Pro-Ject RPM1 Carbon.

Hot on the heals of the recent Debut Carbon Evo review, I follow up with one of Pro-Jects more affordable turntables…

Disclaimer:
Henley Audio / Pro-Ject have kindly sent this turntable out to me for review.
I have not been paid or sponsored to write this.
The thoughts and views in this publication are my own honest and unbiased opinion.
To integrate the RPM1 Carbon with my system, Henley Audio sent out the High Power it power supply and I am running the turntable without a ground cable.
You may find you probably need to use the ground cable in your system so please take this into consideration.

The Pro-Ject RPM1 Carbon comes in a choice of gloss white, gloss red, or gloss black and retails at £399.00 at the time of this review.

You can pick one up at the following link:
https://www.henleyaudio.co.uk/products/RPM-1-Carbon?DepartmentIds=1&BrandIds=2

Review Equipment:
Pro-Ject RPM1 Carbon. ( white )
Pro-Ject High Power it power supply.
Ortofon 2M Red.
Sure Shot cork platter mat.
Origin Live “Gravity One” record weight.
Custom isolation platform.
IsoAcoustics Orea Indigo isolation pucks.
Custom Cans phono cable.
KECES Audio ePhono pre amplifier.
KECES Audio ePower linear power supply.
Eufonika H7 tube head amplifier. ( 6N1P and 6N13S )
Sennheiser HD600 headphones.
Custom Cans HD600 cable and extension.
Airpulse A200 active speakers.
Airpulse S200 stands filled with Atacama “Atabytes”
Audioquest and Qucheng mains cables.
Audiowalle TP1000 mains conditioners.

Music:
Pink Floyd “A Momentary Lapse Of Reason.” 180gram re release.
Jean Michel Jarre “Equinoxe” 180gram re release.
Alice In Chains “Dirt” 180gram re release.
Gustav Mahlers “Symphony Number 5.”

In the box:

  • RPM 1 Carbon with Ortofon 2M Red
  • Connect it E Phono Cable
  • Felt mat
  • Adapter for 7“ singles
  • Power supply
  • Allen key, stylus pressure gauge

Spec:

Nominal Speeds::33 / 45 RPM (Manual)
Dust Cover:No (Optional Extra)
Motor Completely Decoupled:Yes
Platter Weight / Diameter:1.6kg / 300mm
Speed Variance:±0.19%
Wow & Flutter:±0.13%
Signal to Noise:-70dB
Tonearm:S-Shape Carbon/Aluminium 
Effective Tonearm Length:8.6 ” (218.5mm)
Effective Tonearm Mass:13.5g
Overhang:22mm
Tracking Force:0 – 25mN
Power Supply Type:Outboard PSU 110-240V, 50Hz ( stock. )
Output Voltage:15V / 500mA DC
Power Consumption:5W Max. / <0.5W Standby
Dimensions:380 x 110 x 350mm
Weight:3.8kg

Build and finish:
This will be the fourth Pro-Ject turntable I have been sent out for review from Henley Audio.
Pro-Ject have a long track record of building high quality turntables. High end aesthetics teamed with functionality and intuitiveness lend themselves to a good, robust model.
Whether it’s a £400 or £700 turntable, the same signs of good, competent craftsmanship are seen throughout. Something of note here is the inclusion of a carbon fibre tone arm with an aluminium core, and an Ortofon 2M Red cartridge. Both often seen on higher end models, with the cartridge alone coming in at roughly a quarter of the price of the RPM1 Carbon. I think it’s great that Pro-Ject include them on a lower cost model and a testament to their way of thinking.
The RPM1 Carbon is a solid MDF piece, as is the platter. Damping down any unwanted resonance. The motor is fully decoupled cutting down on any noise further still.
The finish is flawless and minimal. The performance, exceptionally satisfying.
My only complaint is the tone arm lift. I like when a tone arm lowers slowly and smoothly. Usually the needle settles into the groove just as I’m sitting down. Unfortunately the RPM1s lift mechanism is fast and not so smooth.

Setup and use:
With the cartridge already fitted and dialled in, setup is not a difficult task.
There are clear instructions in the box and further still, Henley Audio have created a setup guide to help you get up and running in no time.
As I do with every turntable that comes my way if a cartridge is preinstalled, I double check the calibration. You never know what can happen in shipping so I always advise to ere on the side of caution. Using the provided tools this does not take long and I found that just like the other Pro-Ject turntables, the calibration was spot on.

Henley Audio include a helpful setup video which I have linked below:-

Using the RPM1 Carbon is very straight forward.
All you need to think about are three things.
Tone arm lift.
On/Off switch.
Pulley belt position for switching between 33 / 45rpm.
Now sit back, relax and enjoy your favourite album or single.

Sound:
On the same day I had a final listen to the Carbon Debut Evo, I had it packed away and the RPM1 Carbon unboxed, setup and ready to go.
They both ship with the same cartridge and I used the same power supply, mains cable, phono cable and pre amplifier as I had with previous reviews. The same can be said for the rest of the system.
So I went into this with the mindset that any improvement or drop in quality of sound would be down to the rest of the turntable in regards to materials and parts. Obviously there is a significant gap between the two turntables in price and features, so this isn’t a direct comparison.

The RPM1 Carbon performs very well. Low end frequencies are tight and punchy, reaching deeper passages easily with good extension and a fair amount of detail. Mids are forward yet smooth and clear. Highs are fast and crisp, yet a little rolled off in the higher frequency range.
When the needle is moving between tracks, the RPM 1 is virtually silent.
I would say that what I got from this was a fun, exciting listening experience with a turntable that played everything I brought to it in a lively, fast paced manner.
In comparison with the Debut Carbon Evo I found the Evo to have a more dynamic sound with highs, more extended and a more refined bass. But then given the difference in cost, it’s to be expected.
Saying that, Pro-Ject offer a plethora of upgrades for their turntables, including the RPM1.
There would be nothing stopping you buying these upgrades later down the road and I believe that the sound could be substantially improved upon for not much outlay. Not that it needs improving mind!
Note the “Acryl-it” platter upgrade in the picture below:

I hope at some point to request some of these upgrades from Henley Audio so I can bring you my thoughts on this more. As they say, watch this space.

Thoughts and recommendation:
The Pro-Ject RPM1 Carbon may not look like a lot of turntable, but don’t let its minimal appearance deceive you.
For £399 you’re getting a lot of high end tech for your money. The cartridge and tone arm alone justify the price tag.
If you’re just getting into vinyl and want a minimal, stylish turntable that offers great performance to match its appearance then look no further!
All I ask of Pro-Ject is to make the tone arm lift smoother and slower on the next reiteration.

Thank you for reading this review and as always, stay safe!

Thank you to Simon, Molly and the rest of the team at Henley Audio for going above and beyond over the Christmas period in their support of myself and the blog.
And of course, thank you for sending this product out for review!

All my very best to you all. Paul.

The Audiophile Cafe is sponsored by Airpulse.

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