Normally when I get a new component, or part, for my stereo I have an urge to install it as soon as possible.
But this time I wanted to take my time to better evaluate the possible difference between the original and the Groovetracer.
Eric Clapton's - Running on Faith and Old Love from MTV Unplugged
Tracy Chapman's - Fast Car from her self titled album
...and a few more songs
I went trough the songs to have them "fresh" before I did the switch.
Then I played the same songs with the Groovetracer installed.
The difference is right in your face, no need to double-blind test this one!
I will try to list the most important improvements IMHO:
- Silence. The noisefloor is considerably lowered, the backdrop onto wich the music is presented is blacker and quieter. Earlier I got the impression that the CD-player was calmer and more quiet than the TT, not anymore.
- Focus. The soundstage snaps into focus, all the instruments and artists are more defined and precisely placed. It's easier to hear their placement. I also believe that the soundstage opened up and was presented wider than before.
- Precision. Related to the improved focus, I also hear all details better defined, the sound of a guitar-string, the bass-line, new details in the recordings that earlier where hiding in the "fuzz" .....
The music sounds more "alive", the feeling of he music being reproduced is replaced by the feeling of the music happening in my living room. Instead of listening to a TT playing music, I'm listening to the recording itself. A big leap in performance!!
I don't know how much out of round my original subplatter was or how wrong the diameter was making it spin too fast or too slow.
Rega of course has to make cost considerations when manufacturing the P5, and the Groovetracer reference will set you back some 250$. Actually 340$ before it arrived in my mailbox in Norway (incl shipping and VAT/customs).
Still, I have no problems putting both thumbs up and recommending owners of a P5 to buy a Groovetracer Reference subplatter.
(Or perhaps a Deluxe or Standard as I suspect they also will be a step up from the original)
I am HAPPY with my "new" Rega P5, the Groovetracer Reference Subplatter is an upgrade in every aspect of the word! Strong recommendation!