Pro-Ject Today Introduces New Debut Carbon EVO Turntable

MISTELBACH, AUSTRIA– August 17, 2020 – Pro-Ject Audio Systems today unveiled the new $499 Debut Carbon EVO turntable—a feature-packed priced-right addition to its Debut Collection.The new turntable incorporates a one-piece carbon fiber tonearm, electronic speed selection, suspension elements used in the more costly EISA award-winning X1 turntable and in America, a factory mounted Sumiko Rainier cartridge.

The 20 year old Debut series, with close to one million units sold, is one of the best-selling products in hi-fi history. The new EVO is available in nine finish options including varieties of eight-coat, hand painted high-gloss, matte pastel colors or wood veneer.

Features include an 8.6" one-piece tonearm with integrated head shell, low-friction precision sapphire tonearm bearings, Sumiko Rainer MM cartridge, 3 3/4 pound die-cast, TPE damped aluminum platter, electronic 33 1/3 and 45rpm (78rpm capable) speed selection, TPE damped motor suspension, gold-plated chassis mount RCA jacks, one-piece continuous run high purity copper internal tonearm wiring, shielded termination box, high adjustable TPE-damped aluminum leveling feet, hinged adjustable dust cover, "Connect it E" phono cable with attached external ground wire, and a two-year parts and labor warranty.

All of this information comes from the press release. What doesn't is this: Pro-Ject founder Heinz Lichtenegger has grown weary of what he says are the cosmetically enticing, but mechanically second-rate, poorly damped products coming in from Asia. He's expressed this to me on numerous occasions. With the new feature-packed, cosmetically attractive Evolution aggressively priced at $499 he's hoping Pro-Ject can grab and hold the popular $500 price point market. We will get one for review as soon as possible. The EVO is now available for sale.

Mijostyn's picture

I would think Rega is Pro-ject's most significant competitor no?

MalachiLui's picture

since newcomers usually use amazon to most easily find audio equipment, a quick amazon search for "turntable" shows a $180 turntable made by "1byone," the non-suitcase crosley turntables ($130 or less), the house of marley stir it up TT ($200-240; it uses more sustainable materials though), and other similar products. while these won't ruin your records and probably sound decent, there's a lot of room for improvement in the budget range. rega is pro-ject's biggest competitor in the world of actual hifi retail, although the "buy the first thing i see that looks good" market is a lot bigger than you might expect.

Michael Fremer's picture
Including a cartridge, the biggest competition is made in Taiwan turntables marketed by Fluance, Teac etc. though you are correct in the real hi-fi marketing world at this price point it's Rega and Pro-Ject. However, as much as I admire Rega, in order to hit the $475 P1 price point (with cartridge), they've made some serious compromises.
MalachiLui's picture

pro-ject is as good as it gets for $500, and it's also worth noting that rega's p1 uses the carbon cartridge, which is just an audio-technica ATN3600 costing 6 times as much. pro-ject uses real cartridges that are actually worth what they cost.

Ortofan's picture

... I'd try to find another $50 in the budget in order to get the (made-by-Pro-Ject) NAD C 558:

Another option, for $450, is the Audio-Technica AT-LP5:

Bob Henneberger's picture

Yeah the P1 is not really on my list for recommendations ,p3 seems to be were rega starts making decent stuff all though im more into suspended designs myself

WaltonGoggins's picture

Those $200 and under Taiwan/China tables still seem like pretty good value for the right audience. In 1976, a $185 Crosley C8 or $200 ATLP3 would be like buying something for $40-43 in 1976. I wasn't paying much attention then, but I can't believe there was something comparable.(The only thing I remember for $40 was my Wilson T2000 tennis racket-Jimmy Connors' model- bought at KMart in '74-75. It sucked.)

Looking at the Evo at $500, that would have been between $105-110 in 1976. I see Technics sold the belt driven SL20 for $100, the cheapest model I can find. Not sure if a cart was included in that price.

Michael, any thoughts about how this Evo might compare with a $100ish table from the mid 70s? (Message board people like to suggest that the cheapest stuff from back in the day was better than the $500 tables of today.)

padreken's picture

The Pro-Ject table that my brother bought on my recommendation (the model I do not recall) is a very good deck, this is at the same price point with design advances, refinements and a better cart than the 2m red my brother’s table came with.

I routinely tell younger vinyl enthusiasts I’ve met at Record Store Day events,shows, etc that are shopping for a first deck that they are better off skipping the $209-$300 decks entirely and save for a few extra weeks to get to the $500 price point.

padreken's picture

The Pro-Ject table that my brother bought on my recommendation (the model I do not recall) is a very good deck, this is at the same price point with design advances, refinements and a better cart than the 2m red my brother’s table came with.

I routinely tell younger vinyl enthusiasts I’ve met at Record Store Day events,shows, etc that are shopping for a first deck that they are better off skipping the $209-$300 decks entirely and save for a few extra weeks to get to the $500 price point.

MrRom92's picture

If I’m not mistaken, on some previous models with the 78rpm pulley and the speed box you only needed to shift the belt into a different groove around the motor to reach 78rpm, and the speedbox would take care of the rest… now on this model you need to remove the platter and replace the belt entirely!

Chooch's picture

previous model you had to remove the platter to change from 33 to 45 and vice versa. 78 was not an option. On the EVO the 33 to 45 is now a switch, if you want to play a 78 then you do have a second belt that is used to do so.

WaltonGoggins's picture

I am rather excited and crossing my fingers on this one, hoping it can perhaps at least tie the Planar 1 in some of these "best of" lists. (I probably won't hold my breath that Ian of the HyViNyws channel will give it an equal rating. He does love that Planar 1, which recently trounced the Fluance RT85 in his latest shootout.)

Nothing against the Planar 1, and the 110 arm is apparently so such the budget star that it trumps everything other players can offer- even with an AT3600 cartridge. But somehow the rest of the package just hasn't seemed that thrilling. And maybe the Carbon arm just isn't that good. But I got a Rainier for my son's original Carbon (did not like the Red sound at all) and think it sounds really, really good. If the 1 beats that sound... te salud, Don Corleone.

But the new platter looks great, along with the other nice upgrades. If they've corrected the motor noise & hum issues that have destroyed the reputation of the previous Carbons on the various forums, it should make the Evo the "no reservation" recommendation I've wished there were at the $500 price point.

cdlp4578's picture

At this price it's a choice between this and the Music Hall 2.3. Main difference other than supplied cart is VTA vs. electronic speed change.

WaltonGoggins's picture

The 2.3 has the older motor mounting setup and the lighter, ringier platter. Don't think the 2.2 or 2.3 have been bedeviled by the same hum or noise problems as the Carbon, however. I have a 2.2 and get some hum (can't hear it when music plays), though that could be for a number of reasons. But yeah, the tonearm mounting apparatus is much nicer on the MH.

When Music Direct was selling the remaining 2.2s for $299 for a fairly long period, I thought that was the easy no-brainer in the world of nice entry-level tables. That and a nicer cart could make a lot of reasonably normal people happy, I would think.

Andy3234's picture

Have this a 6 weeks and I love it, mechanically quiet and dynamic sounding, I put a 2m Blue on it and a cork mat and its sweet sounding, was considering a Rega Planar 3 but decided on this, I wouldn't swap.

AudioFileZ's picture

I always read with interest about high-value low cost audio options especially in the realm of something mechanical such as turntables. It seems most all in the past three decades have eschewed floating sub-chasis construction for some degree of rigid/non-rigid plinths on shock absorbing feet. My first TT was a Garrard and it had a sprung plinth. It wasn't too good but sounded OK with lesser costing medium complaince cartridges. The bar was really raised when I purchased a AR XA-1 TT from Illinois Audio for the even then astounding bargain of just under $80. I paired it with the best 95-ED (if memory serves) Shure cartridge and it was a real "ear-opener" to much better sound. I eventually found it worked with the best Shure a Mk V or something cartridge. I eventually went to a JVC direct drive with a AT Shibbata cartridge I felt was leaner and more neutral. But, I missed the supreme isolation the AR XA TT exhibited and in my mind I felt this was a wonderful type of construction only a few high-priced tables such as the LP-12 were keeping alive. So my question is why is no one trying to make a TT with a suspended sub-chasis at a real world-beating price...something inspired by the original AR?

tomvoj's picture


Promotional literature of Pro-ject for correct usage of the connect it E cable states to connect the marked side to the receiving end (phono stage or amplifier). The marked side is stated to be the side where the shield is connected. The marks are yellow tabs with a numeral 1 imprinted. I believe this is opposite to conventional advice to have the shield attached to the ground at the source end and open at the other end. There is a YouTube video titled "Setting Up Your Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo!" by
"Living Entertainment North Coast" that instructs to connect the marked end at the TT. However, a viewer comments that Pro-ject instruction is otherwise. The reply from
Living Entertainment North Coast is to say “this was a little filming slip up on our end!”. I don’t think that the video slipped up. Don’t you agree that the best advice is to have the shield grounded at the source end?