The Rega Planar 3 is, without a doubt, the best-selling turntable at Audio Advice today. When it was introduced in 2016, it had so many improvements over the old RP3 that it received numerous awards all over the world. It is still probably the best table you can buy for under $1,000.
Glass platter coupled with a superior motor and tonearm add up to an unbeatable value.
New RB330 Tonearm
This handmade, one-piece tapered design is a huge step up from the RB101 found on the RP-1.
Stellar Speed Control System
There is a circuit board that is individually tuned to each and every motor. This results in great speed stability. Plus you have the option of adding the external TTSU for even better performance.
Company & Product Overview
Like many reputable audio companies, Rega was born out of a garage from a couple of guys seeking to create a better product than what they could find on the market. In the case of Rega, this was in the UK in the early 70s.
The subject of today’s review, the Rega Planar 3 hails from the original Rega Planar 3 introduced in 1976 receiving rave reviews from the British press launching the company on a long history of great value products.
The original Planar 3 was eventually replaced by the RP3, which received multiple awards including winning Product of the Year 5 times! But even after 40 years, the team at Rega wanted more. They came up with so many improvements to the RP3 they decided to return the iconic name of the Planar 3.
Design & Build Quality
Like all Rega turntables, the Planar 3 is a belt drive manual system. It’s equipped with Rega’s new RB-330 tonearm already pre-mounted. We appreciate how Rega tables are some of the easiest on the market to set up, and always have superb fit and finish. And remember, when you get your Planar 3 from Audio Advice, we will set it up and fully test it out in our turntable facility to ensure your cartridge is perfectly mounted. You’ll receive a link to a set-up video on everything you need to know about setting it up the way it should be.
At Audio Advice we love a well-executed tonearm design that lacks any friction or play. The RB330 arm that comes with the Planar 3 is one of the best out there in this regard, and there is zero play in the precision bearings. This doesn’t come as a surprise since Rega tonearms are known throughout the audio world for the almost friction-free horizontal movement with zero play in the bearings. Rega is so fanatical about this they continue to improve the bearings while measuring changes in microns. The tapered tonearm tube took hours upon hours of work with 3D CAD design to build it in one piece, thus greatly reducing any unwanted resonances.
While you should not lift the inner platter all the way out, you can rest assured the bearing is just as precise as any other part of the turntable. This ensures you will not have any noise coming up into the platter from a less-than-perfect bearing.
Many audio enthusiasts seeking a new turntable will discover the best-selling models generally start at around $400-$500. So why would you spend $995 on the Planar 3 over, for example, Rega’s popular RP-1 at $445?
Enjoying vinyl is like many of the other pleasures we enjoy in life. Whether it’s cooking, cycling, travel, or anything else, the more you learn about your hobby the further you want to advance it. Not only does the Planar 3 start out with some seriously good features, but it also has an upgrade path to feed your passion for better sound should you want to improve things.
The Planar 3 arrives already outfitted with the following features:
Double Bracing Technology: Starting with the Planar 3 all Rega tables employ this unique design to reduce resonances.
RB330 Tonearm: This handmade, one-piece tapered design is a huge step up from the RB101 found on the RP-1.
Float Glass Platter: Rega developed the glass platter system in the 70s and it’s been their trademark ever since. The precision surface and heavy weight ensure a constant speed for your vinyl. The new Optiwhite finish on the Planar 3 is also visually stunning.
Upgraded Bearing Well: The critical inner platter bearing gets a big upgrade from the RP-1 to the Planar 3 for reduced noise.
24 Pole Quiet Motor: Jumping from the RP-1 to the Planar 3 gets you the same motor found in the $2995 RP-8.
The unique part about Rega tables is that many of them have the following options to add now or later on for performance improvements:
TTPSU: This is the external motor power supply, which we feel is one of the best possible upgrades for the Planar 3. It provides even better speed stability and reduced motor noise ($395).
Tungsten Counterweight: The fanatical engineers at Rega figured out a tungsten counterweight offered some audio improvements over their standard counterweight ($135).
Have you ever experienced a live band in a small club environment where their perfect timing and rhythm was almost drug-like in the sense of euphoria it stirred within you? We feel this is the best way to sum up the sound of the Planar 3. It delivers an intensely accurate sense of stellar live music because the timing of the music is just spot on. Bass is extremely clean and detailed with no measure of bloating. The RB-330 tonearm will shine with the Rega Elys cartridge or consider stepping up to the Ortofon Bronze or Black for even more 3 dimensional sound from your records. In summation, the Planar 3 just sounds right. It does not add any coloration and is extremely true to the music.
We rank the Planar 3 as a top value product at Audio Advice. It’s difficult to find another turntable on the market offering all the features of the Planar 3, especially one with the added bonus of the option to upgrade over time. Couple these features with its simple, elegant setup and you have a definite winner for your vinyl collection.
Replacing the multi-award winning and five-time Product of the Year (RP3) was never going to be an easy task. It took Rega's team of designers (headed up by Rega's Roy Gandy) two years to develop the all new 'Planar 3' following the biggest re-design of the iconic 'three' model ever seen. Their team worked tirelessly to improve every aspect of this turntable offering improved ergonomics, usability and first and foremost, sonic performance for a definite winner for your vinyl collection.
Designed using the latest 3D CAD & CAM technology, the new RB330 is the culmination of more than 35 years of tonearm design experience. Featuring a brand new bearing housing, and our latest tonearm tube designed using intelligent redistribution of mass ensure this arm will exhibit fewer points of possible resonance. Extreme stability with almost friction free movement from the new high precision bearing assemblies guarantees to gather more information from your vinyl than ever before.
- Featuring a new bias assembly, re-designed stiffer vertical bearing housing, integrated arm clip and an improved spring housing with easier to read numbers.
- Rega made, new low capacitance phono cable with Neutrik plugs
- Improved lower friction, precision horizontal and vertical bearings
- New design 100g mild steel balance weight.
High gloss acrylic, laminated plinth, stiffer and vastly improved appearance, ergonomically positioned power switch. Three plinth finishes available gloss black, white and red.
Improved thicker 3mm phenolic bottom brace and new metalised skin phenolic top brace.
Re-designed brass main hub central bearing, improved fit and construction reducing stress on the bearing itself.
Re-designed sub platter, improved accuracy and improved stiffness.
New float glass "Optiwhite" polished rim 12mm Improved accuracy in manufacture and stunning looks.
New improved foot to increase stability and reduce vibration transfer.
Improved new motor control PCB with integration for the addition of Neo PSU for electronic speed change and improved advanced anti-vibration circuit (sold separately).
Motor cover tray with integrated cooling.
- Tonearm: Hand assembled precision RB330 tonearm
- Motor: 24 V low noise motor
- Platter: 12 mm glass polished edge
- Connectivity: RCA / Phono
- Power (additional): Mini DIN for connection to Neo PSU (optional upgrade)
- Dimensions (lid closed) (W x H x D): 447 x 117 x 360 mm
- Weight: 6.0 kg
All Rega products are covered by a lifetime warranty against manufacture defects. This warranty does not cover wear and tear. Any unauthorised modifications or failure to follow the Rega recommended guidelines may invalidate the warranty. If returning goods for inspection to your retailer the original packaging must be used to preserve warranty. Replacement packaging is available from any Rega retailer. Your statutory rights are not affected.
|Dimensions||17.5 x 14 x 4.5"|
|Included Phono Cable||Premium|
|motor||24v low noise motor|
|Turntable Platter||12mm float glass platter|