as it can get. It is filled with metal "sand" and is very substantial in mass. It's about as uncolored as I've ever heard a turntable get, at least in its price range.
How about the quality of the tonearms? Good, mediocre, or bad?
I have read that the Pro-ject tonearms are very sensitive to microphonics. The Oracle Paris used one(9CC) but it was modified(silicone damped) to resolve this problem.
I believe Pro.ject has,allowing for inflation, made a decent TT more affordable than any time in Audio History.

Buy some Pilsner Urquell to thank the Czechs .
Ok, thanks Dayglow. Definitely something to consider...
Dave 72-I did a lot of research regarding affordable but true high-end decks. My research told me the Acoustic Signature-Challenger mk2 had the most potential but customer service issues made me shy away. I settled on a one owner Rega P9 due to the RB 1000 tonearm, which gives me the opportunity to upgrade to a first class cartridge. Hope you consider a used P9 because IMO you can't get better sound for around $2500.

04-22-14: Schubert
I believe Pro.ject has, allowing for inflation, made a decent TT more affordable than any time in Audio History.
I've heard the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon. At $399 it's crazy good.

I bought my first stereo in 1972. The Debut Carbon (with Ortofon 2M Red cartridge) at $399--adjusted for inflation--would have been $76.72 in 1972 money. Back then $76.72 would buy you a mid-pack Garrard with 10" aluminum platter, plastic base, and entry-level Grado cart. with conical stylus. If we'd have the Pro-ject Carbon by the mid-'80s, CD would never have overtaken LP.
Thanks again, Dayglow. I'm open to all suggestions really. I can basically afford the $2500. Matter of fact, even double that, but is it worth going into that price range? My Technics + cart cost me all of around $900, and it sounds pretty sweet to me, lol.
$2500 can buy you a pretty sweet rig, but don't forget to factor in the cost of a good phono stage. If your budget is for table, arm and cart, now you should start to research phono preamps.

If you are just starting out with vinyl and do not have an existing collection, then there are many good budget units available. And BTW, keep in mind that the cart and phono stage need to be a good match.
Johnnyb53, very nice post, thanks for doing the work I'm too lazy to do.

04-25-14: Dave_72
Thanks again, Dayglow. I'm open to all suggestions really. I can basically afford the $2500. Matter of fact, even double that, but is it worth going into that price range? My Technics + cart cost me all of around $900, and it sounds pretty sweet to me, lol.
I have the exact same turntable, but I've gotten significantly better performance out of it with some tweaks--the KAB tonearm fluid damper, a Sorbothane mat, tonearm wrapped in Teflon plumbers tape, an LPGear ZuPreme headshell, and a platform made of some gel pads, a heavy 3-1/2" thick maple butcher block, and some Vibrapod cones and pads. Here's a picture.

However, if you're considering the $2500-5K range, you can do better a couple of ways. One is to get an SME armboard for your Technics and mount an SME tonearm. Tone Publications did just that and the review is here starting on p. 15.

Another alternative is to go for one of the overachievers in your target price range. My nominees would be something from Well Tempered such as an Amadeus or Simplex, or the $3K-ish Townshend Audio Rock 7.
Ok, thanks again. Much appreciated. There's so many options in the $2500-$6k range, that it's a bit confusing to me. You have Avid, Clearaudio, Luxman, Nottingham, SME?, Transrotor, etc.

I personally like the Luxman out of those at the moment. It has the functionality of my Technics with better build and is belt drive.

I could change my mind, which I usually do, haha.

My phono stage is internal in the Bryston BP6 preamp. Bryston says it's broadcast quality...
In the $2,500 to $6,000 range you do have a large number of choices. I have a Basis and a SME 10. I can readily recommend both, they are great turntables; and both can be bought used in your price range.
I started with a Project Xpression, which I believe used to cost less than it does now, and I loved it.

I Just had one of the wood bodied Grado carts on it with the Grado phono pre....of course all of this snow balled into my currently $10kish Garrard 301 rig, but my little brother is still using my first project setup and I have to say I still like it.
Cool, and I forgot about Basis and SME...they're pretty big players, so there's more to add in the pot! lol.
Notec; so what then is your advice if all the under-$1000 TTs are crap? And at what level does a turntable newbie start at?

The Orbit TT by U-Turn Audio
Ok, cool. What did you like about it, per se.
It was just easy to listen to. Nothing super hifi about it but it still had good sound stage and with that cartridge combination it delivered warm natural sounding vocals, which for me is pretty important since I don't listen to a ton of instrumental records.

That being said I was not a fan of their pairing with the stock Blue Oyster cartridge, or whatever it was. That cartridge with the carbon fiber arm was a little harsh sounding and lacked body.
Dear Notec,

The Orbit IS an ENTRY LEVEL TT that sells for $179.00

To quote you "Hi Fi entry level TT's are a pure waste of money"

I don't quite understand your reasoning Sir!
I'm a BIG fan of Rega tables and I cannot recommend the RP8 enough for $3,000.00 but I will throw in 3 other extremely reliable and well built brands/tables just for fun:

Acoustic Signature WOW for $1,600.00 w/out arm.
Well Tempered Amadeus for $2,850.00 w/arm.
Townshend Audio Rock 7 for $3,000.00 w/out arm.
Ohnofiasco: Sounds good. Thanks for the explanation. Much appreciated.

Kiko65: Thanks for the recommendations. I will take those into consideration. Which arm(s) would you recommend for those?
The WOW is a "steal" at the selling price of $1,995.00 with a Rega 202 included. As I said, I'm a BIG fan of Rega products and, IMHO, Rega tonearms are amazing when you take price/performance into consideration:

The base is constructed of a MDF and acrylic sandwich with their proprietary Tidorfolon bearing and a 24 mm polished aluminum platter. The motor is fully separated from the plateau to minimize unwanted vibration. The major highlights of its design include:

• same Tidorfolon Bearing design used in all Acoustic Signature turntables, with 10-year warranty;
• same AC motor used in all Acoustic Signature models;
• heavy 9 lb. CNC-machined platter with leather mat;
• high gloss acrylic black or white finish and;
• Rega 202 tone arm.

You get to choose white or black finish.

Now the Townshend Rock 7 is in another league of its own and you will be hard pressed to find a better sounding TT in its price range. Everytime I visit my friend Larry at Hollywood Sounds I have to listen to this table. To my ears, you will need to spend up to $10,000.00 to match the sound:

The Townshend turntables incorporates a unique approach to arm-damping, involving viscous damping at the front end of the arm, right next to the cartridge, using a distinctive damping trough.

The trough-damping gives a solidity to the sound that one seldom encounters in vinyl playback. The arm in the Well Tempered Amadeus, with its bearing via damping only, comes close.

The cartridge is supposed not to vibrate at at all, to sit still except for the motion needed to remain centered over the groove as the record plays.

So based on this unique approach, the tonearm is not as important, an old Rega RB250 will do justice just fine.

Caveat? Extremely fuzzy to set up but once its set up properly, satisfaction will be endless!

Hope this helps in your quest for the right TT for you.

Happy listening!