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Rega Planar 3 overpriced for its performance?

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Rega Planar 3 overpriced for its performance?

Postby Richard 34536 » 06 Jan 2017 02:28

I've been looking at the TT reviews and found one stating that there are other TTs that could outperform the Rega Planar 3 for a lower cost. Any thoughts on this?

Which Pro-Ject would be roughly comparable in performance, reliability,etc?

Which Music Hall would be roughly comparable in performance, reliability, etc?

I'm a casual listener, but am looking for a new, beginning audiophile TT in the $400-$900 range to get better sound and avoid humming problems that I have read about.

Will also replace any felt mats that might come with the TT and could upgrade the cart and platter, if needed.

Thanks for your thoughts,

Richard
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Re: Rega Planar 3 overpriced for its performance?

Postby readargos » 06 Jan 2017 04:51

You'd be looking at the Music Hall mmf 5 or 7 series. These have motors mounted on a sub-plinth. (FWIW, the off-board motor mount on a Rega seems to be one of the most effective modifications.) These are built by Pro-Ject, as you probably know, and feature a slightly scaled-down version of the 9cc arm (primarily a less robust bearing yolk). The Music Hall 'tables consistently get good reviews and seem to have a sophisticated design at the price point. I was considering some of their models, but have never heard one under favorable conditions.

Pro-Ject has such a range of 'tables. The 1Xpression and new Classic are in this price range. Pro-Ject's RPM series generally represent their top-performing models at each price point. If you don't mind the unconventional form factor and no dust cover, you can look at the RPM 3.

Like Rega, Music Hall and Pro-Ject have PSUs you can buy. The Music Hall Cruise Control and Pro-Ject Speed Box DS are pricier than Rega's TTPSU, but have digital readouts that let you fine-tune speed. The basic Speed Box is cheaper, but doesn't allow fine-tuning.

Funk Firm also has a 'table or two in this range. They get less press stateside than in the UK, but tend to bring innovative features to an affordable the price point. Founder Arthur Khoubesserian, formerly of Pink Triangle, tends to think outside the box. If you check the British mag websites (HiFi Choice, HiFi+, What Hi-Fi, Hi-Fi World, etc.), you can probably find some reviews.

Rega tend to be more about pace. There are also more mods for Rega if you go down that path. Rega may have better resale value if you tend to churn gear.
Pro-Ject RPM 10.1, Ortofon 2M Black & Bronze; Rega P25-24V+TTPSU, Michell Technoarm, Isokinetic Sub 2, GT Acrylic Platter; Musical Fidelity kW Phono, A308cr Pre-, Power & CD; AQ Colorado; Cardas Golden Presence ICs, ; Golden Ref Speaker, Golden PCs; JMlab Electra 915; M&K 700 MX
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Re: Rega Planar 3 overpriced for its performance?

Postby Richard 34536 » 06 Jan 2017 15:36

Thank you, Readargos.

So a Planar 3 would be roughly comparable to Music Hall 5 or 7 series and Project 1Xpression and Classic?

How does Planar 2 compare with its equivalents at Music Hall and Project?


I will be going to Needle Doctor on Monday to see/hear some of these TTs firsthand. All appear to be quality TTs, but currently I'm leaning toward the Rega line because the other two use the hanging anti skate mechanism (no big problem) and because of the hum that I keep hearing about in the motor mount area. Not having seen/heard them, I have little to go on right now but am trying to glean the experiences of others.

How long of a "break in period" would the Rega 2 or 3 have before you would get optimum sound quality?

Also, would it be advisable to purchase a better unit or to purchase a lesser one and upgrade the cart, platter, mat, etc? I'm thinking particularly of the Rega 2 or its equivalents at Music Hall and Project vs the Rega 3 and its equivalents.

Thanks for your thoughts,

Richard
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Re: Rega Planar 3 overpriced for its performance?

Postby Richard 34536 » 06 Jan 2017 16:10

PS For the extra $300 or so, is there a significant difference in sound quality/performance/dependability between the Rega 2 and 3? Is it worth working up to the Rega 3 rather than a 2 with a few upgrades?

The 3 is at the extreme upper end of my price range, or even a little beyond, but I'm willing to do this if it is really worthwhile.

Thanks,

Richard
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Re: Rega Planar 3 overpriced for its performance?

Postby Richard 34536 » 06 Jan 2017 16:21

PPS are there any downsides to the Rega 2 or 3?

Thanks,

Richard
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Re: Rega Planar 3 overpriced for its performance?

Postby james73_2008 » 06 Jan 2017 21:18

Richard 34536 wrote:I've been looking at the TT reviews and found one stating that there are other TTs that could outperform the Rega Planar 3 for a lower cost. Any thoughts on this?

It's one review. I dont agree with it.

As mentioned by readargos, Regas also offer a huge amount of upgrade options if you're
that way inclined. As you can see by readargos and my own signatures, we are.



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Re: Rega Planar 3 overpriced for its performance?

Postby readargos » 06 Jan 2017 22:52

I did a shoot-out in a friend's system who had a Music Hall MMF 2.1 or 2.2 versus my Rega P3-24 TTPSU + Elys 2. I don't know what cartridge was on the Music Hall, but it wasn't at the price level of the Elys 2. My Rega was stock at the time, other than a cork platter mat replacing the felt.

My friend's system is not as resolving or "high-end" as mine, but after listening to the Music Hall for an hour or more, we switched to the Rega. Now, we had been enjoying the Music Hall all this time, with no major criticisms, yet the Rega was immediately, obviously better in pretty much every way. This is not to say Rega is better than Music Hall, but that my 'table, which cost about 3 times as much, was much better than an entry-level audiophile 'table, fine as that 'table was when judged on its own terms.

So, yes, the pricier 'tables generally are better. Especially in the current market, with a full-fledged vinyl revival going on, the price points have become fiercely competitive, and you get a lot more for your money at each price point than you did maybe five years ago. Look how many times Rega has upgraded its tonearm in the past few years, or how many updates we've seen to the Pro-Ject cc arms in a similar amount of time?

So, my general advice would be to buy the best 'table you can afford at the time, but it should not be a financial burden. A small sacrifice? Perhaps. A burden? No.

If you are going to Needle Doctor and get to hear the 'tables firsthand, let your ears be your guide. I don't have enough experience with the lower-end Regas, Pro-Jects or Music Halls to offer much help. I'm sure the sales people there will be familiar with the various models within your price range, and can better talk about the pros and cons of each model.

There are some big upgrades you can do with the Regas, but the upgrades get pricey. I wouldn't buy a Rega solely on the basis of mod-ability, however. If you like another 'table better, I'd go with it. Because you can always get a better cartridge, and better set-up gear, for that other 'table. We Rega modders tend to upgrade cartridges last, when it's maybe one of the better upgrades you can do. You will probably know when you hear one that pushes all your buttons.
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Re: Rega Planar 3 overpriced for its performance?

Postby readargos » 06 Jan 2017 23:04

Richard 34536 wrote:I'm leaning toward the Rega line because the other two use the hanging anti skate mechanism (no big problem) and because of the hum that I keep hearing about in the motor mount area. Not having seen/heard them, I have little to go on right now but am trying to glean the experiences of others.


I would not be swayed by something like the thread-and-weight antiskate setting on the tonearm. The $30,000 Swedish Analog Technology tonearm that Fremer (Stereophile) and Heilbrunn (TAS) have utilizes a thread-and-weight system, as does the Audiomods Rega 'arm. As does the 10cc on my Pro-Ject.

Rega can have hum issues, too, especially with certain cartridges.

Given you have the privilege of hearing the 'tables at one dealer, and maybe even in the same system, you are far luckier than many hobbyists! So again, go with the sound you like.
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Re: Rega Planar 3 overpriced for its performance?

Postby Richard 34536 » 10 Jan 2017 18:57

Thank you for all of your help.

I went to Needle Doctor yesterday and heard both the Project Debut Carbon Esprit DC and the Rega Planar 3. I was pleased with both and could not really hear much difference. I could easily have gone home with either. The salesman, Jim, was very helpful and I asked a gazillion questions.

In the end, I just went with my "gut feeling" and purchased the Planar 2 with a cork mat, needle cleaner, etc, and have been trying it out with a few 45s and but mostly 33s yesterday and today.

The anti skate seemed a little strong on the 45s and would bring the tone arm back to the center of the record after playing, and occasionally a little squeak at startup, when the band began to turn the table, but otherwise, I have so far had no problem with hums, sounds, vibrations, etc as I have sometimes heard about.

I even placed the Rega on top of the new CD player, on top of the receiver, on top of a .75" plywood board on top of my big speakers and have had no feedback sound problems. This is where I always kept my old BSR/Macdonald 510 for 37 years and wanted to see if it would work there with the new Rega. Vibrations from walking on the floor did not pose a problem either.

I'm amazed how easy the selection, setup and playing was after 30-40 hours of TT research over a couple months. If I had continued the research, I would have ended ended up in a rubber room, ha, ha.

I may purchase a Q-Up but want to see if it necessary first, by using what I have.

Thanks again for your help.

Richard

PS Any suggestions regarding the anti skate force, while using 45s, mentioned above?
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Re: Rega Planar 3 overpriced for its performance?

Postby Legrace » 10 Jan 2017 22:17

An arm lifter is a great accessory. You listened to the 3 but then went for the 2? Or is that just a typo?
Reanimated vinyl enthusiast circa 2015; Phono: Rega RP6 w/AudioMods 5 Arm/GT subplatter/SRM Isolation Base/Apheta 2, Dyna 17D3; BiAmping: Marantz PM11S1 + Dynaco M-125 monoblocks; Speakers: Tannoy D700; Sub: SVS SB2000
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Re: Rega Planar 3 overpriced for its performance?

Postby Johnny2Bad » 10 Jan 2017 22:26

I have always found the REGAs to be well made turntables, with superb unit-to-unit consistency, going way back to the original Planar2 and Planar3's with the Jelco (Japan) S-shaped tonearms of the late 1970's.

Although incremental improvements seemed rather mundane, each and every one was an improvement, regardless of how subtle.

I would recommend a current or used REGA to anyone. They offer excellent and consistent performance, good resale value, and extensive upgrade-ability. I do like the carbon arms on the Pro-Jects, but the RB series are no slouches.

Do not fear the weight-and-string anti-skating. It is a proven and effective method. REGA's spring based system is also effective. The thing about anti-skating is you do not absolutely have to set it based on the cartridge tracking force; feel free to use a lighter setting if you feel it is best. There are tonearms that are quite respected that do not use anti-skating at all.

On the other hand, I would be wary of setting it based on how it operates on a 7" 45 RPM record, unless that is your primary source of vinyl. For most people whatever setting that works best with 12" 33 (or 12" 45 RPM) records is preferred.

It is not a strong force and unless you are using a test record to set it, there is nothing wrong with making a small adjustment from the recommended setting. It may help if you knew that the ideal anti-skating force will vary based on the stylus shape, so there is no universally correct setting that will work with every setup.

I would caution you against making it stronger, though. It's almost never necessary in my experience.
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Re: Rega Planar 3 overpriced for its performance?

Postby Richard 34536 » 10 Jan 2017 22:37

Legrace,

The Planar 3 was around $1000 without cartridge, outside of my budget, so I was shooting for a Planar 2. They didn't have one out, so I listened to a Planar 1.

As it was, I was originally anticipating a TT purchase of up to $400, so I greatly exceeded my original budget, but after researching, it seemed as if it would need worthwhile to spend more, ha, ha.

The speakers at Needle doctor were smaller than I am accustomed to, so I knew that they would sound even better at home and that has made the most difference. You really don't know what your purchase will sound like until you get it home.

Johnny,

I will be playing mostly 33s so that the anti skate force will be fine as it is and I will just have to catch the tone arm at the end of a 45 when I play them. There is no anti skate adjustment on the new Planar 2s anyway, none that I can find, but I thought that there might be another way to compensate. thanks for your help.
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Re: Rega Planar 3 overpriced for its performance?

Postby readargos » 10 Jan 2017 22:39

Richard 34536 wrote:I may purchase a Q-Up but want to see if it necessary first, by using what I have.


The Q-Up is nice, but not really necessary if you're around to lift the needle after each side. Also, the price of the Q-Up is inordinately high vis-a-vis the price of the Carbon cartridge that I presume came on your Planar 2. The Carbon is $65 and the Q-Up $50. I would not spend $50 to prolong the life of a $65 cartridge. I would just buy a new cartridge when the time came.

As Johnny2Bad says, feel free to play with antiskate. I would just note where it was set by the dealer so you can go back.
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Re: Rega Planar 3 overpriced for its performance?

Postby andybeau » 11 Jan 2017 15:17

No 'manual' anti-skate setting on P2
From Rega website
'Tonearm - Featuring the brand new RB220 tonearm which is packed with groundbreaking new features. Incorporating new ultra low friction, Rega designed, bespoke, zero play ball bearings (Patent Pending), housed within a brand new, stiffer and lightweight bearing housing which was developed with a new automatic bias setting negating the need for the user to set bias, making it almost completely plug and play apart from simple arm balancing. The new housing also includes an integrated arm clip and uses Rega's latest custom aluminium arm tube.'
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Re: Rega Planar 3 overpriced for its performance?

Postby Richard 34536 » 11 Jan 2017 16:00

How much wear accrues on the stylus if I am not able to not lift the tone arm immediately after the record finishes playing? I can usually get there within 15 to 30 seconds to lift the tone arm while working in the room.
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