When mechanical engineer Roy Gandy founded Rega Research Ltd. back in 1973, his goal was a simple one: manufacture high-end audio equipment at affordable prices. That includes award winning amplification systems, speakers, cartridges and of course turntables.
The Rega design team made a big splash on the turntable scene with the release of the Planar 3 model in 1977 and never looked back. Forty years later, Rega is still turning heads with the Planar’s second-cousin (twice-removed): the RP1. Featuring a slick, minimal design and Rega’s trademark handmade construction, the RP1 has found itself at the forefront of every entry level audiophile turntable conversation. If you’re a burgeoning vinyl enthusiast in the market for your first turntable or just looking to upgrade your system without breaking the bank (only $445), then the RP1 is worth your attention.
Below, please use our interactive guide to see how well the Rega RP1 stacks up to the competition (competition like the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC, U-Turn Orbit Plus, and many more):
|Rega RP1||$$||★★★||Rega Carbon MM Cartridge|
|Rega Planar 1||$$||★★★★||RB110 tonearm|
|Rega Planar 1 Plus||$$$||★★★★★||Built-in Phono Preamp|
|Marantz TT-15S1||$$$||★★★★||Solid Plinth Belt-Drive Design|
|Rega Planar 2||$$$||★★★★||10mm Float-Glass Platter|
|Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC||$$||★★★★||8.6" Carbon Tonearm|
|ProJect Classic||$$$||★★★★★||Metal/MDF Chassis|
|Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Esprit SB||$$$||★★★★||Pro-Ject Speed Box Built-in|
|Pro-Ject Essential III||$$||★★★★||Ortofon OM10 cartridge|
|Pro-Ject Essential III Phono||$$||★★★★||Ortofon OM10 cartridge|
|ProJect 1Xpression Carbon Classic||$$$||★★★★||Low Noise AC Motor|
|U-Turn Audio Orbit Plus||$$||★★★★||Machined Acrylic Platter|
|Music Hall MMF 1.5||$$||★★★★★||Built-In Phono Preamp|
|Audio-Technica AT-LP120USB||$$||★★★★||USB Direct Drive|
|Audio Technica AT-LP1240-USB||$$||★★★★||USB Direct Drive/DJ Table|
Digging into the Rega RP-1
First things first, if you’re looking at the RP1, that means you’ve decided to jump head first into the audiophile realm. Good call. Those cheap, flimsy turntables that are so popular will get you nowhere.
And now is a great time to be in the audiophile game. These days, once you’ve committed to buying an audiophile table, it’s pretty hard to make a wrong move. Still, some tables will suit your needs better than others. And while the RP1 is a champion entry level deck, it may not be the one you need.
So, let’s have a closer look and see what you’re getting with the Rega RP1.
- Design – Rega has been and remains a design-first company focused on simplicity. The RP1 is the crown jewel of their minimalistic approach. Featuring little more than the platter, tonearm and on/off switch, the RP1’s bare minimum MDF base is quite easy on the eyes.But that minimalist aesthetic serves a purpose. Right out of the box, the RP1 requires almost no setup. Just plug it in, adjust the counterweight and start spinning.
No muss. No fuss. It really is that easy.
And it’s available in three different colors, to boot. But the simple approach to the RP1’s overall design means one thing: the Rega team went bonkers with the deck’s high-end components.
Below, please take a moment to view some of the best-selling record players currently available on Amazon:
Let’s now begin talking about some of the unique features of the Rega RP1. Let’s begin with the platter and tonearm.
- Platter & Tonearm – It’s fitting that the most visible components of the RP1 are the most compelling. This begins with the RP1’s lightweight phenolic resin platter. Traditional wisdom will tell you that a heavier platter is preferable for both balance and rotational speed. The Rega design team saw things a little differently and hollowed out their platter.
This approach evenly distributes weight to the edges of the platter and results in near a perfectly balanc