Pro-Ject, an Austrian audio company, has been producing turntables for over 30 years and has gained a reputation for manufacturing high-quality and affordable turntables. In this review, we’ll take a closer look at the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo, one of their latest models, to see if it lives up to the hype.
Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo
Pros & Cons
The Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo is a highly regarded turntable in the audio community, known for its impressive features and performance. However, like any product, it has its pros and cons.
- High-quality build and materials
- Excellent sound quality
- Carbon-fiber tonearm and Ortofon 2M Red cartridge
- Minimalist design
- Precision motor control system
- Can be a bit fiddly to set up
- No built-in phono preamp
- May require additional investment in audio equipment
Design and Tactile Experience
The Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo boasts a sleek and minimalist design, with a high-gloss finish on the plinth and a clear dust cover. The turntable’s aesthetic is simple yet elegant, and its compact size allows it to fit into any room with ease. The turntable is available in different colors: satin (blue, yellow, green, white, black), high gloss (black, white, red) and real-wood, giving you the option to choose the color that best suits your personal taste.
One of the most striking design features of the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo is its tonearm. The unipivot design allows for precise tracking of the record grooves, resulting in a highly accurate playback of your favorite records. The tonearm also features an adjustable counterweight and anti-skate mechanism, which helps to further improve the accuracy of the turntable’s performance.
In addition to its impressive tonearm, the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo also has adjustable feet. These feet can be used to level the turntable on uneven surfaces, ensuring that your records are always played back with the highest level of accuracy possible. The turntable also features a 300mm steel platter with a felt mat, which provides a stable platform for your records and helps to minimize vibrations.
|AC synchronous motor
|33⅓, 45 RPM (manual speed change)
|> 0.8 kg/cm
|Wow and Flutter
|8.6″ carbon-fiber tonearm
|300mm steel platter with felt mat
Features and Specifications
The Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo boasts several upgrades to its motor and platter arrangements that set it apart from its predecessor, the Debut Carbon. One of the most significant improvements is the platter’s construction, which is now made of steel and features a TPE damping ring applied to its inner edge. This design makes the platter much more inert than previous Debut platters and provides for a more stable turntable performance. The platter also sits on a sub-platter that the belt acts upon, further enhancing its stability.
The Carbon Evo comes equipped with electronic speed control as standard, operated via a three-position switch. It allows users to select 33rpm by pressing it left, 45rpm by pressing it right, and off by pressing it at the center. However, on some review samples, selecting 33rpm may cause the platter to rotate briefly at a higher speed before settling down, which can seem unusual. Despite this minor drawback, the turntable is impressively pitch stable and offers 78 rpm playback when using a second belt, making it a versatile option for vinyl enthusiasts who want to play records of various speeds.
Performance and Functionality
The Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo’s performance and functionality are some of the turntable’s standout features. The sound quality of the turntable is exceptional, with a balanced and detailed sound that offers a wide soundstage and excellent instrument separation. The carbon-fiber tonearm and Ortofon 2M Red cartridge work in unison to deliver a clean and dynamic sound, with little to no distortion. Additionally, the turntable’s speed stability is impressive, with minimal wow and flutter. The result is a listening experience that is both engaging and enjoyable, making the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo a fantastic choice for vinyl enthusiasts who value sound quality above all else.
Setting up the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo is relatively straightforward. The turntable comes with a pre-installed Ortofon 2M Red cartridge, so you won’t need to worry about installing a cartridge yourself. However, you will need to adjust the tracking force and anti-skate settings, which can be done using the included tools.
The Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo is priced at around $499—$599, which may seem steep for some. However, considering its features, performance, and build quality, it is a good value for money. The turntable’s carbon-fiber tonearm and Ortofon 2M Red cartridge are usually found on more expensive turntables, making the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo an excellent choice for those on a budget.
Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo Alternatives
While the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo is an excellent turntable, it may not be the perfect choice for everyone. Fortunately, there are many alternatives on the market that offer similar features and performance.
Rega Planar 1
The Rega Planar 1 turntable is an excellent option for those seeking a budget-friendly yet high-quality turntable. Its minimalist design is sleek and modern, with a high-gloss plinth and a clear dust cover. The turntable is a great choice for beginners who want to get started with vinyl playback without breaking the bank.
One of the standout features of the Rega Planar 1 is its carbon-fiber tonearm, which is both lightweight and rigid. The turntable also comes with a Rega Carbon cartridge, which is specifically designed to work with the tonearm and produce excellent audio quality.
Other features of the Rega Planar 1 include a high-quality motor and a precision-machined platter, which work together to ensure accurate and stable playback. The turntable also offers easy speed selection, with a simple switch for 33 and 45 RPM speeds.
- Budget-friendly price
- Minimalist design
- Carbon-fiber tonearm and Rega Carbon cartridge
- Easy setup and maintenance
The Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB is a versatile and highly capable turntable with a variety of features. Its direct-drive motor ensures precise speed control and minimal wow and flutter, which contributes to a clean and detailed sound. The built-in phono preamp and USB output for digital conversion make it a great choice for those who want to digitize their vinyl collection. The turntable also offers a variety of playback speeds, including 33 1/3, 45, and 78 RPM, providing compatibility with a range of vinyl records. Moreover, the adjustable tracking force and anti-skate settings allow for fine-tuning of the turntable’s performance to match different cartridges and records.
- Direct-drive motor
- Built-in phono preamp and USB output
- Adjustable tracking force and anti-skate settings
- Variety of playback speeds
The Pro-Ject X1 turntable is a premium option for audiophiles who demand the best performance from their vinyl. The X1 features a carbon-fiber tonearm that is both lightweight and rigid, ensuring accurate tracking of the record grooves. The turntable’s platter is precision-machined, and its weight and mass distribution have been optimized for maximum stability and speed accuracy. It also comes with a Pro-Ject Pick it Pro cartridge that delivers a highly detailed and dynamic sound. The X1 offers electronic speed control, ensuring accurate playback speeds, and adjustable feet for leveling on uneven surfaces. Additionally, the X1 provides a range of upgrade options, such as a speed box for improved electronic speed control or a Pro-Ject Acryl-It E platter upgrade for enhanced sound quality.
- Sleek and modern design
- Pro-Ject Pick it Pro cartridge
- Electronic speed control and adjustable feet
- Optional upgrades
Overall, the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo offers a tactile experience that is both satisfying and easy to use. Its adjustable feet and unipivot tonearm ensure that your records are always played back with the highest level of accuracy possible. While there are certainly other turntables on the market with more advanced features, the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo offers a high-quality listening experience that is hard to beat for the price.