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Rega RP6 vs P5 purchasing dilemma

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Rega RP6 vs P5 purchasing dilemma

Postby Cltn2080 » 16 Jan 2012 01:56

Ok, I'm new hear but I'd love to hear some of your opinions on this. Basically, I've decided to buy a Rega turntable and am torn between purchasing a new RP6 and a (slightly) used P5 being sold online by an authorized Rega dealer. The P5 can be had for $850 or $1,100 including the power supply unit upgrade. The turntable already has upgraded interconnects, Cardas solid core OFC I'm told. A brand new RP6 would be $1495, also including the PSU. If anyone wants to know, my current setup (hoping to upgrade in the somewhat near future) is a Rotel RQ-9708BX phono stage, a Harman Kardon HK 3480 stereo receiver and a pair of Kef Coda 9.2 loudspeakers, or alternately a Little Dot i+ headphone amp with Philips ECG 6028 tubes and some Grado SR225i headphones.
I've been considering a wide variety of factors in making this decision. The first, and the one that led me to start considering a second hand P5 as an alternative in the first place, is the tonearm. The thing that first attracted me to Regas was the quality of their tonearms, so this is of great concern to me. I understand the P5 comes with the RB700 while the RP6 comes with the new RB303. It seems people have generally been impressed with the performance of the RB303, as it’s already been used on the recent RP3. I can believe that it’s an improvement of the RB301, but it’s a bit harder to believe that it could match the performance of the RB700, especially considering that the RB700 alone sells for the price of a complete RP3. I suppose it’s possible Rega pulled off an incredible feat of engineering and managed to produce an arm that sounds as good as the RB700 for something like half the manufacturing cost but this seems somewhat unlikely. My guess is that the new RB303 narrows the gap between the 300 and 700 series considerably but that the RB700 still has a bit of an edge over it. If that’s the case, it would seem the primary advantage the RP6 has over the P5 is the platter and subplatter and possibly the new “double brace”, but who knows if this really does what Rega says it does. As for the platter and subplatter, that brings me to my next point which is upgrade potential. In reading discussion forums the past few days I’ve become very intrigued by the idea of adding Groovetracer upgrades to the P5, particularly the subplatter one. Now, even if it’s true that a stock RP6 outperforms a stock P5, I’d have to imagine that a P5 with several of these Groovetracer upgrades would beat the stock RP6, and I could put together the upgraded P5 for about the same cost as a new RP6, so that’s very tempting. I also wonder about the upgrade potential of the RP6. Would the same upgrades also work on that turntable? Would it require a different subplatter of a different size or thickness? If so, would Groovetracer be likely to produce a replacement subplatter for the new ‘table? I have no idea about any of this but I sure am curious. But mostly, I just wonder if the RP6 really is a step forward from the P5 or whether I would be better off just grabbing a P5 while I have the chance to get a good deal on one. If the only significant advantage of the RP6 over the P5 is the platter and subplatter, that can be easily remedied and that’s a whole lot more practical than replacing the tonearm on the RP6. Furthermore, it seems the RP6 may not be as accommodating of upgrades as the P5 and that would be a significant disadvantage, but again, I don’t really know if this is the case. Another consideration is that I’d really like to buy from a local dealer and have an excellent neighborhood audio store I’d love to support but could, of course, only buy there if I went with the RP6. So, um, would anybody like to weigh in on this?
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Re: Rega RP6 vs P5 purchasing dilemma

Postby AudioSoul » 16 Jan 2012 02:28

I think you should get the P5. Although Rega touts the RP6 as being an improvement I think it's mostly cosmetic. The plinth on the RP6 is suppose to be reinforced to the tonearm, it is a piece of plastic. With the P5 you can afford to get some real upgrades from the the likes of Groove Tracer that are better than anything Rega can come up with. Rega's only claim to fame as far as I am concerned is theit tonearms.
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Re: Rega RP6 vs P5 purchasing dilemma

Postby mawari » 16 Jan 2012 06:22

RP6 if I was in the same situation and it had to be a Rega. Newer arm looks similar but is a real design change for the RB300/250 and it's many differently spec'd and finished derivatives. On the platter upgrades ... if you read fora that concentrate on equipment rather than music, like, err, this one, you'll always get a nagging feeling you could just spend some money and upgrade something. In the old days, hifi magazines had this duty :-)

( Sometimes I wonder if Rega fitted a machined metal subplatter, and some small company came up with a phenolic one, a few would go gaga over that one due to it's intrinsic damping properties and superior rigidity to weight ratio. Noting how it provided more inner detail, deeper blacks, tighter leading edges and greater air around instruments ... with no loss of the Rega sound ! :lol: )

If someone is considering buying a new deck that they believe is already so insufficient that it needs an upgrade, I would humbly suggest to them to buy a better deck in the first place. It beats audio nervosa. Or, while both the choices above are unlikely to disappoint, they could look further afield from Rega. There are other choices when you are spending this kind of money, ones that take you out of the Rega tweak and upgrades treadmill.

Paul ( Rega owner for 20 years+ )
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Re: Rega RP6 vs P5 purchasing dilemma

Postby watercourse » 16 Jan 2012 09:09

I'd go for the best arm you can get. Right now, there aren't any opinions about the two arms that are reliable - all based on best guess.
If your local shop has the P5, you could arrange for a comparison, or ask them for their educated advice before pulling the trigger.
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: Beyond measurements and theory, there's intuition and feeling:
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Re: Rega RP6 vs P5 purchasing dilemma

Postby Cltn2080 » 16 Jan 2012 09:33

Well, I just bought the P5. I felt that either choice would probably leave me feeling nervous about possibly having made the wrong decision, but figured this way I'd always have the option of trading for the RP6 (or something else) if I really regretted it. Trading the other way would not be accomplished very easily. Opportunities to buy a P5 in the future will be limited, especially one in virtually new condition from a trustworthy seller at a low price and in my preferred color.

I can see how my post came off sounding like I was thinking only in terms of individual parts, but I took much more into consideration than what was written, including synergy between components and musicality. And believe me, I can’t wait to get this turntable set up so I can finally just relax and start focusing on enjoying music again. My interest is not electronics and equipment. First and foremost, I just want a system that is satisfying to listen to. Unfortunately, doing a direct comparison between these two turntables before purchase was not an opportunity available to me, and it’s fairly likely I would never have had the opportunity to hear a P5 without buying one. Conversely, my local audio store will be getting an RP6 floor model in and I’ll have the chance to hear that one either way. I could even take mine in and do a direct comparison between the RP6 and the upgraded P5. I would not have been able to do that otherwise.

Also, the more I look at the two, I just prefer the look of the P5. This isn’t my first concern, but aesthetics matter a lot to me and I know this will also factor into how satisfied I ultimately am with the purchase. I’m a big fan of understated designs and they’re fairly rare with turntables costing over 1k (I think Sota ‘tables are also really nice looking).

So that’s a bit more of my thought process. Jeez, I guess I felt the need to defend my purchase, didn’t I? Anyway, I appreciate all the input.
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Re: Rega RP6 vs P5 purchasing dilemma

Postby mawari » 16 Jan 2012 10:00

Sounds like you made exactly the right choice !

Paul
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Re: Rega RP6 vs P5 purchasing dilemma

Postby watercourse » 16 Jan 2012 17:02

I would have done the same. Congrats!
WT Simplex, Shelter 501 II, DV20xl, Benz ACE SL > Aleph Ono, Bel Canto PL1/DAC3 > Pass X1 > XA30.5 > DeVore Nines
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Re: Rega RP6 vs P5 purchasing dilemma

Postby Schu » 16 Jan 2012 17:54

p5 all the way... I am totally in love with mine, and that leaves you money to put into other thing... CART.

Wise choice, you wont be disappointed.
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Re: Rega RP6 vs P5 purchasing dilemma

Postby bacobits » 16 Jan 2012 18:07

I would have done the same, and purchased the P5.
Stock, the P5 is superb sounding. I started changing mine after a year or so.
All the upgrades can be resold separate too or buy them used when they show up from time to time.
You would not regret any of them.
Enjoy the P5 you have, as is. What are you using for cartridge?

BTW, the RP6 brace is aluminum not plastic it is plastic on the RP3.
I have also questioned that brace. Hey, Rega has to change and advance things every so often for sales.
The P5 has been out for some time (5+ years).
Upgrades for a VPI are outrageous $$ so you look at others and it's not cheap. You know your going to want some of them. It's a sickness, you have to resist!

Only Frank from GT can answer if his upgrades fit that RP6. "All Groovetracer® products are compatible with the new Rega RP3 turntable model." I think all of the GT products are very reasonably priced for the quality you are getting.

ENJOY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It will be to your liking.
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Re: Rega RP6 vs P5 purchasing dilemma

Postby Cltn2080 » 17 Jan 2012 04:18

Yeah, I'm still feeling good about this decision. I think if I'd gone with the RP6, I'd probably be feeling uneasy about my questionable choice right now. I mean, I'm sure the RP6 will be a good turntable, but it's already been well established that the P5 is a great one. And seeing as it's been one of the most loved turntables of it's time, I'd probably feel like I'd missed out if I never got to hear it. My gut tells me that ten years from now I'm going to be glad I bought one when I had the chance.

I ordered a Dynavector 10x5 to put on it, so I'm quite eager to hear that too. I've heard nothing but good things about it. Now I'm just deciding whether to go all in and buy all those Groovetracer upgrades with the money I saved. At the very least I'm going to get the subplatter, but the others look very worthwhile also. I have an acrylic platter on my current turntable, a Pro-Ject Xpression III, and prefer that over the glass platter on my earlier Music Hall mmf-5 for a few reasons. That Music Hall was a spectacular first turntable though (ok, my first was a $99 Sony but best to forget about that). I bought it new for $565 in 2005 and it came with a Goldring 1012 cartridge (now $450, then $300 if I remember right), not to mention the double plinth, glass platter and threaded spindle with included clamp. You sure can't get a deal like that today. I used that thing just about daily for five years and never had a single issue with it. If I'm as satisfied with the P5 for the next five years, the investment will be well worth it. I have a feeling I will be.
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Re: Rega RP6 vs P5 purchasing dilemma

Postby asmneto » 17 Jan 2012 15:00

I too think you made the right decision. In my opinion the only essencial upgrade would be the GT reference subplatter. Of course there are others, like the acrylic platter, the counterweight (both GT and Michell), and the dual pulley, as for instance. But in my opinion they would make rather small difference compared to a better cartridge or phono preamp.
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Re: Rega RP6 vs P5 purchasing dilemma

Postby Cltn2080 » 17 Jan 2012 18:19

Ordered the acrylic platter and reference subplatter. I hear you though, asmneto. I think I can live without the counterweight, at least for now, and probably could have lived without the platter, though it was desirable for more than just the sound upgrade. I think it's really nice being able to put records directly on it and not having to worry about them picking up particles or static from a mat every time they're set down, so ease of use benefits. It also seems like you get more out of a clamp when you're pressing the LP between two firm surfaces rather than a hard one and a soft one. I'm sure a cartridge upgrade would bring a more dramatic change, but frankly, I'm pretty clumsy and $500 is about my limit for a little thing that can be easily destroyed with a moment of carelessness and has a limited lifespan to begin with. Besides, I really want to hear the 10x5 and I think my wallet has taken a sufficiently large hit already. If this table sounds as great as everyone says it does, this setup should be more than enough to make me forget all about mechanics and throw me into a giddy music listening binge. Can't wait!
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Re: Rega RP6 vs P5 purchasing dilemma

Postby asmneto » 17 Jan 2012 18:40

@Cltn2080 Congratulations on your upgrades. The changes are for the better and aren't subtle. The 10x5 is already a great cart, when I talked about it in my other post I meant exactly this, that the money you put on the 10x5 is better spent than buying a counterweight and staying with a modest cart. You should be fine with the deck for many years.
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Re: Rega RP6 vs P5 purchasing dilemma

Postby Schu » 17 Jan 2012 21:28

Cltn2080 wrote:Ordered the acrylic platter and reference subplatter. I hear you though, asmneto. I think I can live without the counterweight, at least for now, and probably could have lived without the platter, though it was desirable for more than just the sound upgrade. I think it's really nice being able to put records directly on it and not having to worry about them picking up particles or static from a mat every time they're set down, so ease of use benefits. It also seems like you get more out of a clamp when you're pressing the LP between two firm surfaces rather than a hard one and a soft one. I'm sure a cartridge upgrade would bring a more dramatic change, but frankly, I'm pretty clumsy and $500 is about my limit for a little thing that can be easily destroyed with a moment of carelessness and has a limited lifespan to begin with. Besides, I really want to hear the 10x5 and I think my wallet has taken a sufficiently large hit already. If this table sounds as great as everyone says it does, this setup should be more than enough to make me forget all about mechanics and throw me into a giddy music listening binge. Can't wait!


Sounds exactly like my set up minus the counter weight... you WILL enjoy
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Re: Rega RP6 vs P5 purchasing dilemma

Postby watercourse » 17 Jan 2012 23:25

Don't know if you saw this post about the P5 at another site, but we'll see if this link works: http://www.audioaficionado.org/turntabl ... ga-p5.html

Love mine too!
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