Question Budget Turntable with preamp for a ORTOFON 2M RED CARTRIDGE


Novice Member
Hi there,

First post here. Thanks for reading!

I've had a Pro-Ject Debut III turntable 12 years and it's finally running out of steam (the platter is struggling to spin and having recently replaced the motor after which it worked for a while it is back to the same problem). So I'm in the market for a new turntable in the €200-350 (£175-270) range. It should have a built-in preamp as I don't have a separate phono stage. I don't need USB output.
Thing is, I recently upgraded the cartridge to an Ortofon 2M Red (and accompanying counterweight) which I would like to reuse. I have a Primare I21 amplifier and B&W 804 speakers.

So any recommendations for the new turntable based on the above? So far I like the look of the Fluance RT81 and I also really like the look of the Rega Planar 1 Plus, though this would probably be outside of my budget.

Thanks in advance,


Distinguished Member
Did you also replace the BELT on the DEBUT Turntable? The belt is most likely to go long before the motor.

You could consider the latest Project Debut Carbon that comes with an Ortofon 2m Red (£325), or you could step up to the Project Carbon Esprit (£425) which is more expensive, but should still be close to your budget.

Project Debut Carbon Turntable With Ortofon 2M Red Cartridge - Superfi

Project Debut Carbon Esprit SB Turntable - Superfi

Yes both are a bit above your budget. But worth considering.

Can you tell us where you are since you are quoting prices in EUROS? Can we assume not the UK?

The Project Essential III (£259 - £299) has a nice tonearm and just a tiny bit above budget -

Project Essential III A Turntable - Superfi

Project Essential III Turntable - Superfi

The REGA Planar 1 PLUS is certainly a worthy consideration. While you can probably use the 2M Red, part of the "PLUS" aspect is a cartridge upgrade, which is kind of wasted if you are just going to replace it. And it is unlikely that you will be able to use the heavier Counter Weight with any Non-Project Turntable.

Also, I would not be concerned about considering a FLUANCE. That should be a good turntable for the money.

Now moving down to turntables more realistically in your budget range, consider the -

Audio Technica AT-LP5 - £250 -

Audio Technica ATLP5 USB Turntable - Superfi

As mentioned above, the Project Essential III (basic model) - £259 -

Project Essential III Turntable - Superfi

Same with a built in Phono Pre-Amp - Essential III - £279 -

Pro-Ject Essential III Phono Turntable - Superfi

The Reloop RP1000 (£200) is a DJ-Style but Belt Driver, and very modestly priced -

Reloop RP1000M DJ Turntable - Superfi

This Audio Technica AT-LP120 (£219) Direct Drive is at the lowest price I have seen it in the UK - usually in the £250 to £300 range. -

Audio Technica ATLP120USBHC USB Turntable - Superfi

If you like Project models, then likely the Project Essential III in one of its variations is going to do the job for you, and is more like, though I can't guarantee, to use the parts you currently have.

The closest to what you have, but still an upgrade would be the Project Debut Carbon with Carbon Fiber Tonearm, though it already has the Ortofon 2M Red Cartridge (£325).

All that said, nothing wrong with the Fluance or the REGA if they appeal to you.



Novice Member
Thanks Steve for that comprehensive reply.
I'm in Dublin.
The Pro-ject Essential III with preamp is looking good and fits the budget; not sure how I missed it in my initial searches. I see it has a OM10 cartridge which I understand my 2M Red wouldn't exactly be an upgrade on? Maybe I'll look to sell the OM10 when I get it.
I do like the Pro-jects and the Carbon looks good but doesn't have a preamp.


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