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Rega Belt "test kit" feeler...

Posted: 05 Feb 2019 15:06
by Jim Leach
Hello everyone. :byebye:

I have been doing some digging and found a few options for replacement belts for Rega tables. :-$

Further, I seem to be able to offer some additional material options (some unique) that are not available out there.

I have an idea where I would put together a "test kit" because it seems "one belt material fits all" is not the correct answer for this table (regardless of color or price). The fact it is so sensitive to belt material is rather uncanny actually.

So the question is, for the (!) $30 that is charged for a single belt, I think I could put together a test kit with a few belt materials, maybe four or five (still working it all out) that could be swapped into YOUR table and system, to identify what works best for speed stability, and complimentary sonic performance for your system.

Now for those who want to "geek out": The stock black belt supplied on the Planar 3 (and the rest I imagine) has a durometer of 70A ("medium") which I will hold as close as possible to, but I can also get some materials in a higher durometer (90A) which may or may not be a move in the right direction...

So in summary, I can do some testing on my own (not sure when) and find what I feel is the best option(s) for a replacement belt, and simply be another player in the game, or, I can put together these neat "test kits" so you can make your own assessment with your own system in your particular listening room.

What do you think?

PS: I can get the same diameter (cross section) in a longer belt as well, for "custom" builds where the motor would be further from the subplatter, if that is of interest to anyone (I may do this to get the motor as far as possible from the pickup). This requires a custom plinth, which most seem able to accomplish around here.

Re: Rega Belt "test kit" feeler...

Posted: 14 Feb 2019 21:37
by Jim Leach
Revisiting this, as I have over a hundred views, but no bites... :-k

Rega belts also fit several other similar tables. I found the following (but I don't own them to comment further)
NAD 533
Goldring GR1 & GR2
MOTH Alamo
Rotel RP-900

I can offer a set of one each of six different belt materials, all the same 70A durometer (AKA "hardness") as original for about $10.00 including shipping in the USA. I'll keep the materials secret for now (and that helps with the blind testing as well), but I can get some other more expensive/exotic materials too. Individual belt pricing will be provided, so once you know what you like best, you can order more if you want. Now, one of the (excluded) belts is quite expensive (over $20 for one belt) so, if you simply MUST spend more money, to justify the "HI-FI" status quo, I can accommodate :D . Note these more expensive materials may not sound any better... (I will be testing a couple exotic things on my own at some point)

This first kit will contain one "high-purity Silicone" o-ring, which should compare directly to the "white belt" option from Rega (although mine is not white, but red/orange). There is also one brown belt, and the rest are all black- even though they are all different materials ("sheen" may vary but they will be hard to tell apart!). I will individually package them in a light-proof bag to preserve them as long as possible and label each bag to identify them. However, something else I will do, that I don't see anyone else doing, is I will also include information on their "shelf life". They will degrade over time, and depending on material, the time will vary. So, you will know when you need to change your belt.

(NOTE: most materials are ~15 year shelf life [from curing date] but they do vary and I will have an exact month/year of "expiration" so there are no unexpected belt failures.)

Let me know if this sounds interesting to anyone.

Re: Rega Belt "test kit" feeler...

Posted: 14 Feb 2019 23:31
by dysmike
I could be interested, it'd be interesting to compare several materials at a time.

Re: Rega Belt "test kit" feeler...

Posted: 15 Feb 2019 00:55
by Jim Leach
Yeah, I think it would be a fun exercise for a rainy weekend. And not much money to play compared to other belt options.

If it goes well I’ll make up the “deep pockets” version. Again, no idea of improvement but it’s fun to try.

I should have stiff ready to ship next week and I’ll update here.

Re: Rega Belt "test kit" feeler...

Posted: 18 Feb 2019 19:54
by Jim Leach
OK! Everything is here, so if you are interested in a kit, just let me know and I'll fill you in with the details, but suffice to say: PayPal and I ship to your PayPal address. (assuming you are in the USA). Outside the USA, we'll figure out actual shipping, but I don't think it'll be much, since these are quite light and thin.

Thanks for the interest!

Re: Rega Belt "test kit" feeler...

Posted: 18 Feb 2019 21:58
by Jim Leach
I think I'm going to list some on eBay as well (order here for best price as I have to add a bit to cover eBay fees)

So the kit, which has 6 different belt types, is $21.00 shipped via Priority Mail within the USA.

I will ship during the week, so weekend orders go out the following Monday.

I'm bummed I cant start testing some myself!

Note there are three other (expensive) options. Two of which are Teflon encapsulated materials, which may not work well at all due to traction (or lack thereof) issues. But there is a third (ironically most expensive AND with shortest shelf life) that is a different material. That single belt is $20.68 I sprung for one of these to try myself but I don't know when I'll get to it. Hopefully before it expires... #-o

Re: Rega Belt "test kit" feeler...

Posted: 19 Feb 2019 13:25
by MetalT75
This is a bit of OT but how long are Rega white belts supposed to last? A couple of weeks a go I had my 8 month old Planar 6 serviced because of a broken off cartridge wire clip. The service guy said that the belt was also quite streched. Some say it should last 5 years but at this rate it will fall off before 2.

Re: Rega Belt "test kit" feeler...

Posted: 19 Feb 2019 14:48
by Jim Leach
Well, the material is Silicone, and it has an "unlimited" shelf life (when stored properly); however, that is not being spun by a motor (essentially constant stretching). I don't know the answer to that in "dynamic" use.

Typical dynamic criteria for o-rings is when it is sliding against another body to provide a sliding seal. That would be the only data I would have access to. Maybe others have empirical data on Rega belt life in use on a Rega table. I can say that the standard Rega black belt does take a "set" rather quickly- less than a year I'd say. So when you remove the belt, you can clearly see where it was around the motor, as it has a small radius bend there.

But, the good news now is for less than the cost of one white belt, you can try my package and see what sounds best in your system. Even if my silicone belt (the red one) only lasted one year, it's still a better deal by far than the white belt. You could buy ten of my silicone belts for the $30.00 charged by everyone for a single white belt.

Re: Rega Belt "test kit" feeler...

Posted: 19 Feb 2019 16:54
by dysmike
Jim, PM me a cost and PayPal contact info.

Re: Rega Belt "test kit" feeler...

Posted: 20 Feb 2019 23:22
by plastico
I'll try them out Jim. PM me.
Cheers, Doug

Re: Rega Belt "test kit" feeler...

Posted: 21 Feb 2019 00:28
by Jim Leach
PM sent Doug.

Re: Rega Belt "test kit" feeler...

Posted: 21 Feb 2019 01:25
by Jim Leach
I still haven’t completed the work to get it listed on eBay.

Here’s some pictures that’ll go in the auction:

Re: Rega Belt "test kit" feeler...

Posted: 23 Feb 2019 16:19
by dysmike
I received these yesterday, so I thought I'd do some comparisons. Since there are plenty of people who are into numbers (I'm an engineer, so I'm sort of one too) I did some measurements today.

  • Rega 2016 Planar 3
  • Rega NEO TTPSU (reset to factory just prior to the testing, nullifying my previous settings)
  • Groovetracer Reference Subplatter
Testing methodology:

Since I do not possess a strobe, I used the RPM app (on an iPhone 8 plus) to do the measurements. I know, there are concerns about accuracy from a gyroscopic sensor on a phone (although, there can be inaccuracies induced with a strobe light too), I performed a 100 revolution calibration in the application. After that the methodology was to allow 30 seconds for the table to come up to speed, then run the measurement for 30 seconds. Each test started with the turntable OFF. Each belt was tested three times, and the results were averaged to normalize the numbers as much as reasonably possible.

Results are in the attached jpg. I'll be doing a/b listening tests later this weekend (hopefully).
(78.54000000000001 KiB) Downloaded 153 times
(183.08 KiB) Downloaded 150 times
(130.27 KiB) Downloaded 153 times

Re: Rega Belt "test kit" feeler...

Posted: 23 Feb 2019 17:52
by Jim Leach
Very interesting.

For those not aware, price increases on individual belts with rising type number.

So type 1 is least expensive and type 6 is most expensive.

From a stability standpoint, it looks like more expensive is not better.

Next the sound... I’m a curious as anyone else!

PS now listed on eBay as well if you prefer to pay more (since it’s an audiophile tweak)...

Re: Rega Belt "test kit" feeler...

Posted: 23 Feb 2019 18:10
by dysmike
I just completed the first listening test. I decided, since it's Saturday and I don't feel like queueing, that I'd choose the first track on an album side. One that I was really familiar with, that had regular timing, some longer held pitches, and that had some deeper bass, and most importantly one that I could listen to 7 times in a row.

So, I selected Pink Floyds One of These Days, off of Meddle.

The Rega belt, I'm not going to really comment on too much as it's just the baseline. It's what I've been using for some time now, so it's a really familiar feel.

Type 1 was noticeably a bit distorted during the Moog and bass drums and the vocals were just slightly muddier. This seems to jive with the w/f measurement.

Type 2 was very sold. Everything was nice and crisp and even. Noticeable improvement over the Rega belt.

Type 3 sounded just a bit slow, I suspect this is really only noticeable with the regularity of the song.. and hearing it repeatedly without a break. However, the speed was nice and consistent and I didn't notice any distortion.

Type 4 was also a consistent belt, once it came up to speed. Which is interesting, this belt seemed to take a bit longer to completely spin up. It's interesting seeing how the compounds interact with the pulley and platter.

Type 5 this was also a bit distorted, but far more noticeable on the vocals than the type1 belt was.

Type 6 this also a really good sounding belt. Sound wise, it's very consistent on my deck. It seems that it brightened things up, but I could be simply imagining this.

So, what next? I'm going to leave the Type 6 belt on and continue to listen today. I'll probably swap to the type 2 belt tomorrow. I'll just do my usual listening (which is pretty varied from classical to hard core punk and rap) and see if there's a clear winner between the two.

With that said, if I were trying to SLOW down the Rega (yea, that's pretty common) and did not have a PSU, type 3 would be the clear winner. At least from what I noticed going to the PSU.