Possible upgrade of ProJect Debut III


Standard Member
I have ProJect Debut III Phono SB, and i want to upgrade it somehow.

1st and easiest i want to change platter from stock to Acryl-It
2nd i want to change cartridge and here's a problem:
2a - change just stylus to OM40
2b - change cartridge to SuperOM10 + Stylus OM40
2c - change cartridge to 2M Black (will it fit?)

3rd can i change tonearm? and what will it give me? on what i change it?
4th can i change RCA cables somehow?!
5th what else can i change?
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Established Member
The project III is a well respected TT and as it stands will perform very well in most set ups. The most obvious choice for upgrade is the cartridge/stylus, and as mentioned the Grado is a good choice to start with. I have personally tried most of the Grado range and was quite happy with them.

IMHO once you start looking at the cost of a new tonearm, platter etc you are well on the way toward the cost of a better TT.

Hope this helps


Distinguished Member
The first and most important question is WHY?

If you are going to make all these upgrades, why buy this table to start with, and why keep it now. The Ortofon 2M Black is about £450. That seems a lot for a turntable that is basically £230. And yes, I know your particular model cost more than that with the Phono Pre-amp and SpeedBox, but it doesn't change the fact that it is all based on a £230 turntable.

SuperFi.co.uk - Project Debut III Phono Speedbox (£344)

The Project Debut III Esprit does come with an Acrylic platter, so I would suspect you could retrofit your existing turntable with that for a fair price. To know for sure, you would have to contact Project.

As for the Cartridge, I say either get the 2M Blue or sell what you have and just get a better turntable.

The Project Xpression III with acrylic platter, and 2M Red is about £450, but could easily be bumped up to the 2M Blue. The 2M Blue on its own is about £150, and the 2M Red is about £80. So add the difference to the price of the turntable.

Really, it gets down to budget. How much do you have to spend, if you are looking at the 2M Black then you must have £500 or more. I think that money would be better spent on a new turntable.

However, there are some reasonable upgrades you can make to your existing turntable. If you insist on the Acrylic Platter, then check with Project and see what the price is. Again, there is a Debut III model that does have an Acrylic platter so this isn't too far fetched. Then, upgrade to a cartridge in the £150 to £200, such as the 2M Blue, if that appeals to you.

Ortofon 2M Blue - Google Search

Grado Prestige Silver - Google Search

Grado Prestige Gold - Google Search

Ortofon 2M Bronze - Google Search

SuperFi.co.uk - Project Xpressions III Turntable (£444)

Project Xperience Turntable w/ Ortofon 2M Blue (£774)

To go much beyond that, to be considering £500 cartridges and replacement tone arms, in my mind, just doesn't make sense. Far better to just buy a better turntable.

It would also help to know what the rest of your equipment is (amp, CD, speakers, etc...)? That would give us a better sense of proportion for this proposed upgrade.

But personally, I don't see sinking £1000 into a £200 turntable as a wise move.

And finally, though mentioned before, what is your goal? What is your purpose? What do you hope to gain or change that you don't have now?

Just one man's thoughts.

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Established Member
I've been looking into something similar since I picked up a Debut 3 recently as an experiment in vinyl. The acrylic platter is around £90 new, and by most accounts is an incremental improvement in quality; the big advantage is that you can use MC carts once you have it, like the high-output Denons.
You can add a Speedbox (around £100) which is meant to improve speed stability significantly, as well as allowing easy switching between 33 and 45 rpm.

The conclusion I came to is pretty much what Steve above has said - you're probably better off saving your pennies and investing in a better table rather than throwing more money at the Debut 3. I would look into a decent cartridge which you could take with you to a new table when you do change.


Distinguished Member
I think I could fairly say that the 2M is a step up from the Ortofon OM cartridges. The one that is typically included with the turntable (in general) are worth about £40.

As Surayne indicates, it seems the acrylic platter is about £90. Though certainly worth checking to make sure.

You've got the SpeedBox already.

Also, the Denon High Output Moving Coil Cartridges are well worth a look. They are very well liked. They don't put out as much voltage as a typical Moving Magnet cartridge, but it is high enough to work with a standard MM input.

The Denon DL 160 is priced similar to the other cartridges I mentioned, though I'm having trouble finding a place that has any.


Or this alternate to the DL-160, the DL-110 -

Denon DL-110, Denon DL110

Audiot.co.uk - Denon DL-160

Though I don't think this last link has any stock, but you get an idea of the price.

Given how hard it is to find a source, I wonder if the DL-160 hasn't been discontinued.

It probably is worth a cartridge upgrade on your turntable, depending on what you have now, but according to SuperFi, their version of your turntable comes with the standard Ortofon OMB5A which is worth about £25.

So, I'm thinking new platter and new cartridge would bring you in at about £300, which would be in keeping with the general price of your existing turntable, and represent a real noticeable upgrade. Anything beyond that though, I think is a waste.

Just one man's opinion.


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Standard Member
thanks to everyone.
I didnt wrote my setup because it was mentioned in profile, but here's what i have:
Pioneer VSX-LX53
Quadral Platinum M4
Pro-Ject Debut III Phono SB (with Ortofon OM5e)

i payed 500 pounds for that project in russia. it was and is my first TT, so i basically dont know nothing about TT.
at first i didnt even thought of upgrading, but looking thru forums idea settled in my mind.

Music direct shows that acryl platter would cost me 129$ and OM40 stylus 299$. That's under 500$. If i could i'd upgrade anything else for 500 more, but is there any good for doing it?

Next year i'll by new TT, but in 2011 i want to take maximum from this one. BTW, now it sounds fine for my ears, but i just want to do something since there's possibilities.


Prominent Member
I asked a similar question recently when I wanted to upgrade a Project Debut SE II. The prevailing thought was that the Debut was a good intro deck and to spend money improving it wouldn't be as cost effective as buying a better deck, so that's what I did: I now have a Project 6 Perspex. Although I spent a bit more than I originally intended, I'm delighted with my new TT. Like others (and yourself as you indicate), I suggest buying a better TT which can make better use of a good cart etc.

Here is the thread I started.
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Established Member
Buy an enorumous and crazy Russian valve amp, are they cheaper over there? That would be a fun way of experimenting with the sound you system makes rather than minor turntable improvements. I just think you have upgrade-itis!

I had no idea that Pro-ject cost so much over there.

Save your money for a beter turntable and/or as it has been mentioned above upgrade the cartridge for now, something that you can take across in to the next TT. However, anything above the Ortofon Blue (or equivalent in other brands) will be wasted on yout TT as you will not get the full benefit and all that would happen is your more expensive cart will wear away until you get around to fitting it on to a better TT.

Just my random thoughts.


Established Member
i'm wanting to upgrade my debut III, but if i can get £1000 together i'll be upgrading it to a ClearAudio Concept, or a 2nd user Linn/Michell/Roksan

could be a while though!!!!


Standard Member
Save your money for a beter turntable and/or as it has been mentioned above upgrade the cartridge for now, something that you can take across in to the next TT. However, anything above the Ortofon Blue (or equivalent in other brands) will be wasted on yout TT as you will not get the full benefit and all that would happen is your more expensive cart will wear away until you get around to fitting it on to a better TT.

this is most helpful! thanks!

p.s. found a way on how to buy mmf 9.1 for just 1000 pound.... cant stop thinking about it.


Established Member
p.s. found a way on how to buy mmf 9.1 for just 1000 pound.... cant stop thinking about it.

Wow, thats a good looking machine and I think £1000 would be a bargin (!) going by what it currently retails for.

Is this it?

But we are now going in to serious upgrade mode! With a TT like that would your speakers & AV amp allowing it to fully express itself?

I don't know about your speakers, but a lot of people will think such a high quality TT deserves 2 channel amp.....and so it goes on!
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Distinguished Member
If you only plan to keep the turntable for a year or less, then leave it as it is. If you plan to keep in for a year or more, then a cartridge upgrade is probably worth it. As mentioned, there really isn't much point in going above the Ortofon 2M Blue, and likely the 2M Red would be a real upgrade; or the equivalent in Grado (Prestige Gold, Silver, Blue, or Red).

Probably no need to upgrade the platter unless you are specifically intending to move to a Moving Coil Cartridge. Personally, now that the Denon DL-160 has become next to impossible to find, I would stick with Moving Magnet cartridges, especially on this turntable.

Again, if you like the Acrylic platter, and plan to keep the turntable for a while, replacing the existing platter is up to you. But, I'm not sure it provides any real benefit.

So, definitely if you plan to keep the turntable any length of time, or use it a lot, it is certainly worth a cartridge upgrade, but that's about it, especially when you are already contemplating buying a new better turntable.

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