Vinyl is all the rage. If you’re looking for a great turntable that’s better than basic models–though probably not audiophile level–the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Black is a good buy.
It’s expensive, but the sound quality is worth it. Here are our thoughts after testing the Project Debut Carbon Black.
- The tonearm is made with carbon fiber, and the turntable has no switches.
- The Project Debut Carbon Black Turntable is an excellent mid-level model if you have the budget
- It comes with an excellent stylus and is relatively easy to set up.
- It is manual and does not have an automatic turntable.
- Scientific testing shows that it has very accurate pitch and sound quality.
- A preamp may be necessary depending on your audio setup.
Why the Pro-Ject Debut?
I decided to get a turntable because I had records I wanted to listen to on vinyl and believe that it just sounds better on vinyl. After researching different turntables, the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Black stood out.
It’s got a great review in Wired magazine and a lot of really good info about it online. I wanted something higher-end and attractive looking to sit next to my Amazon Echo.
What Makes the Pro-Ject Debut Special?
The Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Black is called the Carbon Black because the tonearm is made with carbon fiber. You can change the speeds by removing the platter and changing a pulley underneath, and the switch is recessed under the turntable.
It’s got an excellent stylus on the end, and it comes mostly assembled. The instructions are a bit difficult to understand, but it’s easy to figure out how to set it up and adjust the tonearm.
Do I Need a Preamp?
One thing to consider with the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Black is that it doesn’t have a preamp built in.
If you have an audio setup like I do for my TV that doesn’t accept a phono-level input from the record player, you need to use a preamp to boost it up to a line level so you can plug it directly into your sound system.
They have one from the same company that makes this turntable, and it’s easy to set up.
How Does it Sound?
This is a manual turntable, so you just place it down and the stylus starts on the record. I have a Beatles album from Cirque du Soleil, and you can hear it starting to play through the system in the video above.
It’s at a very low volume right now, but the sound quality is excellent. The scientific testing of this turntable shows that in terms of its pitch and other things it’s very accurate, much better than some of the lower-end models.
Overall, I’m really happy with my Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Black turntable. It’s an attractive, high quality piece of equipment that’s great for my home audio setup. It’s pricey, especially if you include the cost of the pre-amp. If you have an audio system that’s set up for a turntable, you may not need the preamp.
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- Design: 5/5
- Price: 3/5
- Ease of Use: 4/5
- Sound Quality: 4/5
Pros and Cons
- High-end model
- Attractive looking
- Easy to set up
- Carbon fiber tonearm
- Very accurate pitch
- Instructions are terrible
- Need preamp to boost phono level input
- Not an automatic turntable
Where to Buy
Reviews from Our Readers
Here are some reviews from our readers and YouTube audience.
“These are actually a good deal. I upgraded to a modified Music Hall Ikura with a 9 cc carbon arm . It was a huge waist . It doesnt sound or perform any better. Stick with thier lower end.”
“+1 for the instructions being terrible”
“As an owner of the Audio-Technica AT-LP120, I DO NOT recommend one of these at all! The built-in preamp is garbage as I removed mine to greatly improve the sound. You made an excellent choice in buying the Pro-Ject turntable as the quality for the price is so much better. I only wish I had done better research before buying my AT POS.”
Yes, the Project Debut Carbon Black turntable comes pre-assembled, though the instructions are not great.
No, the Project Debut Carbon Black turntable does not have a phono preamp. If you need one, you can purchase a preamp from the same company that makes the turntable.
I’m Tom from Do-it-Yourself Home Automation. This is not exactly a home automation product, but I still wanted to show it.
This is the Project Debut Carbon Black turntable. I decided to get a turntable as I had records I wanted to be able to play on vinyl, and I just think it sounds better on vinyl. So I researched a bunch of different turntables that would be a great addition to your home audio setup.
The Project Debut Carbon Black stood out. There’s a nice review of it in Wired magazine, and there’s a lot of really good info about it online. so it’s a good entry-level model if you want something that’s relatively high-end. The other alternative is Audio Technica turntables that start closer to $250 and are really good too, but I wanted something that was a little bit higher-end and also just a little more attractive looking to sit here next to my nice Amazon Echo that I normally use for music.
So this is the Project Debut Carbon Black, and it’s called the Carbon Black because the tonearm is actually made with carbon fiber. It has the actual turntable here, and you can change the speeds without any switches. It’s very clean looking. You actually remove the platter here and then change a pulley underneath, which is pretty easy to do. The actual switch is recessed under here to switch it on and it has an excellent stylus on the end here. Everything comes basically assembled. The instructions are pretty terrible, but it’s really easy to figure out how to set it up and to adjust the tonearm so you have the proper weight.
One thing to consider with this versus some of the less expensive Audio Technica models is that they tend to have a phono preamp built in. So if you have an audio setup like I have here for my TV that doesn’t accept a phono level input from the record player, you actually have to use a preamp to boost it up to a line level. But they actually have one from the same company that makes this turntable, and it’s pretty easy to set up.
This is not an automatic turntable. I kind of hate automatic turntables; it kind of ruins the experience. So this is manual. Just place it down and the stylus starts on the record here. This is a Beatles album from Cirque du Soleil. You can hear it starting to play through the system, but it’s a very low volume right now. The sound quality is excellent.
A lot of the scientific testing of this turntable shows that, in terms of its pitch and other kinds of things, it’s really very accurate, much better than some of the lower-end models. I paid about $70 for the preamp, but again, if you do have an audio system that’s set up for a turntable already, you may not need that.
So there you go. That’s the Project Debut Carbon Black set up here in my house.