The constantly evolving Austrian manufacturer Pro-Ject has recently released a new version of its famous DEBUT turntable. Taking its basic inspiration from the new DEBUT CARBON ESPRIT vinyl turntable, it also has several new developments of its own, including an AC motor with a new suspension system that uses TPE-damped vibration isolation bushings. They reduce vibration and minimise rumble, thus improving the signal-to-noise ratio. The motor also features a new bearing with stainless steel spindle. The tonearm is still the 8.6” carbon fibre model, made from a single piece of carbon fibre weighing 6g! This significantly increases rigidity and provides much improved tonal neutrality and precision in comparison with the aluminium model. It is worth noting that the tonearm cables are not captive and so the standard cables can easily be replaced by higher quality models, such as Pro-Ject's Connect It range. The platter is a 300mm piece of acrylic. This material can be used without a conventional felt platter mat, which stays stuck to the record more often than not. Unlike when using a steel platter, its low resonance frequency delivers a more neutral and less coloured sound quality.
BUT the Carbon Esprit’s major innovation is that it now features a built-in electronic speed controller, namely the “Speed Box S”. This lets you switch between 33⅓ and 45 RPM using two small buttons. However, if you want to play a 78 you still need to change the speed manually by moving the belt, and this should be done when the automatic speed is set to 45 RPM. Like the previous model, the Carbon Esprit SB comes fitted as standard with the Ortofon 2M Red elliptical cartridge. This can be used with the Ortofon 2M78 stylus if you’re looking to play 78 records.
The listening experience is very precise and well balanced. Noise levels are very low, letting the music and detail speak for itself. The sound stage is quite amazing for a turntable within this price range. The technical and technological solutions adopted by Pro-Ject have proven once again to be a success. Naturally, it can't compete with the performances of its higher end brothers and sisters, but it has to be said that this turntable can deliver impressively high quality sound reproduction for a product under €500 (that comes fitted with a cartridge)! Its user-friendliness also makes this Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Esprit SB the most highly evolved turntable in its price range.
An absolute must!
Hi-Fi Choice - Grouptest Winner
Hi-Fi Choice (GroupTest winner)
Haute Fidélité Franck
Electronic speed change: 33 and 45 rpm
Manual speed change: 78 rpm
Drive principle: belt
Motor: Synchronous AC with DC power supply
Motor suspension: TPE
Platter: 300 mm acrylic
Bearing: Stainless steel
Wow & Flutter: +/- 0.1%
Drift: +/- 0.8%
Signal-to-noise ratio: - 68dB
Tonearm: 8.6”, 218.5 mm carbon fibre
Effective tonearm mass: 6.0 g
Tracking force: 10 - 30mN
Accessories: Phono cable, dust cover
MM cartridge: Ortofon 2M Red
For 78 rpm: 2M78 (Optional)
DC Power supply: outboard 15 V
Dimensions: 415 x 118 x 320 mm closed dust cover
Weight: 5.6 kg