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Vinyl Asylum: REVIEW: Rega Planar 2 Turntables by Ross

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REVIEW: Rega Planar 2 Turntables

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Model: Planar 2
Category: Turntables
Suggested Retail Price: 399
Description: Basic Rega TT, RB250 Arm, Signet AT30s cartridge
Manufacturer URL: Rega

Review by Ross on February 20, 2012 at 16:22:19
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for the Planar 2

Thanks to craigslist, I picked up a Rega Planar 2 with a Signet AT30s cartridge already installed, however it was missing a counterweight. Luckily I have a NIB RB300 from which I can pull a counterweight.

Got it home and inspected everything. Looks like it could use a new belt, (and probably new bearing oil), but otherwise everything is in order. I installed the counterweight, checked alignment, set tracking force to 1.5g and started to listen. (Lee Morgan The Cooker / Al Stewart Year of the Cat / Joe Jackson I’m The Man / Queen A Night At The Opera / Telarc 1812). The Rega replaced a Linn LP12-Ittok-AT33-KK SUT combo. Rest of the system was the same (CJ PV5 / updated Heath W4 monoblocks / Triangle Titus 202 / Heath crossover / Mac 2100 sub amp / AR3a speakers used as subs).

The Good

Having grown up an owner of several DUAL TTs and having listened to many Japanese decks belonging to friends, I could immediately understand why the P2 and P3 were so popular. Good bass (sometimes prominent) and treble extension, nice soundstage, decent background. Overall sonic presentation is much more refined than a typical Dual or low-mid level Japanese DD machine. Images were very stable. The table has the compound Rega isolation feet, which did their job. I had the TT mounted on a wall shelf. Taping lightly on the plinth yielded a sonic result. Loudly tapping on the shelf underneath was completely isolated from the table. Listening to the Rega was a relaxing experience.

The Bad

While there was a nice stereo spread in front of me, the image strained to extend beyond my speakers. Bass was not deep, but was strong and at times prominent. Transient response was less than stellar. Musical notes tended to merge together. It was sometimes difficult to pick out individual voices among several singers. Very little sense of depth. Noise floor higher than I am used to and record surface noise was more prominent than I expected. If I were to translate what I heard into a picture, it would be a watercolor copy of the original.

I know this review reads like it is negative, but as I stated, I now understand why these tables are popular. Listening to this TT is a relaxing experience because the resolution is not sufficient for you to pick out all of the details that you hear from better TT combo. As a result you stop trying and sit back to listen to music.

The cartridge surprised me. Excellent tracker with good bass and treble extension. There were –0- problems tracking the massed bells or cannon fire contained in the Telarc 1812. Whoever paired this cartridge with the table knew what they were doing.

I will get a new belt, change out the oil and investigate tweaking because I suspect better sound can be pulled from this table. However, I think the ultimate sonic ceiling may not be that high.

I will be participating in a record show/fair in about a month and this will be a good TT to bring with me. I will probably use it with a NAD 3020 integrated amp and small Acoustic Energy speakers. Should be a nice sounding combo. Another use could be to transcribe vinyl to digital.

Product Weakness: Narrow soundstage, indistinct transient response, lack of depth, prominent surface noise.
Product Strengths: Relaxing. Stable images. Good bass. Upgrade from Dual / Japanese DD

Associated Equipment for this Review:

Amplifier: Heath W4 monoblocks
Preamplifier (or None if Integrated): Conrad Johnson PV5
Sources (CDP/Turntable): TT
Speakers: Triangle Titus 202 / AR3a (as subs)
Cables/Interconnects: Audioquest GSnake
Music Used (Genre/Selections): Jazz and Rock
Time Period/Length of Audition: Several hours
Other (Power Conditioner etc.): Heathkit Electronic Crossover / Isobar AC Extension Box
Type of Audition/Review: Product Owner

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Topic - REVIEW: Rega Planar 2 Turntables - Ross 16:22:18 02/20/12 ( 5)