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ryanston
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Rega RP1 -- Upgrade or Replace?

I have a Rega RP1 turntable that I got as an entrypoint into the wonderful world of vinyl. Now (not surprisingly) I'm hooked, and trying to figure out how to make it better.

I have a couple of options at this point, as I see it.

#1 Upgrade the RP1. I could easily spend $600 (if not more) on the Rega performance pack and a Groove Tracer subplatter ... and that doesn't even include a particularly good stylus.

#2 Bite the bullet and just replace it with something new. I've heard great things about the MusicHall MMF 5.1, and also about the RP3 -- which one I actually get is a subject for another post ;) Obviously it's more money, but I wonder if it's overall more bang for the buck?

I'm leaning towards #2, but any thoughts from the experts would be *greatly* appreciated.

Thanks!
Ryan

bierfeldt
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Easy

Upgrade. The RP1 has some limitations, the biggest is the tonearm. You can add all the upgrades and buy an upgraded cartridge, and it will still fall short of the RP3 or other tables at that level.

The RP3 is fabulous. You will hear a significant improvement vs an RP1, particularly in bass response. The Elys2 is a really good cartridge, the Exact2 is amazing. I have a P3-24 with an Elys2 and an RP3 with an Exact2.

I just bought a second table and found that I am very much used to and prefer Rega's sound. The Music Hall's and ProJect tables sound great but are different. I feel like they have a more balanced, neutral sound which on the surface seems like it would be more appealing. However, the Rega's have an airiness in mids and highs that the Music Hall and ProJects lack.

You have to hear the difference between them to decide what you like better. I spent some time listening to both and although I really, really like the Music Hall tables, I love the Rega's.

Audiolad
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Upgrading Rega Rp1

I also have an RP1, but I had to overcome running new tonearm wire, build a new cardas, add high quality clips that don't break. That said, you don't run out to buy a new turntable once you've done that. The RP1 seems to be a better choice than the new Planar 1 and 2. Those don't give you an adjustable anti-skate. I don't like any of the Rega cartridges, so I went with the Audio Technica AT-150MLx. That is hard to beat in the MM lines. I went from an inexpensive preamp to the Musical Fidelity V-90 which seems to match the AT cartridges. Lastly I upgraded the mat to an Acrylic Black 2MM mat from Hudson HiFi. That really improved the detail of my music, and then I added the Big Ben record stabilizer weight (best for the money). The effect of the mat and weight is the best sound I've ever had, but it requires the top to be open at least an inch. Obviously this is not all required, but this is a cost effective way to improve the sound considerably.

Warning for different carts and thicker acrylic mat. You will need to raise the arm, but using the Rega spacer requires you to completely remove the arm and RCA cable and then re-attach it. I preferred to use nylon spacers 1/4" height 1/2" diameter. You are only required to unscrew the arm on the platter and add the nylon spacers and screw the arm back on (15 minutes), and it does not change the geometry, only the height. Try this on many other brands and it isn't easy to do. This goes for most of the RP series of Rega turntables which use spacers like the RP1.

Motor replacement: If you only replace your motor (Needle Doctor) it's $85. If you improve to the 24 volt wall wart Rega motor it's several hundred from Needle Doctor. I will go with the replacement because the turntable is well made, the tonearm is exceptional with bearings in the arm both vertical and horizontal movement. What I'm saying is you can bring you RP1 into the middle of the Rega pack with upgrades.

Optional stabilizer: Imported from Europe is Nobsound LP Vinyl Turntables Metal Disc Stabilizer Record Weight/Clamp, Amazon (give it a month). This is also a clamp and allows the cover to be closed.

stevenlevel
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Should you up-grade?

I would trade in your current Rega 1 and buy a Rega Planer 3 for $995 - your trade in table. Then decide on a good cartridge like the Denon DL-103 for about $200. I'm currently using a Technics SL-Q2 that's in mint condition with a Denon DL-103 MC cartridge and I love this cartridge. I have tried several other MM and MC over the last 3 years and the DL-103 has won my me over. I know a guy with a $6,000 VPI table and uses the DL-103 with it.
He believes like many others that you can spend a lot more money on a MC cartridge but will get barely any more performance out of it.
Up-grading Rega's can get really expensive as you have already found out doing research. I am currently saving for a Rega Planer 3 or a VPI Scout Jr. at about $1,000. You just can't get enough of a performance bump going with a more expensive table or cartridge. The DL-103r might me worth the extra $100 but going above that I.M.H.O is just over kill.

Most new tables being sold for less than $1,000 simply are not worth buying. I was talked out of spending $500 on a new table and talked into buying the Technics SL-Q2 to get me back into vinyl until I can save up the $1,000.

I know it sounds silly but these Project,U-Turn, and any other new tables in the $500 to $700 price range are simply not good enough for the price they are being sold at. Most lack any real anti-skating control and simply can't post better numbers than my 30+ year old Technics SL-Q2 that has been up-graded with new RCA's and a new ground wire.

I.M.H.O. unless your willing to spend at least $1,000 for a table(with no cartridge) your not going to hear any real sound benefits. Of course others will disagree with my opinion and that's fine. But I have been a budget audiophile since 1980 and nothing has really changed. Stereo is still just stereo and analog still sounds better to me than digital for music playback.

jj208t
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Should you up-grade ?

I just joined and I realize that this comment is late. Maybe someone will find it useful. The only original parts of my RP1 are the dustcover, plinth, on/off switch, and platter bearing well. Everything else was replaced with upgraded parts from Rega and GrooveTracer. If I were in the market today, I would skip the Planar 1 as the Planar 2 gives you a better platter and tonearm for very little extra money. The Planar 3 is the way to go if you plan to add the TT-PSU which I did. For any Rega short of the RP8 or RP10, I would get the GrooveTracer Reference subplatter.

Cheers !
John

Audiolad
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Upgrading the Rega RP1
jj208t wrote:

I just joined and I realize that this comment is late. Maybe someone will find it useful. The only original parts of my RP1 are the dustcover, plinth, on/off switch, and platter bearing well. Everything else was replaced with upgraded parts from Rega and GrooveTracer. If I were in the market today, I would skip the Planar 1 as the Planar 2 gives you a better platter and tonearm for very little extra money. The Planar 3 is the way to go if you plan to add the TT-PSU which I did. For any Rega short of the RP8 or RP10, I would get the GrooveTracer Reference subplatter.

Cheers !
John

I agree with you about upgrading all aspects of the RP1. I happen to like the AC motor over a DC with a wall wart. You can add a speed control to RP1, which you can't to other models. I went with Deep Groove for the stainless steel subplatter with ruby bearing ($108). I bought my 19 mm acrylic platter from England (33rpmengineering) $96 and it is so smooth that I had to touch it to ensure it was spinning. I also bought a low center of gravity counterweight, but that required some replacement of inner tubing 5/8 tube drilled to allow it to slip over the end of the tonearm. Everything requires special thought as to what it accomplishes, but raising the arm with high quality brass washers (1/16") is an easy way to raise the arm. However, it also requires you to use a low center of gravity counter weight. Is it worth it? Yes, because I hold my turntable up against the Planar three because you still need to do some work on it for a bunch more money. Acrylic platters are not all the same. They should be cut and trued with an indent cut for the record label.

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