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SRM-Tech Rega Silent Base - review

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SRM-Tech Rega Silent Base - review

Postby Indydan » 08 Dec 2014 06:38

I had been looking at the Rega Silent Base (RSB) by SRM-Tech for a while now. There is not much information about it on Vinyl engine or elsewhere on the web. I was nonetheless very intrigued by the RSB.
The SRM-Tech website states that it gives Rega decks "a sprung suspension system providing better isolation from external disturbance". It also permits the motor to be housed on the RSB itself as opposed to the Rega plinth. I decided to give the RSB a try. I am happy to share my impressions of this fine product.

I ordered the RSB on a Monday; and a mere week later on the following Monday, the product was delivered to my home (Wilstead England to Montreal Canada). That's fast! The RSB came packed in a large sturdy box with the company name:


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The inside of the box was filled with packing foam. Within the foam was the acrylic base packed in bubble wrap, as well as a padded envelope that contained the individual parts. The instructions were on a single sheet of paper.

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The product was very well packed and in perfect shape upon unboxing. Just unboxing the product gave me a sense I had a quality product. Everything was well laid out in the sturdy box. Little details like the company name printed on the box, as well as a welcome note inside, suggested a quality product that was made and distributed with much pride.

Along with the acrylic base there are 3 metal spikes and discs in black chrome colour (gold coloured spikes are also available), as well as 3 sorbothane domes.

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The parts are all very well made. The spikes and discs have a beautiful smooth finish, along with a crosshatch type pattern around the edges to prevent the parts slipping out of your fingers.

Now let's take a closer look at the acrylic base.

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The length and depth of the acrylic base is the same as a Rega plinth (it is the same size as my P3-24 plinth). It has a thickness of 10mm. The quality of the acrylic is first rate. It is very "see through" and shiny. It has none of the swirls of tiny faint scratches I have seen on turntable covers. The sides are polished to a smooth mirror like finish. The pictures might not completely do it justice, but it is beautiful to look at.

Looking at it from the front,starting at the upper left, we see a rectangular cutout for the PCB. Under this going down we have the Motor Vibration Absorber (MVA) and a round cutout for the main bearing well.
In the upper right corner there is an oversized round cutout for the interconnect wires from the tonearm. The tonearm cutout is oversized to allow the use of a VTA adjuster. Behind the cutout are holes to accommodate the screws that hold the interconnect retainer in place. Also visible are the three threaded bases that the spikes are screwed onto. The threaded bases are bonded somehow to the underside of the acrylic base.

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A closeup of the MVA.

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The MVA is where the motor will be placed. It is made of a stretchy foam rubber like material that has a lot of grip. There is a small V shaped cutout in the MVA to place the bundle of small wires that are attached to the motor. This cutout can be very simply enlarged with a knife if required (I did cut it to make it a little bit larger for the wires).
The acrylic under the MVA has a round cutout to allow adjustment of the SRM-Tech thrust bearing (another upgrade available separately).

Continued...
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Re: SRM-Tech Rega Silent Base - review

Postby Indydan » 08 Dec 2014 07:10

Now the assembly of the RSB. The first step is to unplug the turntable! If you have a stylus guard, it is also a good idea to install it.
Then the spikes are screwed onto the bottom of the base. These are hand tightened only. The sorbothane suspension domes are then placed directly over the spikes on the topside of the base. The flat surface of the domes rests on the acrylic.

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The next step is to remove the lid, platter and belt(s) from the turntable. The rubber feet, tonearm interconnect retainer clip and motor cover plate are also removed with the use of a Phillips head screwdriver. The sub platter remains on the table. It prevents the oil in the bearing well from exiting when working on the table. Not a single drop exited mine :D

For some of the following steps I don't have any pictures. My hands were full so I could not hold my camera!
The next step is to remove the motor from the plinth. On newer decks (like my P3-24) the motor is held onto the plinth by a sticky white pad between the top of the motor and the plinth. To remove it one grips the motor with their fingers and twists the motor gently from side to side until it comes loose from the plinth.
I don't have strong enough fingers it seems :( No worries. I simply inserted a narrow flathead screwdriver between the top of the motor and the underside of the plinth, and gently pried the sticky pad from the plinth. I then peeled the sticky pad off of the top of the motor.
Before removing the motor, I recommend the following. There is a bundle of small wires that go from the motor to the pcb. I used a small piece of masking tape to tape the bundle of wires to the plinth, away from where I was putting my fingers and/or screwdriver to loosen the motor.

Note: SRM-Tech also includes detailed instructions on how to remove the motor on an older deck as well.

Continued
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Re: SRM-Tech Rega Silent Base - review

Postby Indydan » 08 Dec 2014 07:56

Now the fun stuff. Putting it all together!
The plinth of the Rega is now placed on top of the RSB. Start at the rear and place the tonearm interconnect through its cutout on the RSB. Place the motor in the MVA while placing the bundle of wires exiting the motor through the cutout in the MVA. Enlarge the cutout in the MVA with a knife if necessary. Guide the plinth down so that the pulley goes through its hole in the plinth. The plinth will rest on top of the 3 sorbothane domes.

A bit of force (using only your fingers) is required to get the motor in the MVA. The MVA material stretches to accommodate the motor. Once you stop pushing on the motor, the MVA contracts around the motor holding it firmly in place.

The way to adjust the "side to side" position of the motor (to make it straight) is to push or pull on the sides of the motor to place it properly in the MVA. I did this by "eye". I adjusted the motor by making the top of the pulley parallel to the top of the sub platter.

The height of the motor needs to be adjusted so that the belt(s) are in a good (not too high, or too low) position on the sub platter. The height of the motor is adjusted simply by pushing the motor further into the MVA, or pulling it out a bit to adjust downwards or upwards respectively. You may need to lift up the plinth and adjust the motor then check with the plinth down a few times before getting the proper adjustment.

Adjusting the motor height and straightness probably sounds harder than it really is. It was actually really easy to do! I have a double pulley with 2 belts. I was easily and quickly able to adjust the motor to get proper placement of both belts. Adjusting the straightness of the motor is just as easy (see above).

I find the MVA to be a very intelligent way to hold the motor. It is remarkably simple to install and adjust the motor. By looking through the pulley hole on the plinth, I can actually see the gap between the top of the motor and the bottom of the plinth; confirming that the motor no longer touches the plinth. Any vibrations made by the motor can no longer get to the plinth.

At the height I installed the motor in the MVA, I am pretty sure it is not touching the acrylic base as well. That means the motor only comes into contact with the dampening material of the MVA. It's the next best thing to having the motor levitating in the air! =D>

The MVA is in my opinion a great upgrade all by itself! :D

Once the plinth is atop the RSB, one only needs to move the plinth a tiny amount forwards or backwards to tighten or loosen the belts. This to is a very easy adjustment.

To finish, the interconnect retainer clip is screwed onto the bottom of the RSB (where the interconnect now exits).

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Also notice how the pcb cutout in the rear of the RSB allows the larger pcb of the 24v motors to have enough clearance so to as not touch the acrylic base.

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The Rega plinth now rests on the sorbothane domes.

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A few pictures of the finished product.

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I will continue the review with my listening impressions, remarks and observations, as well as the conclusion when time permits. I can already tell you that I am thrilled with the SRM-Tech RSB! =D>

This product is not as well known on Vinyl engine as some of the other excellent upgrades. That is a shame, because this is one upgrade worth knowing!
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Re: SRM-Tech Rega Silent Base - review

Postby skypig » 08 Dec 2014 08:45

Excellent write up.
It answered many questions I had in my mind.

I'm almost certain to go down this path myself. (With my old Moth {Rega})

It looks like a great solution isolation wise.
Do you think the motor is held "square" by that system? That is: belt tension tending to "lean" the motor towards the sub platter is resisted sufficiently.
This issue may be covered by the ability to adjust belt tension, by positioning the plinth on the sobathane as mentioned.

Thanks again for taking the time to present such a useful article. I'm sure it will help a lot of enthusiasts.
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Re: SRM-Tech Rega Silent Base - review

Postby Indydan » 08 Dec 2014 08:54

skypig wrote:Excellent write up.
It answered many questions I had in my mind.

I'm almost certain to go down this path myself. (With my old Moth {Rega})

It looks like a great solution isolation wise.
Do you think the motor is held "square" by that system? That is: belt tension tending to "lean" the motor towards the sub platter is resisted sufficiently.
This issue may be covered by the ability to adjust belt tension, by positioning the plinth on the sobathane as mentioned.

Thanks again for taking the time to present such a useful article. I'm sure it will help a lot of enthusiasts.


You're welcome! I'm glad I could help.

I am very confident, even positive the motor is held square by the MVA. The material is very stiff and it really grips the motor tightly. The belts cannot put anywhere near enough tension to move the motor. The belts would most likely stretch or rip before that happened. The belts don't need to be that tight to properly work anyway.

I don't worry about that at all, and my table has 2 belts pulling on the pulley/motor. I have been playing records for a week and all is great. I couldn't be happier with this upgrade! =D>
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Re: SRM-Tech Rega Silent Base - review

Postby Indydan » 12 Dec 2014 05:43

Well I am back to complete the review!

I will explain the improvements to the performance of the Rega in detail. For those who want a quick summary: WOW!!! =D>

I will point out that I do not necessarily master the vocabulary of all terms musical. In writing this review I am attempting to convey with words what I sense and feel when listening to music. Some of it might sound technically wrong, or even weird. If you wish to voice criticisms, please make them of the constructive kind :)

The records I listened to, to evaluate (and very much appreciate) my new Rega SRM-Tech table are the following:

Synchronicity - The Police
Morning phase - Beck
Solace - Sarah Mclachlan
Boys don't cry - Rumer
The Pink Panther soundtrack - Henry Mancini
Sharon Van Etten - Epic
Anne Bisson - Blue Mind

I have so many more I want to listen to. So many records, so little time :(

The first thing that I noticed was the noise floor. Talk about a BLACK background. The silence from the grooves is amazing.

The decay of notes is so much more sustained and real. I always thought the Rega was excellent at this compared to digital sources. But now, it's almost as if the table in its former iteration cut off notes abruptly and quickly. Cymbal shimmers decaying ever so slowly and gently are something to hear. All of those little sounds you hear with live musicians; like their fingers sliding along the frets of a guitar, seem to come out of nowhere. The sound has taken a very big leap towards sounding more real and live.

The tiny nuances that make music so enjoyable are so much more present. Female voices from singers like Sarah Mclachlan and Sharon Van Etten, who are gifted at sustaining rich gentle harmonies with delicacy are simply breathtaking.

My speakers are robust towers. They are a 3 way ported design, with each speaker having three 7 inch dedicated woofer drivers. That is a total of six 7 inch drivers to provide deep bass. My Naim 5i integrated really pushes them to deliver bass. (Sidenote: I had the 150 watt per channel NAD 375BEE for six months, with the same sources and speakers as I do now. The little Naim with its 50 watts makes the speakers put out more bass and OOMPH than the NAD. That is when I concluded that 1 British watt = 3 Chinese watts, and then some! But I digress).

I also have the Michell tecnoweight on the RB301. The Tecnoweight added a lot of bass. The point is, I was not expecting more bass. I thought I was pretty maxed out bass wise with my system. I was Wrong with a capital W!

More bass, but mostly better bass. Synchronicity is an album I have had in one form or another since its release in 1983. I know this album better than some of my bodily limbs. I always considered Sting an above average bassist; but now, is he great or what?!?! I listened to that album amazed at the bass I was hearing. A pulsating, rhythmic perfectly timed and nuanced bass. I am not sure how else to describe it. I am talking open mouth, "what am I" hearing sort of bass.

As if that was all… I will drop by when I can and leave more listening impressions. The important thing I want to share, is that the improvements the RSB have made, start from the very bottom and go to the very top of the frequency spectrum. I was not expecting as much. If I sound giddy, well I am!

I have put a lot of upgrades into my turntable (check out my signature). I happily recommend them all. They all improve the sound of the Rega.

But, the Groovetracer Reference sub platter is that one upgrade that made the most improvement. Once I put it on my table, my Rega looked twice as expensive. And, from the first few notes I heard, I knew I had a winner. A very big sonic upgrade. Although I recommend and enjoy the contributions of all the upgrades I have installed, the Groovetracer Reference sub platter was the only one I called truly special.

Well now, there are two. =D>

If I could only have 2 upgrades, it would be the Groovetracer sub and the Rega silent base.

(But I still want them all :D )
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Re: SRM-Tech Rega Silent Base - review

Postby rickydenim » 14 Dec 2014 00:18

Wow! Thanks for taking the time to post this. Looks absolutely amazing! I have been thinking about isolation platforms for my RP3 for a while now. At the moment I am using the Herbie Isoballs which help a bit, but I still get big issues with footfall (floorboards).
I remember looking at the SRM Silent Stage a while back but this looks like a great option. It sounds a little tricky to do though - not sure I could pull off the part with the motor haha. The tweaks I've done to my RP3 thus far are GT Ref subplatter, acrylic platter and GT counterweight.

Really keen to have something with adjustable spikes also as with the Isoballs I can't level at all.
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Re: SRM-Tech Rega Silent Base - review

Postby Indydan » 14 Dec 2014 02:23

rickydenim wrote:Wow! Thanks for taking the time to post this. Looks absolutely amazing! I have been thinking about isolation platforms for my RP3 for a while now. At the moment I am using the Herbie Isoballs which help a bit, but I still get big issues with footfall (floorboards).
I remember looking at the SRM Silent Stage a while back but this looks like a great option. It sounds a little tricky to do though - not sure I could pull off the part with the motor haha. The tweaks I've done to my RP3 thus far are GT Ref subplatter, acrylic platter and GT counterweight.

Really keen to have something with adjustable spikes also as with the Isoballs I can't level at all.


Installing the motor onto the silent base is really simple. Don't let that stop you :) If you could install the GT counterweight, you can easily install the Rega silent base.

You can level the table using the spikes underneath the acrylic base. The threaded rods the spikes screw onto are pretty long. So, it is pretty easy to adjust each of them individually if you have to. I forgot to mention that in my review, because I did not have to level the table with them. I screwed them in all the way, and when I put the table on its shelf, it was already level.
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Re: SRM-Tech Rega Silent Base - review

Postby readargos » 23 Dec 2014 22:10

I appreciate the review. And the nice photos! The SRM Base looks higher tech while retaining the understated elegance of Rega designs.

Use of multiple plinths to decouple motor vibrations is an approach Music Hall uses, as well. As I'm sure you know, Rega used to decouple the motor in the original planar designs, but has been mounting it to the plinth since implementing the vibration tuning circuit in their 24-volt motor.

It's also an interesting discussion insofar as Rega follows the "closed loop" design approach, where everything is mounted rigidly together to avoid relative movement, yet within a lightweight system designed to drain vibration as quickly as possible. The design goal is to avoid the loss or smearing of musical information. The newest RP line takes this up a notch with the bracing between the platter and tonearm. Then you have companies like VPI who use both a closed loop system in their Classic line of 'tables (motors mounted in the plinth), but decouple the motor with an outboard implementation in their Scout line of 'tables (among other of their 'tables). But I believe VPI uses higher torque motors in general, and heavy build for vibration damping, versus the low-torque motors in the current-gen Rega 'tables.

Of course, all discussion of turntable design philosophy is academic until you listen and reach your own conclusions. The SRM Base certainly piques my interest.
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Re: SRM-Tech Rega Silent Base - review

Postby Indydan » 29 Dec 2014 07:20

Thanks for your comments readargos! It's true that removing the motor from the plinth modifies the Rega system. But, it improves the sound and does not alter the sound to make it sound non Rega. The plinth is not clamped down onto the acrylic base. It rests on the soft sorbothane domes, thus keeping the Rega system of soft feet. The acrylic base is the one that has the hard spikes and isolates the table from the shelf.

My P3-24 still sounds like a Rega; but one with a lot more slam, bass, soundstage and focus. The background noise is also much more quiet. The SRM Tech Rega silent base is a phenomenal upgrade to the stock Rega. Like I mentioned in my review, I could not be happier. :D
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Re: SRM-Tech Rega Silent Base - review

Postby rickydenim » 30 Dec 2014 01:57

I've bit the bullet and ordered one for my RP3. Should have in a week or so! Indydan - I may have a few questions for you :)

Also about to get a proper AV rack for my setup. Looking at the Quadraspire Bamboo. Hopefully work together and deliver a nice improvement! This will be coming from my Ikea Lack DIY with Herbie Isoballs.
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Re: SRM-Tech Rega Silent Base - review

Postby Indydan » 30 Dec 2014 05:13

rickydenim wrote:I've bit the bullet and ordered one for my RP3. Should have in a week or so! Indydan - I may have a few questions for you :)

Also about to get a proper AV rack for my setup. Looking at the Quadraspire Bamboo. Hopefully work together and deliver a nice improvement! This will be coming from my Ikea Lack DIY with Herbie Isoballs.


Congrats Ricky! I'll be glad to answer any questions. Don't forget to let us know what you think and to post pictures!

I have the Quadraspire Q4 rack. It is much better than the "Quest" brand audio rack I had before. I have my Rega on the Quadraspire. It is a nice fit. I've heard that Rega turntables play best on rigid but light shelves, as opposed to massive heavy shelves. The Quadraspire stuff seems like a perfect fit.
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Re: SRM-Tech Rega Silent Base - review

Postby Indydan » 30 Dec 2014 05:24

I forgot to mention something useful in my review. If anyone has hesitated buying a double pulley for 2 belts, for fear of damaging the motor by removing the stock pulley, it can be easily done when installing the Rega silent base.

I installed my double pulley a few months ago (before having the SRM Tech RSB). I had a really difficult time removing the stock pulley without damaging the plinth (with a bit of luck and patience, I managed to do it). Since you are removing the motor from the plinth when installing the SRM tech Rega silent base, this is the perfect time to remove the stock pulley safely and easily. This occurred to me as I held the motor in my hands :) If I would have known this before, I would have saved myself a lot of trouble.

With the motor removed from the plinth, all one has to do is use Michael Lim's pulley remover and it is really easy to remove the pulley safely and quickly.

http://lpturntables.blogspot.ca/2012/07 ... afely.html
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Re: SRM-Tech Rega Silent Base - review

Postby rickydenim » 31 Dec 2014 02:10

Oh nice - Didn't realise it was the Quadraspire when I first looked at your pics. Great to hear your feedback, I'm sure it'll be a huge improvement over my current setup. Key factor also being the adjustable spiked feet - my floor boards are all over the place and leveling my Lack table was a real challenge. Should be able to dial it in much better now!
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Re: SRM-Tech Rega Silent Base - review

Postby RoDa » 02 Jan 2015 11:43

Great review and "how-to" :)
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