Pro-Ject Debut RecordMaster (III) – In Depth Review

The Pro-Ject Debut III RecordMaster is one of the top models from the renowned Debut line. This model focuses on the vinyl enthusiast that is looking into getting a HiFi sound but don’t want to go all out and spend a fortune. It is quite fancy named “RecordMaster” that points towards advanced audiophiles that are improving, adjusting and maintaining their audio setup every weekend, however, this is not really true. The RecordMaster is below $ 500 seems to be more geared towards the top end of the mainstream turntable market. It seems to please just about everyone from a beginner that wants to start off really well to someone who is looking to upgrade their setup to something lasting you decades. But how will it hold up to these high expectations?

If you are reading this we probably don’t have to tell you about the appeal of vinyl. Searching in record shops, picking out records and playing them on your turntable is simply a totally different experience than starting the Spotify app and clicking play. This counter-movement in the digital age is the reason of the so-called “vinyl revival”. Pro-Ject is one of the biggest brands in the market and makes great modern turntables with a classic twist. The Debut III RecordMaster is the more luxurious version of the classic Debut III which has a great track record for many years, let’s find out how this new model holds up.

Our Verdict

Pro-Ject Debut III RecordMaster

Type: Belt Driven || Speed: 33, 45, 78 RPM || System: Manual || Cartridge: Ortofon OM10 || Preamp: Yes


» Modern minimal design. A glossy plinth in various colors and mate black components simply make it beautiful.
» Great Cartridge. The Ortofan OM10 does a great job in bringing a warm vinyl sound.
» A Built-in Preamp. It features a really good preamp so you don’t an external preamp.


» Fully Manual. It might not be suited for vinyl beginners.

Design And Build Quality

In terms of design, the Debut III RecordMaster comes in quite a few colors such as white black, red and walnut finish that is displayed above. We found the design to be minimalistic and well build. It has a solid looking plinth made out of one piece, on top you will found just 1 button and two led lights giving it a great modern feel. The matte black platter and tonearm give a nice contrast and make the overall turntable in simple terms, just look cool.

Underneath the plinth, you will find the audio components such as the motor, plugs and preamp. Some people prefer to have everything built-in although you can’t see these components unless you turn the turntable upside down. It is an advantage however when something needs to be prepared or replaced.

The overall build quality seems solid although we haven’t tested it over a longer period. The tonearm and counterweight do their job well and the built-in lever help you maneuver the stylus onto the record. As with most high-end turntables, it is fully manual so you will need to start the turntable and move the tonearm yourself, the true vinyl experience.



To start of, it has a great cartridge. The Ortofon OM 10 is a well known cartridge that is praised for its true analog feel. It is detailed but also has that warm vinyl sound to it.

There is also a version of this turntable with the Ortofon OM5e integrated. This is considered another high-quality cartridge but overall slightly less detailed. At the same time, the pricing is also lower so it might be a good choice for the average vinyl enthusiast.

The Debut III RecordMaster offers some great features that normally you would not find in high-end turntables such as the built-in preamp and the option to convert your records into digital audio files via the USB output. However, both these features can really add to the experience if they are down well. We found the built-in preamp to be of great quality to the point where you really need to draw your wallet if you want to upgrade it with a better external preamp. And the audio digitalization works well and produces great sound quality. It can be fun to digitize your records to either save them for forever or experience that vinyl sound on different (mobile) devices.

The last special feature I want to point out is that the RecordMaster allows you to play 78 rpm records, something that is not really standard within most turntables. A special needle that can be placed onto the cartridge makes it good to go, a rarity in the modern turntable market.


Sound and Setup

We found the Debut III RecordMaster to have a really traditional warm and rich sound, which most analog vinyl lovers are going for. The Ortofon OM-10 cartridge plays a big role in producing this sound, it has a great reputation and simply produces some quality sound. Every audio layer comes forward clearly so it is rather detailed. Sounds such as drums we found to be a bit rounded and less harsh, this is mostly down to personal preference.

The RecordMaster produces the high end sound that for the target audience that it is focusing on. Just below the highend turntables that can cost thousands of dollars but definitely a step up from most turntables in the $300/$400 range. The distance between these more expensive Hifi turntables is not as big as you imagine, especially when it comes to sound quality. It is often also in the customization of other components in an audio setup.

In terms of setting it up, I can be very short as it is rather simple. For example, the cartridge and tonearm are already installed and adjusted. The counterweight needs to be installed and adjusted to the settings that are written in the manual, the same goes for the anti-skating weight.


Pro-Ject really stepped up and added a great addition to its renowned Debut line with a turntable that can please audiophiles and is one of the best options out there for the common vinyl enthusiast. It competes with some of the top turntables we have reviewed like the great U-Turn Orbit Special and the Denon DP-400.  We would recommend you to look at these three turntables and make your choice on personal preferences such as features like digitizing your records, a built-in preamp or the included cartridge. You won’t make a mistake picking any of these three as they simply provide the best possible vinyl performance without breaking your bank.

As for the Pro-Ject Debut Recordmaster, the fact that includes a great Ortofon Cartridge and built-in preamp makes it a complete package that can last you a long time. The build is great and the usage is pretty easy as it comes preinstalled and offers digital output, speed controls, lever, and led lights. The total package is offered for a reasonable price which would never be achieved if you are looking for similar quality in a separate audio setup, a good preamp can cost you easily $500. Overall the turntable comes close to the true Hifi experience and really convinces in every way a turntable should, the build, the handling and the sound quality, therefore we strongly recommend the Pro-Ject Debut III RecordMaster

Buying Options

Pro-Ject Debut III RecordMaster

Type: Belt Driven || Speed: 33, 45, 78 RPM || System: Manual || Cartridge: Ortofon OM10 || Preamp: Yes

Looking for something else?

If you are looking for a turntable with a specific feature or within a certain budget you can take look at one of guides below.

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