Rega Planar 10 in da house

Discussion in 'Vinyl Nutjob World: Turntable and Related Gear' started by Puma Cat, Oct 21, 2020.

  1. Puma Cat

    Puma Cat Almost "Made"

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    I just received the new Rega Planar 10 from the Sound Organisation today for review in TAS.

    The packing was excellent, fully 60% of the shipping weight was packing materials, I would estimate, and the turntable and power supply were triple-boxed.

    The turntable itself was in the upper box, the external power supply in the lower box. Opening it up shows the Planar 10's skeletal "plinth", RB3000 arm and main bearing/subplatter assembly. The TOTL Rega Apheta moving coil cartridge is pre-instealed. Cake.

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    The ceramic platter and counterweight for the tonearm is underneath the EPS foam packing for the turntable.

    Setting up the turmtable was as simple as setting it on the audio rack, placing the ceramic platter and felt mat on the subplatter, installing the tonearm counterweight, connecting the power cable to the external power supply and connecting the tonearm's interconnect cables to my Bob's Device's step up transformer (which was connected to my EAR 324 phono stage's MM input stage). I leveled the arm with the counterweight, dialed in 2 g of tracking force, and was good to go.

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    I would estimate the set-up time took all of...10 minutes? Here it is playing some Celedonio Romero on a Mercury LIving Presence LP.

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    I'm still bedding in the cartirdge as it is brand-new, however, some first impressions;

    Very accurate and detailed reproduction with excellent pitch stability, natural tonality with deep and wide soundstage. Imaging places the musicians "in the room" assuming effective room acoustics management and sufficiently low power noise floor without restriction of dymanic transient current delivery. DEAD quiet with virtually no discernible or audible wow, flutter, or rumble. Fully "fleshed out" without being overly rich or warm. GOBS of detail but not etched, strident, or edgy. Resolution, bass articulation and definition, and vocals and instrument "body" are superb. A neutral, three-dimensional, stable and solid presentation with spot-on timbral accurcy and "weight" of voices and instruments.

    In a word? FABULOUS.

    Tomorrow when I have some light, I'll post some pics of the external, two-speed power supply and the Planar 10's platter.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2020
  2. Decomo

    Decomo Facebook Friend

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    Awesome deck with beautiful tonearm. Looks stunning!
     
  3. supertransformingdhruv

    supertransformingdhruv Almost "Made"

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    What a genuinely gorgeous piece of gear. I'm curious how the motor is set up-- it looks like it's belt driven, but the motor's on the plinth just below the platter. Definitely looks sleek, but how does that work? Is the silver/white part totally separated from the black frame?

    Have fun!
     
  4. Puma Cat

    Puma Cat Almost "Made"

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    Hi supertransformingdhruv,
    The motor is mounted isolated in the skeletal plinth and it's pullley connects with two belts of a new design that are ground with extreme precision for uniform "roundness" over its length and circumference. The belts are made of EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) and provide even better speed consistency than previously attainable. The material produces a more even stretch and compression.

    The ceramic platter is simply placed on top of the subplatter. The motor's power cable is a locking XLR type that connects to the external "never connected to the AC mains" type of linear power supply (Linn, Michell, and other use this approach, as well). This prevents any speed variance from variation in the AC mains frequency, something which could plague earlier-generation Regas from many years ago (e.g. my original Planar 3 from 1980), I'll post some detail shots of the motor, subplatter, and external LPS later today.

    The motor-mounting system was adapted from the design from their £40,000 statement Naiad, a 24V, low-vibration motor, and mounts from the plinth bottom and is tuned to the motor drive system by hand. The intention here is to limit vibrational energy transfer from the motor to the plinth. This improves rigidity as well as stabilizing its position relative to the subplatter and provides better speed stability.

    [​IMG]

    The belts connect to the subplatter which utilizes a completely new and improved main beaing design based of the earlier P8. The bearing's center of gravity is scrupulously monitored during assemby and its mounting into the plinth.

    [​IMG]

    The new RB3000 arm is Rega's latest SOTA and TOTL production tonearm (not counting the bespoke tonearm on their statement 40,000 GBP Naiad TT). Rega paid special attention to the manufacturing accuracy and precision of the bearing housings and spindles tolerances (e.g., "roundness" and "parallelity"), and after 3 years of R&D, they've found a new manufacturing process that improves all of these characteristics, obtaining bearing tolerances at the µM scale. The RB3000 is the first Rega arm to benefit from these improvements.

    Here's a closeup pic of the arm.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2020
  5. Inoculator

    Inoculator Friend

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    Gorgeous deck. I have gotten the chance to go listen to one of these at my local shop, and I have always been blown away. For sure on my "maybe someday" list. Excited to hear extended impressions, especially if you have heard other tables up in this tier.
     
  6. Puma Cat

    Puma Cat Almost "Made"

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    Hi Inoculator,
    Yes, the design and execution are impressive. What's remarkable for deck at this performance level is how quickly and easily you can set it up, just taking out of the shipping box.

    I'm still bedding in the Apheta cart, but I listened all last night and thoroughly enjoyed myself. The Apheta MC cart is superb with outstanding detail, weight, body, top end, bass, soundstage. All good stuff but still early days. it's also exceptionally neutral, and just gets out of the way of the music.

    For the review, I'll be comparing it to my personal Michell Gyro SE with SME V arm and Koetsu Urushi Vermiliion moving coil cart.

    [​IMG]

    Brief Digression:
    FWIW, I also owned a Rega P5 in Cherry for about 6 years. I had a Sumiko Pearwood Celebration II MC cart on it, and for a deck that was a fraction of the price of the Michell, I would say it provided 80% of the performance. So, if you're interested in moving up to an upscale Rega, do not overlook nice clean used examples in the P5, P6, or P8 range, as the latter two have been superceded by new "Planar" models.

    [​IMG]

    Setting up the Pearwood with my German-made Uni-Protractor
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    The Pearwood installed....lovely cart.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2020
  7. Biodegraded

    Biodegraded Friend

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    Sorry, can't help myself, going to evilly feed your nervosa: I see the Apheta is mounted by 3 bolts into the headshell, meaning its alignment will be Rega's preferred one - which if I'm not out of date remains 'almost Stevenson'. Are you tempted to change that to whatever you've been using previously?
     
  8. Puma Cat

    Puma Cat Almost "Made"

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    Maybe, don't know yet. I can remove the front bolt and use different approaches, e.g. Baerwold, a true Stevenson or Löfgren A, if I want to play around with that because the other two bolts sit in a slotted headshell. Here's a tracking distortion plot with the various geometries with the Planar 10 and RB3000. The Rega "modified Stevenson" geometry places the second, innermost "null" point in the unmodulated area near the label, but with more distortion over the record's modulated area.
    So..I may try a Löfgren A setup. Or not. The Planar 10 sounds great as it is, and I'm firmly in the "If it's not broken, don't fix it" school.
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    The Rega setup is supposed to be good for classical music and I would presume older jazz LPs, and I have a lot of both of those, so I may leave well-enough alone. The main reason I have a turntable is I have a lot of LPs from when I first got into high-end audio 40 years ago, and a lot of these records are simply not on digital sources.
     
  9. Puma Cat

    Puma Cat Almost "Made"

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    Here are some additional photos I took this morning. The first shows the skeletal plinth which is very light but stiff. The cross brace with holes is ceramic on top and phenolic on the bottom of the Tancast 8 laminate plinth and ties the main platter bearing to the tonearm bearing with maximal rigidity so they function as a single, very stiff unit.

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    A photo showing the ceramic platter on the subplatter. There are little nibs machined into the edge of the subplatter (looking closely at the photo above) so that only a very small portion of the ceramic platter actually rests on the subplatter. The subplatter is very, very hard and quite heavy and is manufactured so that most of the mass as it at the outer edge of the platter to provide a flywheel effect for speed stability.

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    A finally, a shot showing the thin felt mat that is a hallmark of Rega 'tables.
    [​IMG]
     
  10. Metro

    Metro Friend

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    Not mentioned so far, so I looked it up:
    US prices for Rega Planar 10 are $5,700 (no cartridge), $6,700 (with Apheta 3), $9,700 (with Aphelion 2)
     
  11. Puma Cat

    Puma Cat Almost "Made"

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    Yes, and the Apheta 3 cartridge is a bargain at approx $1K over the base Planar 10 price w/o cartridge.

    The Planar 10 is expensive, but it punches way above its price class; my other deck, my Michell/SME V/Koetsu Urushi Vermilion would cost approximately $15K if I were to purchase it new today (except you can't buy an SME V by itself anymore), and the Planar 10 is fully competitive with it with respect to audio quality.
     

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