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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88 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
    TURNTABLE BUYER'S GUIDE…FOR RAW BEGINNERS! - The Audiophile Man
    28th November 2017 at 1:14 pm

    […] REGA PLANAR 1 […]

  • 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
    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.

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