Project III Debut Help?


New member
Username: Gatowoman

Post Number: 1
Registered: May-14
Hey guys,

I didn't know where else to go to help troubleshoot this problem so I hope I can find some help here.

I have a Project III Debut (USB version) and it suddenly stopped working.

There is a loud hum that comes from connecting it to speakers and no music comes through.

This is the case when I connect it to my receiver/speakers and when I use the USB to run it through my computer.

I hope that's enough information for a dianosis of what could be wrong. Again, there's not even a faint sound of music making it to the speakers, just one loud hum.

Thanks for your time and any help!!!!

Gold Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 2263
Registered: Oct-10
If you go to Audio Karma, the is a phono forum there with plenty of knowledgeable people who can help you. You might want include whether or not the platter spins. Just a thought.

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17902
Registered: May-04

Well, actually, no, that's not enough information.

"Stopped working" suggests nothing operates on the table. No platter spinning at all, nothing.

Is this what is happening?

A loud hum indicates a grounding issue. That could be caused by several things but most commonly it is a ground wire that is not connected. Did anything change in the system just prior to this noise occurring?


New member
Username: Gatowoman

Post Number: 2
Registered: May-14
I see. The platter spins and I hear music from the grooves but nothing is being amplified at all except for the buzz. No music behind the buzz.
Prior to the noise occurring, I swapped the rca cables to a different input (I moved them from video to phono). Phono didn't work well because, as I learned, there is already a preamp in this turntable. When I switched the cables back, the buzz began. Not immediately but within a week.
Thanks for your time!

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17903
Registered: May-04

Correct, the table has a pre amp built in so no other device is required. This would mean you want to plug the table into a "line level" input such as CD, AUX or, if you don't need an extra video input, your audio side of the video input on the receiver. Obviously, make sure you're not connecting one lead from the table to the actual video input jack on the receiver.

There's always the possibility you've broken off the stylus from the cantilever. This is unlikely to be the cause of your hum but not something we would totally exclude at this point. The Ortofon Red which is OEM on the table (and also the earlier Ortofon OM5) has a bonded stylus meaning you'd need a microscope to determine whether the tip is still on the cantilever. Since hum is a typical sign of a poor or non-existent ground connection, we'll let the stylus issue sit on the side for now.

Moving cables is always suspect when ground issues occur since it's very easy to break a ground wire inside a cable in these situations. If you were working in restricted space, that would be a first guess. Since the table worked properly for awhile after the change and then began to hum, this points more and more to a bad cable. If this is the problem, the cable would need to be re-terminated by a tech, though just about any decent tech could do the job. New plugs will likely be called for so you're looking at that expense plus labor charges. Less than $100 if you have a shop around to do the work. That is, of course, if your table has the captured leads.

There's some disparity between models of the same table with some having user replaceable cables and others not. What's the arrangement on your table? Can you change leads (outgoing cables) yourself? Or, does the lead out cable run directly into the table's connection box?

Is the table still under warranty?
If so, you would want to contact the manufacturer for further advice since anything you do to the table outside of simply plugging it into your receiver could potentially void the warranty. So that is the first order of business, contact the manufacturer or distributor of the table for further advice. Or you could begin with the retailer who sold you the table and get their advice also. They can supply contact information for Pro-Ject if you can't locate your owner's manual.

Before you do that though, lower the volume on your receiver, switch to the input where the table is plugged in and gently move the cables around. Grab right behind the plug and just slowly wiggle it to determine whether you can make the noise abide. If you can, then it's bad cables, though both cables breaking at the same time is unusual. Still cables are always the first place to look ... and while you're back there, make sure you haven't disconnected the ground wire which attaches just next to the RCA/USB jacks. This is the lynchpin to grounding and it must be securely attached to the table and to a solid ground point on the receiver. If you moved this cable, it may be the cause of your problem. Certainly, it would be the place to look if you've not connected this wire lead to a ground "lug" on your receiver. A painted screw will not make a solid ground connection and you'll need to make certain this is a proper connection point for your ground wire and that it is solidly attached at both ends, the table and the receiver.

If none of this solves the problem, shut down the receiver and make a new connection to the receiver using a different input jack. Try, say, CD and see if that input works. Since you said the hum exists through the USB output, I'm not expecting this to be the case but let's make sure it is not a solution as this would then complicate the issue somewhat.

So try checking the cables for a bad internal conductor and check the ground wire. Those are the two most likely suspects at this point. If neither seems to be the cause of the hum and you've tried a different input on the receiver, the next step is to contact the retailer/manufacturer for further advice.

Let me know what you find.


New member
Username: Gatowoman

Post Number: 3
Registered: May-14
Really really appreciate the thorough reply.
I'm sorry that I'm too novice to know what lead cables are but the only cables that I can interchange on my table are the ac adapter, the rca cables and usb. I've tried switching out all of those and have the same problem. Except I can't find a substitute AC around my place. Could that be the possible problem?

On my receiver, I have switched between video and tape and it's the same very consistent, distorted, and loud (if the volume isn't down really low) buzz at all times even when I gently move the cables around. There's no fluctuation.

One interesting note perhaps is that just connecting the cables and turning the receiver on, I get some buzz but then when I turn on the turntable, it gets much louder. But there isn't the faintest sound of music making it to the speakers.

Sadly the table is 3 years old so there's no longer a warranty.

It seems I should take your advice and contact a retailer. Do you think suggesting that it is a bad internal conductor is the best deduction right now? Is there any chance I blew something when I unnecessarily connected this turntable to the phono inputs?

Your post was great. So helpful.

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17904
Registered: May-04

I doubt you did any damage to the table or the receiver when you connected to the phono inputs. The problem you are describing seems to be the lack of a proper ground connection. When the ground is "lifted" or non-existent, there will be a loud 60Hz hum through the circuit.

Did you check the grounding wire from the table to the receiver? If it is not properly attached at both ends, there may be this hum.

Do you have access to any other audio components you could use as a test subject? Often even higher priced mini systems have an "accessories" input that would do the trick. You simply need another component to verify the problem is in the turntable. If you can take the table to a friend's house for just a moment, plug it into their equipment and check for the hum. If it exists on both components, then the problem is without doubt in the table itself.

Lead wires are RCA cables. So, if you've already swapped cables at the rear of the table and the problem persists, that's all you can check in that regard. As long, that is, as you know the RCA cables you used for the swap are good. Using the wall wart power adapter for the table's motor should not affect this hum issues. If that power supply cable was defective, the motor likely wouldn't spin at all.

"One interesting note perhaps is that just connecting the cables and turning the receiver on, I get some buzz but then when I turn on the turntable, it gets much louder. But there isn't the faintest sound of music making it to the speakers."

As you describe it, a grounding problem would be consistent with that arrangement. You do, though, need to be aware of the difference between a "hum" which is always 60Hz noise (it sounds deeps and low no matter the volume) and a "buzz" which is 120Hz noise typically introduced by way of another electrical component (a faulty lamp, especially a fluorescent lamp, an appliance or fan, etc) introducing noise into the table's signal path. A tech will likely ask you which you are hearing. From your description, it would sound as if you have a hum which is typically related only to your one component.

Testing the table with another component would be your next choice. Possibly, if none of your friends have a system of any sorts, a local electronics shop would allow you to plug into one of their systems for the test. If the problem persists in another system AND you're certain you have the ground wire connected as it should be, the next step is to contact the retailer or manufacturer for further assistance. There's a slight chance the stylus is missing - an easy thing to break off when you move a table around - but you have no way other than another system to test this yourself. Any internal grounding issues in the pre amp section of the table would need to be repaired by a qualified technician. In almost all cases a 60Hz hum in a circuit is caused by a faulty capacitor which will need to be either resoldered to the board or completely replaced.

Your options are narrowing. The last test you can make is with another component. If that fails or you cannot access another receiver, you are down to contacting someone more familiar with the table for help. It's sounding more and more as if you need the techs to give this table a look.


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