We’ve long been fans of Rega’s Planar 3 deck, and this latest version – the RP3 – simply reinforces our enthusiasm.
In many ways this deck looks pretty much like previous generations of this product. It remains a very simple, attractive design, with the main bearing, arm and motor (all of which are high-quality parts) mounted on a solid plinth.
Suspension? Limited to three solid rubber feet. Like any record player, this one will always sound best on a level, dedicated support, as far away from the speakers as possible.
The biggest changes over the last-generation deck are the addition of a strengthening brace (which is made from hard phenolic resin) between the arm base and main bearing, and a further refinement of the long-running and well-liked Rega tone arm.
The latest version, the RB303, features an improved, more rigid arm tube and better resonance control.
It’s possible to buy the deck without the cartridge for £475. We think most people will buy the package we have on test, though, which comes fitted with the rather good £115 Elys 2 moving magnet included in the price.
How does the RP3 sound? Very good indeed. This Rega builds on the balance, resolution and excitement of previous generations while adding more clarity, stronger dynamics and an improved sense of musical stability.
We played music as varied as Beethoven’s highly charged 5th Symphony to the low-key vocal-based XX debut set, and the RP3 never put a foot wrong.
Make no mistake: this is a top-class record deck for the money. It’s easy to set up, easy to use as long as you don’t mind the manual speed change and sounds as musical as they come. The RP3 is a great buy and a worthy Award winner.