For many vinyl fans, Rega is a household name for hi-fi turntables and audio. The quality tables by Rega are a great way to enhance your new vinyl record player experience, and we’ll take a look at 5 of their best products on the market in this article.
Whether you’re going for the best starter turntable, or really are just looking to make an upgrade, Rega has a selection of great products worth your attention.
Before we get started, please take a moment to see how some of the best turntables on the market, and see how the Rega turntables we will discuss today stack up to them.
|Audio Technica AT-LP60X||$||Plug and Play via Built-In Phono Preamp|
|Music Hall MMF 5.3||$$$||Premium 9” Alloy Tonearm|
|Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC (Red)||$$||Red Gloss Finish|
|Clearaudio Concept (MM)||$$$||Silver Trim|
|Rega Planar 3 (White)||$$$||No Cartridge Included|
|Technics SL-1500C (Black)||$$$||Direct drive turntable w/built-in phono preamp|
|Pro-Ject X2 (White)||$$$||Extended 9" carbon fiber for better tracking|
|Pioneer PLX-1000||$$||DJ Turntable Similar to Technics 1200|
|Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Esprit SB||$$$||Pro-Ject Speed Box Built-in|
|Pro-Ject T1 (Black)||$$||Features Ortofon OM5e Cartridge|
|Thorens TD-102A||$$$||Features Built-In Phono Preamp|
|MoFi StudioDeck||$$$||Pre-mounted StudioTracker MM Cartridge|
The Best Rega Turntables
Let’s kick off this list with the popular Planar 1.
Rega Planar 1 – ★★★
The Planar 1 is where to start if you’re either beginning to collect vinyl records, or looking to reignite the flame. The Planar 1 is by no means a “beginner turntable” but it is the most affordable and serves best as an introductory table for newcomers. Deemed the most user-friendly Rega turntable to date by the company itself, the possibilities are endless with the Planar 1.
Newcomers might not pick up on the synchronous motor and its silent, nearly non-existent vibration transfer, but if you’re returning to the vinyl world after a hiatus, you’ll be floored with how smooth this table runs. Out of the box, the Planar 1 is ready to play, which is a huge plus. A drive belt, sub platter and dust cover designed from the model of the RP1, the older version of the entry Rega turntable, but everything has been updated. Plus, Rega notes that although this is a great entry table, it lasts a lifetime, and an upgrade would be personal preference rather than a product of planned obsolescence. In short, this is a high quality table, and being easy to use doesn’t make that any less true.
In terms of specs, this doesn’t look like a starter turntable on paper. The tonearm is Rega designed and assembled by hand in Essex. No bias setting is needed, meaning if you don’t even know what a bias is, you don’t have to learn.
The stiff headshell helps the turntable stay durable even in transportation and looks great as well. A Rega brand carbon cartridge is included on the table, and most Rega cartridges are known for being long-lasting, as are the tables themselves. A brass bearing houses the platter, which at 23mm and implemented with a flywheel effect makes speed stability concerns disappear.
The balance weight is at 111g for the plug-and-play effect meaning your records will be played safely without risk of scratching, and as noted, the synchronous motor helps avoid any vibration or shaking issues, so you can rest easy.
I wish my first turntable was as high quality as the Planar 1. For a beginner table, or for the listener looking to get back into physical albums rather than their iPhones, this is an amazing start, and not a table that would require an immediate upgrade. It’ll last as long as you treat it well, and with a table this nice, you’ll want to treat it as such.
Rega Planar 2 – ★★★
The Planar 2 was developed as a next-step sort of table from the Planar 1. While the Planar 2 features the same ease of use, it does pack a bit more of a punch than its entry-level contemporary. Like all Rega turntables the style and quality are impeccable, but for those looking to step up their vinyl game a bit, the Planar 2 is a wonderful way to do so without completely breaking the bank.
The Planar 2 was the first Rega table to feature the RB220 tonearm. Rega is big on zero play ball bearings, and have since put it in every table they’ve produced. The tonearm is held by a lightweight bearing with automatic bias that allows the user to ignore manual adapting completely. Other than balancing the tonearm as the user sees fit, this table is also plug and play.
The 11mm brass bearing allows for the transfer of potential energy to be controlled, meaning no hums or bumps. A 24v low noise low vibration motor allows for less distortion and the PCB is one of the smoothest in the market. The platter is a float glass, and at 10mm in optiwhite, it looks fantastic.
This is an accurate turntable, which might sound silly, but to be honest, a lot of turntables miss the mark in terms of playback in ways that a casual listener wouldn’t catch. The Planar 2 is a wonderful move for someone starting out that wants a table they won’t feel the need to upgrade in a few years.
In black, white, and a bright blood red, the Planar 2 looks amazing. Redesigned feet and a carbon cartridge make it easy to use and sound great. For those with the extra cash, the tonearm and motor are worth every penny in the Planar 2 compared to the Planar 1, and I would absolutely recommend picking this up. If you think the differences are still too minimal between the 1 and 2, keep reading: we’re jumping up in quality from here on out.
Rega RP3 – ★★★★
2016’s Planar 3 was a revolution and revelation to hi-fi turntables. Its predecessor, the RP3, was a five time Product of the Year in a hi-fi turntable editorial, so Roy Gandy took his time developing the new iteration, focusing primarily on making the turntable more ergonomic as well as easier to use.
Only two parts of the RP3 carried over into the Planar 3, meaning everything else was brand new to the table. The Planar 2 used the new RB220 tonearm, but for the Planar 3, Gandy knew something else was needed. Hence, the RB330 and its 35 years in the making design were debuted on the Planar 3, and is really impressive. A new bearing housing holds the tubed tonearm that redistributes mass in real time and avoid resonance at all costs. The extreme stability offered in the RB330 is unmatched at the price.
The other new components to the Planar 3 are also extraordinary. A 100g mild steel balance weight helps fit every record to the perfect amount of pressure, and a combo of horizontal and vertical bearings allow for a lower friction playback experience. Low capacitance phono cable touts Neutrik plugs as well as an arm clip and improved spring-based housing with easy-to-read numbers for manual adjustments. It’s nice that you can pull the Planar 1 and 2 can come out of the box and play well, but manual adjustments make the experience sweeter. Not only are you actively participating in the listening experience, but you also learn more about the turntable and music in general.
The sub platter is improved and stiffer ensuring durability, and the platter itself is an optiwhite polished 12mm that improves the accuracy of the turntable and looks incredibly. The motor tray cools the turntable as it spins, and the icing on the cake? The black, white, and red finishes all look photo ready. It’s a clean, beautiful turntable with some amazing features, and it draws on the history of one of the most celebrated turntables in Europe. What’s not to love?
Rega RP6 – ★★★★
Okay, so if you haven’t noticed, as the Planar model numbers go up, so do the price, and the 6 is going to cost you well above $1200. The positive is that you get a 5 star turntable that made editor’s choice at 6 different, very popular editorials that only reward the best of the best.
The RP8 and RP10 were trailblazers for higher quality hi-fi tables, and the Planar 6 draws on their power and precision while utilizing the new ultra lightweight plinth constructed from aerospace technology and polyurethane foam. The polaris matt has a grey finish that cuts the high gloss polymer black edge trim of the table, ensuring a sleek piece of furniture wherever you may place this table.
The Planar 6 features a digital signal processing generator that is built upon high stability crystal. The crystal may sound like fancy overkill, but it actually divides each signal from the record into the exact frequency required to turn the platter at the perfect speed. In short, this turntable knows how to spin your records better than you do.
An efficient drive amplifier that generates 24V of AC balanced signal plays at an impressive 0.15% distortion rate, meaning that 1 out of every 1500 times your record spins you’ll experience distortion. That’s an incredibly good ratio, and you won’t even notice the issues thanks to that trusty crystal. Every record you own sounds better on technology this advanced.
Smaller, particular features like a double brace technology in the tonearm and pillars, or ultra-low friction central brass hubs may not be something you actively seek out, but it’s worth it whether you notice it or not. You may not know what all of these things do, but you’ll hear why they matter.
Rega RP10 – ★★★★★
You’ll notice that a lot of the tables covered so far in this list were recreations of the RP series. The RP10 still exists, and is incredibly popular, and there’s a good reason for that. In fact, there are several good reasons. The RP10 was seen as revolutionary, flaunting a RB2000 tonearm and flywheel effect platter built with ceramics.
Even the custom made RP10 power supply that allows for total control and accuracy over motor vibration and speed is revolutionary, and if that much detail is going into something like the power supply, you know someone is doing something right. Rega hit the nail on the head with this one.
The past 40 years led up to the RP10’s creation, and even tables that have been developed after it can’t match its output. We could spend an entire article hitting the specs of the RP10, but let’s focus on what makes it worth your money compared to the cheaper alternatives listed in this article. First things first, the power supply uses the digital signal processing generator crystal we talked about with the Planar 6.
The difference here is that the core will also generate sinusoidal waveforms to power the motor to ensure that vibrations and speed adjustments are made quicker and more accurately. The RB2000 tonearm is also manufactured by high skill technicians that allowed for a paired spindle to match the inside and outside needs of the tonearm. Essentially, your platter and motor work together better than most turntables.
The motor and tonearm also work together exceptionally well thanks to the Rega arm tube that is hand polished to keep mass to a minimum and redistributed to allow mass to further transfer and reduce stress and tension on the record. I consider the features of this table to be some of the best in the business, and because Rega is known for their craftsmanship, you can understand how impressive it is that you’re not only receiving the tech offered in these tables, but also the Rega credibility and history.
The story of Rega is one of hard work and dedication to the world of hi-fi sound quality and playback, and any of the tables featured above would make an audiophile happy. For the best new turntable, look no further than the Rega brand and these amazing products!
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