Can't decide between Pro-Ject Debut Carbon and Essential II

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Michael LeCompte, Apr 10, 2016.

  1. Spsesq

    Spsesq Well-Known Member

    Location:
    New Jersey
    I have the Debut Carbon Esprit. First of all, I have Zero hum, never did as I grounded the turntable as the set up instructions state. Second, the arm on the debuted Carbon is fine and can handle the Ortofon 2m Black. I am currently running that on my system right now. It pulls every detail I can hear with my 54 year old ears out of my record albums. It sometime pulls too much and I have replaced albums with new reiss.ues or pristine Japanese pressings becauShe of the 2M black's accuracy....but the 2m Black is for another thread debate on another day.

    As for the turntable I love it and it satisfy my needs for my listening preferences...I tell my friends that I cannot justify spending money on Audio equipment that's going to produce a degree of sound only my dog can distinguish. I can buy a lot more albums with the cash I save on a more expensive piece of Hardware that produces sounds I cannot hear and enjoy.
     
    Daniel Thomas likes this.
  2. nosliw

    nosliw Active Member

    Location:
    Ottawa, ON, Canada
    My first turntable that I bought with my own money was the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon (non-DC) back in the summer of 2012 at Planet of Sound Ottawa. It served me quite well for all those years until I upgraded to my JVC QL-Y5F turntable. I had the hum issue before but I fixed it by removing the rubber grommets and transportation screws that held down the motor itself, which I let it "float" via an o-ring rubber band. If you can afford an extra $100, go with the Debut Carbon.
     
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  3. norliss

    norliss Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Cardiff, Wales
    I got a Debut Carbon Esprit SB last year just before Christmas. I have to say it's been really good: no hum or any other issues.
     
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  4. Helom

    Helom Forum Resident

    Location:
    U.S.
    The tonearm on the Carbon is a clever marketing gimmick, nothing more.

    One is much better off with an aluminum tonearm at this price point. The "headshell" on these Debut Carbon arms is weak and flexes under very small forces. The tonearm leads are extremely fragile compared to most. The example I owned had radial play in the vertical bearing that could not be remedied, as there was no way to adjust it. Other than the nicely finished plinths, these tables feel like toys in every respect when compared to a decent vintage deck. You can get a nice vintage deck from Yamaha, Pioneer, Micro Seiki, Kenwood and others for the same or even less $$$ and they'll blow the lids off these Pro-Jects.

    I don't mean to offend anyone here, just speaking from my personal experience and costly mistake.
     
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  5. juno6000

    juno6000 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Pembroke Pines, FL
    I had a Pro-ject Debut III with acrylic platter and speedbox, so I can see what you are saying. I bought a very nice vintage Sansui SR-636 for about $400.00 and it totally blew the pro-ject away. In a sense it isn't a fair comparison because one was 2nd from top of the line and the other is entry level. But when comparing by price.....wow! The pro-ject table was fine, and I did not have any problems with it. But it was surprising the difference between the two. My best advice is to buy the most expensive thing you can or save up for awhile. I really hate hearing about "upgrade paths" at the low end of the spectrum. You can upgrade the hell out of a Debut, but at the end of the day you are still left with an arm that is not VTA adjustable. Buy the best table you can afford. If you want to upgrade, upgrade to a new table.
     
    Helom likes this.
  6. Cyclone Ranger

    Cyclone Ranger Forum Resident

    Location:
    West Coast USA
    What about something like a custom U-Turn Orbit? You can have an acrylic platter and an Oroton Red cart put on, plus tonearm cue (which really should come standard), for $369, total... Orbit Custom

    Then of course there's the Rega Planar 1 that many ppl seem to like, which goes for $475, w/the nice Rega tonearm and a Carbon cart included.

    I'm just kinda souring on Pro-Ject. The hum issue and build quality concerns keep popping up in ppl's comments on them.

    I get that they're cheap, widely available, have a wide breadth of product and market well, but that would describe a great many products that actually aren't so great.
    .
     
  7. Marshall_SLX

    Marshall_SLX Active Member

    I have no doubt the 2m black is an improvement on a debut carbon over the other 2m carts but i just cant see how the carbon could get the most out of the cart. Talking here in aussie dollars DC Carbon with 2m black would be $1,400 new at the cheapest. A 90s Rega P3 or even P2 with an Exact or 2m Bronze will be $1,000 incl a brand new cart and i would have to think will be better, same price with a brand new black and even then the P3 will be struggling to pull the finer details out of the black.

    Having said all that if you had your heart set on buying new and $600 was your max budget and you wanted a plug and play system that you werent going to upgrade and you play 45s then the Carbon Esprit with 2m red is exactly what you want. Rega P2 with Bias would be better but i dont know what prices are like on it in the states.
     
  8. Bob_in_OKC

    Bob_in_OKC Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    I've bought several vintage turntables over the years and have had trouble with most of them. I think the only used turntables I've bought and had no trouble with have been Rega and Technics. I don't mean that as a testimonial or recommendation for those two brands - just that my various turntables from Dual, Pioneer, Marantz, and JVC were all old and either immediately or soon showed it. Of course a turntable that cost $400 in the 1970s is nicer than one that costs $400 now - if it isn't in need of repair.

    My wife's turntable is a Debut III, with a Dynavector 10x4 cartridge. It has a platter from a Pro-Ject Xpression and a mat from a Rega. That setup sounds better than some of the vintage turntables I've had, but not all.
     
    Daniel Thomas likes this.
  9. Litejazz53

    Litejazz53 Enjoying Sparkling Crystal Clear Digital

    Oh my, can I jump on that soapbox with you on those Carbon turntables, I never said it, but they really are like a child's toy, so cheap and flimsy. One can never pick the arm up as it's just not "pick up friendly", you will drop it for sure. That is why the arm pick up must be used, it's just too light and the small pickup on the headshell is about 1/2 the size it needs to be. Couple what you said with the ringing steel platter, the toilet paper thin platter mat and the unique buzzing Carbon hum, and you have a really great reason to jump up 3 notches and get a Rega 3, at least! I hope we can change some hearts and minds here, I wasted an entire day on mine before I gave up, just want to save others from the heartache. :agree:
     
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  10. BigGame

    BigGame Well-Known Member

    I have esprit carbon for years and it is nice unit
     
  11. Spsesq

    Spsesq Well-Known Member

    Location:
    New Jersey
    I have a few thoughts for some posters who are critical of the Project Debut Carbon series and call it a "child's toy".

    I am an owner of the Project Debut Carbon Esprit. I paid $599.00US complete with an Ortofon 2M Red. First of all the main differences between the Esprit and the non-Esprit are that the Esprit comes with an upgraded acrylic platter and a built in speed box with a button to choose between 331/3 and 45 rather than changing speeds via a belt adjustment. The acrylic platter requires no platter pad and reduces resonance and static.

    Second, as for the arm, it is a one piece carbon fiber arm that is extremely stiff and sturdy. I have never had any "flexure" or movement issues. As for the small lifting arm... I never use it anyway because I don't want to risk scratching my album. I only use the lifting arm. As for the hum, the Esprit model solved that issue by isolating the motor and removed the screws the old versions had issues with. Also you need to properly ground your turntable or a $10,000 turntable will hum.

    I replaced the original 2M red with a Blue stylus and loved it. But before I upgraded the turntable, I decided to try a more expensive cartridge. I wanted to push the unit to its max to see what it could really do. I upgraded to a 2M Black which is the most that turntable can handle. I called Ortofon and Project independently and both manufacturers said the 2m Black will be the ultimate and I can expect, once its broken in to get the full effect of the Cartridge. So for those who say the Debut Esprit can not realize the full benefits of the 2M Black, Ortofon and Project and I completely disagree. The only caveat I make, is that I do notice, (and I warned about is on a nother thread) is that the Black will pick up any imperfection in the record due to inferior pressing, dirt or static. I have replaced older albums that I listened to a lot for newer versions, Japanese pressings, etc. and I notice absolute quiet and great sound. For older albums that I cannot replace, I simply take out the Black stylus and insert the Blue and bingo...no issues (the bodies are the same, just different construction material and internal wiring).

    Most importantly you must remember the Project Debut Carbon Esprit is an entry level turntable at $599.00US.
    It is designed for people exactly like me who are either on a budget or are just entering the hobby and want a good, sturdy accurate turntable to start with. It is excellent for listening to music and hearing things clearly and accurately enough to want to go further into the hobby and expand. It allows you to appreciate the music and want more. Some may say that that is their ultimate turntable and stop there and they wont be disappointed.

    I look at it this way...when you got your first HD TV you said WOW!!! Then you wanted a bigger screen and said "Oh my God!" Finally you went to a 65 inch LED 4K and said "Holy *%#^!!!!" You cant tell what your missing until your used to something and then see the difference in a better unit.

    Will I eventually upgrade to a more expensive turntable? Yes. I am in the market now only because now that I have trained myself to really listen. I appreciate the soundstage, the accuracy and the detail of the 2m Black in my Esprit but now I believe I want to hear more and appreciate even more detail. I could not have done that but for a $600.00 initial investment in the Esprit.

    Just my thoughts. Steve
     
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  12. Crazyhorse11

    Crazyhorse11 Forum Resident

    Agreed. If you can afford it. Get the Planar 3. Its a beauty. The Elys 2 cart sounds quite nice as well.
     
  13. Litejazz53

    Litejazz53 Enjoying Sparkling Crystal Clear Digital

    If I were going to buy a Carbon anything, I would not want that paper thin mat and the steel platter that rings. I think why we don't see more people complaining about the Carbon Hum/Buzz with the speed controlled Carbons with the acrylic platters, I think it must cut down on the motor buzz, heck it might even do away with it. Here are three turntables that look nice, but I would look at the reviews on each and make a decision, if you like them. Teac TN-300, Pioneer PLX-500, Akai Pro BT500, all of these tables are less than $300.00, take a look and see what you think.:righton:
     
  14. Northa40

    Northa40 New Member

    Location:
    Canada
    I am still using the Essential II but I did get the heavier counter weight the acrylic platter and added the 2M Blue stylus. The 2M blue made a big difference, it would be hard to go back.
     
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  15. RascslMJ

    RascslMJ New Member

    Location:
    Ohio
    I'm thinking about making the jump to the Carbon esprit because the Beatles edition is $440. That seems like a pretty great deal? Unless I'm missing something?

    I have been looking at all the "regular" suspects at around $300, but is the Beatles carbon esprit gets me that much better....and for a good price, I'll definitely consider it.

    Any thoughts?
     
  16. SpeedMorris

    SpeedMorris Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Iowa
    Fine deal if you don't get a "hummer". Just make sure you can return it if it happens to hum.
     
  17. RascslMJ

    RascslMJ New Member

    Location:
    Ohio
    Yeah, that's what I've been reading. There are a couple open box units for even cheaper. Likely hummers. Ha
     
  18. malco49

    malco49 Forum Resident

    i have done almost exactly the same with my 10 year(or so) old debut lll(i guess it is not carbon). acrylic platter-speedbox-and i have an OM20 stylus and and a record clamp.i also had the motor dampened to address some noise issues and it seems to have done the trick.i do notice that heavy vinyl(180 gram-gimmick) tends to be a bit noisy.otherwise the TT has served me well over the years.
     
  19. SpeedMorris

    SpeedMorris Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Iowa
    And if it does make some of those funny noises, a couple of tweaks around the motor mount area can often/sometimes help. Worked like a charm on my son's basic Carbon.
     
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  20. Litejazz53

    Litejazz53 Enjoying Sparkling Crystal Clear Digital

    I should jump right in here and say, when I received mine, I called the factory and they told me exactly what to do, and I did it, and much more and what did that do, altered the tone of the hum! I was not willing to pull out the table saw, but this man was, and he still could not kill the hum! After wasting my entire afternoon trying to fix a NEW turntable, it went back the next day.:whistle:
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2017
    RascslMJ likes this.
  21. SpeedMorris

    SpeedMorris Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Iowa
    Hence the reason for buying from a seller with a return policy. The one I got for my son nearly went immediately back to MD, but I thought I "owed" them an attempt at fixing the issue. Happily, removing the motor mount screws on some Pro-Ject and Music Hall tables they're labeled as transport screws and removed) and putting neoprene washers under other screws did the trick. It was $280 well spent, I thought.
     
  22. Litejazz53

    Litejazz53 Enjoying Sparkling Crystal Clear Digital

    You were very fortunate my friend, many people have spent long afternoons and days trying to quiet the humming carbon but have been unable to accomplish the task. I too did exactly what you did, and it did not touch the problems, so you were fortunate indeed, I know your son will enjoy the table without hum. :righton:
     
  23. SpeedMorris

    SpeedMorris Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Iowa
    And I do ask him from time to time if he's heard any bad sounds, but so far it has two years of good behavior logged in.:)
     

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