Opinions of the Pro-Ject Debut III turntable

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by hifisoup, Nov 28, 2013.

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  1. hifisoup

    hifisoup Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Illinois
    Just looking for opinions of this table from anyone with experience with it. Seems like a pretty good table for the money but I've never heard it. Wondering if it has very good isolation too. Any comments and opinions are welcomed. Thank you-
     
  2. vinylkid58

    vinylkid58 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Victoria, B.C.
    Buy a gently used Rega P3. The Debut III is to be avoided IMHO.

    jeff
     
  3. Bob_in_OKC

    Bob_in_OKC Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    The Debut III is a pretty decent turntable. There have been cases where the motor vibration is audible, but it is otherwise good. My wife's turntable is a Debut III with a Dynavector 10X4 MK II cartridge. No complaints at all.
     
  4. wgriel

    wgriel Forum Resident

    Location:
    bc, canada
    Agreed - in my opinion the Debut III is an excellent sounding table for the money, but it can have a problem with motor noise. I've spent a fair amount of time listening to a couple of samples recently, and I have to say I'm really impressed with how musical this entry level table is.

    However, one of the tables exhibits too much motor noise when it's used as shipped. We solved that problem by completely removing the screws that hold the motor - when removed the motor "floats" on those elastic bands and that annoying motor "hum" is gone. The table still isn't as quiet as more expensive tables out there, but in my opinion it sure is a pleasure to listen to.
     
  5. mikeyt

    mikeyt Forum Resident

    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Doesn't the instructions say to do this?

    Why? I did extensive research before buying one, and across the board the Debut III was recommended as being a great bang for the buck. I personally LOVE mine. I have it set with a Goldring 2200 cart and the sound is great. I've gotten friends into vinyl and other friends to consider upgrading after having them over and a night of drinking and spinning LPs.
     
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  6. wgriel

    wgriel Forum Resident

    Location:
    bc, canada
    Ah, you know what - you are quite correct! I've mixed up the instructions for the Debut III with the Debut Carbon. In the latter case they don't recommend removing the screws but indeed, they are meant to be removed with the Debut III.
     
    hifisoup likes this.
  7. vinylkid58

    vinylkid58 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Victoria, B.C.
    I've heard both in the same system, and the older P3-2000 is a significant step up sonically.

    jeff
     
  8. 926am

    926am Forum Resident

    Location:
    rochester, ny
    Funny, my experience is just the OPPOSITE. I originally removed the screws and the motor noise was quite excessive. I experimented with putting the screws back in but not tightening them all the way and the noise is no longer noticable.
     
  9. wgriel

    wgriel Forum Resident

    Location:
    bc, canada
    I've heard of that - it seems that some of these tables are OK out of the box, but some require a bit of fiddling with the motor screws to get things just right. The main thing is to get it working to your satisfaction!
     
  10. Slick Willie

    Slick Willie Decisively Indecisive

    Location:
    Sweet VA.
    I would say it may be one of, if not the biggest "bang for your buck" tables out there. It would be very hard to "up it" at that price point.
     
    hifisoup and sound chaser like this.
  11. davidshirt

    davidshirt =^,,^=

    Location:
    Grand Terrace, CA
    I've had mine since 2010, and it's done me well. I upgraded the cart to the 2m red and purchased the acrylic platter for it. I never noticed any motor noise on mine.
     
    phish, hifisoup and sound chaser like this.
  12. I have a Debut III. The motor rumble noise bugs me. I've tried all sorts of mods to tame it and it still rumbles. It bugs me. I can't enjoy listening to it because once I hear the ruble I can't unhear it. The rumble isn't just a frequency bump at 60/120/240 hz. It's also different in phase from the music so it stands out. Perhaps it's because I listen on good headphones that it is more noticeable? I also suspect that some Debut III's rumble more than others.

    My Debut III spends more time in its box than being played. It is currently boxed. I plan to replace it with a better turntable that doesn't rumble to a degree that bugs me. It's not going to be a Pro-Ject.
     
    hifisoup likes this.
  13. Ash76

    Ash76 Senior Member

    I started a couple of pegs up the rung with the Pro-ject Rpm 5. 1 and love it. Looked at the Debut Carbon which is quite nice too and probably better than the Debut 3 for not much more money
     
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  14. Balthazar

    Balthazar Well-Known Member

    I owned the USB version for a couple of years and was happy with it. I wouldn't say it has "very good isolation" but it seems to have the about what you'd expect at that price range. I think it's a nice table. Nothing special, but it doesn't do anything wrong. No motor rumble on mine. Really, no problems at all in the time I owned it. If not for my upgraditis, I probably should have just kept it and upgraded the cartridge to an OM20 0r OM30 after burning through the OM5.

    I see you can get the Debut III for $299 now. That's a lot of table for the money if you're buying new.
     
    hifisoup likes this.
  15. Stefan

    Stefan Forum Resident

    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    I was going to write basically the same thing as this. I had a Debut, the noise bugged the heck out of me mostly because a lot of my listening is through headphones. I traded it for an Xpression II. Still had the noise. I managed to tweak out most of the noise at 33rpm but at 45, it's worse. I replaced the Xpression motor, still have the problem. Needless to say, I'll never buy another Pro-Ject product (been through two phono stages by them and both were returned due to problems).

    Having said that, the Debut is otherwise not a bad table. As I've written in other threads and on other forums, if you're planning on buying a Pro-Ject turntable, be sure you can audition it first, and be sure to listen through headphones and focus on material where there are quiet sections and between songs to see if you can live with the motor noise.

    Two other things to consider about the Debut III :
    1. You cannot adjust the height of the tonearm (VTA) for different cartridges. Yes all Rega turntables have this same limitation, but you can also buy spacers from Rega and other vendors to resolve this. Yes, Rega makes a statement about how rigidity is more important than correct VTA, but if you've ever adjusted VTA on a machine with a fine line, microline, special elliptical, shibata stylus, you know what a big difference VTA can make.
    2. You cannot upgrade the cartridge to a moving coil model at any time because the platte is metal and will attract the magnets in the cartridge.
    These two points reflect the target market for the Debut. It's designed to be plug and play and not for someone who wants to upgrade, tweak, etc.

    Thus I'd say that if you don't mind those limitations and you can find one that doesn't have a bad motor or the noise doesn't bother you after auditioning it thoroughly, it's better than a lot of the cheap plastic turntables out there. Mind you a few forum members here have been getting great sounds out of the Audio-Technica AT-LP120, which sells for around $200 and is far more upgradable/tweakable than the Debut. Lots of people love to hate it and dismiss it as plastic junk (more because it looks like a Technics SL-1200 but doesn't perform as well), but if you check out needledrop samples that some folks have done in the needledrop thread here, they're getting far better sound from it than any Debut ever produced.
     
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  16. hifisoup

    hifisoup Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Illinois
    That's what I was thinkng, that for $299 you can't go wrong. However if it does have motor rumble that would bug me.
     
  17. hifisoup

    hifisoup Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Illinois
    I appreciate everyone's input. For $299 it seems like a great table but I do know that the noise would bother me no matter what price I paid. Music Direct has the III for $299 and I believe they would exchange it if I'm not satisfied but then you have the whole exchange/pay for shipping to go thru. Not sure what I'll do but I thank you all for your ideas and opinions.
     
  18. mikeyt

    mikeyt Forum Resident

    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    I've never noticed motor rumble with mine. I believe that was an issue that only affected early tables, but has since been fixed. I could be wrong, but it's not something I read was a current problem when I was doing research a year ago.
     
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  19. Bob_in_OKC

    Bob_in_OKC Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    For those who wish to upgrade a Debut III to a moving-coil cartridge, I would suggest replacing the stock ferrous platter with the Xpression replacement platter. An acrylic platter would also be an option. I think the Xpression platter costs around $50, which is a small price to pay if you really want to move up. I thought the platter alone made an improvement to the sound, even before I added a Rega mat and the Dynavector cartridge.

    On the lack of VTA adjustment, I'd say if you're moving up to a cartridge with a line contact stylus you might be overkilling it for this turntable. Get yourself something fun and maybe with a bit of a warm tendency and let the fine detail wait until you have spent more on the turntable than the cartridge.
     
  20. mikeyt

    mikeyt Forum Resident

    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    You could try one off of Amazon, I think you wouldn't have to pay return shipping if you didn't like it.
     
  21. hifisoup

    hifisoup Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Illinois
    That is good news and very feasible. Not uncommon for early issues with products then the fix them after some get out into the field.
     
  22. Stefan

    Stefan Forum Resident

    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    Actually I`ve read more than one comment from folks who've bought Debuts in the past year and had problems. I recall Daniel Thomas buying one from needledoctor.com and fortunately being able to return it after discovering the motor noise drove him nuts.

    As I wrote above, if you're going to try a Debut, make sure you get to audition it before buying. If that's not possible, make sure you buy it from a dealer with a good return policy if you're not satisfied.
     
  23. Stefan

    Stefan Forum Resident

    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    $50 might get the aluminum platter. The acrylic platter is around $100. I got one for my Xpression II at the same time as a Speed Box. One thing I did notice about my acrylic platter was although the temptation is there to use it without the mat, when I did some A-Bing with or without the felt met atop it, the depth of soundstage was better with the mat. Just the platter on its own seems to give you faster transients but without depth.

    A platter upgrade, be it to aluminum or acrylic will also give the full 12" LP diameter. I always felt the small platter made my Debut look more like a toy. Mind you I missed the piano black finish when I got the Xpression II in gray.
     
  24. Bob_in_OKC

    Bob_in_OKC Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    Yes -- I was referring to the aluminum platter, which to my ears was an upgrade.
     
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  25. Faceman

    Faceman Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Hampshire, USA
    I have had a Debut III for several years, I have never noticed motor rumble. I have upgraded to the acrylic platter, the speedbox and when I first bought it I had a 2M Blue installed. I am very happy with the turntable.
     
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