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Siji Jabbar
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Rega Planar 3 vs E.A.T. Prelude?

Hi folks,

I'm new to this forum, so I apologise in advance if this question is in the wrong section or has been asked before.

Does anyone here have any direct experience with the E.A.T. Prelude? The industry reviews are all positive, but I’d like to hear some real world impressions.

I was initially set on buying a Rega Planar 3, but have been wondering since stumbling upon the Prelude if the extra cost of the latter would be justifiable, and in what respect. My budget for a turntable does not stretch beyond the Prelude.

I mostly listen to jazz, but I also like classical music, hip hop, afrobeat and old school soul. My rock listening is basically limited to Hendrix.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts.

Cheers,

Siji

Old Audiophile
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U. R. in the right place!

I've not heard the E.A.T. Prelude but have spent serious critical listening time with the Rega P3, set up with an Ortofon Blue, played with a McIntosh MA5200, Luxman (forget model number but comparable to the MAC) and Focal Aria 936. I can assure you that was one hell of a wonderful experience! On the same day, in a different shop, I also did serious seat time listening to a Marantz TT-15S1 with it's very good bundled ClearAudio cartridge, played through a Musical Fidelity M6si and Paradigm Prestige 85F. That was an equally outstanding experience! ClearAudio makes that turntable for Marantz. The E.A.T. Prelude comes bundled with the Ortofon Red, which is a good cartridge. However, I would encourage you to consider getting it with the Ortofon Blue, instead. In your budget range, if possible, you should try listening to ClearAudio offerings, as well as Music Hall, Mobile Fidelity StudioDeck and Project, all very good turntables. Keep in mind that the phono stage you will be using for whatever turntable you choose will have a significant impact on sound quality or performance. As such, if you plan auditions, definitely insist that the components used in those auditions (including speakers) be as similar to yours, as possible, and bring some of your records. Essentially, you should try to replicate your home's sound room conditions, as closely as possible, for fair evaluation. You probably already know this but, for what it's worth, you should have a very stable surface for the turntable. Please let us know what you ultimately choose and why. Always curious and always good to hear perspectives and analysis. Good luck!

Siji Jabbar
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Rega Planar 3 vs E.A.T. Prelude

Thanks for your thoughts and suggestions, Old Audiophile. Makes perfect sense to get the dealers I visit to try to replicate the setup the turntable is destined for and the conditions of my room.

E.A.T. only have one distributor in the Netherlands, unfortunately, and they’re located nowhere near me. But if the feedback points to the Prelude being worth the time and effort, I guess I’ll have to make the journey to check it out.

The Prelude is already a stretch for me, budget-wise, so the Clearaudio Concept and Mobile Fidelity StudioDeck are definitely out of my reach. My nearest Music Hall distributor is in Germany, so can’t add that to the list, I’m afraid. I’m not especially keen on taking the gamble to order a deck sight unseen.

Thanks again for taking the time to respond. Let’s see if anyone else has any thoughts.

Cheers!

Old Audiophile
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MOST WELCOME!

You are most welcome, Siji! Had no idea you were in the Netherlands. Otherwise, I would have refined my deck suggestions. Couldn't agree with you more about personally auditioning gear before purchase whenever possible, especially for expensive gear. I'll offer this as more grist for the mill, so to speak. Rega is a major proponent of ultra low mass design turntables. The P3 you are considering weighs only 11 lbs. or 4.98951607 kg. Half of that is probably the platter. It also comes with a felt matt, a static electricity invitation and potential disaster for cartridge styli coming into contact with that. If you go Rega, I would recommend you get a different matt (e.g. leather; cork; rubber; etc.). Due to this deck's extremely low mass, you will need a very solid, rigid surface to place it on; something that is virtually impervious to vibration. The Prelude is heavier, at 8 kg, and very highly reviewed, as you are aware. However, all the reviews I've read indicate the the Ortofon Red, which is a very good cartridge, doesn't do it justice. Since you'll be spending a fair amount on this purchase, I would encourage you to do some serious bargaining to see if you could get the Ortofon Blue thrown in as a package deal or, possibly, at a good discount. If you ultimately do go with the Blue for either deck, I would also encourage you to have the dealer set it up for y unless you are very experienced at this and have the tools to do this

Siji Jabbar
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Leaning towards the Rega

Thanks for the additional tips and advice, Old Audiophile! I have indeed read elsewhere that Rega turntables are sensitive to unwanted vibrations, and that unsuspended turntables in general tend to take on the sonic characteristics of the surface they’re place on. So I’ve added the Rega wall bracket to my list. I think I’m pretty much decided, actually, on the choice between the Rega and the E.A.T. Prelude. I’m sure the latter’s a wonderful deck, but demoing and shopping locally seems wise for reasons beyond mere convenience, and my nearest Rega dealer is just 15 minutes away by bike. Thus, unless my imminent demo proves a disappointment, it’s going to be the Planar 3. And if the stock mat proves wanting, I’ll research the most favourable alternative. Plan to get a Milty Zerostat 3 too. I’ll keep you posted.

Old Audiophile
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COOL!

Shopping for new toys is so much fun! For the sake of brevity, I'll assume you are not new to vinyl and are already cognizant of the fact that records require proper care & maintenance to sound their very best. If you don't already have a good carbon fiber record brush, get one. You should also use a good stylus cleaner, as well, something like an "Onzow Zero Dust", which is very easy, safe and quick to use. A record cleaner, in my view, is indispensable. A "Spin-Clean" or "Knosti" would be a cost-effective approach and much less laborious than cleaning records by hand. Personally, I swear by the ultrasonic or cavitation method but those machines are, generally, very expensive. For a much more cost-effective solution in this realm, check out the "CleanerVinyl" ultrasonic record cleaning site. I'd, also, consider using a good record clamp like a "Michell" or something like that. I prefer clamps over record weights, simply because I don't see the sense in putting additional stress on a turntable's bearings. If you decide to invest in one of these, make sure you get the proper size for your turntable's spindle. Finally, I'll leave you with this. If you haven't already done so, spend some time reading what Michael Fremer has to offer on "Analog Planet" and here, too, at "Stereophile". May music always be with you, my friend! Stay well and stay healthy!

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