Our Verdict 
Best turntable up to £500, Awards 2012. The latest version of the long-running Debut remains a winner.
Excellent detail and clarity for the price
easy to set-up
wide range of finishes
Manual speed change
the price is creeping up a bit
Reviewed on

Just how does turntable specialist Pro-ject do it? The use of a carbon fibre arm is usually reserved for far more exotic offerings than this Pro-ject Debut Carbon, usually involving four-figure price tags. Yet here, the company has incorporated carbon fibre into its core entry-level product.

Sure, the Debut’s price has gone up over the years, but this latest version remains a high-value proposition with that arm, revised motor mounting, heavier platter and the inclusion of Ortofon’s 2M Red moving-magnet cartridge.

The deck comes in seven gloss finishes, including black for those not taken with the attention-grabbing alternatives on offer.

The rather fine Ortofon cartridge comes pre-fitted, leaving the user with just the counter and bias weights to install. As with any turntable, care in set-up is richly rewarded. The Debut doesn’t have any isolating suspension bar a set of compliant feet, so make sure its support is as rigid and vibration-free as possible.

Keeping the deck perfectly level and well away from the speakers is always a good idea too.

Pro-ject Debut Carbon: Sound quality

This Pro-ject is a fine-sounding package for the money. Play Radiohead’s In Rainbows and it’s the level of clarity that pleases.

The Debut delivers an impressively clean and insightful sound, one that digs deep while keeping a firm hold of the overall musical structure. It’s not just clinical reproduction though – we’re taken with the Pro-ject’s expressive nature, too.

Move on to the likes of Holst’s Planet Suite and the Debut Carbon continues to impress with high detail levels, relatively wide dynamics and a pleasing subtlety. Put it all together and you have a product that sounds at home on all types of music and that, for the money, is generally well built.


The Debut has been a recommendable proposition for well over a decade. This new version keeps it as appealing as ever.

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