Hey everyone, it’s Michael from Devoted to Vinyl, and in this video, we’re going to be talking about the best record players for beginners, and those of you that are finally ready to upgrade your turntable.
- If you’re in the market for a brand new turntable, please check out the interactive guide below, where you can compare some of the best record players available:
Photo Model Price Rating Key Feature
U-Turn Audio Orbit Plus $$ ★★★★ Machined Acrylic Platter
Audio Technica AT-LP60 $ ★★★★ Fully Automatic
Audio-Technica AT-LP120USB $$ ★★★★ USB Direct Drive
Crosley C200A $ ★★★★ Direct-Drive Turntable
Audio Technica AT-LP1240-USB $$ ★★★★ USB Direct Drive/DJ Table
Marantz TT-15S1 $$$ ★★★★ Solid Plinth Belt-Drive Design
Music Hall MMF 1.5 $$ ★★★★★ Built-In Phono Preamp
ProJect Classic $$$ ★★★★★ Metal/MDF Chassis
Music Hall MMF 7.3 $$$ ★★★★★ 2-speed (33/45 rpm) pulley
Pro-Ject Essential III $$ ★★★★ Ortofon OM10 cartridge
Rega Planar 1 $$ ★★★★ RB110 tonearm
Pioneer 990 $ ★★★★ Full-Automatic Operation
Rega Planar 2 $$$ ★★★★ 10mm Float-Glass Platter
So in my last video, we talked about affordable record players. And we talked about the Marantz TT42, as well as the Audio-Technica AT-LP60.
But I actually wanted to focus this video on the best record player that I think can fit [into] two categories.
One category being, somebody that is a beginner and that wants to jump into this hobby brand new with a good, solid turntable.
And the other being somebody that isn’t brand new to vinyl. Maybe you’ve been collecting records for a year or two, but you’re finally ready to make a solid upgrade because you’re committed to the hobby.
Now with the turntable I’m going to recommend, I really wanted it to do two things.
The first thing is I wanted it to be something you can grow with. Something that’s not going to break down after a year or two of playing.
The second thing is that I wanted it to be a little customizable. So if you weren’t really happy with the performance of your cartridge, for example, you could swap it out and you could be very happy with your upgrade.
Now of course, this is a topic that’s entirely subjective. The things that I might look for in a turntable might be things you don’t particularly care for or need. But, I still hope that, although I’m recommending a turntable today, that you go out and do your due diligence.
Alright, now with that disclaimer out of the way, I think that if you’re brand new to buying vinyl records, or you’re somebody that has been spinning records for a couple of years but you’re using a very cheap turntable…the turntable that I would recommend in this particular instance is the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon.
This is a turntable that can be found for about $399, if you shop online. And, it comes in different colors, so you can get it in black, white grey, purple, red, green…
It’s the turntable of Skittles.
Now, there are two popular editions of the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon. The first is the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC and the second is the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Esprit.
Now the DC model features a new motor, which allows for more stable playback speed.
The motor suspension has also been upgraded, so that’s really going to help when it comes to vibrations, and overall preventing your records from skipping while they’re playing.
The Esprit, on the other hand, can be found for about $599, so you’re going to be spending roughly $200 more for the Esprit as compared to the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC.
Now my Pro-Ject Debut Carbon actually predates the DC upgrade that happened a few years ago, but I’ve since upgraded to an acrylic platter and a new cartridge.
So let’s take a deeper dive right now into the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon.
So as I just mentioned, when it comes to the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon, I upgraded the original steel platter to a new acrylic platter.
The biggest difference I noticed from the upgrade was that there was less static when my records were playing, and that’s at least in part due to the fact that the steel platter requires you to use a felt mat underneath your record.
But with an acrylic platter, you can just place your record directly onto the platter’s surface—there’s no mat required.
The Pro-Ject Debut Carbon also comes with the Ortofon 2M Red cartridge, which is a Moving Magnet cartridge. After using it for several months, I wanted to see how a better cartridge would sound, and so I eventually upgraded to the Ortofon 2M Blue.
And while I think the music sounds more neutral and overall a bit less lively than the 2M Red, what I do like is that I hear much more detail in the music with the 2M Blue, such as the additional instruments in a song or certain vocals layered within a track that I never heard previously.
I think, overall, the 2M Red is a more fun and enjoyable cartridge when it comes to sound, but the 2M Blue sounds more clean and precise to my ears.
Now the Debut Carbon turntable also uses a Carbon Fiber tonearm, which helps to reduce unwanted resonance. There’s also an on/off switch for the turntable, which can be found on the bottom of the player.
The back of the turntable is of course where you’ll find the RCA outputs, so you can easily connect this player directly to a Phono input on your amp—be it an integrated amplifier or an external phono pre-amp.
Just know that neither Debut Carbon DC nor the Debut Carbon Esprit have built-in phono preamps. This means that, unlike cheaper turntables that allow you to directly connect your turntable to the AUX or the CD input of an integrated amp or receiver, the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon will need to either be directly connected to the PHONO input of your amp, or you’ll have to buy an external phono preamplifier, like the Vincent PHO 8 that I use.
Now there’s one more option that I want to give you here. And that’s the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Phono USB turntable. The Phono USB turntable is about a $100 more than the Debut Carbon DC, and what you get for that money is a built-in Phono preamp.
Along with that, you also get a turntable that features an analog to digital converter with USB output that’s Windows and Mac compatible. So if you’ve ever had the desire to transfer your vinyl records to digital files or CDs, you’ll finally be able to do that with the Debut Carbon Phono USB turntable.
Now let’s talk a little about playing your vinyl. The Pro-Ject Debut Carbon can play records at 33 or 45 RPM speeds. To do this, the Debut Carbon and Debut Carbon DC requires you to remove the platter, grab the belt, and move it onto the larger diameter of the motor pulley.
The Debut Carbon Esprit, by contrast, has the popular Pro-Ject Speed Box built in. This new addition to the turntable allows you to bypass the entire manual process for changing the playback speed.
So now, with the click the button, you can easily switch between 33 and 45 RPM—adjusting the belt on the motor pulley is no longer necessary.
And as we discussed earlier, the Debut Carbon Esprit also comes with the acrylic platter. And so, if changing speeds with minimal effort or having an acrylic platter for improved playback and no static are important factors for you, it would make much more sense for you to go with the Debut Carbon Esprit over the Debut Carbon DC.
So that’s about it. Those are my reasons for recommending the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon to anybody that’s finally ready to jump into the vinyl hobby. Or, somebody that’s been in it for a while and is tired of their crappy, worn out turntable…
And is finally ready to upgrade.
If you enjoyed this video, please hit the like button down below. It helps other people who like vinyl and like music as much as you do find this video a little bit easier on YouTube. So, I would really appreciate it if you could do that.
And don’t forget to Subscribe to this channel because here on Devoted to Vinyl, I’m going to be coming out with new videos every single week pertaining to turntables and music.
And I want to leave you with a question. What turntable did you buy when you first jumped into the hobby? What record player would you recommend to people that are finally ready to upgrade from their cheaper turntable?
Make sure you make your comments known down below, and I’m going to be commenting and responding to as many people as I can down there, as well.
And I can’t wait to see you guys next week with a brand new video. Thank you for watching.
Boy…if people knew the behind the scenes man…if people knew the behind the scenes…the magic would be gone!
So let’s take a quick, deep dive…
How can something be quick and deep?
Center the Chi.
Ooh, my feet.
Center the Chi…like the Iron Fist.
I guess that’s about a wrap.
- If you enjoyed reading this video transcript, please subscribe to my Devoted to Vinyl YouTube channel, as well as “like” my Devoted to Vinyl Facebook page! We hope to see you again.
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