Project Phono Box and Debut 2 TT question

Finally decided to go back to vinyl with Project Debut 2 and phone box. I thought I would start with a budget TT and phono stage and then, as my vinyl collection grows, move up to a better TT. Maybe I was to optimistic but I was not a bit impressed by the project debut 2 and project phono box. Flat, lifeless sound, worst than I remember from my 1st cheap Sony cd player from 1990.

Maybe it’s the phono box, I thought, so I got my trusted Aura VA100 integrated amp out of it’s box and used its own phono input. Much better, at least sounded like vinyl, although not very good. The Debut 2 didn’t convince me and I will buy a better player and phono stage very soon.

Any one with the same experience with the Project Phono Box?
Any one tried the Debut 2 with a better phono stage?

Strangely enough I still have a Phono Box that I have had to turn to when my ARC PH 3 was in for repairs and I didn't find it so bad. I use a REGA P9 with an Ortofon Kontra B. So, while the Phono Box may be an entry-level device, I would think your table, arm, cart or the set-up (or all of the foregoing) could be to blame. You may also suffer from vinyl letdown, a condition brought about by listening too much to vinalysts singing the praise of vinyl at full voice and then being confronted by the reality that it it's only a bloody record player after all. Make sure that the table is properly set-up to start with. That in and of itself is a tricky job, but the first source of issues. Bear in mind that the expression “plug-and-play” was far from being in the vocabulary when God invented the turntable. Good luck.

Thanks for your reply.
The debut doesn't have much to set-up. It's leveled, anti-skating weight on the correct position. When I used the phono input of the Aura VA100 intgrated amp it sounded as vinyl. Not very good but still ok. Maybe it's the project phono box that's faulty. The sound with it it's lifeless, flat , no bass, cold(almost metallic).
did you let the tubes on the project phono burn in?
i've heard that new tubes can sound like that until
they break in.
Nuno never mentioned that he has the new version with tubes, I am quite sure it is the usual transistor version. Burn in is a cop out. Nuno does not indicate what cart he has; I presume that the tt came all assembled with the cart installed. Double-edged proposition: on the one hand the cart is well mounted, on the other the cart, at that price point, is probably an almost marginal proposition. I assume that you have an mm cart. Make sure that the internal jumpers in the Phono Box are adjusted for the type of cart you use (moving magnet or moving coil). It may be (but I doubt it if you bought it new) that the Phono Box could be set to mc which would give you too much gain for just about every mm cart. If it is not the problem and your tt is properly set-up insofar as it being level side to side and front to back, I am afraid it probably means that you will have to spend more on your vinyl front end to achieve the sound quality you desire. Don't believe all that you read about the magic of vinyl. It only comes at a price and with a lot of effort to set it up and then to keep it going by feeding it well-maintained and cleaned records. Try to get a taste of what something higher up in the overall scheme of vinyl front ends can bring before spending more. Good luck. PS make sure you judge the thing by using a wide variety of LPs. Despite all the proselytizing, some are good and some are terrible. My son was kind enough to buy me The Beatles White Album for X-mas; the sound is steely hard (digital remastered BTW) enough to send you back to the CD version in no time. LPs are not all created equal, and then they go downhill from there.
Static21, I'm using the phono box (entry level) not the tube phono box.
Maybe I should I have been more specific. The cart. is a mm and comes already mounted. The phono box is set to mm (factory default). I'm replacing the phono stage first and see how it goes.
I'm coming back to vinyl after 14 years. I'm not new to it. In my parents house there's a TT and I still listen to it once in a while.
I live in a another country (UK) and it's not possible to compare the Debut2 against the "relic" AIWA (from the late 70's). I did try diferent records with similar results. Only the phono in the Aura integrated sounds acceptable.

I'll try to get a used phono stage around $300/500, something that I could keep when I replace the Debut2.
You may want to try a different cartridge than the stock one that came with your turntable. I have a Pro-Ject 1.2 with a Parasound PPH-100 phono preamp. It was also my entry back into vinyl after fifteen years. I felt the same as well, somewhat lifeless sound until I replaced the Sumiko Oyster cartridge with an Audio Technica cartridge. The AT gave more extended bass, clearer mids and extended highs. You may want to give a different cartridge a try before replacing the turntable.