Higher than CD quality reproduction from its included Ortofon OM-5E cartridge and available in designer colors, this machine can turn anyone into an audiophile. The Debut 111 is the third in a line of exceptional turntables available for the entry level enthusiast. Entry level means about $329 but if you want matte black, you can drop three Hamiltons off of that. You will have to put-the-needle-on-the-rekit by hand every time you change a disk, but the ritual only enhances the romance of music and can supplant other activities such as watching Fox news.
We picked up a green one because it felt like the most daring color available and really is very beautiful. It also comes in Red, Blue, Cream, White, Yellah, Piano Black and the aforementioned matte black- all with dust covers, though not evident in most online photos.
When it arrived, it was ready to go pretty much right out of the box. Ok, not exactly, but the directions are adequate and you can watch the video below where you can see one being put together... amazingly easy to follow… with the exception of the number of times to turn the counterweight on the tonearm. This you will have to read the text for. Don’t forget to attach the ground wire to your receiver/phono preamp. There will be an audible hum and a child will cry in a far away land if you don’t.
This is prolly a good time to address a certain issue: A lot of people are going to tell you that digital is better than analog, but we hold a little known secret here: there is no reason to care. We haven’t given up our MP3s, crappy sound and all. We haven’t given up our CD player, even with its lack of modern portability. And we are not giving up our turntable because the rich, warm sound that comes out of that thing is something that no other format can replace. No need for the “If you were stranded on a [delicious] dessert island, what would be the only form of music reproduction you would have with you?” It is just the wrong question; each road has its scenery… back to the Debut…One thing you will notice is the switch under the left side of the plinth (err… chassis). Every time you switch this on, the platter will start spinning so make sure the needle isn’t making contact with your record when the green machine is being turned on or off.
There is also no tonearm return when you reach the end of a side, so you really need to take your listening seriously. It stops spinning when you make it stop. Basically they spent all of their money on the best possible sound-producing parts rather than on extra little luxuries that complicate mechanical/electrical purity.The Ortofon OM-5E is a well regarded cartridge in the industry and is capable of producing sound that has a deeper and more airy soundstage than you will get from most CD players within a reasonable budget.
So, does it sound as good as it looks? Oh yes, it does. We have a pair of Grado SR 125’s from back in the 90’s (which are basically indistinguishable from those sold today) and sometimes the sound can be scary good. On “Parkening and the Guitar, Music of Two Centuries” by Christopher Parkening, I had to take the headphones off because I thought someone was in our house. As it turned out, it was discussion from the recording booth that had been picked up on the record! Hugely annoying! It became immediately necessary to screen records that much more carefully to make sure they are blemish free. There can be no compromising anymore.
This beauty fits into any designery décor with its gender-neutral appeal. Reasonably priced and easy to get [older] music for, this Debutant is ready for action. Pick one up here and don’t be afraid to choose a bold color, it’s fun!
Other Unplggd links for vinyl those with a vinyl fetish:
- Taking a Peek: DJs Living Rooms
- Survey: Do You Have a Record Player?
- Good Questions: Broken Record Player
Needle Doctor is an online store that markets itself as the "world's largest selection of turntables, needles, cartridges, and more." They ship domestically and internationally.