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Rega Turntables

Rega Turntables – a useful overview

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The Vinyl resurgence is getting a lot of people interested in record players again. Rega are a British company who’s no-nonsense approach and engineering heritage have enabled them to develop a range of high performance record players to suit almost any budget.

Company History

Rega was founded in 1973 by Roy Gandy and Tony Relph. Gandy was a music lover and engineer. He began by modifying other turntables because he felt convinced he could do a better job. It became quickly apparent that he could and before too long he went into business with the intention of designing a turntable from the ground up.

The Rega Planet turntable
The Rega Planet turntable

The Planet was the first turntable Roy designed. It featured many of the hallmarks and design features that Rega turntables still use today. It had a rigid laminated plinth with a high quality bearing. It had compliant rubber feet and was belt driven. At that time the company did not have the finances to built their own tone-arm so a Japanese made Jelco arm was used.  The Planet soon gave way to the P3 and P2 turntables and both of these became the turntables to own if you wanted high performance at a sensible price. Perhaps this combination is at the heart of Rega products to this day.

In 1983 Rega began to manufacture a unique cast tone-arm that was far more rigid than the Jelco and featured a magnesium one-piece through bearing design. The RB-300 arm and subsequent incarnations of it enable even more information to recovered from the groove.

The Current Range

Rega turntables

The RP1 is the first turntable in the Rega range.  It comes with a tone-arm and a cartridge fitted and is extremely simple to set up. It sounds great out of the box.

http://www.moorgateacoustics.co.uk/store/record-players-accessories/rega-research/rega-research-rp1.html

This multi-award winning turntable is designed and engineered to achieve outstanding performance way beyond the expectations of a product at this price point. The minimalist design of the RP1 and the use of extremely high quality components throughout ensure this amazing product will deliver unrivalled performance for the price. Excellent build quality, reliability and the ease of use of this ‘plug and play’ design, combine to make a product guaranteed to offer a lifetime of musical enjoyment. The only thing entry level about the RP1 is the price.

Using a manual speed change rather than an automatic mechanism eliminates speed inconsistencies and reduces wear of the drive belt. The money we save is spent across the design, including a new hand assembled RB101 Tonearm, precision main bearing, phenolic resin platter and a high quality low vibration motor which would normally be used on a turntable costing two or three times the amount.

The minimalist design of the Rega RP1 and the use of extremely high quality components ensure that this turntable will last for many years. The RP1 was the first in a new generation of Rega ‘RP’ turntables, all offering far greater performance than their predecessors.

The RP1 is our best selling turntable and it has earned this position by seeing off the competition. It is a superb start for the music lover who wants to rediscover their old vinyl or someone starting out from scratch. The RP1 costs £225 and is available in black, silver and white.

It is also available in the form of the RP1 Performance Pack. This costs £298 but features a better mat, a better cartridge and an improved drive-belt. These things don’t sound dramatic but they do offer an improvement in sound that is quite pronounced.

rp1u

 

The Union Jack option above is available for an additional £30

http://www.moorgateacoustics.co.uk/store/record-players-accessories/rega-research/rega-rp1-union-jack.html

RP3

The RP3 is really the latest incarnation of the turntables that started it all for Rega in the seventies; but with a great many improvements.

Rega Turntables

The multi award winning RP3 is the latest incarnation of the world famous Planar 3. Delivering serious performance at an unbeatable price, the RP3 guarantees to integrate into any hi-fi system effortlessly. The RP3 uses a lightweight high rigidity plinth design, a float glass platter, precision bearing and our unique double brace technology, all mounted with the hand assembled RB303 tone-arm.

DB Technology (Double Brace Technology)

“Mass absorbs energy – lost energy equals lost music!”

Rega has pioneered the use of lightweight rigid plinths. Clever use of lightweight particulate core with a highly rigid phenolic resin skin became the foundations of the high level of performance achieved by the now iconic Planar turntable range. The RP3 takes this design philosophy to the next level. A super lightweight plinth combined with a phenolic resin double brace mounted specifically where the increased rigidity is required (between the tonearm mounting and the main hub bearing) forms a structurally sound “stressed beam” assembly. This rigid plinth design prevents energy absorption and unwanted resonance, which will add unnatural distortions to the music.

Equally, heavier mass can transfer more unwanted energy, such as motor or bearing noise directly into the rotating record. The use of braces instead of the complete skin allows double thickness phenolic resin in these key areas while providing further weight reduction to the plinth which directly addresses the issue of mass absorption and unwanted energy transmission.

RB303 Tonearm – Making the best better

Designed using the latest 3D CAD & CAM technology, the new RB303 is the culmination of more than 30 years of tonearm design experience. Due to advances in technology, we have been able to fine tune the iconic RB300 tonearm design. Featuring a brand new tube with increased rigidity to the bearing housing, arm carrier and headshell coupled with intelligent redistribution of mass ensure this arm will exhibit fewer points of possible resonance. Extreme stability with almost friction free movement from the high precision bearing assemblies guarantees to gather more information from your vinyl than ever before.

Put simply the brace makes the turntable more rigid by connecting the main bearing with the bearing of the improved tone-arm. It is worth noting that any movement in these important parts of the design will be greater than the movement of the stylus in the groove and result in the loss of detail from the music.

The RP3 also benefits greatly from a low vibration, low noise, 24v motor that is hand tuned to its own circuit before fitting. This circuit is designed to minimise vibration transfer and maximise performance by offering greater pitch accuracy. Put simply it turns at the right speed.

The RP3 uses a glass platter.

The RP3 is supplied initially without cartridge. This means you can fit your own or you can choose from a wide range. Rega’s own cartridges offer great performance and good value. We’ll talk about these in more detail later. You can specify to purchase the RP3 with the award winning Rega Elys2 moving magnet cartridge, factory fitted (recommended). All of these features combine perfectly to extract more detail from your vinyl than ever before.

The RP3 with Elys2 cartridge has been awarded ‘Product of the year’ for 2011, 2012, 2013 & 2014 by WHAT HI-FI magazine.

It costs £475 or £594 with the Elys 2 MM cart fitted and is available in black, silver, white and Union Jack.

Next up is the RP6

The RP6 turntable in red shown without mat or lid.
The RP6 turntable in red shown without lid.

The RP6 is another multi award winning turntable design, is available in four stunning high gloss piano finishes. Incorporating many advanced features, the RP6 boasts some major advances in platter and motor control technology.

The RP6 features an innovative two piece platter design constructed from float glass, improving speed stability, accuracy and consistency. The inclusion of the RB303 tonearm and our custom external power supply offers advanced motor vibration reduction and the convenience of electronic speed change.

ttpsubl
The TTPSU External Power supply offers cleaner feed to the motor and also the benefit of speed change without removing the platter.

 

The compact TT-PSU uses a high stability, crystal locked, low distortion sine wave generator. This, along with an efficient drive amplifier fed from a stabilised DC power supply, generates a 24v AC balanced signal of less than 0.05% distortion, which is completely un-affected by any changes in the mains/line voltage and conditions. This then drives the improved Rega anti-vibration circuit built into the RP6 motor PCB.

The motor is a high specification, 24v twin phase synchronous unit which has the anti-vibration circuit hand tuned to each motor and is controlled by Rega’s unique and innovative TTPSU power supply. The motor drives the CNC machined pulley and sub platter/hub-bearing assembly via the belt drive.

16mm Glass flywheel platter and platter adaptor – the RP6 features an innovative two piece platter design constructed from float glass. Manufactured using a complex and labour intensive invisible UV curing bond technique the secondary ring platter is permanently bonded to the underside of the main platter.

The extra ring adds mass to the outer circumference, which increases the natural flywheel effect of the platter, improving speed stability, accuracy and consistency. The aluminium top hub adaptor is manufactured to the highest tolerance and uses a six point mounting system to ensure the platter and vinyl is presented as flat as possible to the stylus.

All in all these things combine to offer considerable improvements over the RP3. For a start there is more information but perhaps more pronounced is the way everything hangs together! The sound is more musical.

The RP6 costs £897 without cartridge. Rega will also supply it with the Exact cartridge combined for £1097 a saving on buying them individually.

RP8

The RP8 in its plinth.
The RP8 in its plinth.
And here in Spider Form
And here in Spider Form

The RP8 is a ground breaking turntable which takes Rega’s design philosophy further than ever before. A radical new plinth design using custom materials, the RB808 tonearm , 24v low voltage motor controlled by a customised hand tuned electronic power supply, a triple layer float glass platter and a re-designed and improved version of our Planar 9 precision engineered hub bearing assembly. Available with the option of the RP8’s perfect partner the Rega Apheta moving coil cartridge factory fitted (recommended). These are just some of the features of this amazing turntable designed to extract more music from your vinyl than ever before.

In 2013 the RP8 was voted “one of the best designs of all time” by two of the worlds most respected designers, Apple’s Sir Jony Ive and Marc Newson.

Evolution is a well proven and documented process in many areas of our lives. This applies in particular to design engineers and machines. Over the past forty years our cars have become more reliable and economical whilst we take for granted the reliability and speed of modern aircraft. Rega is no exception to evolution. Rega’s experience and previous achievements allow us to continually develop and produce better products. The RP8 represents probably the biggest step forward in the evolution of Roy Gandy’s turntable design philosophies.

Low mass, high rigidity plinths combined with electronically controlled low vibration motors, high flywheel effect platters and lower mass higher stability tonearms. The RP8 is the first of our “skeletal” design turntables offering ground breaking levels of performance and amazing value for money.

RB808 Tonearm

rb808

The RB808 tonearm is packed with new features pushing the boundaries of tonearm design. All Rega tone-arms are meticulously hand built by a team of highly skilled technicians. The RB808 has improved bearings and a tightened spindle fit tolerance over previous models (each bearing is individually selected to find the perfect match for the chosen spindle). This is a proven method of increasing the amount of detail retrieved from the record surface.

A brand new, low mass, precision engineered, vertical bearing assembly has been manufactured to further compliment the inherent design philosophy of the RP8 turntable. The RB808 uses the latest Rega arm tube. Completely redesigned to redistribute mass, further reduce stresses and resonances, this advanced design tube increases the stiffness and rigidity of the overall assembly using CAD design to blend the multiple varying tapers.

Externally we have fitted a bespoke Rega designed, low capacitance phono cable, which uses an advanced phono plug assembly. This has only two parts to minimise joints and incorporates a twist and clamp design locking the plug to the terminal. The design increases connectivity and ensures the signal path is kept as clean as possible.

Custom TT-PSU power supply

The compact TT-PSU uses a high stability, crystal locked, low distortion sine wave generator. This, along with an efficient drive amplifier fed from a stabilised DC power supply, generates a 24v AC balanced signal of less than 0.05% distortion, which is completely un-affected by any changes in the mains/line voltage and conditions. This then drives the improved Rega anti-vibration circuit built into the RP8 motor PCB.

Magnesium and Phenolic – Dual bracing

A super lightweight plinth combined with a double brace mounted specifically where the increased rigidity is required (between the tonearm mounting and the main hub bearing) forms a structurally sound “stressed beam” assembly. This design prevents energy absorption and unwanted resonances which will add un-natural distortions to the music.

The RP8 takes our double brace technology to the next level. Not content with an unprecedented stiffness to mass ratio, Rega have obsessively reduced any resonant properties by using two different materials for the new stressed beam. The top layer is magnesium and the bottom layer is phenolic (two of the lightest and stiffest materials available). Incorporating two different materials into the brace structure lowers their ability to pick up unwanted airborne vibrations.

Simply put, different materials have different natural resonance. By using two different materials together they decrease the natural frequency of each other by self-damping.

N.B Rega will always use materials in the form that achieves maximum performance. The raw magnesium will develop patina and change colour over time, this is perfectly normal. Coating to prevent this discoloration would affect sonic performance therefore the material remains raw. If you wish to bring the shine back to your magnesium top brace, careful use of metal polish will restore it to its original condition.

Super flywheel effect triple layer glass platter

The new RP8 three piece laminated glass platter is the result of collaboration with a small, emerging, young British glass engineering company. As a general rule the only part of a turntable that requires extra mass is the turntable platter in order to achieve constant rotational speed. However a heavier platter creates more problems for the main bearing design so again an ideal compromise creates the best solution.

Practically this means keeping as much of the mass to the outside rim of the glass platter to create more flywheel effect but keeping the inside of the platter as light as possible without sacrificing stiffness. The RP6 was the first Rega turntable to use a precision engineered glass ring laminated to the outside using modern CNC techniques to ensure concentricity.

The RP8 takes it one step further by laminating three rings together to produce the RP8 super flywheel effect glass platter – an engineering triumph !

Skeletal plinth design with polyolefin foam core

Controversially Rega has always researched methods of producing light but stiff and rigid plinths. The technology is simple: unwanted noise at microscopic levels is developed by the turntable motor and main bearing. The plinth can also pick up airborne vibration from the music.

From the beginning in the 1970’s, Rega pioneered the use of a stressed skin structure for the plinth. This uses two layers of phenolic resin with a lightweight particle or fibre board sandwiched between the skins. This technique has been used in many applications where stiff, light structures are needed such as an aircraft wing or a Formula 1 chassis.

The current increase in interest in turntables has allowed Rega to research and develop higher technology structures for the customer who is happy to pay a little more for higher sound quality. The RP8 turntable utilises a unique new stressed skin structure produced from thin phenolic skins sandwiching a featherweight nitrogen expanded, closed cell, polyolefin foam core.

This material has been developed exclusively for Rega over a three year period. The RP8 plinth is 7 times lighter than the weight of the original Planar 3 plinth. Rega has added even more stiffness in the crucial area between the arm and the main bearing.

De-coupled outer frame and dust cover

A common problem for many skeletal design turntables is the inability to incorporate an effective dust cover into the design. We have constructed an outer frame that minimises contact between the inner and outer plinth. The only points of contact are three location devices on the feet which centralises the inner and outer plinths perfectly. This makes set-up extremely easy and allows the use of a dust cover. The RP8 can be used without the outer frame if so desired.

The RP8 costs £1598 without cartridge. We can fit any but Rega also offer the turntable with two factory fit options;

RP8 with Exact £1798
RP8 with Apheta 2 MC Cartridge £2198 (a saving of £400)

The Rega RP8 is a remarkable design and offers stark and substantial improvements over the RP6; just as you would expect.

 

And finally the RP10 – the current reference turntable

Rega turntables
RP10 shown without lid
Rega turntables
RP10 in Skeletal form and without plinth.

Improving on the RP8 wasn’t going to be easy but the RP10 represents the biggest step forward in the evolution of Roy Gandy’s turntable design philosophy.

This extends further than ever before with advanced components built around our radical new plinth design. Featuring the brand new RB2000 tonearm, a ceramic flywheel effect platter and the custom RP10 power supply (allowing total control and accuracy over both motor vibration and speed performance) guarantee the highest level of performance from a Rega turntable to date.

Available with the option of the RP10’s perfect partner, the Rega Apheta 2 moving coil cartridge factory fitted (recommended).

The Evolution of Revolution

Evolution is a well proven and documented process in many areas of our lives. This applies in particular to design engineers and machines. Over the past forty years our cars have become more reliable and economical whilst we take for granted the reliability and speed of modern aircraft. Rega is no exception to evolution. Rega’s experience and previous achievements allow us to continually develop and produce better products.

RP10 Custom power supply

Housed in Rega’svibration and speed control circuit dedicated to running the 24v low noise motor. The speed and control of the motor is achieved by using a new DSP (Digital Signal Processing) generator built upon a high stability crystal. This device will divide the accurate square wave from the crystal to the exact frequency required to turn the platter at the selected speed. The DSP core will also generate a near perfect sinusoidal waveform to power the motor. Factory set vibration and speed adjustments are then made to the power supply to tune the motor for optimal performance.

RB2000 Tonearm

rb2000

The RB2000 tonearm is packed with new features pushing the boundaries of tonearm design. As with all Rega tonearms, each one is meticulously hand built by a team of highly skilled technicians. The RB2000 uses improved bearings with each one being hand selected to be an interference fit with the paired spindle matching both the inside and outside diameters.

This is a Rega developed method of increasing the amount of detail retrieved from the record surface, designed specifically to maximise performance of the tonearm and cartridge. The entire tonearm structure is designed to have the minimum of mechanical joints whilst using the stiffest materials in all critical areas. The tolerance of the RB2000 tonearm is so tight that no adhesive is used at any point throughout the construction.

A brand new low mass, precision engineered, vertical bearing assembly has been manufactured to further compliment the inherent design philosophy of the RP10 turntable. The RB2000 uses the latest award winning Rega arm tube. Each one is meticulously hand polished (keeping mass to an absolute minimum) and has been completely redesigned to redistribute mass and further reduce stresses and resonances. This advanced design tube increases the stiffness and rigidity of the overall assembly, whilst reducing stress on the bearings even further.

Magnesium and Phenolic

Dual bracing – A super lightweight plinth combined with a double brace mounted specifically where the increased rigidity is required (between the tonearm mounting and the main hub bearing) forms a structurally sound “stressed beam” assembly. This design prevents energy absorption and unwanted resonances which will add un-natural distortions to the music.

The RP10 takes our double brace technology to the next level. Not content with an unprecedented stiffness to mass ratio, Rega have obsessively reduced any resonant properties by using two different materials for the new stressed beam. The top layer is magnesium and the bottom layer is phenolic (two of the lightest and stiffest materials available).

Incorporating two different materials into the brace structure lowers their ability to pick up unwanted airborne vibrations. Simply put, different materials have different natural resonances. By using two different materials together they decrease the natural frequency of each other by self-damping.

N.B Rega will always use materials in the form that achieves maximum performance. The raw magnesium will develop patina and change colour over time, this is perfectly normal. Coating to prevent this discoloration would affect sonic performance therefore the material remains raw. If you wish to bring the shine back to your magnesium top brace careful use of metal polish will restore it to its original condition.

Super flywheel effect ceramic platter

The RP10 uses a custom ceramic flywheel effect platter. The platter is produced from ceramic oxide powder which is compressed, fired and diamond cut to ensure perfect accuracy and flatness across the surface. The new platter features a modified construction over the previous P9 version with improved coupling to the sub platter.

24v Low noise motor

The motor is a high specification, 24v twin phase synchronous unit. It is controlled by Rega’s unique and innovative RP10-PSU power supply. The motor drives the CNC machined pulley, sub platter and hub-bearing assembly via the twin belt drive. Each motor is individually hand tuned to its own custom power supply in the factory to minimise vibration, motor noise and ensure optimum performance.

Skeletal plinth design with polyolefin foam core

Controversially, Rega has always researched methods of producing light but stiff and rigid plinths. The technology is simple: unwanted noise at microscopic levels is developed by the turntable motor and main bearing.

The plinth can also pick up airborne vibration from the music. From the beginning in the 1970’s, Rega pioneered the use of a stressed skin structure for the plinth. This uses two layers of phenolic resin with a lightweight particle or fibre board sandwiched between the skins.

This technique has been used in many applications where stiff, light structures are needed such as an aircraft wing or a Formula 1 chassis. The current increase in interest in turntables has allowed Rega to research and develop higher technology structures for the customer who is happy to pay a little more for higher sound quality.

The all new RP10 turntable utilises a unique new stressed skin structure produced from thin phenolic skins, sandwiching a featherweight nitrogen expanded, closed cell, polyolefin foam core. This material has been developed exclusively for Rega over a three year period. The RP10 plinth is 7 times lighter than the weight of the original Planar 3 plinth. Rega has added even more stiffness in the crucial area between the arm and the main bearing.

De-coupled outer frame and dust cover

A common problem for many skeletal design turntables is the inability to incorporate an effective dust cover into the design. We have constructed an outer frame that minimises contact between the inner and outer plinth. The only points of contact are three location devices on the feet which centralises the inner and outer plinths perfectly. This makes set-up extremely easy and allows the use of a dust cover. The RP10 can be used without the outer frame if so desired.

The RP10 costs £2998 without cartridge

£3198 with Exact
£3598 with Apheta 2 moving coil cartridge.

To conclude

All the Rega turntables are on permanent demo at Moorgate and you’d be welcome to hear any of them.

Follow this link to look at the current Rega cartridge range. We rate them all and they suit the design philosophy of the turntables; including the clever three point fixing.