Turntable Review

REGA PLANAR 1: The Best Budget Turntable…In The World…Ever?

The Rega Planar 1 has been out and about for a little while and so Paul Rigby has been able to have a good long look at the thing before giving it a thorough review.  He does more than that, though. He asks if potential buyers should bother buying one at all or hunt around for a second hand P1?

One of the legends of the budget turntable genre, Rega’s introductory turntable design, the P1, was first introduced in 2005 with a MDF platter. The P1 was upgraded in 2010 with a Phenolic resin platter. Finally, the design was the subject of a major design revamp with a host of changes – which will be listed below – along with a name tweak to become the Planar 1.

REGA PLANAR 1: The Best Budget Turntable...In The World...Ever?

The large list of design changes promises an improvement in sound. I was and still am a fan of the earlier P1 but I wanted to see how the new changes have been implemented in practical and in sound terms. Hence, I decided to review the new Planar 1 while also comparing it to the older P1 model, in this case the 2010 release.

As the Planar 1 is sold in greater and greater numbers, the quantity of older P1 decks available for second hand purchase will increase too. This factor is important, especially for the budget-conscious user. Saying that, though, actually scouting around eBay, I noticed that the original P1 is still being sold at the full price of £248 via ‘Buy it Now’ deals while auctioned decks include a recent model for just under £200. Other sites, such as Gumtree, have models available for between £170 and £200. As you can see, the Rega kit tends to hold its price pretty well which is a good thing for buyers, in the long run, who might want to offer their turntable for sale as second hand items.

So, should you look at buying second hand and so save a few pounds? Is it worth the savings? And just how good is the new Planar 1? Does the new turntable enhance sound quality at all? If so, by how much? Enough to shell out for the full retail value?

REGA PLANAR 1: The Best Budget Turntable...In The World...Ever?

One of the more appealing aspects of Rega’s design policy is the lack of fuss. The new Planar 1 – like the RP1 – is minimalistic in terms of general design. Actually, the new Planar 1 takes that notion to the extreme because it moves the power switch from the upper front left of the platter. The new switch is still around the front left area but you can locate it underneath the platter instead to enhance the clean lines of the Planar 1’s piano black finish: it’s far more stylish than the textured vinyl of the original P1.

Both turntables include a built-in tonearm and cartridge. Both are set up correctly from the factory. Rega’s P1/Planar 1 are both very easy to set up and both score over the immediate competition in terms of the amount of steps and parts you have to play with. This is a ‘good thing’. Firstly, it reduces set-up time but also frustration. The latter is minor but definitely there on some competing designs. It irritates the hell out of me whenever I have to review a piece of hi-fi and, before I can power up, I have to attach the right set of prongs to the plug. And I’m given three sets to choose from too. If you’re not used to this sort of thing, this one simple and relatively minor task can cause some tension as the prongs often do not easily fit the first time or require an odd orientation. It’s a silly thing in the grand scheme of this turntable but I still applaud Rega for giving me a ready-made plug!

REGA PLANAR 1: The Best Budget Turntable...In The World...Ever?

Another speedy set up point is the tonearm’s rear-mounted weight. There to assist you in setting up the cartridge downforce. Competing decks ask you to push the weight onto the rear of the arm and then, using an appropriate tool, set the correct downforce. Although I can do this task in my sleep, many beginners have never done such a thing in their entire lives and the prospect can be scary, never mind that they might even have to spend more cash on the required tool. Rega cuts this step out. You push the tonearm weight onto the rear of the arm and push it until it reaches a ‘stop’ point ridge. When the weight cannot move any further, you’re done. That’s it. The weight is at the correct point and you can move on. A blessing for any beginner.

To get you up and running, Rega also places a brief step-by-step set of instructions actually on the platter. You don’t have to open plastic bags to locate the manual, find the page and the instructions you need. Rega has them right in front of you, in plain view. Removing the manual from the packaging is a genius idea. Manuals, for beginners, are scary and should be shot at birth. They trigger uneasy memories in the user of receiving manuals spanning 4,000 pages over seven hard-backed, leather-bound volumes…the last time they bought a DVD player (I exaggerate, yes, but that’s how it can feel). The Planar 1 gets you up and running in nine bullet points spanning three square inches of white card plus two tiny inset diagrams.

REGA PLANAR 1: The Best Budget Turntable...In The World...Ever?

Yes you could have extra detail showing alternative views of the turntable, more blow-up diagrams and more hand-holding text. There’s a balance to these things, though and I believe that assuming the user has basic intelligence is one of those things. Not talking to the user as if they are five years old is a nice attitude to take. There is enough information on this Quick Start card to get you going.

Changes have been made to the tonearm itself which has been designed specifically for this turntable and will only ever be seen on this turntable. The new RB110 includes a brand new security latch to keep a tight hold of the arm when it’s ‘in dock’, as it where. This latch is superior to the original. The new arm also does away with anti-skate requirements, using an opposing magnet system instead, built into the turntable. This just adds to the saving of time but also any demands for ugly bits of sticky-out wiring supporting ugly lengths of fishing wire dangling unsightly bobbly bits of lead weight. The P1 had a simple anti-skate setting arrangement but removing anti-skate totally also removes yet more worries from the beginner. Talk to any turntable beginner about anti-skate and most will think it involves lots of ice somewhere or other. I did talk to Rega about this change and they were concerned that a lot of users were not setting the anti-skate on their new decks because they either didn’t read the original manual properly, didn’t understand anti-skate or were afraid that, by altering this area, they might “break the turntable”. Rega’s new system removes the headache while automatically applying a correct setting for the arm and cartridge.

REGA PLANAR 1: The Best Budget Turntable...In The World...Ever?

The Rega does have one contentious element and I’ve scratched the ol’chin on this one point. It related to speed changing.

To move from 33 ⅓ to 45rpm and back again, both the newer Planar 1 and older P1 ask you to lift the platter to expose the motor and belt and then you have to gently transfer the belt that ultimately rotates the platter onto a different groove of the pulley. It takes a few seconds, is painless and you quickly get used to it but it’s not as convenient as flipping a switch on to of the platter. This, I grant you, might concern a few beginners and might irritate a few others.

Finishing my chin scratching, I decided that Rega is correct to relegate speed changes to belt moving. Why? Because changing the speed has nothing to do with the final sound quality. That is, adding a convenient switch will not enhance sound quality. The other changes to the Planar 1 either add convenience and do not affect sound quality or just enhance sound quality without compromising convenience.

Adding a speed switch to the plinth of the Planar 1 would actually compromise sound quality.

Think about it, this is a £248-priced turntable. That, in the grand scheme of things, is not a lot when you consider that Rega has to push out the door an easy to use, audiophile, non-Crosley-type, design that sounds great. Of the set build budget, therefore, every penny counts. An automatic speed changer will eat up a chunk of the build budget meaning that sound quality will suffer. Why?  Well, because something else would have to go. Or the quality if something else would have to be reduced to free up the extra cash required. Also, such speed changes can introduce noise into the system, degrading sound quality.

REGA PLANAR 1: The Best Budget Turntable...In The World...Ever?

Other improvements over the older P1 include a brand new 24V, low noise, synchronous motor (the first budget design from Rega to include one). It arrives with a new motor PCB and aluminium pulley offering low noise and better speed stability too. The plinth is also new…as is the 23mm, higher mass, phenolic platter. The bearing it sits on has been re-designed. It’s based on brass but includes a better fit, removing stress on the bearing itself whilst minimising the transfer of potential energy. Rega even has a patent pending on this one. Even the feet have been enhanced and changed, designed originally for the Rega Planar 3 and brought over for the Planar 1. The turntable arrives with an excellent Rega Carbon cartridge.

SOUND QUALITY

I decided to use Connie Francis’ original pressing Sings Bacharach and David (MGM) from 1968 in which she fronts a large orchestra. From the off, I could tell that the Planar 1 offered a reduced noise environment. Noise masks musical information. Remove it and more music comes though. That’s what I was hearing here.

Secondly was the lead vocal which was far more focused than the P1. The P1 suffered from a touch more noise which meant that mids on the vocal smeared a little producing a touch of stridency on crescendos. I say this as a comparison to the Planar 1 only. In comparison to many other budgets turntables the P1 is sonically superior. Nevertheless, the Planar 1 provided a clearer and very stable lead vocal performance that not only helped clarity but Francis’ diction.

REGA PLANAR 1: The Best Budget Turntable...In The World...Ever?

Midrange, in general terms, provided a smooth output with both trumpet and the string section flowing with a sense of elegance and ease. Piano was both rich and full with a new air of lightness about the notes which now seemed to dance politely across the wide and broad soundstage.

The stereo image was a busy area. Behind the Francis vocal was a tight guitar strum, thought most of the song that sat alongside a series of cymbal taps. Both the guitar and cymbals provided new information and detail with, for the cymbals, open and delicate treble response with a characterful guitar sound. Character was also what the bass provided in terms of the bowed double bass and the firm yet detailed lower frequencies.

Next was a more contemporary pressing and the high energy sounds of Die Werkpiloten via Germany’s Vinyl on Demand label from 2012.

REGA PLANAR 1: The Best Budget Turntable...In The World...Ever?

This drum heavy LP offered gloriously tight, punchy but not dry percussive bass. It’s all very well having a strong bass but if it lacks any sense of the organic then it tends to lose emotion (unless that’s the artist’s intention, of course). If there’s one thing that annoys me is when a piece of hi-fi makes the decision for you. The Planar 1 offered strength and a bass impact that was potent and convincing but always with a sense of the emotional.

Vocals also provided emotion, giving texture to the lyrics with midrange subtlety and nuance that, added to vocal emphasis, provided a sense of performance to the song. Again, the music provided a humanistic feel. Budget gear can often strip this important element from its design. The Planar, for the price, had it in spades.

REGA PLANAR 1: The Best Budget Turntable...In The World...Ever?

The low noise aspect of the turntable meant that manic electric guitar sequences provided more detail and precision while, on the other end of the scale, rather shy synth runs were ‘visible’ to the ear and where never masked by any threats of blooming bass or smearing mids. This also occurred with the bass guitar which, on this LP, could be rather recessed into the depth of the mix. The low noise allowed the ear to follow the bass guitar throughout the songs without any trouble.

CONCLUSION

If you can find one cheap enough, grab a RP1, it sounds excellent and will serve you well. That said, if you can save up for a new Planar 1, go for that instead. The more I used the turntable, the more I realised that this is not just a budget turntable, it’s the ultimate budget turntable. It does everything that a budget turntable can do and should do in terms of its consideration towards the customer but also its respect for the ears of the same in its search for top quality sound for the asking price.

In those terms, the Planar 1 sets itself up as the standard which every other budget turntable seeks to emulate. From the installation to the final play, the Rega Planar 1 is not just outstanding, it has actually changed the nature of the market at this level. On this basis, I have no choice but to award it the highest rating I have in my armoury, the ultra-rare Golden Groovy. I have details of almost 250 products reviewed on this site. This is only the fourth time that I’ve awarded such a rating. That’s how good this turntable is…


REGA PLANAR 1 TURNTABLE

Price: £248

Website: www.rega.co.uk


GOOD: general design, aesthetics, set-up, overall sound quality, price

BAD: nothing

SCORE: 10

award gold


REFERENCE

Rega RP1 turntable

Trichord Dino phono amplifier

Rega Brio-R amplifier

Spendor S3/5R2 speakers

Tellurium Q cables

Harmonic Resolution Systems Noise Reduction Components
All vinyl was cleaned using Audio Desk’s Ultrasonic Pro Vinyl Cleaner

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180 Comments

  • Reply
    Dave hattey
    3rd August 2017 at 11:14 am

    Love it as a backup/main deck.

  • Reply
    Geoffrey
    4th August 2017 at 9:53 pm

    If you think of it, they have the best budget turntable, the best budget amp and probably even the best budget cd-player in the world. Smart company.

  • Reply
    Salih
    18th October 2017 at 3:44 am

    Hi Paul,
    First of all thank you for the great reviews you provide, I must have spent hours here in the last few days.
    I wanted to ask what budget amp you would recommend to be used with the REGA PLANAR 1 and active speakers.
    Thanks.

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      18th October 2017 at 11:15 am

      Thanks for spending time here, Salih. I appreciate it. What budget are you looking at?

      • Reply
        SALIH
        18th October 2017 at 12:25 pm

        Unfortunately right now I am only limited to £50-100.

        • Reply
          Paul Rigby
          18th October 2017 at 12:40 pm

          Hi Salih – I looked again at your question and, if you’re using active speakers then the amp is already included within the speakers so you don’t need to buy one. Just grab a phono amp and plug that into your speakers directly. A Rega Fono Mini A2D is £89 from Amazon.

          • SALIH
            18th October 2017 at 7:14 pm

            Thank you for the quick replies and the suggestion, looking forward to your future content.

  • Reply
    HUBERT SLOMSKI
    26th November 2017 at 11:59 am

    Excellent turntable.Super Review.I Like It…

  • Reply
    Simon Clawson
    5th December 2017 at 12:57 pm

    Would I be able to plug this straight into a Naim Muso or would I need a pre-amp?
    Sorry if this is a basic question not my area of knowledge but would appreciate any help.
    Thanks
    Simon

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      5th December 2017 at 2:49 pm

      Hi Simon – not a problem. The Naim is really a stand-alone powered wireless speaker(s) system that’s used to connect a range of digital sources from phones to DVD players or wirelessly via Bluetooth, etc. It’s not really designed to hook up to a large hi-fi system. It’s more of a lifestyle thing. For the Rega, you’ll need a phono amplifier and a main amplifier (you can often find an integrated amplifier with a phono amp built in – you’ll see a pair of Phono sockets on the back as proof of that). Then you’ll need to hook up a pair of speakers to the amp and you’re off. So, you’ll need at least an amp (with built in phono amp) plus speakers to get a Rega up and running. If you need buyer’s advice on those, let me know.

  • Reply
    KT
    6th December 2017 at 5:15 am

    Hi Mr. Rigby, Thank you for the excellent review. Could you suggest a budget set of speakers that provide good sound quality that have the built in amp as you mentioned above?

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      6th December 2017 at 9:17 am

      Not a problem – what sort of budget are you looking at KT?

  • Reply
    Carl
    7th December 2017 at 1:55 am

    Nice review! The question I really have is should I hold out, spend a bit more and reach for the planar 2?

    I’ve really been scratching my about that one 🙂

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      7th December 2017 at 11:43 am

      Hi Carl – you could be there forever, constantly looking up to the next model above, always yearning for the next turntable that’s just out of reach. My advice is to buy the best turntable you can afford and be done with it. If that’s a ‘2’ then buy that. If it’s a ‘3’, then get that. The main thing is to enjoy your music. Don’t forget, you can always upgrade again in a few years time when more funds are available.

  • Reply
    Joel
    7th December 2017 at 4:50 pm

    Paul, I’m in the US. What budget amp/receiver under 250GBP do you recommend to pair with this table? Or for the money, do you prefer powered speakers and a standalone preamp? I’m looking at the Cambridge Audio Topaz AM10, but wide-open to suggestions. Thank you.

  • Reply
    CircuitsandCoffee
    11th December 2017 at 5:20 am

    I recently picked this up and can’t seem to get it to work, hoping for some help here. Here is how everything is connected:
    1. Rega Planar 1 goes IN to Pyle Phono Turntable Preamp
    2. Pyle Phono Turntable Preamp goes OUT to Yamaha MG10XU
    3. Yamaha MG10XU has two Mackie monitors hooked up to it.

    Sound is still only coming from Rega Planar 1. Help?

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      11th December 2017 at 12:33 pm

      Thanks for your query. The connections look fine…although the phono amp to the Yamaha might be the issue here. To confirm then, the MG10XU is a mixer only and then you run to the Mackie speakers which are both powered? Can I ask why you use the Yamaha at all? Why not just plug the phono amp directly to the speakers? This will give you a purer sound (the more boxes in between you and the sound, the more chance you have of degrading the sound) and you might just hear something too 🙂 Don’t forget to watch the volume knobs on the front of the speakers too, of course. If this doesn’t work, give me another shout. This sort of thing is frustrating, I know. Happens to me all of the time.

  • Reply
    Liam
    11th December 2017 at 11:04 am

    Hi Paul! I have just ordered the white Planar 1, and cannot wait for it to arrive. I am new to setting up hi-fi/turntable system, and I have ordered the marantz PM6006 amp to combine with the turntable, and a pair of Q acoustics 3020 speakers. Do you consider those components suitable for the Planar 1?

    Cheers!

  • Reply
    steve
    14th December 2017 at 7:08 pm

    Hi Paul,
    Excellent review. Excellent site. Will the Planar 1 pair up well with the NADC368 and MMGi speaker system (with bass panel) and will it be a noticeable upgrade from the Pro-ject RPM 1 Carbon?

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      15th December 2017 at 10:35 am

      Hi Steve – The Planar 1 will only be a side-ways step. I’d be looking for something like a Funk Gett! : https://theaudiophileman.com/gett/

      Then I would look to change the amp to something a little bit more insightful for your speakers.

  • Reply
    Bill
    16th December 2017 at 3:57 am

    Hi Paul,
    Decided I needed to get back into the vinyl of my youth and your review convinced me to buy the Planar 1 instead of another turntable I was considering. I also sprung for the upgrade package. It arrived today and I could not be more pleased… as I write this I am spinning an original 1981 pressing of Iron Maiden “Killers.” I paired the Planar 1 with a Schiit MANI phono-amp, a Schiit SYS (for switching between my two sources, iMAC and Turntable) and a Schiit ASGARD 2 headphone amp. Thanks for the review.

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      16th December 2017 at 10:19 am

      Hi Bill – glad you’re liking it! Congrats on the purchase and I’m happy that I could be of help.

  • Reply
    Graham
    18th December 2017 at 4:14 pm

    Great review Paul. My old Rega Planar 2 is now looking decidedly battered and bruised, and almost certainly needs a new drive motor. While my ancient Celestion Ditton 66 speakers have been relegated to the spare room by my partner(!), to be replaced by the funky B&O A9. I therefore figured a good looking, quality, budget turntable would suffice as a replacement. I was teetering on the side of the P1 anyway, but I’m happy to say your review has finally tipped me over the edge, so to speak.

    Just to say thanks.

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      18th December 2017 at 9:46 pm

      Glad I could help, Graham.

  • Reply
    Will
    25th December 2017 at 10:52 pm

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for the review. I’ve got about £500-700 budget for amp and speakers, having got the planar 1.

    Any particular combo you’d recommend?

    Cheers

  • Reply
    Kris
    26th December 2017 at 4:16 pm

    Hi Paul – I am finding your site very useful and informative. I just got the Planar 1 and am very excited to get it hooked up. I am pretty obsessed with music but I’m also new to audiophile-land. I’ve heard great systems in the past, but I’ve never owned one.

    I am curious what you’d recommend purchasing for amp (+phono amp) AND speakers with a budget of £1,800 – £2,200 total all-in? I would possibly stretch to the £2,600 range if my “bang for buck” were significant.

    I am very much learning here and slightly over-whelmed. I also realize how there will always be something better, so I just want something I can be happy with to enjoy the music that I have on. Thanks for your time! Hope you are having a happy holiday!

    • Reply
      Kris
      26th December 2017 at 4:17 pm

      Also – if it matters for what you’d recommend, I am in the USA.

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      26th December 2017 at 5:36 pm

      Hi Kris – glad I can be of help.
      Right, before you run off and spend your cash, you need to stop and think. A lot. If you’ve got a Planar 1 and you plan to create a hi-fi system with it by adding an amp and speakers what you should not do is spend thousands on the amp and speakers because the entire system will then be unbalanced. Frankly, the amp and speakers will be too good for the turntable. The most important part of an analogue (or analog in the USA :)) hi-fi system is the turntable.
      So, the Rega is, what, $475 in the USA? That should basically be the most expensive part of your hifi chain. Why? Because this is the source. This is the bit that extracts the information from the vinyl grooves. If the information is not extracted at this point, it won’t appear from the amp or speakers, as if by magic. Hence, if you want as much information as possible, invest in the turntable/arm/cartridge combo.
      Thing is, you’ve bought your Planar 1 already. If you had talked to me before and said that you had a budget of around £3,000 (or is that $3,000) then I would have recommended a deck superior to the Rega Planar 1.
      Again, you need to think before you move forward. There’s a couple of options here. You can build a Rega-based system for much less money (and spend around $500 each on the amp and then speakers) and save for a future series of hifi upgrades or you can send the Planar 1 back (if possible, not sure how you’re fixed with that one) get your cash back and start again.
      Let me know how you want to move forward.

  • Reply
    Kris
    26th December 2017 at 5:51 pm

    Oh, I certainly don’t HAVE TO hit that dollar. I’m perfectly happy with this turntable. Now the goal is to make it the best that it can be. That was more my point. If it means only $500 each on amp and speakers that makes me (and wife) HAPPY. Hahaha. So, I guess what would some of your recommendations be for this turntable be to fill out its potential?

    Appreciate the help and comments!

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      26th December 2017 at 6:06 pm

      Hi Kris – Well, I can actually go further down in price 🙂
      I would go for the Rega Fono Mini phono amp at $175 : https://www.amazon.com/Rega-Fono-Phono-Preamp-Converter/dp/B006GE9XQQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1514311355&sr=8-1&keywords=rega+phono+mini+a2d
      Plug that into a Cambridge Topaz AM10 amplifier at $300: https://www.amazon.com/Cambridge-Audio-Topaz-AM10-Integrated/dp/B00803GSBO/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1514311443&sr=1-1&keywords=Cambridge+Topaz+AM10
      And then attach a pair of Q Acoustics 3020 speakers for $200 : https://www.amazon.com/Acoustics-Compact-Bookshelf-Speakers-American/dp/B00TR7BB8W/ref=sr_1_2?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1514311408&sr=1-2&keywords=q+acoustics+3020
      Grab some QED interconnect cables plus QED speaker cables too, if you can. Adjust the type of cable to your budget.

      • Reply
        Kris
        26th December 2017 at 6:12 pm

        Thanks for guiding me from foolishness and naive-ness (I know – not a word) to reality. 😀

      • Reply
        Payden
        19th January 2018 at 11:46 pm

        Hi Paul,
        Considering a similar budget to that mentioned above, but wanting to go to a headphone amp instead of a proper speaker amp… What would you suggest?
        Planar 1 –> Rega Fono Mini phono –> ??? headpone amp ??? —> Sennheiser HD650

        Many thanks

        • Reply
          Paul Rigby
          20th January 2018 at 2:42 pm

          Hi Payden – so you’re looking for a headphone amp with a phono amp built in and pre-amp facilities I guess. This is a specialist job but there’s a couple of units out there that can do that job. I assume you’re looking at a lower cost unit, which limits things a tad. Not the Shanling that you mentioned elsewhere but the Furutech GT40 is one. Why do you want to go down this route, though and what is your budget? I can clearly see the benefits of a separate head amp as it reduces noise and allows more space inside the head amp’s chassis to feature superior components. That said, if you then add a phono amp, etc, to that chassis, then the benefits start to reduce again.

          • Payden
            20th January 2018 at 3:04 pm

            No, the idea was to have the preamp separate. The above mentioned Rega Fono Mini phono A2D preamp. From the preamp to a headphone amp, similar to the Shanling? Or if you’d suggest another around that price? I definitely understand that adding preamp to the same chassis as the headphone amp wouldn’t give me the same benefits, trying to shove too much in so little real estate. The idea is a somewhat portable headamp that would work with the Planar 1 and Rega Fono Mini preamp but that I could also take to work and use with my computer there.

          • Paul Rigby
            20th January 2018 at 3:43 pm

            Hi Payden – oh, you want to use the Rega as the pre for your Shanling? You’d need a line input on the H1 but that only offers an output. Let me check with Rega to see if there is a solution. You’d need a convertor cable, in any case. I think QED does one (I’m not recommending the retailer – it’s just for illustrative purposes): https://www.audiovisualonline.co.uk/product/4854/qed-performance-graphite-3-5mm-jack-to-phono-cable-1-5m&utm_source=Froogle&utm_campaign=Froogle&utm_content=QED-QE6500?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIhYvQuO7m2AIV1grTCh3jMQgDEAQYASABEgIcG_D_BwE
            The Chord Mojo does feature inputs though. Again, I’d like to check with Chord if you’d want to connect a turntable to it. Let me know how you’d like to proceed.

          • Payden
            20th January 2018 at 4:33 pm

            Hi Paul,
            Thanks for the patience here 🙂
            Yes, the plan would be to use the Rega as the pre for the shanling. I have access to the converter cable for the line input on the H1, so no worry there. So, I guess the appropriate question is “Does going from my planar 1, to the Rega as pre amp, through converter cable to shanling and from there to headphones still give me a decent setup?” Would the use of the shanling be compromising my listening experience? (I know headphone vs. proper amp and speakers is an entirely different discussion).
            Thanks again for your time and expertise.

          • Paul Rigby
            20th January 2018 at 4:50 pm

            Hi Payden – not a problem.

            If the connections can be made, then the set-up will be decent, yes. As for ‘compromise’? That’s governed by budget, space, etc. You do what you can 🙂 Let me check with Rega on Monday re the connections and I’ll get back to you.

          • Paul Rigby
            22nd January 2018 at 9:49 am

            Hi Payden – here’s the answer direct from Rega’s engineers

            “I’ve had a quick look for the user manual, but can’t fine one… but going by what I can find there is a 3.5mm jack line input, which may work with the Fono – worth a try
            There appears to be two input sensitivity settings of 520mV (low gain) and 260mV (high gain) – setting to the high gain setting should do the job, but it could be worth trying the low gain setting.
            The user will need a phono to stereo 3.5mm jack (jack tip = left and ring = right) – this will have a stereo jack on one end and two phono’s (L+R) on the other.

            I feel this is the sort of lead
            https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B075XR82M3/ref=sspa_dk_detail_1?psc=1
            https://www.amazon.co.uk/3-5mm-Phono-Stereo-Audio-Cable-black/dp/B000Q6LSVS

          • Payden
            22nd January 2018 at 2:00 pm

            Great, many thanks for reaching out to them on my behalf. Think I’ll give it a try, and if it doesn’t work out (although I think it will), at least it’s a new headamp for other uses!
            Love your site and thanks again

          • Paul Rigby
            22nd January 2018 at 2:12 pm

            No problem, Payden.

  • Reply
    Graham
    27th December 2017 at 12:36 pm

    Hi Paul, great review on the Planar 1. I’m looking at adding a turntable to my system to revisit my vinyl. I have a Naim Unitiqute 2 with Kef LS50 speakers, how do you think the Planar 1 would work with that setup or should I perhaps consider the Planar 2? Also can I connect the turntable directly into the Unitiqutes ‘ Analogue’ sockets – is that just another name for Phono?.

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      28th December 2017 at 8:03 pm

      Hi Graham – if the two analogue sockets on the rear are unoccupied by anything else, then you’re fine. Saying that, you’ll need to budget for an external phono amplifier. You’d plug the Rega to that and the phono amp to those ‘analogue’ sockets. If you need help on the phono amplifier, give me a shout. If you can afford a Planar 2, go for that. Otherwise, a Planar 1 is an excellent buy.

      • Reply
        Graham
        28th December 2017 at 9:11 pm

        Thanks Paul, I would certainly appreciate some advice on a phone amplifier please, it wasn’t in my original budget so nothing too pricey please, the Rega Fono Mini phono amp seems to get good reviews.

        • Reply
          Paul Rigby
          29th December 2017 at 1:54 pm

          Yep – go for the Fono. That’s a good buy.

  • Reply
    Graham
    29th December 2017 at 5:49 pm

    Brilliant – thanks very much

  • Reply
    Drew
    30th December 2017 at 11:02 pm

    Hey Paul, I have been itching to get into vinyl for about a year now and this Christmas I decided to take the plunge! After reading your review of the Planar 1 I am sold and picked one up on sale for $399CAD. Now I see other posts saying to pick up the Q Acoustic 3020 speakers to pair but they dont appear to be sold in Canada or at least not for the reasonable price they are in the UK. What other speakers do you recommend? I was thinking the Audioengine P4 as they are white, so they would match the Planar 1 and are on sale for $299CAD. Also I am a bit confused about the amplifier situation, do I need to buy one of these $300-$400 amplifiers, is it worth it? Seems kind of crazy for a $399 turntable but this is my first rodeo.

    Thanks in advance!

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      30th December 2017 at 11:12 pm

      Hi Drew – Monitor Audio Bronze 2 speakers are good as are Dali Zensor 3 speakers. Can you access those? For that price, either a NAD D3020 or it might be wise to head off to Japan and possibly an Onkyo model. An A-9050.

      • Reply
        Drew
        30th December 2017 at 11:30 pm

        Thanks for the quick response! I will take a look for those speakers. As for the amplifier I found the NAD for $399CAD which looks to be cheaper than normal. I also must say I am a fan of the more compact look of it compared to the other big receivers. Do i need any other “amplifier” or is this the only other piece I need in addition to the speakers, turntable and wiring? (sorry if this is a stupid question I am a rookie).

        • Reply
          Paul Rigby
          30th December 2017 at 11:44 pm

          Drew – please don’t apologise. There are no stupid questions. Only people who want to learn. That includes me, incidentally. I learn more from my readers than from most experts in the industry. The fact that you are asking the questions at all shows your wish to learn which is wholly admirable. On this site – never apologise, ok? And you’re right – you do need to buy an eternal phono amp for use with a turntable but the NAD also gives you Bluetooth and a DAC. Can you spare any extra cash for a phono amp? An external phono amp is superior than an internal model, by the way, so well wroth the effort.

          • Drew
            31st December 2017 at 12:01 am

            Fair enough, thanks. Yea I can spare a bit more cash on a phono amp, although this set up is turning out to be more expensive than i initially thought 😛 Looking at your previous recommendations it looks like my ideal setup will be NAD D3020 ($399 CAD), Fono Mini AD2 ($219 CAD) and Rega Planar 1 ($399 CAD) with whatever speakers I can find in Canada at around $299-399CAD. Oh well, this is a life long investment right, or at least I can tell myself that.

            Thanks for all your help, and keep up the good work on this site!

          • Paul Rigby
            31st December 2017 at 12:17 am

            You can always pull back and grab an amp with a built in phono amp plus cheaper speakers (Roth do a pair for £100, for example) Please don’t put yourself under pressure. Music is supposed to be fun 🙂

          • MH
            10th January 2018 at 4:03 pm

            Paul,
            Im leaning towards purchasing the Rega Planar 1 but dont know much about setups… I already have Sonos speakers and built-in bluetooth speakers in the living room… I like minimal set up options… any suggestions on how to proceed?
            Thanks…Im a novice!

          • Paul Rigby
            10th January 2018 at 4:45 pm

            Thanks MH – The best way would be to buy a Rega, then a separate amplifier and a pair of speakers. I fear that your present set-up might not show the Rega at its best. Great for digital convenience but not the best route for vinyl.

  • Reply
    Brian Pooley
    2nd January 2018 at 3:45 pm

    Hi Paul,
    Thanks for the excellent review. Would you happen to know the exact size of the plinth please? I’ve contacted several stores and got different sizes – there is no mention on the Rega site. I have discovered that there is a mains transformer that plugs in and that the fitted audio cables are 1m long. I’m replacing an elderly Goldring Lenovo GL69 deck that measures 350mm from front to back (size really matters in this case!).
    Thanks again for the great review,
    Regards,
    Brian

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      2nd January 2018 at 5:25 pm

      Let me ask Rega about this one Brian because I’ve returned my review sample.

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      3rd January 2018 at 11:08 am

      Hi Brian

      This from Rega: “The P1 plinth measures 44.7cm x 36cm deep including the hinges. However with the lid open he will of course need extra space at the rear.”

      Hope that helps.

  • Reply
    Brian Pooley
    2nd January 2018 at 9:15 pm

    Thanks Paul – there was no easy way to email from the Rega site.

  • Reply
    Tomas Syrovatka
    3rd January 2018 at 5:07 pm

    Dear Mr. Rigby,
    Thank you for this detailed review. I am about to purchase my very first turntable but I am having a hard time deciding between two extremes:
    – to buy Rega Planar 3, defend it from my girlfriend and be fine with it and happily upgrade the rest of my system in the future.
    – to buy Rega Planar 1 to get a feel for it and few years later if I feel the need, upgrade to higher model.

    The thing is I am not sure how these TTs would go with my amplifier (SONY TA-F461R) and speakers (RFT B9271). If I buy the Rega 3, there’s no way I am spending more on the rest of the system in the next year or two. Also mainly listen to black metal (but not exclusively) so the advantage of the better TT might be lost on a majority of my records recorded in a garage 🙂
    It would be ideal to have a listen beforehand (as I wonder how much do the turntables differ in sound quality) but I don’t have this option so I am in the mercy of the internet. With the Rega Planar 1, wouldn’t it be better to just stick to CDs? Sorry, but I really have no idea 🙂

    Best regards,
    Tomas

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      3rd January 2018 at 5:27 pm

      Hi Tomas

      There’s a few issues here but, reading your text and your circumstances, I would recommend a Planar 1. Once you’ve bought that, it will then show up all the issues of the amp and speakers, I’m afraid. Both are adequate but not much more. That said, the Planar 1 will be a definite improvement so it will be a positive start. Next up will be the amp, then the speakers. When you have a budget for either or both, give me a shout. In terms of sound quality, you will get far more from a decent budget turntable than a decent CD player.

      • Reply
        Tomas Syrovatka
        4th January 2018 at 8:42 am

        Thank you so much Paul! Your advice us much appreciated. All the best in the new year.

        Regards,
        Tomas

  • Reply
    Glenn
    5th January 2018 at 3:10 am

    How would you compare the Rega P1 to the Pro-Ject Carbon Espirit DC? I’m trying to decide between the two. Seems to be tonearm and platter differences mainly? Cartridge as well.

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      6th January 2018 at 11:24 am

      I have yet to compare both decks, Glenn but the Esprit is almost £200 more expensive than the Rega so I would expect the Pro-Ject to be superior in terms of sonics, knowing Pro-Ject as I do. Can’t confirm – just an educated guess.

  • Reply
    Thomas
    5th January 2018 at 10:20 pm

    Hi Mr Rigby, I read your review with interest. I was thinking about replacing my turntable by a decent one. My father gave me his Technics SLB2 who is a nice one and work fine but i would like to go further with my records playing. I ‘ve been looking for some vintage TT but prices are getting higher and higher those days and I’m a bit afraid to get one of those and having bad issues a few time after, being obliged to spend again some money to fix it. So i thought about the REGA RP1. I saw one on the french market – https://www.boulanger.com/ref/1089870 – but, as you can see on the announce,it’s only written ‘REGA PLANAR’ instead of REGA RPxx. It’s discribed as a RP1 but with some upgrades (like the glass platter, a different belt) for only few Euros more. It seems to me to be a good deal but I couldn’t find any information on the web and I would like your opinion about it. Do you think a REGA could lead me to a higher level compare to my Technics (especially this perticular model) ?
    Also, my set up is an Akaï AM2400 for the amp and speakers are TEAC SE 300 (from the early 80’s,a bit rare but good stuff here…), what do you think ?
    Thanks for you enlightments and pardon my english,
    Best regards from France, Thomas.

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      6th January 2018 at 11:23 am

      Hi Thomas – your English is fine, don’t worry about that 🙂 My first ever turntable was a SLB2, so I’m familiar with its pros and cons, shall we say 🙂 The Planar 1 is sonically superior to the RP1 and I would recommend a new deck, if you can spare the cash, because it will provide you with legal protection in terms of delivery condition and in case of problems in the future. Also, everything will be new and tested and will work fine for a long time, if treated with care.
      Once you get the turntable, upgrade the amp next, then the speakers. When you are ready to do that, come back to me and let’s talk.

      • Reply
        Thomas
        6th January 2018 at 2:50 pm

        Hi and thanks for the reply 🙂 So, i really think i’m going for this Planar 1. Sorry but i still have a (stupid) question : do you think the difference will be clearly noticeable with my actual set up (amp and speakers) because if I get this turntable, i won’t change it before a year or two (need to save some budget for works in my house) ?
        Thanks again for your precious reviews (also on vinyl engine ;)) and your advices,
        best regards,
        Thomas

        • Reply
          Paul Rigby
          6th January 2018 at 3:10 pm

          Hi Thomas – in my opinion, yes, you’ll hear the difference. When you upgrade the amp, you’ll hear further differences and so on. The turntable is the most important bit, though, so this upgrade is the most important.

          • Thomas
            6th January 2018 at 3:27 pm

            Ok, many thanx again, Paul !! 🙂

  • Reply
    Thomas
    5th January 2018 at 10:23 pm

    PS, sorry for the double comments, I thought the 1st one did not work….

    Regards

    Thomas

  • Reply
    Jeevan
    8th January 2018 at 10:04 am

    Hi Paul,
    Glad I picked up a Planar one last week as my first ever tt. Hooked it up to a Pioneer A-A6 amp with built in phono input. Speakers are Dynaudio 140s and a System Audio SubElectro 200 Sub. Right off the bat, I find the overall sould pleasant, but the highs are lacking definition, sounds like the cymbal strokes are spread too thin. I have also ordered a Schiit Mani preamp, which hasnt arrived yet.

    My questions:

    1) Does the cartridge improve over the 30-40 hour long burnin like people say?
    2) Will adding the Schiit Mani to the setup add any significant changes? Have you tested this model yourself?
    3) If I consider a cartridge upgrade to the Planar 1, would a Nagaoka MP 110 be an easy and worthy upgrade? Would I need to align such a cartridge before use or is that going to be plug and play like the default Carbon cartridge on the Planar 1?

    Writing in cos you seem to take interest and reply to folks 🙂 appreciate your contribution to all of us new guys 🙂

    best
    jeevan

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      8th January 2018 at 4:45 pm

      Hi Jeevan – thanks for your questions.
      Nice system – never been a big fan of Pioneer amps, gotta admit. They try hard and they are fine but there’s better out there.
      To your questions, yes the cart will burn in so give it a bit of time before you come to any decisions and then come and talk to me if you have an issue that is not addressed below…
      Yes, any external phono amp will improve sonics – this should offer a big difference. The Mani is excellent, here is my review: https://theaudiophileman.com/schitt-mani/
      The MP110 is a quality cart but I think the Goldring E3 is the standard in this price point. It’s a bit cheaper too.
      Come back to me if you need more help. And thanks for your kind words 🙂

      • Reply
        Jeevan
        9th January 2018 at 9:35 pm

        Thanks for writing back Paul. The Schiit Mani arrived today. It is a stellar performer. The sound has improved and is almost CD like now. The earlier problems were clearly because of the phono input on the pioneer. Maybe it was meant for a different type of cartridge?

        Thanks for the suggestion on the Goldring E3. Rsearch more about that now. But the supplied rega Carbon is quite adequate and great sounding, I feel.. for now (lol).

        Tried a bunch of fresh records today, And they all sounded extremely satisfying with good bass mids and treble extensions. I shall follow you and check in with questions and advice for sure. Many thanks! You are fantastic. Im gonna go see if you have a youtube channel.

        Knowledgable and kind folks like you make the vinyl world go around 🙂

        Cheers!

        • Reply
          Paul Rigby
          10th January 2018 at 9:18 am

          Thanks Jeevan – I do have a [quiet] YouTube channel but it’s, well, not really a proper channel. It’s more an archive for some video tests I did to accompany several reviews. They’re not great quality – experimenting in public can be a painful experience! Having learnt through many mistakes, I’m saving up for better equipment and will relaunch when I rejig my set-up.

  • Reply
    Emliano
    8th January 2018 at 2:35 pm

    Hi, Paul. Firstly, many thanks for that insightful review. It is really helpful.
    Secondly, I was looking for a REGA PLANAR 2 review but I can’t find any. Would you be so kind to tell me the main differences between the PLANAR 1 and PLANAR 2 and if it worth the try to buy the expensive one?
    I know that your motto is to buy the best you could and, also, “start from the beggining” but maybe with the difference in price between the two I can buy the PLANAR 1 and afford another thing with the difference but I want to make sure that I am not letting the oportunity to buy the PLANAR 2 as I don’t intent to renew the set-up for a long time (and I live in Argentina :))
    Thanks for all your help and consideration
    Cheers,

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      8th January 2018 at 4:34 pm

      Hi Emliano – the differences are quite significant including a new arm and platter, so definitely worth the extra cash. If you’re looking for the long term, then I’d recommend going for the ‘2’ and upgrading the rest when you can. That said, if money is very tight and will be for a while then got for the ‘1’ and buy the rest now. I can help with the other components if you want to let me know your budget.

      • Reply
        Joran
        8th April 2018 at 6:56 pm

        Hi Paul,

        I’ve been looking for the Planar 1 or the Planar 2. The amp I have at te moment is an old Sony amp and the speakers are B&W 685 (not S2). I am planning of replacing the amp too. With the speakers in mind will the Planar 2 sound better than the Planar 1 (the chain is as strong as the weakest link).

        Cheers

        • Reply
          Paul Rigby
          9th April 2018 at 4:26 pm

          Hi Joran – no matter what the rest of the chain is, the source should be the best bit in it. The source is critical as it’s the bit that retrieves the information. This info can’t suddenly reappear just because you’ve got a superb amp or speakers, for example. They just make the limited info you already have sound as good as they possibly can. Hence, I’d go for the Rega 2. Then I’d advise upgrading the rest, as and when you can.

          • Joran
            9th April 2018 at 6:14 pm

            Hi Paul, Thanks for the advice. I’ve ordered the Planar 2! I will connect to a HQ Phono preamp 220 (el cheapo). I’m thinking of purchasing the Rega Mini A2D any time soon to replace it (good idea?).

            What do you think? Do I need to upgrade the B&W’s? I’ve read some good reviews on these speakers. The Receiver is a Sony STR-DG300. Perhaps that should be the next component to upgrade?

          • Paul Rigby
            9th April 2018 at 7:21 pm

            Hi Joran – yes, the Mini A2D is a good idea. I wouldn’t waste your money – if your budget can take it – grab the Fono straight away. I would go for the amp next, then the speakers, yes. When you’re ready, come back and we can talk about that.

  • Reply
    Brian Pooley
    14th January 2018 at 8:09 pm

    Hi Paul,
    Thanks for your earlier advice. We went to try a Planer1 and came home with the 2. I have a new question (sorry) – the Carbon cartridge – is it comical or elliptical? Could you suggest an upgrade – Bias2 perhaps? The Carbon does not seem to have the output that my Lenox deck had so volume needs upping a bit. Very pleased with it so far – thanks again.
    Brian

  • Reply
    Brian Pooley
    14th January 2018 at 9:02 pm

    Thanks Paul. The Rega upgrade might be the way to go – belt, mat and Bias2 for, I think, £98 ish.

  • Reply
    Brian Pooley
    15th January 2018 at 2:16 pm

    So – after some agonising – I finally settled for the Elys2. Wycombe Sound Gallery could not have been more helpful (bought deck from them last week). We had a discussion about various options, including the upgrade route. I sit here now listening to Pink Floyd building some wall and I’m sure I’m hearing things I’ve not heard before! I think, at this price point, which I know most would say is the budget end of the market, that the Elys suits my system well enough (Denon 880R into Castle Chester’s bi-wired). Thanks again for your most helpful reviews and the time you have taken with my enquiries.
    Regards,
    Brian

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      15th January 2018 at 3:15 pm

      No problem Brian – glad to hear that you’re happy with your choice.

  • Reply
    Jan
    25th January 2018 at 8:54 pm

    Hi Paul

    I have two questions:

    Thanks for the great review! I’m looking for a new turntable. Do you think this one is the best under the 400 £? Or is one of the Pro-jects better (debut III, essential III, recordmaster).

    Now i only listen with streaming (Spotify) to music and i have two Boston Acoustics A 250 speakers and a Pioneer AV-Reciever VSX-824. The pioneer is probably not the best optoin for listening to music, i guess, and movies doesn’t interest me at all… But i had no idea when i bought that in a big shop.
    Do you think the quality of the sound of a turntable as the Rega Planar (in combination with the Rega Fono Mini A2D) will reduce a lot cause of this reciever? Is it still worth buying the turntable? Or should i buy another amplifier if i want to enjoy good quality sound of my venyl?

    Kind regards
    Jan

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      25th January 2018 at 9:48 pm

      Hi Jan

      Out of your list, the Rega is superior to the Essential III, Debut III and the Recordmaster. Grab the Rega plus the Fono and hook those up to the Pioneer and have a great time listening to vinyl. Sort that now and don’t worry about it. When you can, upgrade the amp to a specialist 2-channe model and then come to me for advice and with a budget figure. 🙂

      • Reply
        Jan
        29th January 2018 at 11:15 am

        HI Paul

        I did and have now the Rega turntable and Fono. Very happy with it! Already doubting about the Rega Brio amplifier now :). The shop where i bought the turntable and Fono this weekend is willing to take the Rega Fono back if i change my mind and want to buy the amplifier. I just have to look up what i will need to stream with spotify (cause my vinyl collection isn’t that big yet 🙂 ).

        • Reply
          Paul Rigby
          29th January 2018 at 12:18 pm

          Hi Jan

          Glad you’re enjoying the deck! I strongly advise you – if your budget can handle it – to keep the Fono, even if you buy a Brio. An external phono amp is always better than a built in model. The Brio, as an amp is superb, though. Both would be ideal. This all depends on your budget, of course. How much are you looking to spend on your streaming kit, by the way?

  • Reply
    Tim Underwood
    29th January 2018 at 1:38 pm

    Hi Paul,
    I’m looking at setting my son up for vinyl. He currently routes laptop etc. through a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 interface, connecting to a pair of Focal Alpha 80 monitors via 1/4″ to XLR cables. If possible I’d like to avoid the Scarlett box. I was planning on getting a Planar 1 outputting into a Fono-Midi A2D. If I take the output from the phono stage directly into the back of the Alphas via two RCA cables, do you know whether that will work? Any advice will be greatly appreciated before I go out and buy the wrong set-up!!!
    Also, would you recommend the Planar 1 over the Project Essential 3A (with acrylic platter)?
    Thanks,
    Tim.

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      29th January 2018 at 6:15 pm

      I’ve never used these speakers before, Tim. Can you tell me, is there an RCA socket on each speaker or just the one?

  • Reply
    Tim Underwood
    29th January 2018 at 7:34 pm

    Yes, each speaker has a dedicated XLR and RCA input on its back. If you don’t mind Google Imaging ‘Focal Alpha 80’ you’ll be able to see a picture of what they have on the back.

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      29th January 2018 at 7:59 pm

      This should be fine then Tim. Each RCA cable (left/right) can travel from the Fono to each speaker.

  • Reply
    Tim Underwood
    30th January 2018 at 3:11 pm

    Apologies for a dumb final question but I have no experience of powered speakers personally, will the final output signal be strong enough?

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      30th January 2018 at 4:14 pm

      There are no dumb questions in hi-fi, Tim. Keep asking. As for power? That depends on the amp stuffed inside of the speaker(s). As I say, I’m not too familiar with them. In this case, looking at the info I can glean, I would venture to say ‘Yes’.

  • Reply
    Tim Underwood
    31st January 2018 at 10:16 am

    Thanks for the help!!

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      31st January 2018 at 10:29 am

      Hope it all works out for you Tim.

  • Reply
    Marc
    2nd February 2018 at 11:02 pm

    Hi Paul,
    I really enjoyed reading this review and really happy i came across it! I have been researching turntables for some days i was close going for the Sony pshx500 firstly with the 5* in WhatHiFi and also as i got rid of my separates a couple of years ago and replaced with a Naim MuSo, without knowing too much about turntables and phono pre-amps i figured i could get speakers and be up and running, with a view to upgrade to pre-amp\integrated amp, Also figuring i will find another use for my muso but into buying my vinyl mostly (house, soulful house\disco\soul genre). So after reading your review and other advise for similar budgets i have now tonight purchased a Planar1, Q-Acoustics Concept 20 + Concept 20 Stands…I was all out for following your advice and getting the 3020 speakers but at last minute i opted for the concept 20, whats your opinion on this move ?
    My next dilemma is i need an Amp, im looking for advice as i have also recently bought a new 4k TV and need a set up audio for that, i thought i could maybe use my MuSo via optical cable for this purpose, but im now thinking it might be an idea if i had an amplifier that i could also use the concept 20s for my TV audio also ? with a budget around £300-£500, what do you think my best option in this scenario ?
    I was going to buy the Rega fono but held back when thought of all this but maybe even with integrated amp be better of , im just not sure 🙂 whats your thought would be much appreciated!
    Thanks, Marc

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      3rd February 2018 at 12:46 pm

      Hi Marc

      Hmmm – depends on how much money you’d like to spend here and which direction you’d like to go. I would use the Muso as your TV box and be done with that. I would then recommend looking at a separate chain for your Planar 1 as the Muso is not really geared for the Rega.
      The Rega is great, the Concepts are excellent (better than the 3020s), I would use a Fono as your phono amp because external models are always better than the examples you find inside an integrated. Can you stretch to £598 for the amp? If so, get a Rega Brio. If not, the Cambridge Audio CXA60 (https://www.richersounds.com/cambridge-cxa60-blk.html) for £499 is a good amp too.

  • Reply
    Marc
    3rd February 2018 at 5:19 pm

    Hi Paul,
    Ok im happy with that, i have tested out the muso via blue tooth as awaiting a good optical cable but sounding good for the TV.
    The other thing i seen was Concept Center speaker as further upgrade down the road to use with the TV setup and the concepts but if sticking with Muso for TV then not needed i guess.
    I did see you reviewed the Rega Brio and i liked it i thought i was pushing budget a bit as upgraded to concepts\stands..
    As the Rega Brio has the built in phono stage would that not be good enough ? or do you still recommend the fono in addition ?
    The Cambridge looks nice kit, is there anything on the Rega Brio you can sell it to me in my set up to convince me to go the bit extra and get it ? haha
    If i need to wait until next month or so to get it i will, I also remembered i have one of them little Pro-Ject amp boxes, and thinking if i need to wait few weeks that should enable me to get up and running as will get all the other stuff in a couple of days..
    I havent ordered speaker cable for the concepts i need 2M each way, anything you would recommend there ?
    Thanks

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      3rd February 2018 at 6:22 pm

      Hi Marc – thanks for your questions. I reviewed the Brio-R – the older generation of the new Brio. The new Brio (I published a news piece on that) is better. If you’re short of cash, the built-in phono amp is great and can be used with confidence. If you have the cash, the Fono is superior as all external phono amps are. The Brio costs more than the Cambridge and is superior in terms of sonics. That’s the bottom line. Again, if cash is short, the Cambridge is a cracking amp and works well. It’s all down to money, though, eh? 🙂
      In terms of cables? Best value for money for true budget cables currently are sold by QED. Buy the best speaker cables from QED that you can afford, basically. All QED are good, though, so don’t worry about it too much.

      • Reply
        Marc
        3rd February 2018 at 7:22 pm

        Hi
        Ok great thanks for reply, im still reading up, but think ive made my mind up i want the Brio and also the Apollo CD in future..Just one more thing, if i actually wanted to stream from iphone, itunes, sound cloud etc its not a show stopper as have muso but i think this going to be sounding amazing and shame i cant stream to it..What are my options ?
        I was close to buying QEDs so that all good and good you recommended them also
        Thanks

        • Reply
          Paul Rigby
          3rd February 2018 at 8:51 pm

          Hi Marc – how about the Arcam rPlay for streaming?

  • Reply
    Marc
    3rd February 2018 at 9:42 pm

    Hi,
    Primary i wanted to upgrade my current entry level turntable which i connected by bluetooth to the muso and done the job ok but terrible stylus so was close to buying the sony which i could have swopped out and used blue tooth to muso, but as i started to buy vinyl ive been focusing on vinyl and getting that sound improved but now after investing what i have for the system and potential another £600 on the Brio it would be nice to stream using my TIDAL account or other type of stream. But in order to do so seems need to spend another £400 on the Arcam to stream and all getting out of hand a little 🙂 And confusion now setting in… ive got it in my head i want to go Rega Brio way but is already pushing the budget and will have this excellent set up which will only provide for vinyl which im just buying up now well pretty much what i already have on CD 🙂
    It would be great if after investing £1500+ i could get vinyl, streaming & TV utilising the setup, instead of only Vinyl so its bit of a dilemma now the way forward 🙂
    Maybe if just had cheap streaming option so in my head its there and majority of listening be on vinyl : )

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      4th February 2018 at 12:32 pm

      Hi Marc

      There’s a few options for you…

      You can buy amplifiers with built in Bluetooth to save cash – the excellent Cyrus ONE is an example of that. A bit more expensive than the Brio at around £700. Bluetooth is included, though, which might help you. The Cyrus doesn’t feature Tidal, etc, though.

      Another way around that – although it’ll cost you – is to go to Naim again and buy something like the Unit Atom all-in-one which includes its own amplifier. You can plug in an external phono amp (like the Rega Fono) to support vinyl but the Atom is mainly a digital-oriented box. You can control it via an app too which you might like. It has a built in headphone amp and it supports Chromecast Built-In, Apple Airplay, TIDAL, Spotify Connect, Bluetooth (AptX HD), Internet Radio, UPnP (hi-res streaming) and is Roon Ready. Maybe this is more what you really need? You are looking at £2,000 plus the cost of the Fono but you’ll be getting everything you need, I reckon.

      The problem here is finding equipment that will give you a quality vinyl system and also one that provides quality digital support including streaming. Split these tasks into individual requirements to be bought at separate times when funds are plentiful and your price drops per box but if demand that they all be served in one go and the price goes back up.

      If cash is a stumbling block then you might consider buying one and going for the other later.

      Hence, you could keep the Muso for the TV and that will give you your digital streaming for now: Tidal, etc. Then have a seperate hifi chain dedicated to vinyl only for now, to include your Brio.

      If you then want to add Tidal et al to that vinyl chain, later on, then add a dedicate streamer to that as funds allow. That is, plug a dedicated streamer into your amp (like the Arcam rPlay at £400 or the Cambridge CXN at £700).

  • Reply
    Marc
    4th February 2018 at 3:40 pm

    Hi Paul,
    Thanks for your time & replies its appreciated, i have realised how little i really knew about setups, but with help of this site\forum im a lot more educated 🙂 I have slowed down and worked out priorities and is to get my Vinyl listening in order.
    My Muso is going to take care of my TV soundbar adequately and potentially streaming needs if require to wait to upgrade.
    My P1 arrived today & my concept 20s & Stands along with the Rega Fono on Tuesday. So i just need the QED connector Fono to Amp and QED speaker cable and connectors which im not sure yet and of course an AMP 🙂
    I still need to get what all the Arcam rPlay brings to the table and what benefits it will give me, im presuming it just goes into a line-in on the Brio and change Chanel to stream via bluetooth ? while reading i read about Chrome Cast Audio, is that not all the Arcam is doing ? can the CCA but used in the Brio ? If go Brio i will get the matching Apollo in a few months also but Arcam like £350 more, what other uses can the Arcam bring ?
    Im almost sure on the Rega Brio but both the Cambridge & now the Cryus One im liking but Cambridge still need bluetooth add on i think £70 or £80 and the Cyrus just built in CCA so i think the Brio still winning.
    I think i just dont understand the streamer part for the amp at this point but learning 🙂

    I did look at the Naim Atom before and liked a lot but just too much money all in one hit 🙂 So although will spend similar money on this setup its split up a little over few months so justifiable haha and would still be additional outlays on the Atom , fono CD player etc
    So will order my Amp next pay day in couple of weeks and be up and running.. i so want to listen to the P! now but not possible : ) now that i have paid for the Fono i just need to decide on Amp and whats going to give me the best sound with my P1\Fono & Concept 20s, it seems purley on vinyl and my set up the Brio is the better of the 3 in that budget, i could order the Onkyo or Topaz now or wait couple of weeks and increase budget.
    I think i will be happy going for the £600 on the Brio and the following month on the Arcam rPlay if i can just understand more about the rPlay of benefits and what use it will give me overall at the moment with limited knowledge just seems connect my iphone via bluetooth but much be more benefits ?

    Almost there haha

    Thanks

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      4th February 2018 at 8:21 pm

      Hi Marc

      The Arcam is of use if you want to add streaming to your vinyl chain. Maybe that vinyl system resides elsewhere and away from your Naim, for example and you want streaming in a different part of the house maybe?

      If the Naim covers everything you need re streaming then you don’t need the Arcam.

      If so, the Arcam – which is Wi-Fi powered and does NOT offer Bluetooth – does offer Amazon Music, Tidal, Spotify, Qobuz, Napster and Deezer as well as internet radio, Apple Airplay and compatibility with NAS drives on the same network. There’s a dedicated DTS PlayFi app (there’s no physical remote). This can be plugged into the Brio.

  • Reply
    marc
    4th February 2018 at 9:23 pm

    Hi
    Ok thanks, i was also looking Arcam irDAC-II but i now see the differences in rPlay (i think 🙂
    Yes the Naim covers my steaming and im happy with the sound but as i will be moving it into position to effectively be a TV soundbar my concerns is my new equipment is going to sound better than the Naim and swapping to from HiFi set up back to naim streaming in the same room im going to notice the difference and at that point prefer if i did stream even through bluetooth to be listening through my new setup.
    I also was having a look on the Cambridge site and the CXA-60 does look really nice in their photos and matching streamer. Overall i feel the Rega Brio is better sonically, the Cambridge gives a lot of connectivity and build and im working out how ‘better’ the Brio is, i dont have the option to go and demo unfortunately so trying to decipher between comments and reviews etc
    Apart from the great reviews on the Brio as i now have the P1 i was focused on the Rega route and build a Rega system and have the benefits of looks and compatibility between them all , my first thoughts was i preferred the look of same brand and not mixing up and various shapes and finishes so that is coming into my conclusions also.
    Im learning about streaming here 🙂 and has made me look into things and research and i think i have been using my Naim wrong and only using bluetooth to stream even though have Tidal Hi-Res Subscription by reading about streamers i can see the reason they have Tidal, Spotify etc built in, so can connect via your WiFi which i have not been doing!
    Learing curve!
    So my Amp choice are still up in the Air, i guess down to two is better than 3 or 4 🙂
    I still need to order my speaker cables for the concept 20s i noticed they have 2 sets of connections on the plates so presuming this is for Bi-Wiring, whats your thoughts on Bi-Wiring these Concepts ? If beneficial is it possible on the Brio ? Again i dont know about Bi-Wiring it seems some people prefer and improves on certain setups but what i have read still not quite sure, Cambridge say they dont offer Bi Wiring on any of their speakers but Q Acoustics must think its worthy to include i guess..

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      4th February 2018 at 9:47 pm

      Hi Marc – For this system, price point and technology, I wouldn’t bother with bi-wiring. Keep it simple and stick with a regular connection.

  • Reply
    Marc
    6th February 2018 at 6:16 pm

    Hi Paul,
    Thanks for help on this and actually putting me onto Rega & Q Acoustics for that matter : ) all down to your review.
    Ive now ordered everything it was an unplanned expenditure but excited to receive tomorrow .
    So went with the Rega Brio Rega P1,Rega Fono, Concept 20s & Stands,QED interconnect, QED 4M Terminated Ruby. I also got QED Optical for the muso to TV and working great!
    As this is my first real system, what is the breaking in ? How many hours would you say ? does it vary between components, do all need breaking in ?
    Cheers

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      7th February 2018 at 3:34 pm

      Hi Marc – it does vary – yes – 50 hours perhaps? Some of the items may be less.

  • Reply
    Neil
    11th February 2018 at 1:05 pm

    Hej Paul,
    Great site and it’s fantastic to see such an interactive comments section, you should be very proud. I have a technical question that I hope you can help with.

    I have a Yamaha RX-V779 receiver serving all my current audio and video needs. The receiver sits in my home office with digital media such as an Apple TV, PS4 and AirPlay delivering the goods. It outputs via a very long HDMI cable (hidden in the walls) to the TV in the lounge. Plus two separate or combined speaker zones all using various Monitor Audio passive speakers. It works very well indeed and I’m very happy.

    Now the question. My home office does not enjoy the benefits of the receiver or monitor audio speakers (the speaker zones are the 5.1 setup in the lounge and the stereo speakers in the kitchen. I wish to setup a Rega P1 turntable in the home office and add a pair of stereo speakers to enjoy the product. But I also wish to use the turntable as a source to the receiver so I can output the audio to the lounge or kitchen or both. Meaning I want to hookup the turntable so I can use it on the receiver speaker zones or just a pair of passive speakers. To complicate things more I also wish to use the same passive speakers as outputs from the iMac also in the office. Maybe I am asking too much?

    Budget wise, lets say cheap enough to get the job done whilst not compromising the quality.

    Thanks in advance!
    Neil

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      11th February 2018 at 1:29 pm

      Thanks for your kind comments, Neil – one quick pedantic point which might prevent possibly purchase issues in the future. The RP1 is different from the Planar 1. Both are superb but the newer latter deck sounds better than the older former turntable.
      As to your solution? One obvious solution is Bluetooth which the Yamaha features – correct me if I’m wrong on that one? The easiest way is for your turntable to talk to your Yamaha in such a way. Hence, I’d leave the Rega and go to Pro-Ject instead.
      The Pro-Ject Essential III BT (https://www.henleyaudio.co.uk/products/Essential-III-BT?DepartmentIds=1&BrandIds=2) includes a built-in phono amp that should be able to stream to the Yamaha at a distance up to around 10m. It’s a bit more expensive than the Rega but it will do the job.
      If you have any concerns – have a chat with your dealer. Try and ask for a home demo to see if the system works without any issues. If there are problems with some unforeseen elements relating to your house, the system, etc, then you should be able to return it and we can try something else.
      PS: One late thought, there’s also an option, with the Essential III Digital turntable to connect via the optical output to the AV receiver.

  • Reply
    Gyula Farkas Jr. M.D.
    13th February 2018 at 8:11 am

    Hi. Paul.
    Congratulations for Your articles and comments. All of them are awesome. As a new one on the stage I went back to vinyl finally after 30 years. Mainly due to Your review of Rega Planar 1 I purchased one /thanks God my wife was also happy as it is white and later brought back nice memories/. Than I bought new speakers: Quadral Argentum 590, and than came the amplifier: Vincent SV-500 with Vincent PHO 8, with HiDiamond HD Real and Pangea cables.
    Now I enjoy the music 4 hours every day. Why I write this long letter because I would like to upgrade my player. The budget is over for a new Planar 3 so I thought to improve the cartridge. I read Your review about Goldring E3 but thinking maybe Goldring 2100 could be also fine. Which one do U suggest? Besides I do not want to destroy the arm of my Rega with putting some spacer. As the player is Rega I know the size of the original carbon is the same as Elys 2M, but that do not have enough deep bass or wide spectrum if I am right.
    Thanks For Your answer: Julius

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      13th February 2018 at 10:58 am

      Hi Julius – I tried the E3 on the Rega and used spacers during my review because the E3 spans around 18mm in height to the stylus tip (as does the Ortofon 2M Red which I also used) whereas the Rega cart is about 13mm. If you’re able, I’d be interested to hear what you think of the E3 without spacers on the Rega. I have heard, more recently, that the Rega with a taller cart works fine without spacers and, for a turntable at that price, all of this spacer malarky is not what it’s cracked up to be. Haven’t tested the theory myself, though…

      In addition to the above, Rega does say this, “Arm height or V.T.A adjustment can be a controversial subject. Rega believes that the integrity of the arm fixing onto the arm mounting board is much more important than the questionable facility of arm adjustment. The arm should be reasonably parallel to the record surface or slightly lower at the mounting. The only time a spacer is necessary to raise the arm height is if the rear of a cartridge is hitting the record whilst playing.”

      Hence, Rega is saying that spacers don’t really matter. Or that spacers are not as important in their arms as many users think they are.

      I’m 99% sure that the E3 does *not* hit the record so, if you follow Rega’s advice, buy an E3 and forget all about the spacers. If the spacer is important to you, check out this link: http://www.rega.co.uk/arm-height-adjustment-spacer.html.
      I must add that, in sonic terms, I haven’t compared the E3 with the 2100, I’m afraid. Both are excellent on their own, I know that. I would go for the best deal if you’re looking at choosing between the two.

  • Reply
    Michael
    13th February 2018 at 7:14 pm

    Hi Paul, 2 QUESTIONS:

    1) Can I plug this into a pair of bookshelf speakers straight out the box, or do I need to separately purchase a pre-amp? The Audio Technica LP120 and Pro-Ject Carbon Fiber come ready to go.
    2) Can you rec a pair of speakers in the $300-400US range? Ive been looking at AudioEngine A2+, A5+ and the Kanto Yu4. I prefer quality over size/volume.

    Thank you!
    Michael

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      14th February 2018 at 9:53 am

      Thanks for your questions Michael.

      1: You can only plug the Rega into speakers if those speakers are powered. These are speakers with an amp built in. You’d also need a phono amp to sit in between the two. I can help you with recommended products if you want to go in this direction. Pro-Ject and Audio Technica do sell turntables with the phono amp built in which saves cash (although the sound quality is reduced compared to an external model). Even with these turntables, though, you still need powered speakers or an external amplifier plus speakers.
      2: Having read the above, how do you want to play the speaker recommendation? Powered speakers for your budget or amp and separate speakers?

  • Reply
    Jacob K.
    17th February 2018 at 10:45 am

    MR. Rigby,
    Im new to the LP world but I did a little research and I recently purchased the P1 and paired it with the Pluto phono preamp.
    I was able to hook everything up to a speaker system I had to here what it sounds like but when I played a record it was either to slow or to fast. This was done with two different records. Im in Europe and I’m not sure if it is 220 or 110. I have everything connected to a 110 power converter and I’m afraid of burning it up by plugging it into the 220 outlet. I’m not sure if that is causing the problem. I’m lost on what to do!! It frustrating me severely!! Haha

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      17th February 2018 at 3:36 pm

      Hi Jacob – 220 should be fine. Let me know if you have any problems.

  • Reply
    Decision Anxiety
    20th February 2018 at 5:47 pm

    Paul – thank you for taking such time to review what sounds like a ‘best value’ turntable situation. I am in the US and the MSRP of $475 (presently, 338.96 GBP) is holding strong. Would you still recommend this knowing the ‘buying power’ of the two? I will be pairing them with Klipsch “The Sixes” (https://www.crutchfield.com/S-pSQKbjdghGX/p_714SIXES/Klipsch-The-Sixes-Walnut.html).

    I keep going back and forth between this, the Pro-Ject Carbon DC, stepping up to the Rega 2 and wincing in cost, and considering the U-Turn Orbit Special with Walnut Plinth.

    Is your advice to still go with the Rega Planar 1? This will be my first “serious” turn table.

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      21st February 2018 at 2:22 pm

      Regas are quite expensive in the US, I see, relative to their price in the UK. Because of that, I’d go for the Debut Carbon. Offering better value for money for a first time turntable.

  • Reply
    Sergey
    24th February 2018 at 11:45 pm

    Hey Paul

    Thank you for your honest and sensible review and answers here. I found it to be one of the only few really helpful sources in the net. Maybe you could help me as well.

    TL/DR: does it make sense to go vinyl in sub-$1000 category at all?

    Recently i started looking for a vinyl record player to add to my system. After some investigation i’ve excluded Audio-Technica from my selection and narrowed it down to Pro-ject and Rega. I really really favor Rega, but unfortunately there are no Rega dealers with an auditioning room here, so i would have to order it blindly. I only have one shot, if you will.

    Couple of days ago i’ve bought a Massive Attack Protection LP and went to a Pro-ject dealer to listen to their player. It was a Debut Carbon with 2M Red cartridge connected to some Marantz amp and Dali Opticon speakers.

    The result was surpisingly underwhelming. There was a lot of hum (which i believe can be fixed), the highs were almost too bright and there wasn’t any special ‘liveliness’ which i read about and sought for so much. Also another player with an Ortofon 10M cart had so much sibilance in my headphones that i had to turn it off just after a minute of listening.

    Now i am acutely aware of the fact that personal impression is a very subjective feeling and it can depend on all the circumstances around you and even your mood at that particular moment. I still hope that i didn’t give it enough chance and in fact i’m still considering getting that Pro-ject. It wasn’t bad, it just seemed to sound worse than my home system. Also i’m under impression that a Rega Planar sounds objectively better.

    So my question to you is: is it even worth getting a beginner-level (sub $1000 from what i’ve heard) turntable if what i want most is improved sound quality over digital? I don’t care for CD-like cleanliness, but i need an engaging, live performance, if you know what i mean. If it’s not, i’d rather hold on for a while.

    If it matters, at home i listen to digital music through a battery-powered m2tech HiFace 2 digital interface connected to Arcam rDac (powered by a linear PSU) and a NAD C356 amp. I’m only using the power-amp part of the NAD, so its preamp plays no part at all. Speakers are HECO Music Style 500 as well as Beyerdynamic T1 headphones via a custom tube amp. Contrary to what a lot of people say, the headphones are not too bright with a proper setup. Couldn’t say that i’m quite happy with the amp and speakers, maybe i’m going to replace them later, but that’s another story.

    I don’t have a phono stage at the moment, so that would be an additional purchase. I really don’t want to go on that road with infinite upgrades and stuff, ideally i’d be buying a decent turntable and forgetting about it for a couple of years, just enjoying the music (of course i know it wouldn’t happen).

    I’m really looking forward to your view on the matter. I’d rather not tell you my exact budget, otherwise you’d just recommend the most expensive Planar that could fit (and you would be right, of course). I’m just trying to figure out if it’s worth it at the moment or should i just focus on new speakers first, for example.

    Sincerely from Kiev, Ukraine,
    Sergey

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      25th February 2018 at 12:37 pm

      Thanks for your kind words, Sergey. Answering your general question, yes, it is worth it. Vinyl provides great value for money. You can obtain a quality sound for not too much.
      Re your earlier demo – the rest of that hi-fi system may have had a bearing on your conclusions here. The signature you heard may have been influenced by the amp and even the speakers (depending on which Opticons they were). The Debut is actually a quality turntable.
      A budget would be useful because, yes, I would recommend you maximise it to buy the best turntable that you can afford or are willing to pay for. That said, are you looking at purchasing only the turntable for now or would you really want to upgrade other components too? A budget would then be useful to try to advise you in terms of splitting the budget over other suitable purchases.
      What is your digital source, by the way? Why do you use the M2TECH?
      An external low cost phono amp would sound superior than a built-in model, as I’m sure you know. Rega has a good value model, the Fono.

  • Reply
    Ben
    13th March 2018 at 1:48 am

    Hi Paul, thanks for all the info in the review and comments below. I’ve decided from this that I want to get the Planar 1. I have a couple more questions if you don’t mind, since this is my first time buying a record player! I am looking at amps and see this deal on the Denon PMA720AE Integrated Amplifier for £190 instead of £350, do you think this would be better than the Topaz AM10 Integrated Amplifier which is the same price but not on offer? https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B007Y3OBIS/ref=ox_sc_act_title_7?smid=A16D1Q3U7G1XSE&psc=1

    Am also buying the Rega Fono Mini A2D Phono Pre-Amplifier, and Q Acoustics 3020 Speakers as you recommended, is there anything else I would need? Also I’m not sure what cables I would need so if you could recommend that would a big help too, since I am a bit clueless!

    all best

  • Reply
    Ben
    13th March 2018 at 1:55 am

    * & sorry but actually another question, I see the Riga 2 is available for not a huge amount more second hand (like new for £345), https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01GS9UJAM/sr=1-4/qid=1520905823/ref=olp_product_details?_encoding=UTF8&me=&qid=1520905823&sr=1-4

    Would you recommend sticking with a new Riga 1 with the aforementioned set up or upgrade the turntable to the Riga 2?

    Would really appreciate any advice you may have

  • Reply
    Ben
    15th March 2018 at 1:23 pm

    Cheers Paul, I’m setting it up close to a plug / extension lead so doubt it needs to be very long, was just confused that some xt25’s are listed as spades and some as bananas. was thinking these seem good value compared to the others which are around £50, but not sure if there’s a catch i’m missing!

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B078NFSNDJ/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?smid=A2JWOEULHV3YGJ&psc=1

    thanks for your advice

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      15th March 2018 at 1:33 pm

      Hi Ben – Spades and Bananas are a preference choice in attaching the cables to the speakers.They’re the actual plug bits of the cables. Most speakers will handle both types. Bananas are the straight plugs, spades are the flat, fork-shaped things. My preference is bananas (illustrated on your link), I find them quicker to plug in.

      • Reply
        Ben
        19th March 2018 at 9:30 pm

        Hi Paul it’s Ben again, I’m just setting up the phono amp to the amplifier, using the QED Performance Graphite Audio Cable you recommended. Possibly a stupid question but do I need to buy 2 of these since there are 4 sockets at the back of the phono amp? Also does it matter which way round they are inserted, since they seem the same at either end. & should I set the level / earth dials a particular way? The instructions are pretty brief but also quite technical for me to follow so I’m just a bit worried I might do something wrong!

        • Reply
          Paul Rigby
          20th March 2018 at 12:05 pm

          Hi Ben – the turntable’s own cables [supplied] will go into one set and your QEDs will attach to the other two. In high end systems, cable direction can matter, don’t worry about that here. The turntable has an earth cable, that attaches to the earth connector on the phono amp. The Earth’s screw secures it.

          • ben
            20th March 2018 at 12:12 pm

            Ah that makes sense now, thanks!

          • Paul Rigby
            20th March 2018 at 12:13 pm

            No problem, Ben.

  • Reply
    Ben
    16th March 2018 at 12:28 am

    thanks again Paul! Really helpful

  • Reply
    Neil
    16th March 2018 at 5:04 am

    Hello Paul,
    Thank you for the excellent review. I am wondering if the Planar 1 would be a good match for my current stereo. I have a NAD C740 and Totem Staff speakers. I also plan to purchase a Music Hall pa1.2 pre amp.
    Thank you for your advice,
    Neil

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      16th March 2018 at 2:52 pm

      Hi Neil – yes, it will work well in that system. Let me know how you get on.

  • Reply
    T.K
    17th March 2018 at 12:08 pm

    Hi Paul,
    I’m very new to this world but i find it very interesting and I’m sold (this was an excellent review). I want to get the rega planar 1 but i have no idea what would be the best pre-amp, amp, and speakers to go with it. Keeping on mind that I’m on a student on a budget, what would you recommend?

  • Reply
    Yannis
    22nd March 2018 at 5:41 pm

    Hi Paul,
    Thanks for your reviews, which helped me to get the Planar 1 (together with my budget restrictions). I also have the Rega Brio (speakers: ELAC Debut F6) and I am wondering, if I should give a try to an external preamp. If so, which preamp category would you suggest? Sth like the Rega Fono Mini A2D or the Rega Fono MM Mk3 (or similar)?

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      23rd March 2018 at 10:02 am

      Yes – good idea if sound quality is the priority. What’s your budget?

  • Reply
    Nuno Baptista
    26th March 2018 at 2:53 pm

    Hi Paul,
    I have a Densen B 110 amplifier and Epos M 15 speakers, and I´m looking for a turntable. I have two choices, either the Planar 1 or 2 as I can´t afford the 3. I would prefer the 1 as is cheaper, but do you think it should be fine with my amp and speakers?With the Planar 2 I guess I should look for a better phono stage, like a Fono MM , and If I buy the 1 I can save a bit, as I would need nothing better than a Fono Mini phono stage. What you think?

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      26th March 2018 at 3:15 pm

      Hi Nuno – thanks for your note. The best source possible is what you’re looking for but if it means buying a separate phono amp then free up the cash and get a Planar 1 plus that Fono. The amp and speakers should work with with them, yes.

  • Reply
    Nuno Baptista
    26th March 2018 at 3:37 pm

    What you mean “free up the cash”?Sorry, I´m not a native english speaker…

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      26th March 2018 at 5:20 pm

      Sorry Nuno – what I mean is that, by buying the Planar 1, you will then hopefully have extra funds to enable you to purchase the Fono.

  • Reply
    André Ferreira
    31st March 2018 at 2:00 am

    Hi, Paul!

    Superb review, first of all. I’m rediscovering the vinyl myself and I have been an audiophile for quite some time now. I have a question that I hope you can help me with. I want to get a new (to me) turntable. And I can get a new Planar 1 for 279€ or a used Planar 3 with the RB300 tonearm with a Nagaoka MP-11 for 350€. Of the two which one should I get?
    Thank you very much in advance!

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      31st March 2018 at 2:50 pm

      Go for the ‘3’, Andre – the 1 is superb but the 3 is ultimately better in sonic terms.

  • Reply
    Catarina
    7th April 2018 at 11:09 pm

    Hi Paul!

    Thanks a lot for the extremely helpful reviews. The planar 1 where I live is selling for 379 euros. Do you still think it’s the better choice? I’m hesitant between the planar and the LENCO L-3808, since the latter it’s selling for 166 euros in amazon.

    Thanks in advance!

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      8th April 2018 at 10:03 am

      Hi Catrina – if you need the added toys that the Lenco offers, then look towards the Lenco sure. Is sound quality is the ultimate priority, then it’s worth spending on the Rega.

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      8th April 2018 at 10:08 am

      Hi Catrina – if the Lenco toys (USB, built in phono) are important then look at the Lenco, sure. If sound quality is the most important aspect of your purchase, go for the Rega.

      • Reply
        Catarina
        8th April 2018 at 4:05 pm

        Hi Paul! Thanks a lot got the answer, I went for the Rega 🙂 let’s see what future upgrades await us. Cheers!

      • Reply
        Catarina
        9th April 2018 at 3:32 pm

        Hi Paul! Thanks a lot for your reply! I ended up going for the Rega, still haven’t decided on the phono/ amp. I’ve seen in the other comments that you advised the Onkyo A-9030 or the Cambridge Audio Topaz AM10, but do those have a phono? Or do I need to buy the Rega fono mini in addition?

        • Reply
          Paul Rigby
          9th April 2018 at 4:18 pm

          Hi Catrina – yes, a phono is included but, saying that, you’ll get better sound quality with a separate model. Depends on your budget, of course.

          • Catarina
            10th April 2018 at 8:55 am

            Hi Paul. Great! Thanks for the advice. I think I’ll start with getting the Rega phono mini first and later upgrade to an amp. I have ESI near08 speakers, so hopefully the sound will be nice! Cheers!

  • Reply
    Yongolini
    10th April 2018 at 2:51 am

    Hi Paul,

    First off, excellent site. Have been reading some articles on the site as I am interested in purchasing some audio equipment for my listening pleasure. I have never used or bought turntables, vinyl, etc before but am keen to take it up as a hobby. I’d prefer to use a headphone rather than speakers, so i take it that the set up will be :

    turntable + phono amp + headphone amp + headphone? Please correct me if i am wrong.

    I’ve read and through some local searches and I have narrowed it down to two, based on articles i’ve read; Rega Planar 1 (new unit going for RM1,350 in local Malaysian currency) vs Pro-ject Debut Carbon DC (used at RM1,400). The Rega retails for RM50 more than the Pro-ject (new one goes for RM2,000) and I am wondering which would be a better turntable in terms of value as well as mod-ability, if such need arises. Are there any major differences between them (in terms of hardware such as components (catridges), ease of use)? I apologise for the lengthy post and thank you in advance.

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      10th April 2018 at 8:33 am

      Hi Yongolini – yep, you’ve got the chain sequence correct there. Both are excellent turntables but, especially for the beginner and for ease of use, set up, etc, alongside top sound quality, I’d got for the Rega.

  • Reply
    Michele
    12th April 2018 at 4:16 pm

    hi all,
    first time here. Thank you for your exhaustive review of the TT. Iam an ‘old’ LP collector, and recently , tired of all this ‘liquid music’, i would love the joy to listen my collection again. I have not a big budget so i focused on RAGA1. It looks perfect for me BUT i also read a lot of people around with troubles for lacking of ‘electric ground terminal’ , so they hear some disturb of electrical nature. What can you tell me about it?. i have a onkyo TXNR646 amplifer with phono and ground input. I really dont want to buy something i have to tricky about to listen it comfortably without troubles. help me with your experience please. thank you

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      12th April 2018 at 4:26 pm

      Lovely to see you Michele. Personally, I don’t know what the fuss is about because I’ve never had this issue. I’ve used plenty of Regas off and on and have never ever had a problem. I’m not sure if other factors are involved here such as the electrical system itself, other components…goodness only knows. I would buy the Rega with confidence and go from there. You can’t live in fear of what might be – you’d never get anything done. So, I’d recommend taking the plunge. I’m always here to help if things go awry 🙂 Let me know how you get on.

  • Reply
    Michele
    13th April 2018 at 8:27 am

    thamks for your answer Paul. So i’ll order today a rega planar1 and cross my fingers. After reading so many users having troubles with it was going to choice another model, but i have to say that this looks like the best at this price zone.
    I will post here my impressions , as soon as i ‘ll receive the TT, so other people with the same worries will have another point of view about it. In the while i’ll keep to read your excellent site. thanks again!

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      13th April 2018 at 9:58 am

      Hi Michele – I’m not belittling the individuals who might have issues and I’m sure that they are very frustrating and the problems themselves are real indeed. That said, don’t forget, what you’re not seeing are the many more Rega uses who do not have problems. After all, they have no reason to post in Forums do they?

  • Reply
    Michele
    13th April 2018 at 12:18 pm

    i agree absolutely Paul. I only hope it will be ok in my home and i will enjoy my collection again after more than 25 years (!) i dont use them anymore. (Only Flac + Kodo software)

  • Reply
    Michele
    20th April 2018 at 11:23 pm

    Hi Paul. i got it finally! Now i have a problem that i would like to share with those are in my same situation. Rega’s rca wire its too short to reach my amplifier phono input…

    1) i see ,also, that rega’s wire its not so good as i could exspect.
    2) its save to buy a good 1,5 -2 meter extension rca cord? any suggestion?
    3) rega’s output signal isnt preamplified, so i think, should be less sensible to external interference. isnt it right?
    4) would be too much ‘dangerous’ to open rega’s chassis and to weld a longer rca cable?
    sorry for my poor english and thank you for your patience in answering if you will like to.

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      22nd April 2018 at 12:06 pm

      Hi Michele – The problem with having, say, replaceable phono cables to allow upgrades and improving cable quality, is that it would boost the price point to such an extent as to remove the price advantage of the original turntable.
      Re extensions…I assume that your turntable is quite a distance from your phono amp, in that case? Can the turntable not be placed nearer?
      The fact that there’s no phono amp within the Rega does mean that an external module is required which will improve sound quality.
      I would NOT recommend that you open up the Rega. Again, is it not possible to arrange a nearer location? That would be the safest and best option in terms of sound. Adding an extension cable will not help sonics.

  • Reply
    Rob
    24th April 2018 at 8:11 pm

    Hi Paul,
    Firstly – thank you for an excellent site especially the reviews – very clear easy to read and understand !
    I have gotten back into vinyl after many years – in my youth in the 70’s & 80’s I had a reasonable system with Wharfedales & JVC’s etc but as time progressed these became redundant and I followed the trend and purchased Home theatre systems and plugged in my extra ‘bits.
    Currently I am more than happy with my HT and get really pleasing sounds – I run a Kenwood CD player with great results and stream a lot through airplay Spotify etc.
    Now the dilemma – through your excellent article I have bought a PLANAR 1 – I totally go with your concept of having the best source available to begin with – excellent advice !
    I know you will scoff at this (!) but as I only have one AUX input on my HT system I use a small switch box to connect all my other ‘add on’s but as above – it works – I agree the least number of connections the better so …
    To run the PLANAR 1 through this switch box will probably degrade the signal so now deciding to either go completely separate and purchase a stand alone amp OR buy a new AV receiver such as a Yamaha etc. with direct connections.
    What would you suggest !

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      25th April 2018 at 7:40 am

      Thanks for your kind words Rob – I would recommend that you separate your HT and your hi-fi. Keep the HT for your AV requirements and invest in a separate chain, headed by the Rega plus a new amp and speakers for audiophile music use. As it stands, you would lose all of the sonic benefits of the Rega as soon as it entered that switch box. I would also bring your Kenwood into the hi-fi chain to improve its performance. Do you have a DVD/Blu-ray player? That can play your CDs through your AV system if you want to play music through that. I realise that you might be looking at more financial investment here but, as it stands, you’re actually wasting money by only retrieving a small portion of your initial Rega outlay in sound quality.

  • Reply
    Rob
    2nd May 2018 at 9:39 am

    Thanks for the reply Paul,
    Must say I am most impressed by the REGA and has improved by listening experience tenfold – even through my switchbox !
    I take on board what you have said about separating the systems so am now looking to do just that – sneaking it in past the wife will be the fun part !
    One other question I have is about the REGA – the RCA connects are what I would describe as 99p connectors – not what I would have expected – would there be any benefit on changing these over ? likewise – the small power-pack that powers the REGA appears somewhat ‘cheap. I am a fan of Russ Andrews and he takes a lot of time of persuading us to upgrade power connectors – again would this be of benefit on my ‘cheap system and then how would you go about it as there is just the small DC connector on the REGA ?

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      2nd May 2018 at 12:44 pm

      Thanks for the note, Rob – I hear you re. your proposed sonic improvements and I agree with Russ but the Rega cables and power pack are not easily changed and, for the price of the unit, I’m not convinced that going to the trouble of wrenching it all out and sticking it all back together would be worth it. It’s a balance thing, you see. You’ve be better served just upgrading the deck itself, in effect. What you can do is make sure that the rest of the hifi chain’s cables and power blocks are up to scratch, that you have the right shelving, isolation feet or similar and that sort of thing. I would begin by addressing the mains area, if you haven’t already.

  • Reply
    Rob
    2nd May 2018 at 10:18 pm

    I do believe quality interconnects improve the system so have already invested well in cables !
    Likewise – thanks to RA – the support, feet etc. have all been upgraded to something suitable so probably couldn’t improve to gain any benefit from what I have already but always room to spend !
    I take your point about the REGA so will enjoy what I have until I upgrade etc.
    Thank you for all your advice 🙂

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