Analog Corner #295: Rega Planar 10 turntable, RB3000 tonearm, Apheta 3 phono cartridge

Lately it seems that the more Rega charges for one of its turntables, the less you get—and from Rega's performance perspective that's a good thing.

While some turntable designs pile on the mass, hoping to tame resonances and better isolate the record from the outside world, Rega has long advocated ultralow-mass designs. What's up with that?

Rega defines a turntable as a "vibration measuring machine." Therefore, they contend—and this is putting it as simply as possible—the lower the mass, the less energy the system can store, only to be later released to confuse and muddy up the sound. Over-damp a turntable and it can sound dull, dead, and lifeless. I've reviewed a few of those.

The only vibration Rega wants to measure is in real time, at the stylus-groove interface, after which it should quickly dissipate.

Only over the last decade or so, as new "space age" materials have been developed, has Rega been able to truly test and fully implement its ideas—as in the now–near-legendary Rega Naiad, a ca-$45,000 ultracompact carbon fiber–based Rega that's not practical to manufacture and so serves more as an auto show "concept car" (footnote 1). Among the Naiad's unusual features is a costly, difficult-to-manufacture, almost friction-free ceramic bearing.

Rega first put its Naiad research to practical use in the Planar 8, reviewed at Analog Planet. Like the Planar 8, the new Planar 10 (or P10) uses for its minimalist plinth a super-lightweight Tancast 8 polyurethane foam core that Rega sandwiches (you could say squeezes) between a very thin, super-rigid, high-pressure laminate.

It's not quite as effective as the carved carbon-fiber plinth Naiad uses, but then neither is the Planar 10's price $45,000! The P10, with RB3000 tonearm but with no cartridge, costs $5695—only $200 more than the older and considerably less revolutionary RP10. With Apheta 3 cartridge, the cost is $6695, which is the same price as the old RP10 with Apheta 2 cartridge.

Rega minimizes mass by leaving the plinth's sandwiched edges exposed. Rega also achieves minimal mass by carving away all material except what's necessary to contain the tonearm, bearing, motor mount, and three feet, which means a great deal of unnecessary and potentially energy-storing real estate has been removed to produce a truly skeletal structure. With that much mass removed, only a super-rigid material could remain viable.


There's not much left, in materials or weight, as I noted when I unpacked it. Rega warns you to handle the plinth carefully lest you dent or crunch an edge, though once it's in place, you are not likely to harm it. The result is an incredibly stiff and rigid structure that Rega's Phil Freeman told me is 30% lighter than the one used on the older RP8. No doubt it's also much lighter than the older RP10.

The new foam laminate is easier to machine, Freeman told me, but making it cosmetically acceptable (a pleasing black color) proved more difficult. He talks about that process in the Planar 8 review/interview cited above.

Like the P8, the P10 sits on three semisoft footers developed for the Planar 6. These incorporate an elastomer called Santoprene, which is said to be sufficiently soft to provide a "sensible" degree of isolation but not so soft that it would damp the turntable; the latter, Freeman told me, would be "really quite bad." The footer construction is a complex molding with many hollow sectional areas contained within. For its size, he says, the foot is remarkably lightweight.


Because the turntable does not have a suspension or isolation system—and because it has ultralow mass—the surface you place it on will have a profound effect on its sonic performance.

For some time now, Rega has incorporated on most of its turntables a pair of structural braces between the platter bearing and the tonearm mount—one on the plinth's top and one below—intended to increase rigidity. To reduce mass, the braces, like the plinth, have cut-away areas. While the Planar 8's brace is made from a phenolic material, the P10's is ceramic on top and phenolic on bottom. Freeman told me that producing, adapting, and perfecting the ceramic top plate took more than a year's work.

Aesthetically, the ceramic material blends well with the new white ceramic platter (the P8's is of a glass laminate) that's similar to the one used on the old RP10. It's made for Rega by a company that makes missile nose cones of the same compressed, fired, and diamond-cut ceramic oxide powder.

Though the platter weighs a relatively light 5lb, its outer-edge mass concentration produces a flywheel effect that's claimed to produce greater speed consistency.

When I wrote about the P8, skeptical AnalogPlanet readers were concerned that the rigid platter bearing/tonearm mount connection would directly transmit motor noise between the two. But using a stethoscope, I found on the P8 and again on the P10 minimal—barely— audible—noise transmittal, not at all different from what was heard elsewhere on the plinth, meaning the added rigidity came with no downside.

The P10 features a new and significantly improved version of a bearing assembly introduced on the P8. The P10 version uses a single-piece aluminum subplatter/hardened tool steel spindle spinning within a custom brass housing. This assembly's subplatter is similar but not identical to the P8's and, according to Rega, represents a complete redesign. It also has a wider diameter top section that accepts the ceramic platter's wider diameter opening, which produces somewhat better coupling and stability.


The means by which the assembly attaches to the plinth is critical for rigidity, as is the assembly's center of gravity, both of which are objects of Rega's intense scrutiny, and both of which can be seen in the cross-sectional photo.

The motor-mounting system is an adaptation of what was developed for the Naiad, though here it's said to be further improved. The 24V, low-vibration motor—each motor is individually tuned to the supplied motor-drive system—mounts from the plinth bottom, which is said to limit vibrational energy transfer to the plinth and to improve rigidity as well as stabilize its position relative to the subplatter, which should result in better speed stability.

Atop the motor, a pair of round belts riding on a dual-grooved, machined aluminum pulley drive the subplatter. Rega's attention to drive-belt material and fabrication is fetishlike: You can see that as well in the above-mentioned video interview. Rega manufactures its own belts instead of buying less costly, higher-tolerance "off the shelf" ones.


Like the P8, the P10 uses a pair of belts made of EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer), newly formulated by a recently retired chemist. Rega claims the new belts provide even better speed consistency than was previously attainable. The material produces a more even stretch and compression.

Eventually, Freeman told me, Rega plans to use various iterations of EPDM belts throughout the line, partly because the material lasts longer but mainly because it performs better.

Footnote 1: You can see it in part five of AnalogPlanet's Rega video factory tour.

Ortofan's picture

... $7K superpack version of the Pro-Ject Signature 10 turntable (which includes the Sumiko Pearwood Celebration II MC phono cartridge) to be competitive with the Rega Planar 10/Apheta 3 combo, if not better?

supamark's picture

is the Behringer of the consumer audio world. I doubt they've had an original thought/idea in the history of the company. Behringer is a semi-pro (aka "pro-sumer" market) audio equipment manufacturer. Like Pro-Ject, everything Behringer makes is a cheap copy (lower in both cost and quality) of someone else's successful gear. Sumiko ain't bad at all, don't know why they distribute Pro-Ject though.

davip's picture

For those that didn't read the Planar 8 review that 'skeptical reader' would be Me, and I've long considered Gandy's lightness/no isolation idee fixee to be questionable (see the stethoscope tests of other Regas that allow you to identify the song being played from the detected plinth vibration), That said, I wasn't concerned entirely with the bracing but whether this aerospace super-duper foam between the 'plinths' acted to absorb vibration in any way -- and it doesn't. I remain unconvinced by your support of this design-model vs. suspended subchassis designs (whose 'porch-glider' effect I have never heard as a predominantly rock-music listener), as allowing 50 Hz motor noise to become superimposed on the music signal is the absolute antithesis of 'high fidelity'. Am I exaggerating? Your quote "...using a stethoscope, I found on the P8 and again on the P10 minimal—barely— audible—noise transmittal, not at all different from what was heard elsewhere on the plinth". Do that test on an LP12 armboard (i.e., that thing that carries the transducer) and you hear silence (see Dudley).

"...minimal—barely— audible—noise transmittal" might have been acceptable when Rega was the purveyor of the 'poor-man's Sondek' for £250 -- it is Not acceptable for a three-and-a-half-grand player with pretensions to greatness.

Wherever I read about Gandy's philosophy, e.g., 'vibration-measuring machines', the interview comments on the Positive Feedback review, he bangs on about not needing a suspension because airborne feedback is "...typically at -140 db" but is completely silent (pun intended) about the far-greater source of noise that is directly attached to the plinth and arm of his now-pricey turntables -- the motor. He was an automotive engineer -- how can he be so unknowing (or blase) about the paramount importance of spurious-vibration isolation in a device that measures vibrations resulting from micron-scale deflections?

This talk-to-the-hand attitude is evident in the contention that "...the lower the mass, the less energy the system can store, only to be later released to confuse and muddy up the sound". What?! Have they changed what we understand in regard to the conservation of energy then? If that energy is not stored, and it is not absorbed (into a lossy suspension) and is not damped (which, Freeman told you, would be "really quite bad"), then where does that motor-vibrational energy go? Similarly, when I read that "...the 24V, low-vibration motor mounts from the plinth bottom, which is said to limit vibrational energy transfer to the plinth", I wonder why I can see the motor attachment bolts protruding through the top plinth in every platterless photo of the Planar 10 and wonder further what difference it would make even if it were true as the tonearm base is also mounted to the plinth bottom.

Apparently the only vibration Rega wants to measure is in real time, at the stylus-groove interface, after which it should quickly dissipate. Great idea -- now they just need to find a company or some engineers who can do that, because the mismatch of what Rega Say and what they Do precludes their ever attaining that ideal.

On a last note, I have often though that the most useful addition to turntable reviewing would be an accelerometer trace on the armboard (or whatever passes for an armboard) with the motor running. If I had every company sending me their TTs for review this is the first thing that I would instigate (usb accelerometer = ~ $200 on Ebay)...

Mushi King's picture

An interesting perspective. But: have you heard one? I have and they are spectacular and I think Fremner’s description of how they sound is on the nail.

volvic's picture

Yes, I thought it sounded quite nice. It was fully tricked out with their top of the line MC. Heard it through the top of the line Rega integrated played through Harbeth speakers. Fantastic sound. My only complaint was than when I was looking at it I mistakenly hit it with my hand and moved the external skeleton on to the plinth and slighly moved it. I can't do that with my tables - they are heavier. I am though a big fan of the older P9 and would get one if I find one in pristine condition.

tnargs's picture

From an engineering standpoint, the philosophy of light, rigid and damped materials for vibration is rock solid (pun). They are indeed the ultimate solution for a TT, if well done.

Can't speak to Rega's implementation, though. Implementation is everything.

The decision on suspension is outside the scope of my comment.


davip's picture

...but it isn't damped, is it, the Rega rep saying that damping (would be "really quite bad"), so the whole lightness and rigidity being an appropriate approach for a TT ('ultimate' or otherwise) is void. Implementation may well be everything, but here it is poorly implemented with the buyer paying handsomely for exotic foam-material that achieves nothing other than to make the TT 30% lighter than its previous iteration. To what end? Balsa wood could do that for a fiver...

tnargs's picture

The Rega rep misled: it is a highly damped material, so nothing is void.

Your balsa wood comment is way off track. It only has one of the three ideal properties.

You are on a bit of a mission to discredit the whole approach. Please don't: it is the ideal engineering solution.

Implementation is the remaining question.


davip's picture

Look, I started this thread to question Rega's long-term design philosophy -- I'm not interested in some bloke from the internet who says that Rega don't understand their own products but he does. Don't be wading into other people's threads and telling them that they shouldn't be asking entirely relevant questions just because You are content with the product and think the design approach ideal. We are not all so readily pleased. Three reviewers, one of whom has joined this thread in support of this issue, have each measured the spurious vibrations produced by Rega's cheaper and most-expensive decks, one of which quoted below for your information:

"...I was curious about the possible side effects of Rega's strategy of connecting the platter bearing, the tonearm mount, and the motor directly to a light, rigid plinth. In the spirit of quasi-science, and with the platter spinning at 331/3rpm I listened to the plinth and the RB330 bearing housing with a stethoscope. The sound of the vibrating motor was shockingly loud. Then, with the phono stage turned off and the Rega playing an LP of Gregorian chant, I held the stethoscope to the plinth. I could make out the words the choir was singing. I couldn't believe it. I tried the stethoscope-on-plinth test on the Roksan Radius 7 turntable ($2500): It was approximately 94% dead silent. The Palmer 2.5 ($9300) was 98% silent. And when I put my 'scope on the armboard of my Linn Sondek LP12 Valhalla, it was the quietest of all. Who would have guessed?"

Now please, go and threadcrap someone else's thread -- I have no further time to waste with fanboys/trolls.

tnargs's picture

I guess you are out of your depth on technical grounds, resorting to name-calling so often in one comment. Not to mention your bullying behaviours.

But all your huffing and puffing can't blow down the brick house that is the engineering reality of vibration minimization through material selection. Nothing changes just by your wishing it so. Lightness is Rightness, as long as it comes with high rigidity and high damping. The Rega plinth material, of a closed cell PUR core laminated top and bottom with rigid thin light layers, ticks all three boxes. Full stop.

But any engineer knows that material selection doesn't design your structure for you -- the implementation still has to be properly engineered. Perhaps Rega haven't got that part right, and perhaps the measurements you quote come from that.

But they chose exactly the right material philosophy for the task. QED. Non-negotiable.

You shouldn't have taken the wrong argument so far without seeking verification of your 'facts'. Now you are boxed into a corner. Backing off is your best option all round, painful though you might find it. Digging in deeper, and nastier, is a really bad idea.


davip's picture

You were ticked-off for wading into threads telling the OP not to ask relevant questions and you return to resort to ad-hominem whilst accusing me of the same. Your posturing 'Full stop ... QED ... Non-negotiable' argumentation is absolutist nonsense -- I don't care about your unstated engineering credentials (I have both a PhD and ScD, so what?) -- the point remains that the vibration implementation that ticks all of your boxes fails empirically, your argument thus groundless, because motor vibration is easily detectable at the interface that bears the arm and transducer -- a detection that an accelerometer would show quantitatively relative to the qualitative observations of Mikey's stethoscope. Vibration-reduction is doable in a number of ways in any solid-structure, but having innate vibration detectable in a record player is dumb design and your cheerleading of its 'philosophy' is nothing more than the confirmation bias of one who has bought-in.

Unless you are prepared to contend in your inevitable next post that having such high-level vibrations in a turntable are acceptable in a top-of-the-range £3.5k model -- in which respect this design is unfit for purpose -- then desist in your trolling -- as already requested. So far all you have contended is that this philosophy is ideal -- when real-world experience shows that it is not.

If you are an engineer, then God help us all -- I studied enough dam-failures in Engineering Geology as an undergraduate to retain a healthy skepticism of all theory-based trumpeting, particularly when deflated by experience, and it's something that I contend with daily in my work as a scientist.

tnargs's picture

I don't own any Rega products, and never have. I just know the engineering of vibration.

Sadly, I'm going to repeat the basics, simply because the truth has to be kept on the table when faced by denialism. Light, rigid, and highly damped is the right approach for the ultimate result. But it's not enough: implementation must be effective. If measured vibrations in specific implementations are not low, then it's in the implementation, not the principle.

I'm surprised, with your asserted (and would I be right to presume non-topical?) PhD and DSc, that you have such a poor attitude to learning, and the above basics haven't sunk in yet. Which part of its-in-the-implementation don't you understand, when repeated 3 times?

Remember: you are the one on a trollish mission here, right from the start, and even before the start in some other Rega report that you boast about derailing with (as it happens) the same wrong conclusion. You are the one with skin in the game, a history to defend. It seems to upset you a lot to discover that your conclusions have been wrong from the start, and your response has been disappointing, but not unexpected on the internet. Your aggression towards me personally, again, is noted, again.

davip's picture

The only 'truth' here is that you have a preferred view, as implicit in your Title that 'Light is Right' and following statement that "...Light, rigid, and highly damped is the right approach for the ultimate result". You cannot have it both ways, presented simultaneously in absolute terms ('light is the right approach, ultimate, etc.') and weasel-words ('actually, it's all in the implementation'). No-one versed in geotechnics, no engineer, nor structural geologist / geophysicist (which I, presumably non-topically to the non-scientist, am) would support such a claim. As damping coefficient is a per-material constant, lack-of-mass ('lightness') is irrelevant, and it is this coefficient rather than damping ratio (which IS mass-dependent) which determines the path of a vibration from source to sink. Indeed, "light" and "highly damped" are very difficult to achieve in tandem, and Rega don't even try -- but then, as already noted, you understand their products better than they do. As a scientist of 30 yrs standing and life-long learning I can afford to take silly assertions regarding my lack of learning in my stride when they come from some internet random. No reader of this thread will 'discover' anything in what you say and I'm only upset by your belief that repetition adds weight to unsubstantiated argument. As your approach to argumentation is an apparent need to always have the last-say I'm done with you. Still, do look up what 'trolling' is in regard to the www viz. OP and respondent.

tnargs's picture

If you think the Rega material is undamped (over and over you say it), and won't listen to an accurate statement that it is highly self-damped, then we can't talk. Some 'Rega rep' gets it totally wrong, and you get completely stuck on the wrong idea.

I do regret my foolhardy initial attempt to increase your knowledge, but since that led immediately to your name-calling and self-aggrandisement, I have since then been posting mainly for the third party reader. It would sadden me to think that any readers who are interested in the truth might be fooled by your posturing and pouting. To those readers: any vibrating structure that is made from a light PUR core with stiff, light skins attached, is inherently highly self-damping. Entertain no debate on this.

Johnnyjajohnny's picture

Davip, I have a Rega and also figured that the motor posed a problem, so I was considering buying another brand with a free-standing motor, e.g. VPI. When I put my ear to the lid of my Rega while the motor is running I also hear the hum, so I figured that this would be destructive to the sound. The VPI's also look really cool I have to admit, whereas the Regas certainly don't look particularly nice (at least up to and including RP6).
However, I think the noise that can easily be heard somehow doesn't get picked up by the cartridge. I say this because I looked up measurements on the British Hifi News website of several other turntables, several of them with freestanding motors. You can find all this information on
Here are some comparisons, ordered by price, and the Technics is regarded as perhaps the most precise turntable of all time:

REGA Planar 2 (£375):
Rumble (silent groove, DIN B wtd): –68.1dB
Rumble (through bearing, DIN B wtd): –69.4dB
Hum & Noise (unwtd, rel. to 5cm/sec): –63.8dB

Acoustic Solid Wood Round MPX (£5950):
Rumble (silent groove, DIN B wtd) –70.9dB (–71.8dB with clamp)
Rumble (through bearing, DIN B wtd) –69.1dB
Hum & Noise (unwtd, rel. to 5cm/sec) –58.1dB

SME Model 12A (£7949):
Rumble (silent groove, DIN B wtd) –71.5dB / –72.7dB (with clamp)
Rumble (through bearing, DIN B wtd) –74.7dB
Hum & Noise (unwtd, rel. to 5cm/sec) –60.1dB

TechDAS Air Force V (£12,500):
Rumble (silent groove, DIN B wtd) –71.3dB (–72.1dB with hold-down)
Rumble (through bearing, DIN B wtd) –72.5dB
Hum & Noise (unwtd, rel. to 5cm/sec) –55.1dB

VPI HW-40 Anniversary (£15,000):
Rumble (silent groove, DIN B wtd) –73.1dB (–72.5dB with weight)
Rumble (through bearing, DIN B wtd) –73.5dB
Hum & Noise (unwtd, rel. to 5cm/sec) –62.0dB

Technics SL-1000R (£20,000):
Rumble (silent groove, DIN B wtd): –74.9dB
Rumble (through bearing, DIN B wtd): –74.1dB
Hum & Noise (unwtd, rel. to 5cm/sec): –59.9dB

TechDAS Air Force III Premium (£28,998):
Rumble (silent groove, DIN B wtd) –68.5dB (–70.8dB with hold-down)
Rumble (through bearing, DIN B wtd) –74.0dB
Hum & Noise (unwtd, rel. to 5cm/sec) –53.1dB

Continuum Obsidian/Viper Turntable/Arm (£49,998):
Rumble (silent groove, DIN B wtd) –70.7dB / –71.4dB (with clamp)
Rumble (through bearing, DIN B wtd) –72.0dB
Hum & Noise (unwtd, rel. to 5cm/sec) –55.6dB

As you can see, there are differences, but especially for hum & noise Rega is one of the quietest ones, which surprised me. The differences in the other figures are not all that great in my opinion.
The noise and hum figures for the Continuum shocked me a bit.
I'm not saying any of this to criticize or disagree with you - it's only information. I was honestly a bit shocked by the findings of Hifi News, as it makes total sense to me that the Rega's motor noise would be picked up by the cartridge, but judging from the measurements it doesn't seem to be the case. So that has saved me up to £50,000 :-).

davip's picture

...I'm always pleased when I can save £50K on something (might enable me to buy a home, for instance!). It is interesting Johnny and your researches bring some interesting observations -- and raise some interesting questions. That is, I wonder exactly "what" is being measured with these rumble measurements, viz motor noise. I think it's reasonable to propose that 'rumble' here is measuring the noise of the ball-races in the majority of these TTs, and by that I mean principally the platter bearing races rather than the motor. When I say "majority" of these TTs there's an element of comparing apples and oranges with (Paul Messenger's?) measurements as the TechDas III has an offboard motor so the rumble can only pertain to the spindle bearing (conduction through the support for both, notwithstanding). Thus I would contend that these measurements, whilst illuminating, don't really allow one to ascertain the noise-component of the motor as this is convolved with the noise of the platter bearing (and further muddied by some TTs having offboard motors yet the same measuring regimen still applying). It's not terribly surprising to read about that pricey Obsidian having such average noise figures as the motor is directly attached to the skeletal plinth despite its absurd price for the engineering offered. It's similarly unsurprising that the Technics does so well in this regard as this is clearly the best platter bearing that Technics can make and as the motor and bearing are one in a DD TT, the overall figure should be the lowest (which it is). To really get a handle on this issue one would need the measurements of the late, lamented Rockport TT which is (was), to the best of my knowledge, the only TT that has a platter bearing that is air-supported in both axial and radial planes (i.e., completely contactless) and whose platter was turned by induction (same again, in this context). This TT should have 'rumble' figures (from whatever source) below the limit of detection and far superior to everything in your list (actually, the Mag-Lev 1 should behave similarly, but its axially-wobbling platter is not yet ready for prime-time [I did propose a possible solution to the maker, but to no reply]).

As an aside, it has often struck me in this motor-noise context that the proliferation of magnetic platter bearings (which emulate much of what comes with an air-bearing without the colossal engineering, fiscal, and maintenance cost) are a missed audiophile opportunity to go direct drive and get the best of all worlds. For instance, the ceramic magnetic bearing from Clearaudio is widely regarded as a great upgrade for every TT it is fitted to for obvious reasons, yet Clearaudio still have a little few-100-rpm belt-drive motor buzzing away in their solid plinths (all the way up to the silly-money Statement). Why? Or, rather, why not simply fit a stator to the platter/upper-half of that magnetic bearing and rotate the platter directly in the way that Technics and every DD TT manufacturer does, the difference being that with a magnetic bearing there is no ball-bearing noise. Think of that -- no motor noise and no platter noise (because there are no ball-bearings anywhere) that all the colossal air compressers and outboard motors seek to address by other means -- this would approximate the 'holy-grail' of TT design and would do it for a few-100 bucks (the cost of Clearaudio's CMB, extended to become a direct-induction motor).

Anyway I ramble. I sure wish someone would pick the DD-magnetic bearing idea up though -- Rockport performance for beer-money, and no more need for suspended subchassis', tuned motors, compressors and all the rest of it.

Well, Clearaudio?


Herb Reichert's picture

bench-testing turntables (and tonearms, and cartridges). An accelerometer trace with the motor running taken from the armboard and the spindle-bearing-platter assembly would be at least as meaningful as any speed test.



Bogolu Haranath's picture

I'm waiting for all those people who say, 'measurements don't mean anything, listening impressions are the ones that matter', to post their comments :-) .......

JHL's picture

I've never once heard or seen a remark even close to that. I have, however, seen countless projections like "all those people who say 'measurements don't mean anything'".

Bogolu Haranath's picture

I have seen comments like 'objectivity has no useful place in audio. It is far too subjective' :-) ........

JHL's picture

To be meaningful, you'll first have to define what objectivity is.

In another ostensibly science-based forum a poster attacked a fellow who had the temerity to talk about how he found the sound of a speaker, speakers commonly being the component with the most distortion and therefore, the largest variation, design to design. The inquisitor took for granted that there was no language with which to describe sound, sound being wordless. He decided to pick a fight over this rank assumption he'd made, not just of the technology, but of the stuff between his target's ears.

Or something. Reason completely escaped the conversation, such as it was.

Our objectivist never said a word about either *his* sound or his experience, leaving the onlooker to naturally conclude that all sound must then be identically unspeakable at the same time as reams and reams of blather has been invested in demanding that sound is endlessly varied. Just as long as you don't talk about it. Or listen to it. In the same circle.

Somehow this constitutes logic to the armchair scientist. So how shall we define objectivity, Bogolu, and how shall we apply a measurement to it, exactly?

Bogolu Haranath's picture

How do you define 'subjectivity'? ....... Whose 'subjectivity'? ....... Is there a standard/guide lines to judge that 'subjectivity'? :-) .......

JHL's picture

...obviously. Subjectivity is experiencing the thing without condition. Sensorily.

How will you apply the presumed rigor of the objective datum, Bogolu?

Bogolu Haranath's picture

So, you say, ignore the usual standardized measurements of audio equipment and choose whatever sounds good to you :-) .......

JHL's picture

...deflection would be your question-begging. The relevant point you've left unaddressed.

PS: you began this thread with a false characterization. It's not surprising that we end it with your trying to make it stick.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

What is that 'relevant' point? :-) .......

Bogolu Haranath's picture

My original comment did not mention your name :-) .......

Anton's picture

If you were able to have that same table without the motor noise, would you be apt to choose that?

I know we can't choose everything, but for the sake of argument, I would wager most objectvists or subjectivists would choose the table without the extraneous noise.

So, maybe something for Rega to shoot for.

(If I had a need for a table right now, I admit this baby would be high on my list to audition, so the 'noise issue' is not off-putting to me, but may be for others.)

JHL's picture'd chose the low noise design. The question becomes; is that global uniformity possible, and even in the unlikely event it is, what predictive value do we draw from the noise specification, including when audibility thresholds - and even preferences - are a subjective, human endeavor?

One of objectivism's many sticking points is application, which is to say, interpretation and technological prediction. Data we have no end of.

tnargs's picture

I just want to pick up on your comment about the variation in the sound of speakers, claiming that the sound varies the most for them because they have the highest distortion. It is common for experts to say that distortion is largely inaudible in speakers above a certain level of competence, and the variation in how they sound is dominated by a number of other factors.


JHL's picture

The common claim is that since speakers have the most distortion they are the only component with a sound. The parallel claim - equally wrong - is that a "properly designed" amplifier has no sound, where properly designed is left undefined.

These are common assumptions. They're both wrong, although in popular audio they can pass for truths because of the average level of acuity.

In those same circles it's also common to damn subjective opinion, which I find to be a subjective demand, just as subjective as the demand that amplifiers can't have a sound or that only speakers will have a sound. That was my point.

As for what we hear in a speaker, we hear everything it's doing, distortion or otherwise.

CG's picture

Couldn't you just examine the electrical spectral output of the phono cartridge running in a "nude" (no recorded sound) non-progressive groove? Or, look at the sideband spectrum of a pure tone in a non-progressive groove?

I mean, if the whole table shakes like a paint stirring machine when playing a record but the stylus stays constantly positioned to the groove, does it matter? (Not likely - just an example.)

Merely asking...

davip's picture

Absolutely -- cheap to do and such measurement of intrinsic noise perhaps the most meaningful one that one could make of a device that is nothing more than a motor turning a slab. Perhaps band-limiting the measurement could serve to isolate the motor contribution from bearing noise? In answer to the following comment I think that it has to be an accelerometer as testing with a blank-groove would require deconvolving vinyl noise from the output (as well as using the same disc, cartridge, pre-amp, etc.)

Ecl876's picture

Have you owned a Rega or heard one in a decent set up?

davip's picture

...and I posted here to question the Rega design philosophy, not to be interrogated by some random on the interweb.

Since you ask, I heard my first Rega probably before you were born in direct comparison with an LP12, a JBE Slate, and an STD 305M (the last of which I bought). Now, as then, I found the Rega to be the inferior TT. I have heard the Planar 8 at Audio T, and found it to be brash and unsubtle -- very much akin to CD-sound and the polar-opposite of the liquid sound of a good suspended TT.

As a general comment (i.e., not to this busybody correspondent), if Linn had spent the last 40 years of TT refinement by making that balanced, compressive suspension a hung one (i.e., springs under tension) then they could have preserved their march in analogue-audiophilia. Instead, they chose to go the gouging route of charging £1000s for bits of machined aluminium and fancy power-supplies whilst leaving their turntable one that required the ministrations of an audio-priest to get (and keep) on-song. Their loss, and the poor-cousin Rega has now filled that void while leaving their budget (i.e., non-isolated) model unchanged.

JHL's picture the dawn of audiophile tabledom, I listened to literally every design and model on the market, most in multiple setups. My experience mirrors yours.

Mushi King's picture

Thank you for posting your answer to the question. Your opinion is interesting and I’ve heard the same description of the Rega sound from other people who aren’t a fan. My belief is that Rega higher end decks add so little coloration or warming of the sound that some people hear it as harsh in comparison to what they have heard on other (usually more massive) decks. Bad recordings can sound harsh or thin. Good recordings sound sublime. All personal taste of course but that’s what my assessment is having heard various decks (I own an RP10 and love it).

JHL's picture

One of the top values back in the day, if not the top value, was the Mapleknoll air bearing. A proto Eminent Technology linear air bearing arm and a air-floated heavy platter. Lots of lead and wood made the whole contraption acoustically thick as a brick, and there was no suspension.

For whatever reason, it had enormous spaciousness and a fantastic ability to extract fine musical detail. Whether it had the color, drive, and vividness could be questioned, but it had the openness of the Sondeks and other suspended designs, that and more.

Part of the enormous cubic sound stage was probably the linear arm's tracking, but one got the strong sense that it was the isolation of the moving parts and the sheer inertness of the thing that brought out the corners of the space and that lovely sense of acoustic liquidity and slickness. It was the opposite end of the spectrum from dynamics-forward sound of a light system.

I suspect isolation is key, and with it, inertness. This table had both, although isolation not from the suspension forward, rather from the two interfaces forward, the arm and the platter.

Ecl876's picture

Got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning? I simply asked if you heard a Rega. Why does this qualify me as a “busybody”? I think it was a pertinent question. Maybe I’m crazy, but your response seems a bit vitriolic, no?

Anton's picture

I am current on the RP 8 stable and have also heard that ultra-fancy Naiad and they sounded fine.

All had been meticulously set up on good isolating stands, so I can only comment on the table/table combinations, so to speak.

Regarding plinth noise, perhaps Rega did that so it would please people who are into idler arm drive tables who like that added noise. Perhaps trying to steal business from the Garrad 301/401 and Lenco crowd?

(Pot stirring.)

AaronGarrett's picture

I was wondering about this. Is the ideal an isolating stand, like a wall shelf (or two one with the motor, one with the tt) or a live stand that further dissipates energy generated by the turntable?

BKinTheBK's picture

If I recall, the dealer who set up my RP6 many years ago said that a stand that further dissipates the energy generated by the TT is preferable vs. a heavy duty rack. I haven't tested the theory though.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Recommended reading ....... HR wrote an article 'Audio Precision measurements' on Inner/Fidelity website :-) .........

wtt-24-7.bld's picture

As a Rega P9 owner and Well Tempered Turntable user( 90’s version) I have concluded that the implementation of an outboard motor is a far better idea than adding a secondary electronic box to manipulate the ac frequency to quell vibrations . Good thing for the used market as a nice WTT or VPi could be had for about third of the cost of this new P10 with money left for a pretty amazing cartridge.

stereophilereader's picture

... and agree with you ;)

davip's picture

Rarely does a thread produce such near-uniformity of opinion. It seems that there's general agreement that TT motor noise is undesirable, that sprung suspensions or massy isolation are good -- if differing -- ways of addressing the problem, and that a systematic and objective measure of that noise, say by accelerometer, is a desirable addition to the reviewer's armament (with one reviewer wading in in-support). All of which leaves Rega in the same bind that I originally started this dialogue for -- what ever is the point of Gandy's strive to make his TTs as feather-light as possible given that it throws the documented noisiness of his designs into such stark relief? This is indeed something for Rega to "think about", but as long as the uncritical buy-in to this racy euphony there will be no financial imperative for them to do so. Making an un-isolated TT as light as possible makes as much sense as making a tweeter as heavy as possible (i.e., no sense at all).

If some people like this sound then I have no quarrel with them, just as I have no beef with those who find CD audio immeasurably superior (another pun intended) to vinyl. However, if the motor noise on this £3k TT is "...barely audible" with a stethoscope then you can bet that it will be plenty obvious with an accelerometer, and a standardised measurement of all TTs reviewed in AnalogPlanet and Stereophile would really sort the TT men from the boys. I can see nothing more important than this in subjective/objective TT assessment, as a platter rotating at the correct speed with sufficient mass or motor-torque to nullify stylus-drag should really have no 'sound' of its own -- that they all patently do have a sound I would respectfully suggest is down to the varying degrees of success in isolating the transducer from the internal source of noise. This piggybacked noise-component may be the source of so much floweriness in subjective TT appraisal, and its removal inasmuch as is possible may narrow the subjective/objective gap debated within this thread and bring greater certainty to buying / auditioning decisions made on reviewer recommendations.

Like another poster here, I have found nothing to touch a well-executed suspended TT in SQ terms -- I am not, however, willing to support Linn's gouging-with-no-reengineering model or Rega's ass-backwards one. With the Phonosophie P3 gone, Thorens now purveyors of MDF lifestyle TTs at their previous affordable price-bracket, and the SOTA Sapphire needing to be flown half-way around the world to hear, there is real need for properly-isolated TTs and it won't happen if motor noise continues to be unaddressed (the Gyrodek is so close to this ideal, but sprung and plinthless makes playing records a house-of-cards type exercise). People isolate their CD players, amplifiers, and even speaker cables for all the good this will do them, so why do we continue to tolerate motors strapped to the same surface as the transducer in TTs (e.g., Opera's WTL, Pro-Ject, MoFi, Rega, etc. etc. -- even Roksan, about whose new Vertere I raised similar questions: )?

So Mikey, accelerometers. Are you up for it?

barryb's picture

Asking in earnest - I recall in a UK publication that the previous iteration RP10 measured in the same realm as a Technics DD in respect of bearing rumble, unwanted noise etc. Figures respectively in the -70db for rumble, unwanted noise in the - 60db. I'd assumed - obvious value proposition/disparity notwithstanding - that Rega had implemented another means to the same end goal that was good enough for the medium concerned?

davip's picture

...wasn't it Paul Messenger's rather rave review (the magazine escapes me -- HiFi Critic?). I don't know how PM measures bearing noise etc, but as a general comment (and one equally in earnest) does matching the spurious noise of a direct-drive turntable -- where the motor is the bearing itself -- really imply sufficiency in the way that you suggest? I'm sure that the Linn is plenty noisy if you put the stethoscope on the plinth itself, but the point of the suspension is that it decouples the arm and cartridge from that plinth -- removing motor noise (if not bearing noise) from the equation. Having everything bolted to the same surface, whether Rega or direct-drive, cannot be a good thing in a 'vibration-measuring machine'...

Michael Fremer's picture

Generally sound relatively soft and mushy, though quiet.

Mazzy's picture

Unless I am mistaken there is a typo in the specs section on the Price line. You list this table as an RP10 when it should say P10

hemingway's picture

This has already been said but I want to second the idea of measuring turntables in stereophile, by JA or otherwise. I would also love to see frequency response graphs of cartridges under review, e.g. HiFi News reviews.

davip's picture

One Stereophile reviewer and increasing numbers of posters are asking for this same thing -- accelerometer-testing of TTs. Whether or not the magazine will go for this is unclear as there is every reason to believe that much/perhaps all of the perceived sound-quality 'differences' between one TT and another are down entirely to resistance to intrinsic (motor-produced) vibration. As such, a magazine might see such testing as impacting their subjective bread-and-butter, but anyone interested in advancing understanding of such differences would jump at this. Perhaps such testing might also finally put-to-bed the squawking from the uncredentialled Rega fanboys/shills/trolls who can't or won't understand why a vibrating motor attached directly to the plinth of a 'vibration-measuring machine' is (and always will be) a Bad Idea

MidwestAudioGuy's picture

The first car I owned was a 1984 Rabbit GTI, which was one of Car and Driver's 10 Best in that year. When you measured that car on its 0-60 acceleration, or its braking ability, or its maximum g-force, you would conclude it was a horrible car. In terms of reliability and quality, I might even agree. However that Rabbit GTI is the only car I ever owned that made we want to get out and drive. It always put a smile on my face. The setup of the suspension, steering, and wheels (a complex combination to get just right) made winding roads so exhilarating and fun. The car was never a speed demon, but the manual transmission had the gear ratios tuned so perfectly that you could get nice punchy acceleration in the 20-50 mph band that is what you really needed on a winding road. That is why David E. Davis, one of the great automotive journalists of all times said,"If this car does not make you want to drive, you must live where all the fun is."

My first turntable was a Rega Planar 2 from 1981 purchased new from Lyric Hi-Fi when they had a store in White Plains, NY. I used that turntable for 39 years enjoying all the albums I played even through the CD craze. Over the years, I upgraded the tonearm with an RB300 from Victor's in Chicago and added an Exact cartridge. Recently, I finally bought a Planar 6. It is a better table in almost every way. I recently digitized an album from a high school performance using the PS Audio Nuwave Phono Converter. It was a badly recorded album with the recording volume way too soft. I had to turn the gain up all the way which helped to emphasize the background noise of the needle and the turntable. I used VinylStudio to eliminate most of that noise. With headphones on and the volume turned up you can definitely hear the needle tracing the grove in the pianissimo sections of an acappela choir. There is zero motor noise you can hear. None.

Just like the Rabbit GTI, you can measure what you want. But I'm sure you don't buy a turntable to put a stethoscope on it for hours at a time, just like you don't buy a car to spend days at a test track seeing how fast you can get to 60mph.

Still not convinced? If you've not watched the movie Ford vs. Ferrari it is a great one. As the Ford team lead by Shelby was trying to improve their car to compete at Le Mans, they ripped out all the measuring test equipment from the car that Ford had put in it because none of it matters. Instead used tape and string to measure the airflow over the car using binoculars. That, and the drivers feel is what got that car into winning shape.

Music, like driving a great car, is subjective. You can measure all you want but how does your turntable sound, or car handle, when you're in the seat? Mazda calls this Jinba Ittai. What they mean is when the car and driver feel like one. It literally means when the horse and rider feel as one.

That provides this segue to one last thought. All of you with your accelerators and stethoscopes should avoid trying to put together a winning Kentucky Derby team. You'll be too busy measuring the horse's muscle mass. Power to weight ratio. Fast twitch muscle ability. In the end it is about the right match of the horse and the rider and trainer. Getting that right is more about feel. Seabiscuit lost his first 17 races until the right trainer came along. Then he became one of the best race horses of all time.

Stop measuring things that don't matter much and start doing what you're supposed to do, sit on your couch and listen to the music. If it sounds good to you, that is all that matters. Perhaps the only exception to this is for any of you with a full time job of designing turntables for a living. Your reward will be how well they sell. That is a measure of success.

Michael Fremer's picture

With you on this....

Ladokguy1's picture

Mr. Fremer I was glad to read that you considered the original Apheta a "coarse, bright, miserable-sounding" device, because that's what I heard when I first bought my RP10 years ago that came with the Apheta. My first thoughts were that I can't hear, or it wasn't set up right, or it was defective, or needed more breaking in, but no...I kept hearing it as miserable. Then I read your review and I figured, that at least makes two of us and I'm in good company. The dealer was nice enough to let me trade up to a Benz Ruby-Z and wow, I've been in analog heaven since then. You said in your review of the new P10 that you planned to audition it with some other cartridges (besides the supplied Apheta 3), and I was wondering if you had done that. There are so many great cartridges out there now, if there's anything you are aware of that would mate well with the P10, I'd love to hear about it. Or perhaps someone else on this thread can chime in.

ejlif's picture

Or can you play with your own. Nearly impossible to find this out. I searched every picture and googled every way imaginable. Can someone answer this?