Fluance RT85 vs. Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo: Which one is better?

The Fluance and Project are two prominent brands in the world of vinyl players. When it comes to turntables, they both have the best-in-class models, such as Fluance rt85 vs Pro-ject debut carbon EVO, which offers excellent sound quality and has an aesthetic and durable design.

I have had a lot of questions from people around these two turntables who ultimately wanted to know which one is better. Hence, I decided to compare both of them.

As I don’t own these turntables, I asked two of my friends (Ron and Chris) to give me theirs so that I can compare them both and find out which one is best. I compared the two on different aspects like price, build quality, platter, tonearm, different colors available etc.

So, allow me to share the results with you guys!

Fluance RT85Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo
Price (USD)499499
Cartridge Type    Ortofon 2m blueSumiko rainier     
Sound quality    Excellent Excellent 
RecordsPlays 7-inch and 12-inchPlays 7-inch, 10-inch, 12-inch
Speeds33 1/3 and 45 RPM33 1/3, 45 and 78 RPM
Cueing MechanismManualManual
Pre-ampNoneNone
Adjustable CounterweightYesYes
Plinth (base)MDF WoodMDF Wood
Platter12-inch acrylic platter12-inch damped steel platter
Weight (lbs)13.216.7
Colours4 options available9 options available

Comparison between the two on different aspects

Fluance RT85 vs. Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo Which one is better?

Build Quality

When it comes to the plinth (base), both turntables have a plinth made up of MDF wood that is very strong and sturdy. However, the Pro-ject weighs only 13.2 pounds and the Fluance is on the heavier side with 16.7 pounds. The main reason for Fluance being 3.5 pounds heavier is due to its acrylic platter.

But you may think lighter means better but not in the case of turntables. When turntables are heavier, they produce better sound since they reduce vibrations, preventing distortion. So Fluance RT85 has an edge this way.

Platter

If we talk about the platter, Fluance RT85 comes with a 12-inch acrylic platter, and Pro-ject debut Carbon Evo comes with a 12-inch damped steel platter. While a damped steel platter is still okay but it cannot compete with the sturdiness of an acrylic platter. 

Speeds

Next comes the different speeds at which both the turntables can spin the record.

The Fluance RT85 can spin the records at two speeds, 33 1/3 and 45 RPM (Rotations per minute)At the same time, the pro-ject evo carbon can spin at three different speeds: 33 1/3, 45 RPM, and 78 RPM. And because of this, the Evo can play 12-inch albums, 7-inch singles, and even 10-inch old shellac records.

Price

If we compare both the turntables in terms of price, they both cost 499 dollars each. It may look a bit expensive at first, but when you compare the quality that both of these turntables have to offer. The price is justified.

Motors

Both the turntables work on a belt-driven mechanism. The belt-driven mechanism is where a motor is placed at the side where a rubber belt connects both the motor pully and the platter. As soon as the motor starts spinning, it spins the rubber belt, which ultimately spins the platter along. 

Tonearm

A tonearm in a turntable is an essential component that holds the cartridge and ensures the stylus is able to track grooves properly. If we compare the tonearm on both the turntables, the Pro-ject has a better tonearm and cueing mechanism than a Fluance.

Color 

Both the turntables have multiple color options to choose from. 

While Fluance RT 85 comes with 4 color options.

  • Piano black
  • Piano white
  • Walnut 
  • Bamboo

Pro-ject debut carbon EVO offers 9 different.

  • High gloss black
  • High gloss white 
  • High gloss red
  • Satin fir green
  • Stain steel blue 
  • Satin white
  • Satin golden yellow
  • Satin black
  • Real Wood Walnut

Cartridge 

A cartridge is a component that holds the stylus in place and converts the vibrations from the needle into small electrical signals that are later converted into sound.

In the case of these two turntables, the Fluance comes with an Ortofon 2m blue cartridge, and the Pro-ject comes with a Sumiko rainier cartridge. While I have mostly used Ortofon 2m blue on my turntables, and it sounds amazing. This time, when I played records with Sumiko Rainier, I concluded that both the cartridges are quite similar in performance.

However, there is one advantage that Fluance has over the project in the cartridge. The cartridge on fluance is quite easy to replace because of its universal headshell.

Fluance rt85 vs Pro-ject debut carbon evo: Sound quality

Due to their top-notch cartridges, the two turntables produce excellent sound, and the quality is almost at par. Thus, it isn’t easy to decide which one is better. However, because of the acrylic platter, which reduces the vibrations, Fluance has a slight advantage over the pro-ject.

Pre-amp

There are only two types of turntables that exist. One who has pre-amp built-in, and the other who doesn’t. But when it comes to both of these turntables, neither of them has a pre-amp built-in, which is quite surprising when the turntables come in this price range. But in response to this, both Fluance and Pro-ject give you the option to purchase separate external pre-amps for an additional 100 dollars.

Manual and automatic

The manual and automatic are two different types of turntables. In a manual turntable, you need to raise and lower the tonearm yourself using a cue lever, while the automatic one will raise and lower the tonearm itself.

When it comes to these two turntables, they both are manual, and it’s disappointing considering their price. But Fluance comes with an auto-stop function, at least. Auto-stop, in simple terms, means as soon as the stylus reaches the end of the record, the record will stop playing itself. It is a great feature as it protects your record from unnecessary spinning that can lead to wear and tear.

Counterweight

As the name suggests, the counterweight is the little adjustable weight at the back of the tonearm that prevents the stylus from exerting too much pressure on the record surface. This downward force is called the tracking force. However, with these two turntables, they don’t exert too much force that could harm your records. Additionally, they come with an adjustable counterweight to control tracking force.

USB feature

None of these two turntables have a USB feature to connect your PC or laptop. Hence, if you are planning to transfer your analog music to your computer, you won’t be able to do that.

But this won’t be a big problem if all you want to do is listen to your favorite record. So, no worries!

Easy to setup

Ease of setup is another thing that most of the first-time users consider before purchasing a turntable. While unboxing, aligning the rubber belt, etc., are relatively easy. The most difficult part of setting up a turntable is aligning the cartridge because if the needle doesn’t sit in the center of the grooves, it can ultimately lead to sound problems and scratched records.

But the good news is, these two turntables already come with an aligned cartridge right out of the box. I know it sounds like a relief!

Accessories

I know you are eager to know what you get along with these two turntables. I get it, I get it.

Well, both the turntables come with pretty much similar accessories: a power cord, a 45 RPM adapter to play 7-inch records, rubber belts, RCA cables, and dust covers. However, the pro-ject comes with a felt mat that fluance does not offer as an accessory, and fluance comes with a pair of white gloves that the pro-ject doesn’t give along.

Which one is best for you?

Both the turntables are the best in class and provide you with an amazing sound experience. There are minor differences that make one slightly better than the other, like a better tonearm and a better platter.

But let me make it easy for you to decide. If you want a turntable with more color options and a better tonearm, go for the Project’s debut carbon evo. And if you want the ease of replacing the cartridge with a sturdy platter, Fluance RT85 is the best choice for you.

Final Words

The Fluance rt85 and Pro-ject debut carbon EVO offer good build quality, awesome sound experience and are the best in this price segment.

Just remember, no matter which one you choose. You don’t have to worry about the audio quality as both offer the best sound experience.

If you have any doubts about the two or need my suggestion, let me know in the comments. I am always here to help my fellow vinyl enthusiasts! 

Russel Hawkins - About the author

About the author

Russ Hawkins is a passionate audiophile who loves to collect vinyl records. In his leisure time, you will find him either listening to his favorite music albums or playing with his dog Max. He loves writing about vinyl, turntables, record players, and everything music!

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