Suggestions for TT upgrade

Hello all,

a few years ago I bought a Project Carbon TT budget table with good reviews. Bought a cheap Emotiva phono pre to pair with it. I never really got into it and it’s been sitting for a year. I’m thinking about giving it another go. Couple questions:

Is the Project good enough to spend money on a better cartridge? If so any recommendations for reasonable ones? Thinking couple hundred new or used. 
Reasonably priced phono preamp better than the Emotiva? Tube or ss under let’s say $500. 

Based on everything you said I would do nothing right now but hook it up and start spinning vinyl. You are right, it is a visceral thing, there is nothing else like it, and no amount of money in digital can match what you already have. Sorry, just can’t. Digital can be more flat, neutral, dynamic, extended, blah, blah, blah, yada yada and yet for all that cannot touch the experience that is vinyl.

If after enjoying your records a while you want even more, well then first figure out what exactly you mean by more. First thing comes to mind for me, your phono stage is weak, very weak relative to the table and cartridge. But without some sort of plan it is premature to be suggesting upgrades.
A Hana EL mc cartridge + a SUT would be a big improvement! Much more details and dynamics from your LPs! 
just use it and enjoy them slowly upgrade... it's a journey you should enjoy as there is many knowledge  involved in playing turntable. it's cheap to make mistake now to prevent more expensive mistakes.

Thanks for the suggestions and... 

I’m sure a dumb question but what is an SUT? 
I think I’ll try and hook it all up today assuming I can find everything. 
If your headshell allows, changing out the headshell leads (4) can make an audible improvement in a turntable system’s performance. A number of well respected manufacturers sell these sets. Cardas comes to mind. I believe most headshell sets are sub $50.