Monday, June 09, 2008

Pro-Ject Debut Esprit

Now this is a real groovy turntable, kids.

Now if this were the Debut model that was available in the US, then Pro-Ject would really be cookin'. The Debut Esprit adds a couple cosmetic changes, but they're changes for the better. Notice that acrylic platter, which is a great change from the Debut III's steel platter. The folks at Needle Doctor advice their Debut owners to save up for an acrylic platter, which runs around $100. This is a much smarter move, making it standard.
You should also notice that nice red polish on the table. I really love these glossy colors on the Debut tables. I'm amazed that this sort of thing isn't standard on more turntables. Especially for an entry-level machine, this is the perfect hook to rein in those new vinyl junkies. That platter just makes things even better.
I just wanted to show this off because, well, it's just so damned cool. Unfortunately, it's only available in the UK and Europe. If Project and Sumiko (the American distributor) were smart, they'd jump on this model, and make this the standard entry-level turntable. If you could keep the price in the $300-$350 range, you'd have a fantastic deal.
As far as I'm aware, the only real competition at this price range is the Rega P1, and that's a fairly new entry into this contest. I think the lower-end market is wide open at this point. The vinyl revival is bringing thousands of new fans and listeners every week. Many of them are teenagers or college students, kids who don't have endless piles of money to burn. This isn't the hi-fi realm, where $500 or $1,000 means nothing to the dedicated fan. But you've limited yourself exclusively to the luxury market. There's a whole generation of kids just waiting to get on the magic analog bus and take the ride.
I'm telling you, vinyl addicts, if Debut Esprit was the table I could have bought, I'd be perfectly happy with it. Just add a quality cartridge, and never complain again. The flat black wood of the Debut III (and the P1, for that matter) is just dull, dull, dullsville. The Esprit is all panache.
Now for the bad news. You knew there had to be a catch, right? The price for the Debut Esprit is 224.95 British Pounds. Thanks to the legacy of the President Stupid, the boy-king, Caligula-wannabe, the US Dollar has fallen to such levels that the cost of importing this does $443.00 sound? If we were still in the year 2000, this table would be a steal. Now you have yet another reason to punish the Republicans at the polls in November.
Until then...someone at Sumiko needs to get the ball rolling, and fast.

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