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Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Esprit SB (DC)

Manual belt-drive turntable with pre-mounted cartridge (Gloss Black)

60 Reviews | 5 questions - 40 answers

Item # 252DCESDGB

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Overview

Our take on the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Esprit SB (DC)

Nicely "tweaked" for your listening pleasure

It's hard for us to imagine a turntable that represents a greater value for enjoying the warm, natural sound of vinyl than Pro-Ject's own Debut Carbon (DC). And judging by their reviews, our customers feel the same way. This factory "tweaked" version of the Debut Carbon (DC) takes all of that turntable's best features — the solid design and construction, plus a carbon fiber tonearm with the great sounding Ortofon 2M Red cartridge —  and adds even more performance and versatility. The end result is a great turntable that's also a great value.

What's in it for you?

For starters, the Esprit SB (DC) features a built-in Pro-Ject Speed Box with a top-mounted electronic switch that lets you easily change speeds from 33-1/3 to 45 RPM with the push of a button. The Speed Box's electronic speed regulation also provides greater speed accuracy for enhanced sound quality. You even get the ability to play 78 RPM records with a simple change of the drive belt pulley and the addition of an optional Ortofon 2M78 stylus. Best of all, the heavy 12" precision-machined acrylic platter reduces distracting resonance and lowers the turntable's noise floor for clearer, more dynamic sound. You'll hear tighter, punchier bass, greater midrange detail, and better spatial definition from your treasured vinyl collection. 

Crafted for serious sound

The Debut Carbon Esprit SB (DC)'s one-piece carbon fiber tonearm is much stiffer than typical aluminum tonearms, while reducing unwanted resonance that colors sound. The turntable's sturdy MDF chassis rests on shock-absorbing rubber feet that provide a solid, low-resonance foundation. The belt drive system and TPE (ThermoPlastic Elastomer) motor mount dampers isolate the motor's vibration from the chassis to prevent noise from being transferred to the cartridge, and on to your amplifier and speakers. The result is a turntable that delivers sonic performance rarely found on models in its price range.  

Get the best sound, without the hassle

Pro-Ject knows that turntable setup can be a challenge for the novice. That's why the Esprit SB (DC) comes out of the box virtually ready to play. Its pre-matched, factory-mounted phono cartridge and tonearm take the guesswork out of installation, and give you optimized sound quality with minimal effort. A few simple steps to dial in key settings like tracking force and anti-skating, are all it takes to get this player primed and ready to deliver spacious, detailed music. If you've never experienced the relaxed sound that vinyl is famous for, what are you waiting for?

Product Highlights:

  • heavy 12" acrylic platter reduces resonance and noise
  • built-in precision Speed Box control with top-mounted electronic switch for easy speed changes (33-1/3/45 RPM)
  • 78 RPM playback capability with Ortofon 2M78 stylus (stylus not included)
  • one-piece carbon fiber tonearm for superior rigidity and low resonance
  • external DC power supply with ultra-precise DC-driven AC generator for outstanding speed stability
  • upgraded motor suspension with TPE (ThermoPlastic Elastomer) damping for silent operation
  • includes pre-mounted Ortofon 2M Red moving magnet cartridge
  • precision stainless-steel bearing system for smooth, quiet platter rotation
  • medium density fiberboard (MDF) base with four shock-absorbing rubber feet
  • synchronous AC motor decoupled from base for reduced vibration transmission
  • speed variation: ±0.8%
  • wow and flutter: ±0.10%
  • signal-to-noise ratio: 68dB
  • frequency range (with included cartridge): 20-22,000 Hz
  • channel separation (with included cartridge): 22dB
  • gold-plated RCA audio jacks
  • 16-3/8"W x 4-3/4"H (with dust cover down) x 13-1/8"D
  • weight: 12.4 lbs.
  • warranty: 2 years (1 year for the supplied cartridge)
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee
  • requires a phono preamp or phono input on receiver or preamplifier

What's in the Box:

  • Turntable (tonearm and cartridge installed)
  • AC power supply (w/ attached 6.5' DC cord)
  • 3 AC plug adapters (US/UK/EU)
  • Acrylic platter
  • Hub (installed)
  • Thin drive belt
  • Wide drive belt
  • 47" Stereo RCA cable (w/ ground wire)
  • 45 RPM adapter
  • Anti-skate weight
  • Counter weight
  • Dust cover
  • Plastic hook-tool
  • Hex-key
  • Instructions For Use
  • Two-Point Cartridge Alignment Protractor

I waited a long time and did endless research to pick a new turntable. This is the one I decided on and it is flawless. Impeccable design, unmatched sound quality, flawless aesthetic appeal. You can't go wrong.

Daniel, Florence, AL

Reviews

Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Esprit SB (DC) Reviews

Average Customer Review(s):

(60 Reviews)
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Details

Hands-on research

Features and Specs

Features
Operation Manual
Speeds 33-1/3, 45, 78
Cartridge Type MM
Phono Preamp No
USB Output No
Pitch Control No
45 RPM Adapter Yes
Specs
Signal to Noise Ratio 68
Wow and Flutter 0.1
Weight 12.4 lbs.

Product Research

Features

Belt-Drive Design: The Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Esprit SB employs a belt drive design, plus a low-noise synchronous AC motor with effective motor decoupling (utilizing TPE) for ultimate speed stability. Together, they offer a smoother rotation and improved overall sound quality.

Built-in Speed Box: The Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Esprit SB features a built-in Speed Box which permits electronic speed change between 33, 45, and 78 rpm. A simple exchange of stylus to 2M78 (not included) and a drive belt turnover to larger diameter of pulley is also required for 78 rpm.

MDF Plinth: The Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Esprit SB features a medium density fiber (MDF) that stands on four damped cone feet. The turntable should be positioned on a low-resonance surface such as wood or multiple layer ply-board to avoid structural vibrations disturbing replay.

Acrylic Platter: The turntable comes with a heavy 12" (300mm) acrylic platter. No mat is included. Pro-Ject recommends that this turntable be used without a mat.

8.6" Carbon Tonearm: The 8.6" single-piece tube carbon fiber tone-arm increases stiffness while decreasing unwanted resonances resulting in a higher fidelity presentation of your vinyl recordings. The conical-shaped carbon-fiber arm-tube avoids standing wave reflections.

MM-Cartridge: The turntable's tone-arm is fitted the 2M Red moving magnet (MM) phono cartridge by Ortofon. This cartridge is capable of exceptional tracking and recovery of the musical nuance found within the records grooves.

RCA Connections: Connection to the phono input of your amplifier can be made with connecting cables of your choice through the turntable's gold-plated stereo RCA phono jacks and grounding screw. The Pro-Ject turntable comes supplied with a 47" stereo RCA cable with ground wire.

Note: If your receiver does not have a suitable Phono MM input, a separate phono pre-amplifier (sold separately) is required to connect the turntable to your amplifier.

Internal Wiring: The turntable's internal wiring consists of flexible high-purity copper from the headshell right through to the gold-plated phono sockets.

Dust Cover: The Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Esprit SB comes supplied with a dust cover to prevent dust build-up on the turntable.

Colors: Available in high-gloss black, red or white piano lacquer finish.

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team. They verify what’s in the box, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

Accessories
Q & A

Customer Q&A

Crutchfield asked  
Why did you buy this?

Best fit for my needs [ Cornel  Oct 21, 2018 ]
Good reviews [ Gozar  Oct 14, 2018 ]
I have completed a lot of research and for the money, I hope this turntable will meet my needs for the price. I also have purchased from Crutchfield in the past and have been very happy with them and their support. Time will tell when I receive this turntable how it performs and if it is all I hoped it would be. [ Leo  Sep 07, 2018 ]
Excellent value for price range [ Dominick A.  Sep 07, 2018 ]
Discounted price and features. [ KENNETH R  Sep 04, 2018 ]
Had Good Reviews, Plus like the speed control 33 to 45.... [ JERRY  Aug 21, 2018 ]
Did my research and this 'table seemed to be the best bang for my buck in the price range I was looking at . [ MICHAEL  Feb 27, 2018 ]
Been waiting a long time to enjoy my Evergrey and TOOL vinyl albums. Can't wait to receive this! A friend recommended the pro-ject Carbon as a great quality turntable without breaking the bank. [ Brandon  Feb 24, 2018 ]
Have read good reviews about this turntable. [ Brooks  Feb 01, 2018 ]
I found the turntable visually striking and liked that the standard cartridge seems quite good [ christopher  Dec 12, 2017 ]
Excellent reviews. [ P  Dec 04, 2017 ]
Audiophile quality (based on reviews) at a reasonable price. I have a large vinyl collection. [ Anthony  May 30, 2017 ]
This is a nice mid entry level turntable that comes with a nice ortofon 2m red cartridge [ Michael  Mar 04, 2017 ]
online research [ George  Feb 24, 2017 ]
Reviews [ John  Aug 07, 2016 ]
Highly rated around the web. [ Brian  May 01, 2016 ]
Great specs and looks great. [ Julio  Feb 15, 2018 ]
After a lot of deliberation and researching professional and user reviews/videos, and speaking with Cosmo, I chose the Project Debut Carbon Esprit SB (DC) in Gloss Red. From the pictures the unit looks awesome. Professional reviews of the Project Carbon Debut DC - the turntable this one is based on - have great things to say about it. Looking forward to listening to this turntable. [ ALBERT  Apr 17, 2016 ]
I looked at several turntables in this general price range. I was impressed with Pro-Ject's reputation. Simple setup. This looks like the most bang I can get for my buck. [ Brian  Feb 22, 2016 ]
I have a Pro-Ject Debut that I damaged when I moved it. I had been satisfied with it. I needed a replacement and this seemed like an upgrade with the added features of the acrylic platter, carbon tone arm, and speedbox. [ Paul  Jan 01, 2016 ]
Value (features at this price point), also clean contemporary aesthetic. [ John  May 02, 2018 ]
Great starter turntable and cartridge combo for my daughters first foray into vinyl. She also liked having a choice of colors. [ KEVIN  Mar 22, 2017 ]
Comparing this upgrade from the base debut carbon, there is a lot of value on the included upgrades in this package versus buying them all separately. I think for most listeners, this price is an attractive entry for beginning audiophiles looking to get the most out of their vinyl. This is coming from someone upgrading from an Audio Technica AT-LP120. [ David Bryan  Sep 28, 2016 ]
will use my existing turntable to convert vinyl to iTunes, and this new one to play my vinyl collection. This is my first manual turntable. [ Lyle  Aug 07, 2016 ]

5 questions already asked

I did an experiment on this very question twice. When I first got the TT I listened to the same album with the thin mat provided, with no mat, with a cork mat and with a thicker felt mat from my (very) old Rega TT. I thought the best sound was with the Rega mat. Then I upgraded to the Ortofon 2m blue and re ran the experiment. This time I thought that the no mat option sounded the best and I've been using no mat since then. As an aside, the Blue cartridge makes this TT truly come alive. I highly recommend the upgrade. [ MICHAEL  Nov 01, 2018 ]
Yes, it does come with a felt pad. [ Edward  Mar 10, 2017 ]
Yes the table should come with a thin felt pad that you can use if you want to. You will not damage your LPs if you just place it on the acrylic platter (preferred method). However if you use a heavy turntable spindle weight you might want to use the pad. If you are using some sort of clamp like I do then you should have no issues. I use a thin cork mat that I had custom made by Turntable Toys on Amazon for all three of may tables that all have acrylic platters. It ruins the aesthetics, but gives great grip and works well with clams and weights and also does not generate as much static as the felt does. I actually think if looks better than the felt as that also ruins the aesthetics especially with clear or opaque/clearish vinyl. Bear in mind that this table does not have a VTA (vertical tracking adjustment) so putting anything on there other than the thin felt mat will mess that up. I haven't found any sonic issues or differences with the thin cork on my two Projects. All seems fine. My original is a Debut III upgraded to the acrylic and that platter is much thicker than the stock but I think designed to ride the same height? With my Marantz TT15-S1 I have VTA so I adjust and compensate for this. [ Barry  Mar 10, 2017 ]
It does not come with a felt pad and it is suggested that you pace the record straight on the platter. I have played hundreds of records on this with no damage whatsoever just be gentle with your records ??. Sonically this platter makes a big difference. This is a great player. I would suggest the addition of a q-up tonearm lifter to save your stylus when you can't get to the tonearm at end of a record. [ Stuart  Mar 10, 2017 ]
Dear Carlos, I don't recall the turntable coming with a felt mat. I have been using the acrylic platter only and have noticed no detrimental wear to the record. You do have a raised lip on the record edge and the center label that limits some contact between the platter and the record. Again, I have had no problems. Hope this helps you. Terry [ TERRY R  Mar 10, 2017 ]
As I recall, there was a thin felt pad in the carton, but I think this was only for shipping purposes to protect the platter. I suppose you could use it if you want to. The record is meant to be placed directly on the acrylic platter. It doesn't cause any damage, and It seems to reduce the static electricity, plus it really looks cool. I really like this turntable. My only complaint is that it's a bit "fiddly"; especially that tiny anti-skate weight. [ Bernard  Mar 10, 2017 ]
Yes it does come with a felt pad. You won't be placing your vinyl records directly on the acrylic platter. [ warren  Mar 10, 2017 ]
No it does not. I have not had any issues with my table. Works great [ james  Mar 10, 2017 ]
Yes, a felt pad is included. I don't use it because felt collects static and dust. It's perfectly fine to place the album directly on the acrylic platter. Better even. Enjoy! [ ROBERT  Mar 10, 2017 ]
Yes [ Dustin  Aug 27, 2016 ]
Yes it does [ bill  Aug 26, 2016 ]
Yes, it does include a tonearm cueing lever. [ Zachary  Aug 26, 2016 ]
Yes it does. [ RON  Aug 26, 2016 ]
It has a lift arm lever. [ GEOFFREY  Aug 26, 2016 ]
Hello Henry, make sure you are using the ground wire and connect it to the RCA modules screw on the turntanle and then to the screw on your phono preamp or the casing of your amplifier and any hum should go away. I use audio quest or rocket fish interconnects. [ Michael  Jan 22, 2015 ]
Following up on my last message.. Pro-Ject USA Support did not recommend other RCA cables. But after moving the position of my turntable relative to my speakers and using NXG Gold RCA Cables, which cost $10, the hum is gone. [ Chris  Jan 20, 2015 ]
I am currently using the cables that were supplied with the turntable with no issues, however I have them isolated pretty well away from other cables. In the past, I have always had good luck with cables from AudioQuest. [ RON  Jan 19, 2015 ]
I got the Evergreen cables from Crutchfield. Could not be happier! [ Darren  Jan 19, 2015 ]
I also have a hum and have done some research only to learn that it can be caused by multiple issues. Does your hum occur only when the needle is in the groove? If so, the cause may not be the cable, it could be an issue with vibration. There is a lot of information online about correcting that issue. If your hum is like mine and occurs even when the turntable is off there are other things to try. Try disconnecting the ground from both terminals if it is connected or connecting it if it is not. If that does not solve the issue it could be interference from other electronic devices. This is my problem. There are two solutions for this. The best is to move the turntable or cable run away from the sources of interference. Mine is currently sitting right by a power strip and a internet switch. If I move my cable up away from those items, the hum disappears. Another solution, in theory, is to use a cable with better shielding. The reason I say in theory is that I tried an AudioQuest interconnect but heard no discernible improvement. Blue Jeans LC-1 has been recommended to me although I have not tried it. If you do please let me know how it works. [ Amanda  Jan 19, 2015 ]
I asked Pro-ject's Service in the USA the same question and am waiting for an answer... But you can try moving the position of the turntable relative to your speakers. When I positioned my turntable slightly higher than my speakers (I have small "brick" speakers and a subwoofer) vs. being on the same level as the speakers, the horrible hum went away. And, of course, be sure to connect the ground from the turntable to the amp And I have not performed the following, but Pro-Ject Service wrote: The hum you're experiencing may be alleviated by something as simple as tweaking the motor suspension setup; from our service experience, we've found that completely removing the two transit screws and rubber grommets that secure the motor mounting plate to the plinth (located under the platter) will often greatly reduce any hum due to possible motor vibration transmission. [ Chris  Jan 19, 2015 ]
I am using a pair of old monster cables (Monster Cable M850i) that I had laying around, but you should try for something shielded (plenty here on crutchfield, or amazon or monoprice). As for the hum- did you hook up the ground cable, also? That should really help. [ Paula  Jan 18, 2015 ]
I'm using the originals - haven't notice a hum. [ STEPHEN PAUL  Jan 18, 2015 ]
I went with iMBA RCA cables...found them on Amazon. Cheap and good quality. There are other options...check out the reviews. [ JOHN CRAIG  Jan 18, 2015 ]
The truth is the patch cable that comes with this turntable is SO bad that any, any cable you use instead is a big improvement. I use audio quest on my gear because of its reliability and good value. Try a set of golden gate rca or evergreens if you would like something even less expensive. Peel the stock cable apart and keep the ground wire. Throw the rest out as I've seen this cable loose it center pin in components before. [ George  Jan 18, 2015 ]
This worked for me. Pro-Ject Audio - Connect it Model Phono RCA-CC - 1.23M RCA-CC Cost was roughly 100$. It totally eliminated the hum that was caused by the cable that came with my Debut Carbon Esprit (DC). Old cable hum...new cable zero hum. [ Todd  Jan 18, 2015 ]
The cables you pick are not the problem, you need to properly ground the turntable itself to remove the hum. [ steven  Jan 18, 2015 ]
I use Audioquest Evergreen and it sounds fine. You shouldn't be getting audible hum even with the stock cable. I would check your ground connection. [ JOHN F  Jan 18, 2015 ]
Audioquest. You have to buy the RCA and Earth cables seperate but they work great for my table. [ David  Jan 18, 2015 ]
No it doe not turn off. It's totally manual. [ Keith  Dec 20, 2014 ]
no it does not. i purchased the q-up tone arm lifter and that fits and brings the arm up . saves your needle but the platter still turns. [ DANIEL  Dec 18, 2014 ]
No this turntable does not turn itself off at the end of the record. Interestingly, few higher-end turntables have that feature. Probably to preserve the "audiophile" ritual with playing vinyl. [ Michael  Dec 17, 2014 ]
Nope. It's all manual. [ Agnieszka  Dec 17, 2014 ]
No. [ Justin  Dec 17, 2014 ]
No you have to hold down the speed selection button for 3 seconds then it will turn off. [ Eric  Dec 17, 2014 ]
no. However sometimes when I hold the speed button to turn off the record player and take the record off the player when it stops, It begins to spin again without me pressing on again once I pick up the record [ Julie  Dec 17, 2014 ]
I dont have this model anymore but the two belts are for the two different rotational speeds: 33 and 45. [ Larry  May 19, 2018 ]
The second belt is supplied and would be used should you decide you want to play some old 78's. [ John  May 19, 2018 ]
The second belt is needed if your playing 78 speed records. [ Michael  May 19, 2018 ]
I have only used the flat belt. Unfortunatley do not know the advantage of one over the other but most of my reading says to go with the flat Enter [ Eric  May 19, 2018 ]
They are for 33 1/3 rpm & 45 rpm records. [ Richard A  May 19, 2018 ]
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