Question Amps + Speakers to match a Rega RP3 I've just got (+ phono stage clarification Q)

KommanderKeen

Novice Member
I have to apologise firstly because, in this case, I'm the forum person who needs to ask some questions. I promise I do contribute to sound engineering forums where my actual expertise lies.

I've just picked up a Rega RP3 Turntable, with a Rega TTPSU and Rega Fono (I think Mk2 MM). I've ended up with these without much planning because I was able to get them second hand for a nice price.

My first question: I understand that the Rega Fono is the phono stage but is it also the preamp? I'm seeing these words used interchangeably when reading about phono stuff, so it's confusing.

Once that's cleared up, I'm looking for appropriate stereo speakers and amplification that comes to about £800 total.

Given that most 'separate' amplification solutions seem to be more expensive than I can afford I'm assuming I'm looking for an integrated amp(?). And in that case is the Rega Fono even needed?

Home use in a typical 1910 build British house - taller ceilings than new builds, laminate wood floors, in a livingroom / diningroom knocked through to be open plan. Probably listening from about three meters away, speakers either side of the chimney breast. Floor standing, bookshelf (or stand mounted) are fine - whatever might provide the best sound.

I think the best example I can give of what kind of sound I want to achieve is a system that compliments Led Zeppelin records. Energetic and bold rather than well behaved and pristine. Having said that, I do love hearing natural room reverbs on records (Miles Davis - Kind of Blue) and Steve Albini is one of my favourite recording engineers (he makes very natural sounding recordings) - so the speakers shouldn't shun midrange detail. I'd value faithful representation of a record over a hyped EQ curve and added subbass.

Not against looking on eBay for something second hand, although for some reason I seem to feel safer doing that for the amp than I do speakers.

Advice regarding suitable equipment and phono/dac/preamp clarification would be appreciated!
 
Last edited:

lindsayt

Active Member
The Rega Fono - as Googled - has no volume knob on it. Double check by looking at yours. Does it have a volume knob? You need a volume knob in your system. So therefore, yes you do need a "pre-amp" which can either be a stand-alone unit or built into an integrated amp.

For the amplification, a 1965 to 1972 Japanese integrated or 2 channel receiver would be worth trying, if you'd be happy with the chrome styling. They were from a period when they were looking to gain a foothold in the market and were competing on sound quality instead of detrimental specifications like low price, ultra low THD, ultra high power. Due to their age they'd be within budget and will have minimal depreciation from now on. You have a choice of unserviced condition for £10 to £100 or fully serviced from £100 to £500.
They generally came with good MM phono stages. You'd connect your Rega Fono to the Aux sockets on such an amp and you'd compare the Rega against the inbuilt phono section and then use whichever you prefered the sound of.

For speakers you'd love the sound of a classic pair of Altec, EV, JBL type speakers (typically 96+ dbs efficient with 15" bass drivers), but you may well hate the looks and size. If you want something much smaller and more modern looking for your budget go 2nd hand for best sound. If you buy new passives for under £800 they will have tragically bad sound quality (relatively speaking). So bad that I can understand why some people prefer actives when buying new small modern speakers.
 

muljao

Well-known Member
For a simple new choice I could see most being happy with a new Marantz pm6006 and a pair of new q acoustics 3050i. Should come to about 800 and you could demo these easy enough.

If you buy an amp with phono stage you might be able to sell your existing one
 

KommanderKeen

Novice Member
Thanks for the responses. Some interesting ideas in there.

I had come to that conclusion re: the Rega Fono, but it's good to hear I'm on track.

a 1965 to 1972 Japanese integrated or 2 channel receiver
The idea of a vintage unit is interesting but sounds hard to find. What brands am I keeping an eye out for? Are there better places than eBay to look for something so specific?

15" cones are probably too big for my room. They're likely to be about a foot away from a rear wall - so not much room to breath. You're right - I'd probably love them though.

I may well be able to get a Cyrus 6a amp and Bowers and Wilkins 685 s2 speakers from a friend for around £500. I passed on them a few days ago because I hadn't read about either. The Cyrus 6a is reviewed in a manner that suggests it's a bit too well behaved for the quirky, slightly DIY guitar based music I'll be listening to. But the B&W speakers may be suitable. If I can get the speakers for £250 does that seem like they'd be a good purchase? At this price they're not a heavy investment and something I can upgrade at a later date.

I'm asking about the B&W's because it's hard to find a range of reviews for hifi gear that I'm unfamiliar with. Whathifi seems to have cornered the market and whilst I'm sure they do a fair job, it's probably not sensible to base my decisions purely off only their reviews.
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
Though exceeding your budget, it would be hard to do better than this -

Yamaha AS701 Integrated with DAC, 100w/ch, MM Phono - £449 (£600 retail) -

Yamaha AS701 Amplifier with DAC - Superfi

Wharfedale Diamond 240 (2x6.5") Floorstanding - £498/pair (£700/pr retail) -

Wharfedale Diamond 240 Floor Standing Speakers (Pair) - Superfi

EDITED: Corrected Speaker Link.

Scaling back a bit -

Yamaha AS501 Integrated wtih DAC, 85w/ch, MM Phono - £299 (£400 retail) -

Yamaha AS501 Amplifier with DAC - Superfi

Yamaha RN602 Network Receiver, 80w/ch, Network Streaming, DAC, Phono,... £380 (£450 retail) -

Yamaha RN602 Networked Stereo Receiver - Superfi

All very high value amps.

The Yamaha AS501 and the Diamond 240 hit your budget pretty close. (£300 + £500)

The REGA FONO is a pre-amp in the sense that it is a Phono Equalization Pre-Amp, but not in the conventional sense. It simply amplifies and equalizes a Turntable bringing it up to standard Line Level.

The Rega RP3 is a pretty sweet turntable, I'm sure that will do an excellent job of you.

An alternative in speaker, for as long as they last, are the KEF Q700, which are on close out as Kef has introduced the new "Q"-Series.

Kef Q700 Floorstanding (2x6.5") - £499/pr (£999/pr retail) -

KEF Q700 Speakers (Pair) - Superfi

Certainly there are many other components to consider, but these all represent exceptionally high value.

Steve/bluewizard
 
Last edited:

lindsayt

Active Member
KommanderKeen, classic high efficiency EV, Altec, JBL speakers mated 15" bass drivers to high efficiency compression drivers and horns for the upper frequencies - resulting in them sounding lean if pulled right out into the room. These speakers were designed to be used in corners or against the wall. I have mine right against the wall. They don't need room to breath. If you're worried about them working fine in a small space get dual concentrics like Altec 604's. Speakers like these are final destination speakers. You won't find anything better in your local Superfi / Sevenoaks / Richer Sounds type dealers. All you'll find there is speakers that are smaller and look more modern.


On the amplifier front, from 1965 to 1972: Sony, Sansui, Hitachi (who also made fro Realistic), Trio, Akai, Victor / JVC Nivico, Teac, Yamaha, Heathkit, Fisher, Sherwood all produced some very good solid state amps that represent fantastic value for money today. Either original or fully serviced. The choice is yours. Hi-fi Shark and Google are good for sniffing out internet deals. Keep your eyes open at car boot sales, charity shops and pawn shops too. Or go to someone that restores them for a living (although you'll get a better deal by buying off someone who bought off a restoration specialist).
 
Top Bottom