Photos of my Pro-Ject Debut III turntable, fully upgraded with acrylic platter, Speed Box II, Tube Box II, and Denon DL-160 phono cartridge. Combined, this Pro-Ject system is quite formidable, and delivered wonderful sounding music. These photos were taken in December of 2008.
Pro-Ject's Debut series of budget turntables has steadily advanced and improved over the years. The latest model, the Debut Carbon DC, introduces a carbon-fiber tonearm, equipped with a $99 Ortofon 2M Red phono cartridge, and a DC motor that promises greater speed stability over the older AC motor. The Carbon Esprit model also throws in the acrylic platter, which is another excellent upgrade.
I'd like to get my hands on these latest Pro-Ject Debut models, if only to learn if Pro-Ject has finally, at long last, solved the problem with their notoriously noisy motors. There's really no excuse for any turntable to be stuck with a buzzing motor that can be heard over the speakers. It's a problem that has plagued the lineup for years, and we've all tried countless DIY remedies, with varying degrees of success. Are the DC motors finally quiet? I certainly hope so.
In any case, if you're looking for a new budget turntable, the Pro-Ject Debut is the best deck available under $500. There really are no second contenders. Sometimes, I even miss my old Debut III. I really loved the music that came from my speakers.