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Rega vs Pro-Ject Turntables: Who Makes the Better Turntable?

In this matchup, we’ll compare the Pro-Ject vs Rega. Although both are great turntable manufacturers, we’ll make a head-to-head comparison of their products to determined which of them is the best among the competition.

Pro-Ject vs Rega Turntables

Pro-Ject Debut Carbon vs Rega Planar at a Glance:

Product

Cartridge

Tonearm

Stabilization

Motor

Compare

Pro-Ject Debut Carbon

Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC Turntable with Ortofon 2M Red Cartridge (Piano...
Ortofon 2M red Cartridge 8.6” Carbon Tonearm Increased platter size for more weight stabilization Precision belt drive with synchronous motor View Deals!

Rega Planar 1

REGA - Planar 1 (Black)
Pre-installed Carbon MM Cartridge RB 110 Tonearm Vibration reducing feet for stabilization Low noise synchronous motor View Deals!

Rega and Pro-Ject Features

Let’s keep in mind that these are high-end digital turntables for heavy duty use. We’re going to rate them as if we plan to use them every day to enjoy our favorite tunes on vinyl. Of course, this is just our review, but feel free to agree or disagree with what we have in store.

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Weight

Heavier weight tends to suggest better stability. If the item is more substantial, it has less chance of slipping or moving around during use. It can also mean that the item is more durable.

On the flip side, it can also mean that the manufacturer just used heavier materials to give the impression of quality. But since this is a high-tech piece of equipment, let us assume that the weight is a result of the components.

Pro-Ject – Debut Carbon DC

Clocking in at 12.35 lbs, The Pro-Ject – Debut Carbon DC is a heavyweight. Since there are no external bells and whistles on this machine, We’re inclined to think that all that weight is inside and invested in quality internal components.

As if to confirm our hypothesis, none of the reviews for this turntable question its durability.

Rega Planar 1

At 9.26 lbs, the Rega Planar 1 seems like a lightweight. But to be fair, durability is also not an issue. Maybe they saved weight with advanced construction techniques, or they used lighter materials overall. Even if the weight seems slightly on the lighter side, the Rega Planar is a sturdy customer.

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Winner: PRO-JECT

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Evaluating the Rega vs. Pro-Ject Carbon, one must give a slight edge to the Pro-Ject turntable. We still think the extra weight suggests extra durability.

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Price

As much as we want to pretend that cost is not an issue, let’s face it, the price can be a big turn off.

An expensive price tag without special features or significantly better quality can feel like the manufacturer is ripping us off. When it comes to high-end technology like this, we often think along the lines that cheaper is better until it is so cheap that we begin to doubt its quality.

Price relative to quality can be hard to gauge when products appear to be very difficult to distinguish.

Some brands artificially raise their price to make it look like they are selling a superior product or to keep the appearance that they are premium.

Others try to be loss leaders, selling their product with a low-profit-margin in an attempt to steal customers in a captive market.

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Pro-Ject – Debut Carbon DC

With its current sale price of just $380, it looks like the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC is in the middle of the pack.

We’ll have to check out its other features to see if it provides a high value for the money; does it offer excellent features at its price point? – or does the manufacturer artificially raised the price to make it look like it is a quality pick.

The most expensive turntables in the same product category go for a high of $480, with the cheapest selling for just $308.

Therefor, the Pro-Ject is middling.

Perhaps that brings value for money. Let’s keep going to see if the features of the Pro-Ject are worth the price.

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Rega Planar 1

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Four hundred seventy-four dollars and ninety-five cents! The Rega Planar 1 has a steep price tag. It bills itself as the “entry level” of the high-end Rega Planar series.

Perhaps this is deliberate. Despite being priced at a premium, it is just an “entry level.” But on Amazon, it is the most expensive of all the turntables in its class.

Then again, Rega is well known for high-end turntables, so perhaps there is some truth to its billing. The Rega Planar 1 is a scaled-down Rega meant to be accessible to those who might want to try out Rega’s quality, but do not have the big bucks to splurge on one of its more expensive units.

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Winner: Rega Planar 1

We’re going to give this to Rega just because the branding suggests that there is quality behind the Planar 1.

One might validate the steep price is in the brand name and the fact that it has premium features that you cannot find at this price range.

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Click Here to Read the Latest Rega Planar Customer Reviews

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Sound Quality

Obviously, the main reason for buying a turntable is to play music. Therefor every turntable should provide excellent sound quality.

The most expensive turntable laden with heaps of bells and whistles means nothing if the sound quality is not up to snuff. That being said, let’s compare the sound quality of the Rega Planar 1 vs. the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC.

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Pro-Ject – Debut Carbon DC

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Sound quality is, as the name suggests, a qualitative attribute. Only the snobbiest turntable buffs or those with advanced degrees in music theory can give objective reviews when it comes to sound quality. For most mortals, we can tell good sound quality when we hear it.

It’s especially true when it comes to the Pro-Ject Carbon DC. People praise its virtues. People comment on how good the sound quality is for the price range.

They also complement the stability of the sound even after continued use. While some turntables start to sound wobbly after extended use, the Pro-Ject Carbon DC’s playback quality is consistent from the time you switch it on to the time you decide to give it a rest.

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Rega Planar 1

The sound quality of the Rega Planar 1 is impressive. It comes from an elite pedigree, so it is not surprising that the playback quality is remarkable.

The playback is detailed and has an airy silky treble. You will not regret placing your favorite vinyl on the Rega Planar 1. It will play as if you were using a much more expensive device.

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Winner: Tie

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We’re going to have to call this a tie. As mentioned, the sound quality is something we can use flowery adjectives to describe.

But like beauty, the quality of the sound is in the eye of the beholder – sound quality is in the ear of the listener. We would do you a disservice if we tried to push the scales in favor of one or the other.

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Top Pro-Ject Models:

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Top Rega Models:

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Noise During Playback

Noise during playback can be a real deal breaker for some purists. After all, the main benefit of vinyl is that it is an analog format that can play back music in all its beautiful subtlety.

There are some sounds that vinyl can play back that CDs cannot. Some things are just tricky to lay down into a digital format.

What does this have to do with noise? Well if you buy a product with the desire to hear subtle sounds and airy tones that ordinary digital playback devices cannot emulate, you do not want the ambient sound to detract from your enjoyment of the music.

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Pro-Ject – Debut Carbon DC

The Pro-Ject is excellent in this category. Except for the stylus, there is no movement, and nothing vibrates. Or at least it sounds like nothing is making unnecessary sounds that can detract from the music played.

Perhaps it is the design quality or maybe because the parts just fit better, but people report no unwanted sound.

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Rega Planar 1

This category is one place where the weight of the Rega Planar 1 seems to be a liability. Users detect vibrations and odd unwanted sounds that come from it during playback.

Multiple users seem to take issue with these vibrations, so it cannot be the result of just one or two people with biased reviews.

Unfortunately for such an expensive product, it seems like some parts just do not fit so well or maybe some parts vibrate or move in unwanted ways.

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Winner: PRO-JECT Debut Carbon DC

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The winner is clear between a turntable with no unwanted ambient sound, and one that user reviews say emits odd sounds.

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Click Here to Read the Latest Pro-Ject Debut Carbon User Reviews

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Pros and Cons

Pro-Ject Debut Carbon

Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC Turntable with Ortofon 2M Red Cartridge (Piano...

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PROS

      • Beautiful design
      • Well-damped against vibration
      • Easy to set up

CONS

      • Manual speed change
      • Some instances of motor hu


Rega Planar 1

REGA - Planar 1 (Black)

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PROS

      • Very fine, detailed sound
      • Gorgeous design & feel
      • Easy to put together

CONS

      • Table can be noisy
      • Manual tonearm operation

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Final Verdict: Should You Buy Pro-Ject or Rega?

In the final analysis, Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC wins two categories, and Rega Planar 1 wins one category.

Based on the categories we’ve listed above, we believe the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC is the better option for someone who is in the market for a mid-range turntable. Of course, this is just our opinion. Please feel free to agree, disagree, or leave a review of your own.

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Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC Turntable with Ortofon 2M Red Cartridge (Piano...

What Do Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC Owners Think? >>

  • Overall Build Quality
  • Overall Sound Quality
  • Overall Value Factor
4.8

Summary

Overall Score:

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