Rega Planar Turntable Service
Moving Coil or Moving Magnet?
We are proud to be a dealership of the iconic British brand, Rega. We get asked many questions around Rega Planar Turntables at DNA Audio – “Which Turntable is best?”, “Is vinyl better than CDs?”, “What’s the best HiFi for my Turntable?”
Above all, one question that keep on cropping up is “How can I make my Rega Planar sound better?”
As a result, DNA Audio have been looking at ways that turntable owners can improve on the sound of their beloved turntables. So, we have produced this “How to Optimise your Rega Planar Turntable” guide to help. Be sure to call our HiFi shop near Leeds if you want any further advice!
How should I position my Turntable?
Ideally, it will be on a completely flat shelf, isolated from any other parts of your system and from other movement in your room. One solution is to attach a turntable bracket to the wall. This a simple and cost-effective solution. Also, it has the benefit of showing off your turntable. It will also be at the perfect height for when you are changing your records. Rega one which fits their Planar 1, 2, 3, 6 and RP10 models. Finally, the Planar 8 has its own Rega bracket.
Our supplier Quadraspire hand-builds great Hi-Fi stands. So, if you have one of their stands, make sure that the top shelf has some form of isolation from the rest of your system. This will either be in the form of the racking itself, or after-market solutions for the turntable feet.
Take time to ensure that the surface is completely flat. Address this with fine tuning. If you are using a HiFi rack the follow these instructions:
Build this bottom up
Build one level at a time
Check each level with a spirit level
Check left/right as well as fore/aft
Above all, DNA Audio will install any Rega turntable bought from our Leeds store free of charge. We have years of experience, and we do this because we’re passionate about getting it right!
Should I get my Turntable Serviced?
Like any precision instrument, your Rega Planar Turntable requires care and attention, careful set-up and servicing. As a result, there are also parts of your turntable that will deteriorate over time and need replacing.
The job of your turntable is to transform minute indentations on a record into an electric current. Therefore a Rega Planar is made up of lots of components that manage this process and insulate the system from other vibrations – from the feet, through the plinth and tonearm to the cartridge. Each of these elements need to be optimised if your music is to be accurately reproduced.
A service of your Rega can be carried out by your local dealer, and should include:
- Checking the tonearm for bias/ anti skate and weight
- Checking the tension of the motor spindle
- Oiling the main bearing
- Checking the condition and tension of the belt
- Checking the age and condition of the stylus and cartridge
Should I get my tonearm checked or upgraded?
The job of the Tonearm is a hugely important one. It must hold the cartridge in place while it tracks the groove across the record. The tonearm should not introduce any additional resonances into the musical reproduction. These can be caused by low quality arms or bearings, or damage resulting from use over time.
Better tonearms offer sonic improvements by using higher quality bearings, arm material and phono cable. For example, the Rega RB2000 which features on the range-topping RP10 is made without using any adhesive.
They will also be easier to use, by introducing improvements to the arm clip, counter-weight and bias control. All of which reduces the risk of harm to the tonearm or disc.
Should I check or change the Bias setting?
Many Rega Planars give you the option of changing the bias setting on your tonearm. Bias compensation ensures that a minimum tracking weight can be used while allowing an equal tracking on both the left and right channels of the disc groove.
The slider that allows you to alter the bias is located under the far end of the tonearm on most Rega planar decks.
The required bias varies depending on the music frequency and the depth of the groove in the vinyl; our recommendation is to keep to the manufacturer’s setting…usually 1.75. If in doubt, ask us here at DNA.
Should I upgrade my cartridge?
The cartridge on your Rega Planar Turntable has arguably the biggest impact on how your vinyl will sound to you. Even a small step-up in the cartridge you are using will yield big improvements to your experience. These improvements include:
- An increased number of fixing points to ensure greater stability
- Different profiles to the diamond stylus
- Cantilever material and profile
- Coil construction and accuracy of the system that winds them
- Magnet materials and magnetic circuit design
The cumulative effect of these improvements will be obvious once you have your new cartridge fitted.
Should I upgrade my drive belt?
On most turntables, the belt that converts the energy from the motor to the sub-platter will be made of rubber. This, like all rubbers, deteriorates over time, losing suppleness and spring as it oxygenates.
This causes timing inconsistencies and fluctuations. So, take a look under your platter for obvious signs of ageing…or if you’ve had the same belt for five years or more, consider a replacement.
This can either be like-for-like or an upgrade. Rega have an improved white belt made from a formula. It is designed to withstand temperature fluctuations and provide greater control than the standard black belt.
Should I upgrade my turntable motor to a 24v motor?
Whilst the 24v motor is now part of the mainstream Rega line-up, older models will have the then-standard AC motor. These had certain limitations.
Therefore, upgrading to the 24v motor alone will offer advantages in terms of speed stability, but it will also allow you to use the separate turntable power supply (TT PSU).
You can tell which one you’ve got by whether your Planar plugs into the wall with a standard plug (AC) or a larger ‘brick’ (24v).
Should I add a TT Power Supply Unit?
By having a dedicated power supply (PSU), you will notice much improved speed stability and control. Also, it will allow you to change speed by using a button rather than having to remove the plinth on your turntable. Not only is this more convenient, but it also reduces the chance of any damage to the platter or motor.
Should I upgrade my turntable mat?
A good turntable mat will insulate the vinyl record from any vibration from the turntable, and vice-versa. This ensures that any vibrations from the record itself don’t affect the performance of the stylus. And whilst it’s doing this it needs to ensure a firm coupling to the record to minimise slip.
Is your Rega Planar Turntable fitted with a standard synthetic mat? If so, it is possible to improve on all these factors by using a mat made of different material whilst also addressing static issues.
There are plenty on the market to choose from, made of a variety of materials such as wool, cork and even leather. Decide yourself by trying a few different options. You can probably be certain that an after-market mat will be better than the one provided with your turntable.
Is Moving Coil better than Moving Magnet?
DNA Audio are firmly of the opinion that Moving Coil (MC) cartridges offer sonic advantages over the Moving Magnet (MM) alternatives. Each moving coil cartridge is a precision piece of engineering it itself. All Rega MC Cartridges are made by hand. As a result, this is a meticulous operation involving many man hours.
Take a look at this video of DNA’s turntable expert Darren Green trying his hand at a recent visit to the Rega factory.
That’s not to say that moving magnet cartridges don’t have their benefits. They tend to be cheaper, easier to fit and more robust. And, they also offer the option of just changing the stylus when it’s worn out. Therefore you don’t have to change the whole cartridge.
However, one of the disadvantages of using a moving magnet cartridge is that the magnets that vibrate in order to produce a current. As a result, they tend to have higher weight/mass compared to a moving coil cartridge. So, this generally means that the stylus can’t move as quickly over the record. Therefore it is less capable of tracking the subtle changes within the groove’s surface. This is where a moving coil cartridge has a performance advantage – picking up more information from the record surface .
Finally. additional product information can be found at the Rega Research site http://www.rega.co.uk/