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My current turntable is a Pro-Ject Audio Debut Carbon DC Esprit SB with 2M Red Cartridge and this bad boy is a solid record player. Before upgrading to this, I was using a bottom of the barrel player: The Audio-Technica LP 60. The LP 60 comes with many limitations such as: the lack of an adjustable counter-weight, a motor which does not spin at the proper speed (others have reported this behavior as well), the platter is not balanced, and there is not a means of upgrading your cartridge aside from the few AT offers. As the exprloration process began, research suggested upgrading my turntable to get hear all of the benefits analog offers compared to digital.
Following a great deal of research, the choice was between a Pro-Ject or a U-turn. The sleek piano key look of the white Pro-Ject is modern, simple, and classy; does not clash with most decors. The carbon fiber arm seemed very appealing because its material is very light and will not warp . The included 2M Red Cartridge and adjustable counter weight were crucial so my records do not wear prematurely (especially as I add rare expensive records to my collection). The platter and motor on the Pro-Ject are awesome too; no reported balance or speed issues.
The Pro-Ject Audio Debut Carbon DC Esprit came with many features and options which made it very appealing. The Ortofon 2M Red Cartridge a very nice starter cartridge, allowing for upgrades and the stylus to be replaced. The cartridge came pre-installed and aligned which eliminated the stress of needing to properly attach it to the arm. The Esprit model also came with an acrylic platter which does not ring and does not add a high frequency effect to records being played, also preventing the 'need' of a mat. (though some still use one for aesthetic and personal reasons) One of the biggest reasons the Esprit won over other turntables is the button which allows for the changing of speeds. Many other mid-level turntable options do not offer a button to change between 33 and 45 RPM speeds. Without one, the user would need to remove the platter, when playing a record requiring a different speed, to manually switch the belts out. The button allows for easy speed changes, eliminating the hassle. No reason to feel annoyed at the thought of playing some 45s.
The Pro-Ject Audio Debut Carbon DC Esprit only has three minor cons. The first is when playing a record at 45 RPMs, there is a slight humming noise if the dust-cover is down. The vibrations of the cover on the table is picked up by the needle (not applicable at 33 RPMs). The workaround for this situation is to have the dust-cover raised as the 45 is spinning; resulting in zero hum because there is not any contact between the dust-cover and the turntable base. The second negative is that some oversized records do not allow for a full closure of the dust cover due to a large 12" (small percentage >5%). Typically though there is enough clearance to close the dust-cover while playing. Lastly, the screws securing the dust-cover often loosen every few weeks, requiring a tightening. Basically all issues are dust-cover related.
The turntable was a bit daunting when it arrived because some assembly was required. However, the only real work involved was related to balancing and setting the counter weight. After many Youtube videos on how to setup the counterweight and this instructional video was by far the best at explaining the process. After calibrating, the turntable was up and running in no time.
I would buy this all over again if I was without a turntable.