To name Rega somewhat bit dominant on the planet of turntables could be fairly an understatement. In any case, of the 30+ turntable What Hello-Fi? Awards we’ve dished out during the last 5 years, Rega has scooped up round half of them, leaving its rivals to scrap over what’s left.
The present Award-winning turntables didn’t come out of nowhere: they’re the fruits of over 4 many years of tireless growth and refinement and constructed upon the legacy of the turntables which have gone earlier than.
However whereas report gamers and cartridges are what Rega are most famed for, and fairly rightly so, the British firm has additionally excelled in a spread of electronics – largely amplifiers and phono levels – over time which have many an accolade and a powerful heritage of their very own. It is acquired a number of pairs of audio system below its belt, too, having lately launched the Kyte.
That makes this an ideal time to revisit Rega’s biggest hits, from its very first turntable to its most up-to-date What Hello-Fi? Award-winners throughout quite a few classes.
Rega Planet (1973)
Pre-Rega, founder Roy Gandy spent his free time putting in, upgrading and repairing turntables. Dismayed by the poor reliability of the decks he was seeing, Gandy got down to make another with actual solidity and longevity.
He additionally needed his first turntable to look completely different to every little thing else that was out there on the time. “Why can a turntable not have three outrigger factors spinning spherical, that folks may purchase as a bit of sculpture?” he requested.
The results of his expertise, objectives and theorising was the Rega Planet, with its three-spoke, metal and aluminium platter and Acos Lustre tonearm. This was additionally the start of Rega as an organization.
Rega Planar 3 (with RB300 arm) (1983)
As you’d assume from the title, the Planar Three was not the primary Planar by Rega. What’s extra, the mannequin we’re highlighting right here wasn’t even the primary Planar 3. What makes this the Planar Three to concentrate on is the RB-300 tonearm that got here pre-installed on it.
Having used Japanese and Danish manufactured arms for the primary decade of its life, Rega’s personal RB-300 and RB-250 took efficiency to new ranges and obtained plaudits that you just may not anticipate, with Trendy Metals journal proclaiming that it was ‘nonetheless attempting to determine the way you produce such an extended cored gap so precisely’.
Extra importantly (we hope), we proclaimed on the time that the RB-300 version of the Planar 3 ‘appeared to get a lot extra off the discs’. That is arguably the purpose at which Rega got here of age.
Rega Brios (1991 and 2018)
The unique Brio amplifier first launched in 1991 – it was the corporate’s third mannequin after the higher-end Elex and Elicit – ever since has pedalled a repute for being a musically partaking reasonably priced amplifier.
The generations we have seen over time have all stayed true to the unique’s musical foundations, managing to be sonically engrossing to entertaining and largely class-leading levels. And whereas they have not strayed removed from the unique design when it comes to aesthetics and connectivity – half-width casing and analogue-only connectivity is infused into their design DNA – the efficiency benchmark they set has continued northwards. The present, sixth-generation Brio – the standout iteration alongside the first-gen mannequin – is the very best within the line but: a stickler for element and dynamics, rhythm and timing and, maybe the only, truest summation, outright enjoyable.
Rega P5 (2002)
Rega spent a lot of the ’80s and ’90s centered on electronics and audio system, guaranteeing that somebody trying to construct a complete two-channel system may accomplish that utilizing Rega elements alone. New decks have been often launched alongside the best way nevertheless it’s the P5 and its 15mm glass platter of 2002 that we’re selecting out.
The concept right here was to convey among the options of the corporate’s extra premium turntables – notably the P25 of 1998 – throughout the attain of extra hi-fi followers, therefore the aluminium encompass, advanced CNC machined skeletal low mass micro-fibre plinth, and the RB700 tonearm of the P7.
Rega P3-24/Elys 2 (2007)
It will take Rega 24 years to launch the second-generation Planar 3, referred to as the P3 2000, however then simply seven years to launch the third mannequin – the P3-24.
This mannequin stored a lot of what made the unique Planar Three nice however added some critical upgrades, together with a brand new plinth, arm and motor.
You could possibly purchase simply the turntable and arm for £400, however our pattern was additionally fitted with Rega’s personal Elys 2 cartridge, a mannequin that might grow to be a part of the Rega furnishings for years to come back.
It was a terrific-sounding bundle, with class-leading and rival-obliterating drive and rhythmic potential. It’s honest to say this turntable left a long-lasting impression, a lot in order that it gained the Product of the Yr Award twice in a row.
Rega RP8 (2012)
Rega’s aim of mixing lightness and rigidity bore hanging fruit in 2012 with the launch of the RP8.
The skeletal plinth was constructed utilizing little greater than foam – closed cell, polyolefin foam to be exact. Phenolic resin skins have been added to each prime and backside surfaces to ship increased rigidity and a component of damping, however the RP8’s plinth nonetheless wound up being seven occasions lighter than that of the unique Planar 3.
To say we have been impressed by the RP8 – which continues to be out there, by the best way – could be an understatement. ‘When the corporate actually goes for it, capturing for the celebs fairly than attempting to satisfy a value level’, we stated, ‘the outcomes are spectacular’.
Rega Naiad (2013)
It must be clear by now that Rega is famend for constructing good turntables on the comparatively reasonably priced finish of the spectrum, which is why the Naiad may come as a little bit of a shock – it prices £30,000. Not you could purchase one even when you had the cash: solely 50 have been ever made.
Constructed to rejoice Rega’s 40th birthday, the corporate considers the Naiad to be the last word illustration of its engineering concepts when executed with little regard for price or ease of manufacture. In different phrases, it is the very best deck Rega is aware of learn how to make.
Sadly, we have by no means examined the Naiad – there’d be little level reviewing a product nearly no-one may purchase – nevertheless it’s honest to imagine it ought to sound fairly particular, given Rega’s observe report. And it certain is fairly.
Rega Elex-R (2014)
Rega’s Elex-R arrived in 2014, 13 years after the unique Elex, which was the corporate’s second-ever amplifier following its debut Elicit the yr prior. It is nonetheless going sturdy as we speak – one thing we’re very grateful. As a result of whereas the Elex-R’s five-time What Hello-Fi? Award-winning streak got here to an finish in 2019 when Cambridge Audio’s better-connected CX fashions confirmed up, it nonetheless stays a go-to for analogue purists who aren’t frightened about digital connectivity.
As with the Elicit and Brio siblings, its largest energy lies in its easy, uncompromising musicality; it is the type of product that will get straight to the guts of the music and conveys all of the emotion within the recording with ease. We anticipate the next-generation Elex (which we might think about is due within the not-too-distant future) with avid eagerness.
Rega RP1 Efficiency pack (2014)
We have all the time been followers of Rega’s entry-level turntable, the RP1, however this enhanced model took issues to a brand new degree.
Principally, this is identical turntable we all know and love, however with a number of key tweaks. For starters, there’s a brand new, thicker drive belt. You additionally get a brand new mat: it’s thicker, and product of pure wool versus the artificial materials of the unique. The moving-magnet cartridge is new, too, with the usual Ortofon OMB5 having been changed by Rega’s personal Bias 2.
We proclaimed the RP1 Efficiency pack a ‘blindingly good turntable for the cash, and an excellent entry level into the world of vinyl’.
Rega Planar 2 (2016)
In 1976, three years after Rega’s creation, the Planar 2 launched as one of many model’s very first turntables. Its S-shaped tonearm was then changed in 1984 with Rega’s RB250, and on the flip of the century a model new model of the deck – fittingly named the P2 2000 – took its place in Rega’s catalogue till 2005.
Over a decade later, the Planar 2, having been developed over the previous two years, was introduced again from the lifeless – this time with the unabbreviated ‘Planar’ title.
The one issues current from the unique being the drive belt and the plastic mouldings for the mud cowl lid hinges, regardless of the 2 decks wanting remarkably comparable. However modifications included a brand new plinth, energy change, 24v low-noise motor, central bearing, platter and toes. Rather a lot, then.
Most significantly, the Planer 2 obtained Rega’s new RB220 tonearm, which options new ultra-low friction ball bearings, a stiffer bearing housing and an computerized bias setting, making it just about plug ’n’ play.
We proclaimed it a ‘correct step-up in efficiency from the RP1’, which is saying quite a bit.
Rega Planar 3 (2016)
Regardless of there being a 40-year hole between the unique and present Planar 3, we surmised that if we put the 2 side-by-side, ‘most individuals could be onerous pushed to seek out any variations past the smarter plinth and the up to date tonearm’.
In precise truth, nearly each half had been revised because the final iteration – the P3-24 of 2007. The corporate had, pretty unusually, put some actual effort into the styling, too. The core of the turntable was the identical, although: easy, well-engineered and designed to place efficiency first.
“Need the very best worth turntable available on the market?”, we requested. “That is it”.
And it’s nonetheless.
Rega Planar 6 (2017)
£1400 isn’t any small value to pay for a turntable, notably when a wonderfully succesful model of the identical turntable is obtainable for £200 much less. However, such is the standard of the mixture of Planar 6 and Ania cartridge, it is a value nicely price paying.
‘It’s a frankly astonishingly refined and mature sound’, we stated in our overview of the Planar 6, ‘with refinement including to the deck’s usually musical and insightful efficiency’.
It gained an Award that yr and repeated the feat in 2018. Will or not it’s third time’s the appeal? You definitely would not wager in opposition to it.
Rega Aura MC (2018)
Whereas Rega is a number one mild on the extra reasonably priced finish of the turntable and electronics fields it is part of, ever aware of worth, it definitely is aware of learn how to make high-end merchandise too. The Aura MC phono stage, which launched at £3999 ($5995), demonstrates that totally.
Largely because of a three-stage symmetrical FET (Area Impact Transistor)-based important circuit board that is filled with good high quality elements and pushed by a generously specified energy provide, the Aura MC is a virtuoso with transferring coil cartridge-fitted report gamers, capable of squeeze each final drop of vitality from music alerts it is handed – not shocking contemplating that is what Rega elements do greatest. “If in case you have a system that may profit from a phono stage of this degree, dive proper in,” is how we ended our overview, and two years on from penning that assertion we stand by it.
Rega Planar 8 (2018)
Should you’re not one of many fortunate 50 who managed to pay money for the Naiad, above, you must most likely take have a look at this Planar 8, which is designed to encapsulate the essence of the Naiad at a much more reasonably priced value.
To those eyes it is a gorgeously designed turntable that appears like nothing else on the market. It is vastly extra succesful than Rega’s extra reasonably priced fashions, too, together with the Planar 6.
‘Rega has pushed the boundaries of efficiency at this degree and has given premium rivals positioned above it lots to fret about’, we stated on the time, and little has modified since.
Rega Planar 1 Plus (2018)
Once we heard Rega had lastly developed a turntable with a built-in phono stage, the response of the What Hello-Fi? evaluations group was a combination of aid, anticipation and a good bit of “about time, too”.
The Planar 1 Plus is basically a Rega Planar 1 turntable with the Rega Fono Mini A2D in-built. Each are Award-winning merchandise, after all, and Rega says it solely felt pure to mix them collectively. We completely agree.
‘Rega has struck gold in combining two very good merchandise into one’, we stated, commenting that in some methods it is truly a greater performer than when the turntable and phono stage are purchased and mixed as separates. This can be a future basic and no mistake.
Rega Planar 10 (2019)
Whereas the sparkliest jewels of Rega’s crown are arguably its lower-ranging Planar decks, its mainstream range-topper is the head of the Planar sequence and demonstrates the extent of spectacular engineering out there at this value level.
The closest the corporate has acquired to constructing a manufacturing model of the Naiad – nearer nonetheless than after the Planar Eight that got here simply earlier than it – it is an distinctive performer that packs intelligent engineering and tremendous construct right into a visually hanging design. In truth, it is essentially the most sonically succesful turntable we’ve heard at this value. Should you actually wish to discover out what’s hidden in that report groove, begin right here.