My Rega RP3 with recently installed Groovetracer upgrades (and Ortofon 2M Bronze MM cartridge) - click images to see larger versions.The Delrin platter:
I think this platter is a vast visual improvement over the stock Rega one. It gives the black RP3 a real stealth look The Reference Subplatter:The Counterweight:Impressions
Dealing with Frank was a pleasure, he was very prompt and helpful in his replies to my questions. The quality of shipping packaging was very good - buying all three upgrades at once is perhaps a little excessive
but living in the UK, the postage was not cheap, so I brought them as a set primarily to save money on shipping costs.
The quality of the supplied instructions and accessories was also very high. The finish and attention to detail of the upgrades themselves is very high and justifies the cost in my opinion. An example of this is the little plastic nub attached to the end of the counterweight set screw to ensure a good, mark free, fit.
I also installed all three upgrades together. I'm afraid I don't have the patience to install one, wait a sufficient time to become familiar with the change in sound, and then move onto the next
Installation of all the upgrades was easy. The only nerve racking bit was replacing the arm stub. The stock RB303 stub was too large for the Groovetracer counterweight, so I had to install the one supplied. I cringed when the arm assembly flexed slightly when removing the stock stub, but there appear to have been no ill effects from this.
I too am of the stable which keeps the platter spinning when swapping records, and with the Delrin platter this isn't a problem. The record doesn't immediately grip the spinning platter through, which results in a little skidding, but providing the platter is kept free of dust I don't see this being an issue - the platter is immaculately smooth!
So how does it sound? Well, I would say an upgrade in cartridge may offer a greater improvement and better value for money (depending on what you buy and what you're upgrading from of course) before buying the Groovetracer upgrades, but these upgrades have brought an immediately noticeable improvement in the following areas:
Greater detail retrieval
An 'airer' presentation and more space
A blacker background - the music jumps out at you more and seems more dynamic as a result
More body and a small increase in bass too
The only slight regression I've noticed is that perhaps drums are a little more recessed in the mix. Though during drum solos there is impressive slam, timbre and cymbals always sound great.
I'm new to vinyl and of the 'digital generation'. Since getting my RP3 I've enjoyed that 'vinyl sound' very much in it's stock configuration (with Rega Elys 2 cartridge), but always felt my digital setup trumped it in terms of detail retrieval and clarity. Not any more! Since installing these upgrades and the 2M Bronze (I'll be posting a review of the excellent Ortofon 2M Bronze in due course) I'm hearing new things in recordings I know very well - and that for me is the hall mark of whether a new investment in my system was worth while. You can now safely call me a vinyl convert
As for future upgrades, I'm following in RoDa's foot steps again and considering the double belt pulley and motor thrust bearing. But to be honest, I'm very happy with this setup as it currently stands so I'm in no rush.
Lastly, my thanks to the Vinylengine forum and it's members for so much useful information and enjoyable discussions, this is a great forum!