We’ve had the Rega turntables in for a few months, and I must say, the more I get to know these little jewels, the more I like them!
Why I Prefer Belt Drive Turntables
First of all, they are belt drive turntables. I fully believe until you’ve spent $30K+ that belt drive is far and away the best way to spin a platter. One of the primary things that I really love about analog playback (when it’s good) is the sense of rhythm and pacing the better tables are able to achieve. To do this you need incredible speed stability. Direct drive turntables may start up quickly compared to a belt drive, but they are constantly trying to correct themselves. With a belt drive, the weight of the platter is used to get a flywheel effect. Once the platter starts spinning and gets up to speed, it’s very stable.
Another advantage is the lack of motor noise transfer. As your stylus is reading the record grooves you do not want motor noise to transfer from the motor to the platter and then to the cartridge. With belt drive, the motor is off to the side and has the belt to isolate it from the platter.
3 Great Turntable Options
So let’s take a look at some of the Rega options. First off, the incredible part is every single Rega table is made from the ground up in Rega’s 30,000 sq ft factory in England. They have a team of 8 men and women who do nothing but build the RP1 table and RP101 tonearm. Another team builds the higher performance tables and arms.
Rega RP-1 Turntable
The RP-1 is only $445 with a cartridge! It uses the RB101 tonearm, which is a two piece construction. The RB101 has fantastic tonearm bearings for its modest cost and the platter is made with a phenolic resin material designed to reduce resonance. The tonearm cables are as you would expect for this amount of money, just a basic set. It has rubber isolation feet mounted to the bottom of the plinth. You just can’t beat its performance for the money.
Rega RP-3 Turntable
When you first look at the RP-3, you think, “hmm, this guy looks just like the RP-1.” Taking a deeper dive will reveal all kinds of improvements that make it well worth it’s selling price of $895 without cartridge.
The motor on the RP-3 is a 24v low noise motor that is hand-tuned to its own circuit in the table. The platter on the RP-3 is made of glass. Glass this thick has almost no resonance characteristics in the audio range and is very heavy. Remember the flywheel effect? Once this platter gets going, its speed is super stable!
The tonearm on the RP-3 is the RB303. As compared to the RB101, this is one piece construction with far better tonearm bearings. I just love the way this arm feels! Rega put over 30 years of tonearm design experience into this arm and it shows. The tonearm cables are serious business with very high quality RCA ends. When you think about how low in output the signal from a phono cartridge is, having great cables will let you hear more of the subtle nuances in the music.
The plinth (the big base) of Rega tables all use a very lightweight particulate core with a very rigid phenolic resin skin. The RP-3 uses a cool double brace technology which effectively gives you a second skin but only at the points needed to reduce any resonances.
Finally the RP-3 has an upgrade path. It’s already fitted so you can add the outboard motor power supply as an option! It is easy to see why the RP-3 has won numerous product of the year awards in the audio press.
Rega RP-6 Turntable
The next step up is the RP-6. At $1495 without cartridge, this turntable takes all of the features found on the RP-3 and just makes them better!
The RP-6 does use the same RB303 tonearm, but pays attention to better speed and resonance control like nobody’s business.
The RP-6 comes with the $445 TTPSU external power supply. This uses a crystal locking system to send a super stable drive signal to the motor. Any changes in your line voltage will have zero effect on the speed. Changing from 33 to 45 is just a push of a button on the RP-6. The motor is fine tuned to the anti-vibration circuitry found in the RP-6.
The RP-6 uses the same double bracing technology as the RP-3 but in the case of the RP-6 it’s a CNC cut piece of aluminum with even better anti resonance character.
I just love the platter of the RP-6. It is a two piece glass construction with more mass around the rim for an even better flywheel effect. Also, the RP-6 has a very high tolerance top adaptor plate the platter sits on with just 6 precision contact points.
The finishing touch on the RP-6 are its great isolation feet. These isolate the plinth from resonances far better than the feet found on the RP-3.
We invite you to come in and experience the great Rega tables. Also remember, with any table or cartridge purchased from Audio Advice, set up is no charge and is performed by our analog experts!