Review Pro-Ject Debut Carbon EVO

Andyjlee17

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Jan 10, 2023
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I recently purchased a Pro-Ject T1 turntable from a well know Hi-Fi store at a discount price due to the packaging being opened. The reviews for this turntable are very good but I wanted to know if the turntables cartridge could be upgraded to a better one at a later date. The sales assistance informed me this was not a problem and I would be able to change over the cartridge to one of my choice.

Therefore I agreed to buy the T1, the cartridge fitted was the bottom of the range Ortofon OM5E, and after listening for some time I found it not to have much detail , the mid-range vocals seemed a little recessed/distant on some material, and the cartridge had a tendency to sound hard and brash.
I also found the turntable to have a very light chassis to the extent when you opened the lid the whole turntable moved around, this despite having a 8mm blasted glass platter.

However I decided to upgrade the cartridge to maybe an Nagaoka MP110 ,Sumiko Rainier or a Ortofon 2M Red. This is when I found changing the cartridge over to one of my choice was not possible. I emailed the Technical Support team at Henley Audio, the UK distributor for Pro-Ject, and they confirmed due to the T1 having a fixed counterweight & no Vertical Tracking Angle they wouldn't recommend changing the entire cartridge but just upgrading to an improved stylus for the OM5E.

I was very disappointed as I was sold the T1 as being upgradable, however this turned out not to be the case. The service and technical information in regards to the project T1 turntable I received by Hi-Fi store in question was not accurate. I informed them of my disappointment and they agreed to take it back for a full refund or an exchange for a turntable that as the capability of changing the cartridge.
I am a newcomer to the world of high-end Turntables so I suggested I would like to go up the range by exchanging it to an Pro-Ject Debut Carbon EVO to which they agreed. However I would have to wait a few days for them to get one, not a problem.

In the meantime I starting looking at YouTube videos to show me how to setup the Pro-Ject Evo and to amazement this turntable also did not have the capability of upgrading the cartridge, this was mainly due to not having VTA (Vertical Tracking Angle).
Now, the sales representative knew I wanted a turntable that had VTA so that I could fit any array of cartridges from the many on the market , but despite knowing this they were still willing to sell me this turntable to which I would have had the same problem as the T1.

Richer Sounds were fully aware of my requirement of wanting a turntable with VTA, however I think all they wanted was to get another sale and ignore my “the customers” requirements. The other reason is there lack of knowledge in the products they are selling.
Both of these reasons don’t give this well-known audio retailer a very good review, especially as there website page states them having expert advice. So my advice is to do some research and find out were your local audio specialist stores are. Then go and visit and talk to them stating your requirements and budget.
Don’t be pushed into buying audio equipment just because it's cheap or if the salesman states that are having an price increase next week. If you have any concerns or are undecided don’t buy, do some more research, if the audio store is reputable they will understand.

So if anyone out there can give me some advice on the best cartridge for the Evo that would be great.
 
I recently purchased a Pro-Ject T1 turntable from a well know Hi-Fi store at a discount price due to the packaging being opened. The reviews for this turntable are very good but I wanted to know if the turntables cartridge could be upgraded to a better one at a later date. The sales assistance informed me this was not a problem and I would be able to change over the cartridge to one of my choice.

Therefore I agreed to buy the T1, the cartridge fitted was the bottom of the range Ortofon OM5E, and after listening for some time I found it not to have much detail , the mid-range vocals seemed a little recessed/distant on some material, and the cartridge had a tendency to sound hard and brash.
I also found the turntable to have a very light chassis to the extent when you opened the lid the whole turntable moved around, this despite having a 8mm blasted glass platter.

However I decided to upgrade the cartridge to maybe an Nagaoka MP110 ,Sumiko Rainier or a Ortofon 2M Red. This is when I found changing the cartridge over to one of my choice was not possible. I emailed the Technical Support team at Henley Audio, the UK distributor for Pro-Ject, and they confirmed due to the T1 having a fixed counterweight & no Vertical Tracking Angle they wouldn't recommend changing the entire cartridge but just upgrading to an improved stylus for the OM5E.

I was very disappointed as I was sold the T1 as being upgradable, however this turned out not to be the case. The service and technical information in regards to the project T1 turntable I received by Hi-Fi store in question was not accurate. I informed them of my disappointment and they agreed to take it back for a full refund or an exchange for a turntable that as the capability of changing the cartridge.
I am a newcomer to the world of high-end Turntables so I suggested I would like to go up the range by exchanging it to an Pro-Ject Debut Carbon EVO to which they agreed. However I would have to wait a few days for them to get one, not a problem.

In the meantime I starting looking at YouTube videos to show me how to setup the Pro-Ject Evo and to amazement this turntable also did not have the capability of upgrading the cartridge, this was mainly due to not having VTA (Vertical Tracking Angle).
Now, the sales representative knew I wanted a turntable that had VTA so that I could fit any array of cartridges from the many on the market , but despite knowing this they were still willing to sell me this turntable to which I would have had the same problem as the T1.

Richer Sounds were fully aware of my requirement of wanting a turntable with VTA, however I think all they wanted was to get another sale and ignore my “the customers” requirements. The other reason is there lack of knowledge in the products they are selling.
Both of these reasons don’t give this well-known audio retailer a very good review, especially as there website page states them having expert advice. So my advice is to do some research and find out were your local audio specialist stores are. Then go and visit and talk to them stating your requirements and budget.
Don’t be pushed into buying audio equipment just because it's cheap or if the salesman states that are having an price increase next week. If you have any concerns or are undecided don’t buy, do some more research, if the audio store is reputable they will understand.

So if anyone out there can give me some advice on the best cartridge for the Evo that would be great.
The Evo will take just about any cartridge on the market as most are a standard height, it is normally fitted with the Ortofon 2M Red, which isnt brilliant, or in the States the Sumiko Rainier.
Dismiss any Rega cartridges as they can be a different height.
 
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Andyjlee17

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Jan 10, 2023
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The 2M red has some mixed reviews, just wanted some advice on which cartridge to go for before forking out more cash. Am thinking of Nagaoka MP110 which was recommended but also the Sumiko Rainier or the Ortofon 2M Blue. Any advice which one to go for, any other suggestions?
 

WayneKerr

Well-known member
The 2M red has some mixed reviews, just wanted some advice on which cartridge to go for before forking out more cash. Am thinking of Nagaoka MP110 which was recommended but also the Sumiko Rainier or the Ortofon 2M Blue. Any advice which one to go for, any other suggestions?
Your cartridge choice is going to be very dependant on what presentation you require, personal choice. Never heard the any Sumiko but do have experience of Ortofon and Nagaoka... my personal choice is Nagaoka, however, Nagaoka is no longer the bargain it used to be.
 
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SteveR750

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Have a look at the AT VM95ML, it's getting rave reviews everywhere. There are plenty 9f stylus options too if that helps, from a cheap conical for playing beaters up to a shibata. The ML is a line contact so correct horizontal alignment is critical but its pretty OK with slight variations in vta apparently. I've got one for my Technics but waiting on a new head shell before I try it out.
 

MeanandGreen

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I’m pretty sure the tracking weight is adjustable on all Pro-ject turntables, even just upgrading the stylus on an OM cart will require the tracking force to be checked and adjusted and they can all at the very least accommodate that. You just need an Allen key and digital scales.

As for VTA it’s mostly a non issue as the carts are standard heights.

My experiences with the OM5E differ to yours, but I agree that for the price of modern turntables the build is somewhat flimsy.
 
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Rui

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Mar 23, 2021
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i was ofered a a turntable carbon evo, but came with a 2m red from ortofon ,i know not all are equal but the improvements from the year before to the last year are minimal and in my opinion not efective in improving the model ,this in sound quality , i have to say that after testing it in several diferent types of amplifiers and 3 diferent types of speakers i didn´t found any quality in it compared to the 3 turntables that i have in use(all 70´s models with more than 40 years of use) ,but what amazed me is a turntable from pioneer bought in 1974 with original cartridge and stylus when conected to a 90´s reference amplifier from pioneer ,the A-656MKII 90´s model that uses a poor phono stage with some mission 761 , both sounded the same , and when conected to the receiver bought at the same time as the pioneer turntable ,the project sounds worse than the pioneer , this only to say that also heard diferent and more expensive models from project and they deliver a bad sound , not only because the phono stage aren´t so good as they used to be in the past but because when seeing one being assembled i only saw bits of plastic and a carbon fiber arm and again being a more expensive model ,the sound was very poor this using a nagaoka MP-110 wich sounds great in a pioneer PL-640 from 79 with no restoring or improvements ,only bought the cartridge and stylus because the original one is not available anymore and substitution needles today are poorly built or very bad compared to the substitution needles in the 80´s that were perfect if the original not available at the time. I have a friend from germany that uses a pro-ject turntable but between the turntable and the cartridge he paid around 5 years ago 14.000€
 
Adjustable arm height, so as to effect a change to the VTA, isn’t to my mind a critical feature. It’s a nice to have, mainly because the variation in height between cartridges is minimal, as Al said above. So you’d be unlikely to need it.

Unfortunately many cartridges have variations in stylus rake angle, sometimes considerably adrift from their published spec, so if you’ve super sensitive hearing, it might be handy to tweak VTA. But in the price range you’re looking in, I’d not think it a deal breaker. In fact I’m not sure which turntables offer arm height adjustment amongst the popular designs from Pro-ject and Rega without looking at the small print.

As to the Ortofon 2M series, yes the Blue is more detailed than the Red. The Bronze is better still, but you can’t just swap the stylus from a Blue or Red as the body is different. Audio-Technica, Goldring and Grado are three other brands with wide ranges worth considering.
 
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Rui

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Mar 23, 2021
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Adjustable arm height, so as to effect a change to the VTA, isn’t to my mind a critical feature. It’s a nice to have, mainly because the variation in height between cartridges is minimal, as Al said above. So you’d be unlikely to need it.

Unfortunately many cartridges have variations in stylus rake angle, sometimes considerably adrift from their published spec, so if you’ve super sensitive hearing, it might be handy to tweak VTA. But in the price range you’re looking in, I’d not think it a deal breaker. In fact I’m not sure which turntables offer arm height adjustment amongst the popular designs from Pro-ject and Rega without looking at the small print.

As to the Ortofon 2M series, yes the Blue is more detailed than the Red. The Bronze is better still, but you can’t just swap the stylus from a Blue or Red as the body is different. Audio-Technica, Goldring and Grado are three other brands with wide ranges worth considering.
In terms of price the brands you refer are far superior to the Ortofon cheaper stylus from diferent series ,that i use this brand (Ortofon)since 1979 and at the time they only released great stylus but to survive they do sell average cartridges and needles, but it´s becoming very expensive the good ortofon needles the others are O.K. but there are better and cheaper from the other brands you refer and not only from those but from much more . The Grado Gold III prestige is an example of a great stylus at a low price compared with the same quality in other brands, and in the cheapest stylus there is the Sumiko oyster ,the Nagaoka MP-110, the AT95E from audio-technica(new version),etc. the Ortofon 2M Bronze is very good but the price of the cartridge and stylus it´s expensive allthough it sounds great, but all of this depends on the turntable one´s using ,and many pro-ject´s etc. around 1.000€´s sound very bad, this refering to the sound quality . I own several thousands of records since the 50´s and older but only from Jazz music in Mono and some aren´t playable in this iamond type stylus that is used today since late 60´s or around it, but still have great turntables with the older stylus to hear those records ,some were from my grandfather who loved jazz after the first trip he did to the U.S. in late 40´s after the war, also bought a huge Buik that because of the thin mountain roads in my country at the time it ended up being a chicken housing
 

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