Completely lost (need help) setting up Pro-ject Debut III turntable!



So I purchased the Pro-ject Debut III turntable as my very first entry level player. It's built very well, but the directions have me completely confused. Does anyone else have this particular model and knows something about setting it up? I'm an ABSOLUTE noob when it comes to this stuff. I'm using the otoform cartridge that comes fitted and ready to go from the factory. I followed the very first page (Setup) of the instructions, and I have the unit functioning. But the needle just skates across the record and doesn't stay put. Do I have to attach the counterweight and the anti-skating weight? The instructions are pretty confusing as the two asterisks (**) make it seem like I don't have to do this when using the factory installed cartridge. So I guess I'm asking, do I attach the counter weight and anti-skating weight as the instruction say in the next couple of sections after the "setup" section? It looks really difficult. (azimut?) I've linked to the directions here:

Can anyone who has set up one of these units up using the pre-installed cartridge chime in?


Well-known Member
Don't know the project debut but it shouldn't be much different to any other turntable. I'm old enough to have used turntables before the days of these new fangled CD thingies.

Looking at the manual you need to:

>Fit the supplied weight to the tonearm
>Fit the cartridge and stylus (remove cover if fitted)
>Balance the tone arm so that the it is level without the arm rest raised (this is the zero measurement)
>Raise the tone arm rest and without turning the weight rotate the balance weight scale ring to zero (in line with anti skate prong) recheck that the the arm is still balanced.
>Rotate the tone arm weight clockwise to 17.5 marks past the anti-skate prong to suit the fitted cartridge (17.5 marks is correct for the factory cartridge). This will make the cartridge end of the tone-arm drop when the tone-arm rest is lowered. If this causes the cartridge end of the tone arm to raise then you have turned the weight the wrong way.
>Fit the anti-skate loop over the third groove of the stub [15] to suit the factory cartridge
>>You are good to go.

The azimut adjustment is only required if the stylus (needle) is not vertical to the platter (cartridge is not parallel to the platter). What the manual is saying is if the stylus is not perpendicular with the platter loosen the screw, twist the tone-arm so that the cartridge is parallel with the platter and tighten the screw. You may have to do this a few times to ensure that the stylus is perpendicular with the platter. If the stylus looks parallel and records are playing then leave it alone. As you get more into the turntable you may want to do more precise adjustments.


Well-known Member
Funnily enough, I helped my girlfriend build her Debut III last night. I agree, the instructions are a bit wooly.

When it states you do not need to fit the cartridge, that means ignore the section regarding changing the azimut, and fitting the right +ve and -ve, left +ve and -ve etc. This part is on page 5 (Fitting and connceting the cartridge)-ignore all this.

You do need to do the stuff on page 4. Two parts:

1- Fit the counterweight- the heavy ring with the 0-25 number scale on it. Fit this on the stubby end of the tone arm, and spin the whole counterweight until the arm is perfectly balanced and horizontal (this is why the turntable needs to be flat using a spirit level). Ours was just further than halfway along the stubby end. If it (the tonearm) gently floats back to horizontal after a wee prod, it's perfectly balanced. This means there is 0 downforce onto the needle. Now you need to tell the sliding scale it's 0! Whilst holding the counterwight gerntly (to stop it moving), rotate the dial on the counterweight so the white line on the tone arm matches up with the 0 on the counterweight. The tonearm should still be floating horizontally, and the reading should state 0. You've calibrated your downforce on the tonarm :) Not finished yet though. The cartridge in ours (Debut III Espirit) states a downforce of 17.5 is required. So, gently spin the knurled number part of the counterweight from 0 towards 25, and stop at 17.5 (roughly). This time, as your not holding the couinterweight in place like before, the counterweight should move slowly towards the balance point of the tonearm. This should result in the cartridge end to sink gently downwards (i.e., towards a record!).

2- Fit the anti skating weight. Don't pull off the wee nylon loop by accident. Thread the loop through the eyelet of the wire suspension thingy (16/17 on the instruction manual), and hook it onto the very small notched bar on the tone arm balance point (15 in the instructions). The weight should now dangle in mid air, and move up/down depending on where the needle is on the record (inner or outer). The manual states for 17.5 downforce, hook the nylon loop on the middle notch of the stub (part 15).

Hopefully that means that the arm is now pressing just hard enough down on to the record as it should be (17.5mN), and the anti skating weight... stops... skating? I've no idea what it is for to be honest. But it works.

Hopefully this will help a bit. Post back if any of this is confusing (to be honest, I made up some terms.... :rotfl: ), or if you get it working.

Edit: Or, just as lowmans 100 stated.


Thanks for the replies everyone. I'm going to attempt this again right now. If I don't post back, then it's a success! Much obliged.


Active Member
just did my Pro-ject and as above is a fair do at explaining it. My instructions were fairly easy to follow.

I am now enjoying my "old" music again... Never heard the B52's sound so good.:D


Success! I have it all working just fine. Now what's a good way to reduce the annoying cracks and pops that are inherent in vinyl? Do anti-static vinyl cleaners work?


Standard Member
I also had a hell of a time understanding the included set up instructions. I came upon a YouTube video entitled Setting Up the Pro-Ject Debut Turntable. Within two minutes I had the unit up and running correctly....cheers.


Active Member
Success! I have it all working just fine. Now what's a good way to reduce the annoying cracks and pops that are inherent in vinyl? Do anti-static vinyl cleaners work?

Trade in the Pro-ject for a CD player!

Sorry, someone had to say it.

Are you playing new LPs or old ones? New LPs shouldn't have more than the very occasional tick. Old LPs - well, it depends how well they were looked after. If you're getting more or less continuous cracks and pops, or continuous crackle, the record is probably knackered and there's nothing you can do to reverse the damage. But if the record's simply a bit dirty, it may well respond to cleaning. Ideally you would buy a record cleaning machine but these are very expensive so you may want to look at record cleaning fluids.

The Pastor

Standard Member
lol get a cd player, (most ppl have a cd player, and are going back to vinyl because it is so much better) I have the MkIII and set it up ok with B&W DM601 series 2 and it blows cd out the water, with "old" vinyl mainly late 70's to mid 80's, try playing a cd in another 20 yrs time, if it plays at all it will be bland single level sound.............

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