Pro-Ject Debut Carbon EVO Turntable Review + Debut Carbon DC Comparison
➳ Pro-Ject’s Debut Carbon DC is generally the first turntable we recommend to anyone who wants to purchase an audiophile-style turntable. Its combination of style, build quality, performance, and value has been unmatched in the industry for over a decade.
The Debut Carbon series has gone through several updates over the decade. The latest model, named the DEBUT CARBON EVO, was introduced in late summer 2020.
🧐 Before we get into the specifics of the EVO, you may want to read our previous Guide on the Debut Carbon DC: 6 Reasons Why You Should Consider The ProJect Debut Carbon DC Turntable. If you’d rather have the TLDR, here are points:
- The Price: A Clear Option Above Entry-Level - in a crowded $600 + under turntable market where models are very similar, the Debut Carbon stands out with easily identifiable upgrades and value points.
- Product Evolution + Economies of Scale - the Debut Carbon represents years of re-design and refinement that mass produced turntables just don't have.
- That Tonearm - the Debut Carbon’s one-piece carbon fiber tonearm cannot be matched in this price range.
- Quality, Modular, Upgradeable Components - high-quality removable RCA cables, quality cartridge, all that can be upgraded easily.
- Not Having A Built-In Preamp - allows you to build / customize / upgrade your own hifi system.
1.0 EVO Series Upgrades + Changes
How do you improve an already perfected product? Fine tuning. Here are 7 upgrades and differences in the Debut Carbon EVO.
- electronic speed change switch
- TPE-dampened platter
- upgraded feet
- motor system upgrade
- cartridge change
- more color + finish choices
- price change
1.1 One of the design quirks of the Debut Carbon was that it maintained a manual speed change. This meant that when you wanted to switch speeds to and from 33/45, you had to take off the platter and and shift the drive belt. With users preferring ease at this price range, the EVO has adopted this change.
The new speed change switch is integrated with the power switch underneath the left front corner of the plinth/body. With a belt change (included), you can also play 78rpm records.
Although a manual speed change has some lo-fi charm, this is definitely an upgrade that’s both convenient and better for belt longevity.
1.2 A persistent theme in the Debut Carbon Series seems to be “how do we make stock better?” The Debut Carbon DC already came with a substantial metal platter (3.6 lbs) that was great for its mass and speed consistency. To make this part better they’ve added a TPE (thermoplastic rubber) ring to the underside of the platter. This dense material (adds 0.2 lbs to the weight of the platter) will help absorb vibrations created by the motor. This technology was notably popularized by Technics 1200 turntables.
1.3 In another “stock” upgrade, the EVO upgrades to the same feet used on the high-end X1 Turntable ($1099). These engineered aluminum components (similar shock-absorbing design to aftermarket upgrades) offer better vibration dampening (utilizes TPE as well) and can be individually leveled. This is a huge upgrade, as the older feet were directly screwed into the plinth, while the new feet screw into embedded sockets.
1.4 The motor system has been upgraded with a new substantial decoupling design. The base of this new system is a new heavy metal mounting ring with the motor attached underneath. The mounting ring attaches to the plinth/body using TPE bushings. This dampened ring is the only connection the motor has to the plinth, virtually eliminating distortion created by the motor.
1.5 The EVO features the Sumiko Ranier Cartridge ($149), which replaces the beloved Ortofon 2M Red ($99). This well-reviewed cartridge boasts a wider frequency range (12Hz - 25kHz), better channel separation (25dB/1kHz ) and tracking.
The Ranier also features an interchangeable stylus system like the 2M Series. When you are ready to change or upgrade stylii, you can easily slide on any stylus from the Oyster series (they all use the same body).
1.5 Pro-Ject is known for their great gloss finishes in multiple hues. It can argued that they started this trend. With the EVO, they recognize the trend in satin / matte finishes and offer both gloss and satin. We especially like the unique Satin Fir Green (pictured below) and Satin Steel Blue.
1.6 Amongst people in the industry, it was widely recognized how incredible / impossible a value the Debut Carbon was at $399. Utilizing their own factory in the EU, Pro-Ject was able to utilize economies of scale and specialized equipment to keep costs low. However over time, we’ve learned the $399 price was kept there artificially. At $599 the EVO represents a reset (the Debut Carbon DC was raised to $449).
For reference, the Pro-Ject Speed Box, an external electronic speed change box, retailed for $129 on its own. Add the Ranier cartridge ($50 higher retail price), plus the upgrades in platter, feet, and motor, and the EVO more than warrants the price reset. In our opinion, the EVO still represents an incredible value at $599.
⇉ IN SUMMARY
As a dealer, the Debut Carbon EVO took us a bit by surprise. Why would you change a bestseller? However, when you look at the upgrades made, it becomes very apparent. Pro-Ject identified several key areas where they could upgrade, and present solutions that are more refined and offer more precision.
🔎 COMPARISON TABLE
|Debut Carbon DC||Debut Carbon EVO||Debut Carbon DC Esprit|
|Size (w x h x d)||
16.3 x 4.6 x 12.6"
|16.3 x 4.6 x 12.6"
||16.3 x 4.6 x 12.6"|
|Weight||11.2 lbs||12.4 lbs||10.4 lbs|
|Platter||steel 3.6 lbs||steel dampened 3.8 lbs||acrylic 2.8 lbs|
|Tonearm||8.6" carbon||8.6" carbon||8.6" carbon|
|Cartridge||Ortofon 2M Red ($99)||Sumiko Ranier ($150)||Ortofon 2M Red ($99)|
|RCA Cable||Connect-It E||Connect-It E||Connect-It E|
|Plays 78 RPM||yes||yes||yes|
|Feet||standard||upgraded / leveling||standard|