Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC with Ortofon 2M Red Cartridge: BASS sounds 'muddy' The Reason?


I just picked up a Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC Turntable and have mixed feelings about the sound quality. The Bass is prominent and not ’tight’ (unlike my cd player) Some tracks sound good and others not so much.

My system consists of a pair of B&W 630’s, an old Denon 50 watt reciever (DRA-550) from the mid 80’s, a Marantz CD5004 cd player.

Also I’m probably going to be in the market for a new preamp/amp with a built in DAC soon. Would that solve the problem? Or do I need to upgrade the cartridge? If so please leave a link!


Any mid compliance cartridge is compatible if the weight of the cartridge itself is not exceeded (you can check the manual of your arm for cartridge weight range). 

New cartridge is not better than those (New Old Stock) vintage cartridges from the golden age of analog. The best MM/MI cartridges designed in the 70/80's. I tried more than 30 cartridges up to $5K and my preference is vintage high-end cartridges (often cheaper and better).  
It it were me, before spending $500 on a $400 turntable/arm/cartridge piece, I would follow the (other) recommendations by some experienced members. You first need to identify the weakest link and then take the next step. As mentioned earlier, your weakest link could be the built in phono preamp and a $129 Schiit Mani could be a noticeable upgrade. They have a 15 day return policy. You may also need to give the table/cartridge time to settle in before going down the rabbit hole....

Some tracks sound good and others not so much.
This makes me think that the issue is the source material itself unless as was stated the bad tracks are always at the beginning or the end or in the middle of the record which would then indicate a setup issue.

The Bass is prominent and not ’tight’
This could be your cartridge picking up secondary vibrations  from the bass being transmitted into your room from your speakers with those vibrations being picked up by your stand, turntable and tonearm and then being picked up by the cartridge and resent through your system.

This was an issue I had about a year ago. I was able to mitigate it quite a bit by purchasing some ant-vibration pads. The pads I bought were about a 1/2" thick piece of cork sandwiched between two pieces of rubber. They were somewhere between $10 to $20 for a package of four off of Amazon. Ultimately I ended up with a Townshend Audio Seismic platform. Substantially more than $20 off of eBay but it did eliminate any acoustical issue I was having with my turntable rig.