Home Tech Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo Review: An Audio Nerd's Dream

Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo Review: An Audio Nerd's Dream

By

Parker Hall

You’ll want to check whether your amp has a phono preamp. That’s what takes the signal from the turntable and makes it line level so a standard amp can send it to your speakers. Many more affordable turntables have phono preamps built-in, but this one does not.

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And as with all turntables, you’ll want to make sure you have a level place to put the Evo. Otherwise, setup is minimal. You put on the platter, plug it in, set the tracking weight, make sure the three dampened feet have the table level, and you’re off to the races.

I plugged it into the Cambridge Audio Alva Solo phono preamp and then into a Peachtree Nova 220SE amp and Klipsch Forte II speakers in my treated listening space. I have been on a digital music kick of late, but I listened to nearly half of my 100-disc collection in the weeks that followed—encouraged highly by this excellent turntable.

The Debut Carbon Evo is not only the best sub-$ 1,000 turntable I’ve ever heard, it’s one of the most musical turntables. It’s so agile and clean when you’re playing a well-cleaned record that it sounds like you’re listening to a FLAC file. That’s not to say the analog warmth we all love from spinning plastic isn’t present, just that everything sounds more delicate and refined compared to most sub-$ 500 record players. It really feels like the Sumiko Ranier cartridge is picking up every single piece of the music but little to no surface noise—a remarkable feat in this price range.

Everything from delicate jazz records to the modern hip hop of Kendrick Lamar comes through with focus and a bold soundstage, never feeling choked by any piece of gear. The Debut Carbon Evo brings the feeling I chase as a musician who loves listening to music; there’s no specific part of this system that is hurting the sound in any noticeable way. Instead, the Debut Carbon Evo works with other great gear to remove the speakers from the room.

At its best, it sounds like your favorite artist is performing in front of you.

Buy Once, Cry Once

Photograph: Pro-Ject

It’s an old cliché, but sometimes spending a bit more money than you otherwise would is a good idea. If you’re upgrading from an entry-level turntable and are interested in a model that will last you for the rest of your record-spinning days, consider this new Pro-Ject model.

It’s several hundred dollars more than some decent mid-tier options from Fluance, Audio-Technica, and others, but the Evo truly offers audiophile-grade sound where others tend to approximate it.

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