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crusaderlord's picture
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Rega Turntable - Cartridge Upgrade

This is a follow up to an earlier post where i toyed with splashing out on a new Gyro or Linn turntable but in the end pursuaded myself to stick by my 2nd hand Rega Planar 2 and save the money for some vinyl for now at at least.

In direct comparison to my CD player i was always a little unhappy with the defenition of the bass from the Rega, which was a bit softened and hazy.

To keep myself happy, I did treat myself to an Ortofon 2m Blue cartridge upgrade over my AT95. I wasnt sure how much the cartridge would up the Rega's game but it was good although i fear the old table is holding it back.

The Ortofon straight out the box has lifted the Rega, although its not quite there in terms of spacials around the instruments but its overall improvement in the bass defenition and punchiness against the older cartridge is good.

I do now wonder what a P3-24 would do by way of further improvement.

Rega Planar 2 = £95 2nd hand collected (excellent condition)
New Belt = £5 (bought spares just to make sure to be honest)
Ortofon 2M Blue = £125

For £225 the Rega Planar is for me excellent value and great fun to use too, which is nice.



The is the old image of the Rega and AT95 - new one to follow soon

Arcam A38 Amplifier > Arcam CD36

Arcam irDac > Squeezebox Touch

Neat Motive 3 Speakers > Partington Super Dreadnought

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Re: Rega Turntable - Cartridge Upgrade

I have to ask. Does one of the cartridge tags look like it's been re-soldered? It's just that it looks like a dead ringer (cart/bolts etc) of My Planar 2 I sold a couple of years ago...

crusaderlord's picture
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Re: Rega Turntable - Cartridge Upgrade

i am not sure if i can tell until i get home - but if it helps i bought it off someone from around the Teddington area, London

would be quite good if it was the same turntable :)

its doing a good job if it is

Arcam A38 Amplifier > Arcam CD36

Arcam irDac > Squeezebox Touch

Neat Motive 3 Speakers > Partington Super Dreadnought

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Re: Rega Turntable - Cartridge Upgrade

Well, I always got on well with mine. Give the Ortofon about 35-40 hours playing before it comes on song - the diamond needs to bed in a little. From there it should be great.

crusaderlord's picture
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Re: Rega Turntable - Cartridge Upgrade

The upgrade of my turntable is now complete. My new Rega is in place and i managed to get a decent upgrade for my budget which was £400 new money plus £100 received for my old Planar 2 - i thought i would share it with you.

Rega P3-24 Blue (£350 new) complete with the separate psu upgrade
Ortofon 2M Blue (£125 new)
Blue Rega Mat (£14 new)

I know you cant usually get a new P3-24 with the psu for this price but i got a 2nd from Lintone Audio and the only reason it is classed as such in this instance is the tiniest of marks at the back edge of the table which you cant see unless you angle it into the light - not bad at all really as you will never spot it.

Here are my pics




Soundwise the question was always for me - how much better than my old Planar 2 is it ? - well it is definately a big improvement for sure. More detailed, musical, the sound sparkles more and its a much better match for my CD player making vinyl a more viable option again as i do like the turntable experience from my youth. The Ortofon 2M Blue seems much happier on this table giving me a much much better performance.

Other home improvement commitments prevented me spending any more on this at the moment. Still if you have thoughts on the P3-24 then i would certainly support WHF high regard for this player.

Arcam A38 Amplifier > Arcam CD36

Arcam irDac > Squeezebox Touch

Neat Motive 3 Speakers > Partington Super Dreadnought

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Re: Rega Turntable - Cartridge Upgrade

Looks good.

Remember that Rega still make the Tungsten counterweight. Being smaller and heavier it sits closer to the arm pivot and thus reduces 'moment' force.

(It is easier to turn with a heavier weight held close to your body than a slightly lighter weight held at arm's length. Think of ice skaters rotating faster when they bring their arms in closer to their body.)

To quote from someone else....

"...the counterweight was radical, machined from dense tungsten alloy for the smallest possible diameter, and hence the lowest moment of inertia."

You can order it from your Rega dealer (about £50 ish last time I looked) and is much easier to fit than all those 'upgrade' counterweights from other companies (and it won't invalidate your guarantee.)

Rega still use the Tungsten counterweight on some of their more expensive arms. (It used to be standard on the RB300) So it is easy to order.


"We are currently awaiting the loading of our complement of small lemon-soaked paper napkins for your comfort, refreshment and hygiene during the journey."

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Re: Rega Turntable - Cartridge Upgrade

Looks lovely.


As you will see from my signature, my turntable is the weak link in my system.  I've had it a good few years now, and it has rekindled my love of vinyl.  I have been giving serious thought to a P3-24 with the Elys cartridge, and I've got a demo on Saturday at Audio T in Bristol.  Based on your new addition, do you think it will stand up in the company of the Cyrus 8vs2 and Arcam CD192?  Or should I be saving more and getting something around the grand mark?


Any suggestions welcome.


Shuggie

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Re: Rega Turntable - Cartridge Upgrade

Crusader, looking at the photo tells me you have the deck sited on a heavy looking piece of furniture. Also I suspect it is hollow. (A cupboard unit?)

Rega recommend (and my own experience bears this out) that it is best to put the TT on a light but extremely rigid table or Rega's own wall support affixed to a (brick not plasterboard) wall. The support should be perfectly level.

I am guessing the TT was just placed where you have it in the photo as a temporary measure.

I use to have my Rega on a dovetail and tenon jointed solid hardwood sidetable that was both light and rigid due to leg bracing halfway down the legs that had been drilled for Target spikes (for levelling and piercing carpets) and this was on a solid floor.

I also had a large book cabinet between the deck and the nearest speaker about 2 metres away, so only reflected airborne vibration would reach it.

The worst environment for a TT (especially ones without suspended sub-chassis) is on a heavy, hollow, peice of furniture, on a suspended floor, and near a speaker.

 

"We are currently awaiting the loading of our complement of small lemon-soaked paper napkins for your comfort, refreshment and hygiene during the journey."

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Re: Rega Turntable - Cartridge Upgrade

I have the same TT and psu. Loving it as well. Actually, not to be the devil's advocate or anything, but you may want to consider the Rega Exact for your next cartridge. I know it's a bit pricier but having auditioned it against the bias and elys, it's truly a step up in terms of detail, definition and sound staging. Enjoy buddy!

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Re: Rega Turntable - Cartridge Upgrade

Thanks for the replies so far

Chebby - some great thoughts - i am not currently looking to upgrade any further but will certainly keep the weight in mind. As for current location you are correct it is on a solid oak sideboard but is nevertheless hollow inside. i used to use a separate oak table but had to keep moving the TT in and out of storage which was a real pain. Depite the recommendation i cant honestly hear any appreciable difference by changing position and for ease of use have decided to leave it where it is for now. Maybe the solidity of the oak sideboard helps (prebuilt not an ikea job).

Tenergy - i ended up buying the best cartridge within my budget and am very happy. i havent heard the exact but do like the Ortofon enough not to be tempted away for a long time - also it is brand new and not even run in yet so it may improve too.

The Rega is doing a great job - i dug out a Chris Rea album i heard a few times on the old Planar 2 before i sold and it really stands out as being a lot better with the P3-24.

Arcam A38 Amplifier > Arcam CD36

Arcam irDac > Squeezebox Touch

Neat Motive 3 Speakers > Partington Super Dreadnought

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Re: Rega Turntable - Cartridge Upgrade
crusaderlord: Ortofon 2M Blue (£125 new)

That's a good price (Henley were selling them for £155 -10% at the Bristol Show), where did you get that from? 

Also, what did you use to align the cartridge? I got a 2M Red for my debut II but I haven't fitted it yet cos I haven't got anything to align it with.

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Re: Rega Turntable - Cartridge Upgrade

Some more answers for you :-

Shuggieb - this is a really hard one to answer but i will try with an opinion anyway - i have the Arcam CD36 and it still beats the Rega P3-24 for clarity and detail by a small but discernable margin. The CD36 player is for me excellent and originally sold for £1300 (although i eventually got it end of range for £700). At the demo session i heard it directly against the CD192 and i thought it was also discernably better being smoother and with more weight and body to the sound. So with your benchmark at the CD192 which i also think is a great player by the way then if i am honest i think it will still beat the Rega P3-24 for its clarity and detail. We then get into subjective territority of how you like your music to sound, so better is more relative to this. I have not heard a turntable at the grand mark to compare (too dangerous now i think). In my own case i wasnt looking to beat my CD36 - this remains my principal source but i did want a TT that didnt let the side down when i switched to vinyl. The P3-24 provides a very musical and enjoyable experience which doesnt sound wanting to my ears now. In the end you need to decide if you truely want a CD beater - if so then you may well need to go well over a grand. If you want an alternative source at good value for money then the P3-24 is a very good option.

lhc - i bought the Ortofon 2M Blue from Acton Gate Audio in London - came well packed etc and without any issue. i aligned the cartridge using both the P3-24 insert alignment card provided by Rega and also checked against the Stevenson download at vinylengine.com (rega only related though) but you may find something on that site which can help.

Arcam A38 Amplifier > Arcam CD36

Arcam irDac > Squeezebox Touch

Neat Motive 3 Speakers > Partington Super Dreadnought

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Re: Rega Turntable - Cartridge Upgrade
crusaderlord: lhc - i bought the Ortofon 2M Blue from Acton Gate Audio in London - came well packed etc and without any issue. i aligned the cartridge using both the P3-24 insert alignment card provided by Rega and also checked against the Stevenson download at vinylengine.com (rega only related though) but you may find something on that site which can help.

Hmmm, looked at the "Stupid Protractors". Seems simple enough but I don't quite understand how you can align the cartridge to the inner grid and then align it to the outer grid, unless you also rotate the protractor around the spindle a little?

I'll check it against my existing cartridge first I think... 

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Re: Rega Turntable - Cartridge Upgrade

Avid have a universal protractor which is easy peasy to use. Check it out on their webby site. Pity about house rule cos ive got one that i dont need, although you can pick one up for 20 quid or so.

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Re: Rega Turntable - Cartridge Upgrade
shuggieb:

Looks lovely.


As you will see from my signature, my turntable is the weak link in my system.  I've had it a good few years now, and it has rekindled my love of vinyl.  I have been giving serious thought to a P3-24 with the Elys cartridge, and I've got a demo on Saturday at Audio T in Bristol.  Based on your new addition, do you think it will stand up in the company of the Cyrus 8vs2 and Arcam CD192?  Or should I be saving more and getting something around the grand mark?


Any suggestions welcome.


Shuggie



I always thought my Rega Planar 3 with Ortofon Red cartridge always timed better and had a wider soundstage than my CD192 but the CD192 retrieved more information. The information was there off the TT but easier to pick up from the CD.
The TT you're listening to on Saturday could run the CD192 quite close I would be interested to know what you think.
The only £1000ish turntable I have heard is a Gyrodec and that was a definite step up from the RP3.

Country of origin - England not United Kingdom.

Anonymous
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Re: Rega Turntable - Cartridge Upgrade

crusaderlord - first let me apologise if I have hijacked your thread!  I'm with you on not looking to outdo the CD Player, I am looking for a TT that will hopefully give a similar level of performance, so that I get use from my vinyl as well as my CDs.  I had heard a Roksan Radius at the WHFSAV show last week but didn't want to spend that much, and was concerned that the Rega might not cut the mustard.


 


Lost Angeles - that's very interesting, and was kind of what I was hoping to hear, similar quality but different strengths.


 


So I've just been to Audio T for the last couple of hours and had a great demo session.  The guys there were very knowledgeable and couldn't be more helpful.  In the end, I've gone for a P3-24/RB301/Ortofon 2M Bronze.  The detailing was immense and the control and cohesion were very impressive.  I can't wait to get it all home and get it bedded in.


 


Incidentally, the guys at Audio T set it up with a set of Vienna Acoustics Hadyn Grands which were a great wee pair of speakers that I had never encountered before - great match with the Cyrus and the Rega.


 


Thanks both for your earlier comments and I'll keep you posted how things sound when it all arrives next week!


 


Shuggie

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