We shall share our view here to help you with some additional pointers that you can take home. Depending on who you approach, different people will tell you one is better than the other. But over here, before we delve into that, we will just put the plain facts forehand so that you can make the call yourself. Of course I have my own preference, but lets keep it to the end, as I will show you what it means to put the money where my mouth is.
Branding of Rega and Pro-Ject
Before I decide on any brand of turntables, I usually find out the background history of the company so that I will know what they specialize in and how serious they are in this line. Because many companies have recently jumped into the vinyl segment just to capitalize on the growing trend.
Rega is known to be high end audio equipment manufacturer that originated from the United Kingdom. It has a pretty long history in the sense it started in 1973. They also have a good reputation for their turntables, cartridges and tonearms. For more than twenty years, they have won awards for their speakers and amplifications too. Other than purely focusing on making its own products, Rega is also an OEM supplier. So you can actually find Rega variants in other audiophile turntables.
What about the Pro-Ject?
The Pro-Ject brand is also a manufacturer of audio equipment but it is based in Austria. Compared to Rega, they started almost 20 years later in 1990. The Pro-Ject turntables are also commonly known for their entry level turntables. They similarly also produce other hifi components such as amplifiers, phono stages, streaming devices etc.
Here’s the difference
So here you can see some slight difference already. The Pro-Ject turntables seem to target the entry level turntables more than the Rega. This means two things: Pro-Ject turntables are priced more affordable compared to Rega’s while Rega’s turntables should have better quality substance compared to the former. Want to see the monetary difference? See the price for Rega RP1 with performance pack on amazon and Pro-Ject Debut Carbon on amazon.
Another important consideration: ease of setting up
Before you start to enjoy your vinyl spinning, you have to first grapple with setting up your newly bought turntable. If you already have a major problem setting it up, then you will be frustrated just like I was before and its unlikely you will have a good impression of what you just bought. Fortunately, BOTH of them are super easy to set up, sleek and simple.
Compare both investments from Rega and Pro-Ject
- Reducing vibrations
In the Rega RP1 performance pack, Rega invested in a new hand assembled RB101 tonearm, precision main bearing, phenolic resin flywheel effect platter high quality low vibration motor (which would normally cost 2-3x more!). Basically this means much better sound performance – which in other words mean its worth your money.
Well, is the Pro-Ject losing out? Maybe not. The Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC also invested in its tonearm by introducing an incredible carbon-fiber tonearm that gives you stiffness. They also have a hefty platter, low-noise motor with effective decoupling, stable isolation feet that protect Debut Carbon DC from vibrations. So when it compares with the Rega RP1 performance pack, its pretty hard choice to make, right?! Its actually true.
What about the cartridge?
You will be comparing the Rega Bias 2 moving magnet phono cartridge with the Ortofon 2M red moving magnet cartridge on detail retrieval. How do you determine which is better? To each his own to be honest, I have tried both on different turntables and there are both pros and cons. However, if the price can help you a decision, you may want to know that the Rega Bias 2 moving magnet phono cartridge is almost 50% more expensive than the Ortofon 2M. Maybe the price has changed but if not, check it out on amazon, click here for the Rega Bias 2 and click here for the Ortofon 2M.
Rega Bias 2 Cartridge on the left and Ortofon 2M on the right, for your view
Some other main differences that I want to point out
The Rega RP1 performance pack comes with an upgraded drive belt and a super easy to use cartridge alignment protractor. What benefits does the upgraded drive belt brings? Well are you particular on speed stability and accuracy? If yes, then you will be happy to know that it gives you increased drive that will result in greater speed stability and accuracy. This stability is quite significantly obvious during your extended musical notes and it adds a lot to your musical enjoyment when you spin your vinyl.
What about the Pro-Ject DC? Well, to be fair, they also provide you with an updated DC power supply for achieving resolute speed stability. So when you compare apple to apple, its not very much different, right? If you are not an expert audiophile, to be honest, its not easy to tell which is more stable than the other. For myself, I could not say for sure which is better than the other. Both seems similar to me, well if you ask others you might get something different.
Some other perks that comes with the Rega RP1 performance pack is that you will get a high quality turntable mat that is made from natural wool, they claim its 100% natural wool. Why is this material chosen or preferred? Its quite interesting because wool has stiffer fibers than those synthetic manmade materials that you often see in the market. The wool material is also chosen as it plays an important role in coupling between the phenolic resin platter and the vinyl.
The Pro-Ject Debut Carbon does not lose out much in this aspect too. It decreases the unwanted resonances, as the 8.6 inch carbon fiber tonearm immediately produces higher fidelity from any LP that you choose to play. When you compare it to the Rega RP1 with performance pack, you notice that it doesn’t lose out much. This is because it has a stable isolation feet that aids in protecting the Debut Carbon DC from vibrations. Basically you have a resonance reducing MDF plinth that supports a heavy yet wide low-resonance platter that has smooth rotation and low wow and flutter from the Pro-ject Debut Carbon DC.
Appearance plays a role?
Last but not least, if I can add some comments on the appearance and choice of colors, the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC is designed in an attractive modern style with piano-gloss finishing and multiple color options for you to choose from. But when you compare to the RP1 Performance pack then choices are lesser. However, appearance really is subjective, to each his own. For example, your equipments are mostly in dull colors or in brown wood colors, then you may appreciate something that is less striking right? For some others, I know friends that love the most modern type of colors with glossy finishes. They like the blend of new and old feel, which I can understand. Myself personally, I prefer those more down to earth type of color, as it can withstand any trend changes.
To sum off
I have spent some time with both but I think if you are a beginner, you might be better of going with the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon. Why so? First of all, as a beginner, you do not know if you will like this hobby in the longer run so you should minimize your capital investment and this Pro-ject DC is a super value for money turntable.
However, if you are not a beginner and are looking for something higher end to enjoy your music quality, then I would suggest you go for the Rega RP1 Performance pack. The upgrade is significant and of course the price justifies for it. Quality comes with price, but just make sure its within your budget.
Pro-Ject Debut Carbon
Rega RP1 (with performance pack)