Turntables $400 -$450: Shoot-Out & Reviews: Pro-Ject vs Rega vs Sony

Dear Friends!!!
♦️Dedicated to friends in Brazil, who gave us Tim Maia and Gal Costa.
Tribute to the late Tim Maia. Thank you for your beautiful voice.
(A studio recording overlayed with a visual live performance)
I am so happy to have completed this 3-TURNTABLE shoot-out for all of you!! Each of these is in the price range of US$400-450. I have again, bought ALL three of them with my own monies, just as what I have done with the Group A, B, C, D, etc Cartridges and Phonostages’ shoot-outs and reviews.
This is because I want total honesty, freedom of speech, unbeholden to any manufacturer/retailer. We are all consumers, and we deserve the best for our hard-earned money.
If I want to do it well, do it all the way, 100%. Spending such money, I had to grit my teeth again purchasing all three of these decks this time. Tough as it always has been (i am not rich), but i think, if i don’t do it, may be nobody would. So dearest friends, *let me take the sacrifice again, and do this for all of you 😀 * As long as I can afford it, I WILL continue to do my utmost best, and I am very happy to do so.

I purchased all three decks back in early July just immediately after my Japan trip. Once back, i had been running all three decks, setting them up nicely, checking their alignment parameters, timing each for a burn-in time of 100 hours, auditioning them A-B-C-A-B-C-…-wise going back and forth, back and forth, making sure their sonic parameters are compared in detail and expeditiously.

I have actually sort of prepared a “script” in my mind back in May before i had purchased the 3 decks, preparing for the Debut Carbon DC to walk all over the other two decks: the Rega Planar 1 and the Sony PS-HX500, by virtue of the former’s carbon fibre tonearm and a cartridge worth US$100. HOWEVER, my oh my, was I wrong:
After running them in, and getting to A-B-C-A-B-C-…auditioning them, I was surprised to realise: marketing hype can be extremely misleading! — There are MORE than meets the eye: OUR EARS easily can tell which manufacturer is dedicating the right efforts to make the best deck in the price range.

This kind of honest-to-goodness performance, earns my respect. This winner, not just won comfortably and clearly, but by an extremely huge margin. It has been hard work, please enjoy the fruits of my labour, my dearest friends.
Warmest Regards,
~ ian.

Additional notes:
Hearing my SL1200Mk5 with simply, the (*superb) Grado Green cartridge absolutely outperforms the Planar 1 by a huge degree. 1)Dynamics just so free flowing, up and down, much better than the P1, 2)Refinement…the treble and upper midrange is so much smoother AND composed, detailed and refined, 3)Bass extension is so much better, going easily deeper, and with lots of grunt and grip, articulation… 4)Soundstage and imaging are on a different level, the images are much better placed on the stage, believable… the whole presentation is carrying us from a good presentation in the P1, into the realms of live performance of high fidelity. Engaging, thrilling, engrossing. Of course the Nagaoka MP-110 carries us even further into the realms of high-end sound…and that is superb and affordable. US$450 for a used SL1200Mk3/3D/5 + US$120 for a Nagaoka MP-110. That is US$570+learnt skills of cartridge set-up as compared to a $400 Rega Planar 1. The former will also entail the purchase and use of a digital force gauge ~$!5, and a mirror cartridge protractor ~$15, and a digital USB 50-500x microscope ~$20 …all purchasable online from ebay/amazon.

Step by step, my friends:
– a $450 Planar 1 for a plug-and-play, easy Vinyl entry quality deck. I advise not to buy anything else below that price as I have realized they all fall short of quality and do not give a sound that makes it worth the while to come over from digital. The Planar 1 gives us that first quality dynamic and coherent analogue sound.

Then, when one is more confident:
– a $450-$500 Technics SL1200Mk2/3/3D/5 with a $95 Grado Green or $120 Nagaoka MP-110. This will put us much forward into the realm of beautiful and magical analogue music, and where we easily abandon the faults of digital: pre-ring, ring, post-ring, time smear and phase shifts. We will so fall in love with the magical, absorbing and enthralling sounds of analogue with this set up.

~ ian.

Test bed in this video:
Sony PS-HX500 vs Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC vs Rega Planar 1.

Phonostage: Avid Pulsare2 and Schiit Mani,
Amplification: Vitus RI100, Leben CS300XS(room)
Power conditioning and cabling: Zonotone, Shunyata Research.
(Other turntables: Technics SL1200Mk5, SL1200GAE, SL1200G, Avid Sequel SP with SME V)
Speakers: B&W 804D2, AudioNote AN-K(room)

Music used with permission
from www.bensound.com


Enghuat Tan says:

Hi HiViNyws, I’m new to analogy and would like to start by buying a turntable. Had done some basic research and set r=the budget to about S$500-600 +/- a bit. Thinking about Audio Technica AT-LP5. Will this be better than the Rega P1 or the Sony ? Is this AT turntable potential for future upgrade to a better cartridges like a Ortofon 2M Blue?

Rockabilly Rogues says:

Great comparison! Thank you!

tobia casciano says:

Hi, i buy the rega planar 1, when i use It, i listen the rumor of the motor, it’s normal? And what Can i do?

Jonathan Chau says:

Hi Ian, thanks for this awesome review. I was originally set on getting the project, however this Really change my mind towards the rega. Just a concern for the rega. With its preset counterweight and anti scating setting, would it be possible to upgrade the cartridge to something else? Thanks

jesper gøth says:

Hi Ian ! Thanks for some great reviews ! I have a question regarding the treble on the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon, is it the Ortofon 2m red or is it the turntable that is the issue here..?? Thank you regards Jesper

mrpeak79 says:

hi friend, how much better is the planar 1 compared to the denon dp300f?

mike van dalen says:

Dear Mr HiViNyws channel I just started out last year with collecting vinyls, my first turntable was and still is my dual 1225 working in perfect condition. Though I want to upgrade, my question is, is this a good turntable? Pro-Ject RPM 1 Carbon. thank you in advance. Kind regards Mike

Andres Mejia says:

Thank you Ian, I whould like to add somethig,since I Upgrade my Pro Ject Carbon Debut ,(Ortofon Red)with the new Nagaoka 110 , because one of your amazing Reviews I must said is a big change. and for those who already own a Pro J.Carbon Debut just go for the Nagaoka110 is a big Upgrade. Thanks to Ian.

David Sosebee says:


Nagsor89 says:

hello and thanks for the in detail review. i am considering buying the pro-ject, but because of this review i am not sure. i am finding several offers for that turntable and some have the ‘2m red’, others don’t. what cartridge has this been tested with? (i can see red on the cartridge in this video, but i am not sure that means it is that specific model).

Nick says:

bought the rega planar 1 because of this video 🙂 will think of the improvements recommended at the end of the vid too.

Anthony Crawford says:

Great review. I was on the fence with the Rega P1, but your comparison made my decision easier. It was a toss up between the Pro-Ject and the Rega.

Marchello Chacchia says:

Ian, I have never met you, but I must say that your professionalism, experience, and attention to detail in your videos inspires me with confidence and assurance that you are the guy to trust when it comes to these things audio. Based on your recommendations, I am now looking at purchasing a lightly used SL 1200 (likely MK2) and add a Schiit Mani and Nagaoka MP-110 set-up. I am hoping all will be fine with the tone arm, but if I wished to upgrade, what tone arm would you recommend. Thank you for all your efforts!

André Santos says:

Hi, Ian!
First time watching you and got to say, I loved to watch these review. Looking foward to watch more of your videos.
Mind if I ask you this question? Between the Rega Planar 1 and a Pro-ject Debut Carbon Esprit SB (DC), which one you think it is better for the money? Or what turntable you would recommend for your first turntable?
I’m in search of my first turntable and would like an opinion from someone that knows better. I listen to alot of punk rock, noise rock and alot of stuff with big feedback and distortion on guitars, but I also listen to alot of jungle/drum and bass, but I don’t want to narrow my collection to only this stuff, I dig a bit of everything. If you could recommend me a good turntable, that is on a good entry-level both in sound and in budget and maybe could upgrade it on the future, I would love to hear your opinion. I wont mind if I have to buy a phono preamp or other stuff, I will take my time to build my first system.
Thanks and keep up with the good work. Love this stuff!

P.S.: I’m from Portugal, if that helps in your answer.

Sricharan C says:

love your work. keep it up. may the force be with you.

Robert Landis says:

To be fair the 2m red on the Pro-ject in my own opinion is a bad cart. The audio technica is far superior. My Pro-ject came with the 2m red and I immediately removed it for an audio technica cart. I have the debut carbon espirit. Which is way better then the one you have. As always love the videos you make.

BobLoblaw1985 says:

Great video!

Should I go with the P1 or P2 as a starter deck? Where I am the P2 comes with the performance pack inlcuded.

William A.P.M. says:

Fantastic review!! Some of the audible differences cannot be denied – they were so clear!!!

Edward Cunningham says:

Not to diminish your hard work on reviewing these three turntables, but did you ensure that all three were an equal amplitude to each other? This can affect the sound due to the Fletcher Munson curve.

Kaan K says:

Hey Ian! first of all thanks for the review, finally someone who answers all my questions, however I just wanted to know, will upgrading the Sony allow it to perform comparable or better than the planar? Because my whole set up is Sony, and because im very compulsive about having things match, thats the one I need, plus i can rip my vinyls into audio files, which I would love to do. Im not entirely new to turntables but i needed an upgrade, and you have helped me so much, thank you again. Also, if i can upgrade it, what do you recommend? Again thank you very much 🙂

Michail Zorné says:

Very good intro. SONY is always A SONY, somewhere in the middle into the Hi-Fi. Pro-Ject is an unworthy and pale REGA reproduction what I noticed myself a couple of years ago I bought first ProJect Debut, totally worthless and I sold it for a quoter of new one price. REGA is almost a legend. Great intro!

Mark Falconer says:

Hi Ian,
Did you try also play Rega P1 with Ortofon 2M Red – Pro-Ject’s cartridge? And Pro-Ject turntable with Rega’s cartridge?

kork777 says:

If I upgrade my pro ject debut carbon 2m to a grado green cartridge would it sound better then this rega reviewed? Thanks

Golden VinylSpin says:

I’m new to your channel and I must say that I like your style of videos. I just subscribed. Maybe you will like my style of videos too.

J Tay says:

THIS WAS BRILLIANT!! This was very a very well executed video! The visual presentation in the beginning was great, as I wish all reviewers would do this GREAT WORK!

lvs says:

Dear Ian, thanks for this amazing video. After careful consideration (= watching your video) I’ve just ordered a Planar 1!
Maybe I’ll upgrade the cartridge to an MP-110 at some point – but till then it’ll be a good start!

MyMyszor says:

What are Your speakers?

 Write a comment


Do you like our videos?
Do you want to see more like that?

Please click below to support us on Facebook!