Is Rega IO capable to provide audible improvements with P1 vs P2 vs P3?

moujik

Member
I am upgrading my system and recently bought Rega IO.
I have Pro-Ject Debut II with phono, so I can't use Rega IO's phono stage and
Mission 702E speakers.

I already like the improved sound over old NAD C340 and feel like Rega IO deserves better..

I wonder how far in Rega TT line IO can go? And how much of an improvement Planars can be over my Pro-ject.

I am aiming at P2 but can go up or down..

Thanks!
 
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Ugg10

Distinguished Member
I’m not familiar with your turntable but does it have a built int phono stage giving a line level out put or is is a separate box. Most turntables with built in phono stages have a switch to turns it back to phono level output (cartridge raw output), this may be on the rear, side or underneath. If it does then you can turn this to phono, not line, and use the Rega phono input. Worth having a good luck to see.

If it has a separate phono box then you can bypass this and use the Rega phono input.

Is it this model - Debut RecordMaster II – Pro-Ject Audio Systems if so there is a switch on the side of the connection box underneath that changes it from phono to line level output. https://www.project-audio.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Debut_RecordMaster_II-Manual.pdf
 
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moujik

Member
I’m not familiar with your turntable but does it have a built int phono stage giving a line level out put or is is a separate box. Most turntables with built in phono stages have a switch to turns it back to phono level output (cartridge raw output), this may be on the rear, side or underneath. If it does then you can turn this to phono, not line, and use the Rega phono input. Worth having a good luck to see.

If it has a separate phono box then you can bypass this and use the Rega phono input.

Is it this model - Debut RecordMaster II – Pro-Ject Audio Systems if so there is a switch on the side of the connection box underneath that changes it from phono to line level output. https://www.project-audio.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Debut_RecordMaster_II-Manual.pdf
Phono stage box is attached underneath TT and there's no switch unfortunately..

It's a 20+ yo budget version with Ortofon OMB 5E cartridge
 
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D

Deleted member 824153

Guest
The Io is a cracking little amp and shares the same phono stage as its big brother, the Brio. Rega’s latest P1 is an excellent budget turntable and I’d think you’d notice a difference over your older Project, although, if you’ve looked after your Project a good service might restore it.
The P2 is marginally better than the P1: build quality is better, the platter is better and it has the RB220 arm rather than than the RB110 arm on the P1. They both use the Rega Carbon cartridge which is good but very much an entry level cartridge. However, you need to get to a dealer and listen to the options yourself.
 
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moujik

Member
The Io is a cracking little amp and shares the same phono stage as its big brother, the Brio. Rega’s latest P1 is an excellent budget turntable and I’d think you’d notice a difference over your older Project, although, if you’ve looked after your Project a good service might restore it.
The P2 is marginally better than the P1: build quality is better, the platter is better and it has the RB220 arm rather than than the RB110 arm on the P1. They both use the Rega Carbon cartridge which is good but very much an entry level cartridge. However, you need to get to a dealer and listen to the options yourself.
So do you think pairing Rega IO with P3 is a stretch?
 
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acgingersnaps

Well-known Member
Hi. The most cost effective way of upgrading your turntable sound, would be to upgrade that cart. You could get a massive upgrade for far less money than changing the whole deck. You have a buget cart that would be easy to better.
In my experience, speakers. Room correction and cart/stylus are the only things that can significantly change your sound. Most other things are marginal.
 
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oscroft

Member
My feel is that the P1 is a great starter turntable at a very good price, but the RB110 arm with fixed bias/anti-skating is limiting as it can make it hard to try alternative cartridges which might need different bias.

The P2 has the RB220 arm, but until late-ish in 2020 that also had no bias control. Current versions do have it, so if you buy one be sure it's the new one - I wouldn't be at all surprised if even some dealers still have old models. I would never buy an arm with fixed bias, and I think Rega made a stupid design decision with the early RB220, but thankfully it's rectified now.

But the general thought seems to be that the next best bang-for-the-buck model up the scale, after the P1, is the P3. It has an RB330 arm, heavier platter, bracing on the plinth (I retro-fitted a brace to my old P3 and I was surprised that it made a difference). It's also compatible with the Neo power supply for a possible future upgrade - that's another upgrade I've done, and again I was pleased with the improvement.

And yes, I think it would pair nicely with the IO, which is an excellent little amp. I suggest you get a Rega dealer to give you a demo of the P2 and P3 with an IO.

Or, as acgingersnaps suggests, try a cartridge upgrade as an intermediate step. I agree it could make a noticeable difference. If you get a decent cartridge that would also work well on a Rega, you could migrate it later if you do choose that path. I wouldn't say, though, that a turntable upgrade is necessarily marginal. It will probably make marginal tonal difference if any (which is where the room/speaker thing comes in big), but it can significantly improve resolution and imaging. Some people are driven by tonality, others (like me) chase resolution and transparency.
 
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moujik

Member
Hi. The most cost effective way of upgrading your turntable sound, would be to upgrade that cart. You could get a massive upgrade for far less money than changing the whole deck. You have a buget cart that would be easy to better.
In my experience, speakers. Room correction and cart/stylus are the only things that can significantly change your sound. Most other things are marginal.
Thanks for advice! Though I imagine it will be hard to find a cartridge that will be both within my tonearm capabilities and good enough for a future Rega upgrade.
My feel is that the P1 is a great starter turntable at a very good price, but the RB110 arm with fixed bias/anti-skating is limiting as it can make it hard to try alternative cartridges which might need different bias.

The P2 has the RB220 arm, but until late-ish in 2020 that also had no bias control. Current versions do have it, so if you buy one be sure it's the new one - I wouldn't be at all surprised if even some dealers still have old models. I would never buy an arm with fixed bias, and I think Rega made a stupid design decision with the early RB220, but thankfully it's rectified now.

But the general thought seems to be that the next best bang-for-the-buck model up the scale, after the P1, is the P3. It has an RB330 arm, heavier platter, bracing on the plinth (I retro-fitted a brace to my old P3 and I was surprised that it made a difference). It's also compatible with the Neo power supply for a possible future upgrade - that's another upgrade I've done, and again I was pleased with the improvement.

And yes, I think it would pair nicely with the IO, which is an excellent little amp. I suggest you get a Rega dealer to give you a demo of the P2 and P3 with an IO.

Or, as acgingersnaps suggests, try a cartridge upgrade as an intermediate step. I agree it could make a noticeable difference. If you get a decent cartridge that would also work well on a Rega, you could migrate it later if you do choose that path. I wouldn't say, though, that a turntable upgrade is necessarily marginal. It will probably make marginal tonal difference if any (which is where the room/speaker thing comes in big), but it can significantly improve resolution and imaging. Some people are driven by tonality, others (like me) chase resolution and transparency.
Thanks! I will demo P2 and P3.. Not sure if I'll be able to demo alternative cartridges though.. Curious about Audio Technica AT-VM95SH now I read up more :)
 
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oscroft

Member
Thanks! I will demo P2 and P3.. Not sure if I'll be able to demo alternative cartridges though.. Curious about Audio Technica AT-VM95SH now I read up more :)
Yes, that seems like an exceptional cartridge for the price. But the AT-VM95ML seems to get more love around here. Same body, but with a Microlinear (ML) stylus rather than Shibata (SH), a bit cheaper, longer stylus life, and really not much between the two in performance - different rather than either being necessarily better.
 
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acgingersnaps

Well-known Member
Thanks for advice! Though I imagine it will be hard to find a cartridge that will be both within my tonearm capabilities and good enough for a future Rega upgrade.
You'd be surprised. Either the AT-VM95ML or Nagaoka MP110 would be noticable improvements that don't break the bank. Both are used with a broad spectrum of turntables, from the cheaper end to the expensive.
 
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moujik

Member
You'd be surprised. Either the AT-VM95ML or Nagaoka MP110 would be noticable improvements that don't break the bank. Both are used with a broad spectrum of turntables, from the cheaper end to the expensive.
From what I could hear on YT clips, I like ML more than MP110, which is exciting but not as detailed.. and I prefer SH to ML for extra air..
I really like Rega Exact, but it's so much more expensive..
 
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acgingersnaps

Well-known Member
From what I could hear on YT clips, I like ML more than MP110, which is exciting but not as detailed.. and I prefer SH to ML for extra air..
I really like Rega Exact, but it's so much more expensive..
I'd take digitised YT clips of analogue carts with a pinch of salt.
I think you'd be happy with any of them. They're all far superior to your existing cart.
 
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BT Bob

Distinguished Member
I really like Rega Exact, but it's so much more expensive..
I think Rega cartridges are at their best value when bought "bundled" with a TT. So the P3/Exact is a superb combination when bought together. The Exact, when bought separately, faces a LOT of stiff competition in its price band. So if you really fancy the Exact, it'll be best value on the P3 from new (effectively £70 cheaper).
 
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oscroft

Member
From what I could hear on YT clips, I like ML more than MP110, which is exciting but not as detailed.. and I prefer SH to ML for extra air..
I really like Rega Exact, but it's so much more expensive..
When it comes to YT clips, acgingersnaps is far more polite than me with "pinch of salt"! ;)

Seriously, YT clips are less than useless. What you're hearing is the combination of the YT person's turntable and electronics, including their computer sound card and sampling software (or whatever A to D converter they're using), then whatever nasties YT and the interwebs do to the sound on the way, and finally whatever your own computer (or phone) does to it when it gets it. I've never heard a YT clip sound anything like as good as my audio system playing a source directly, even when they feature systems way better than mine.

As one example, I have an Ortofon Super OM30 cartridge. I've also heard a YT clip of the same cartridge (compared to an OM40), and it sounded nothing like mine in real life. It sounded like I was listening to a cheap radio rather than a half decent audio system - resolution gone, imaging gone, dynamics gone. (The YT in question did offer downloads of the lossless files, but even then it just didn't sound like my OM30).

No, the only way to find out what a cartridge sounds like is to listen to it in real life (and I'd say that about any analogue equipment, in fact).
 
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Ascotbilly

Well-known Member
Great thread guys, I’m thinking of an upgrade similar to @moujik
So this is useful stuff

@oscroft - I currently have a rebadged RP1 (Nad) and struggling with demos at the moment. What sort of step improvement am I likely to see with the RP2 & RP3 - My amps a Rega Brio with Fono MkII
 
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oscroft

Member
Great thread guys, I’m thinking of an upgrade similar to @moujik
So this is useful stuff

@oscroft - I currently have a rebadged RP1 (Nad) and struggling with demos at the moment. What sort of step improvement am I likely to see with the RP2 & RP3 - My amps a Rega Brio with Fono MkII
I haven't listended to an RP1. I have listened to RP2 and RP3, but in very different systems and at different times (and they were not current models). Not having done any direct comparisons with current models, I'd be very hesitant to tell you what I'd expect - certainly in any quantifiable way. Demos might be hard to arrange these days, but I think they're the only way you can get an idea of what to expect - I would definitely wait until they become a possibility.
 
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Ascotbilly

Well-known Member
@oscroft : Many thanks I tend to agree it’s down to demo. I’m in no hurry it’ll happen eventually Tbh I haven’t played my system hardly over the summer as the room it’s in is being used as a dumping ground wholst other diy jobs are on the go
 
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moujik

Member
Update:
I demoed P1, P2 and P3 with Rega IO and my Bayerdynamic DT770 and random Elacs..
I was surprised that P1 sounded very similar to my cheap Pro-Ject Debut..
P2 sounded much more open, which is not emphasized enough.. everyone just jumps over P2 straight to P3..
P3 sounded even better. Elys 2 delivers much more detail, but leaves you with impression that every carefully presented note can be filled with more punch..
P3 with Exact showed impressive control of fast complicated drums and sounded more raw, but I was really surprised I couldn't hear any more detail than Elys 2.

Outcome:
I think I'm going with P3 with Elys 2, as I cannot demo AT-VM95ML or others..
I wonder if P2 with Elys 2 would be enough :)

Thanks again for all the help!
 
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moujik

Member
Rega stopped shipping P3s with Elys 2. Does anyone know anything about it, time frame etc.?

Otherwise I'll have to purchase AT-VM95SH 'deaf' and put it on P3.. I've listened to some hi-res samples and prefer it to ML.. I like how mid lows are more resonant on SH.
 
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moujik

Member
Update #2:
I bought a Rega P3 and had the shop to put on AT-VM95SH that I bought separately.

I love the airiness and the detail, but bass is lacking a bit.

A surprising thing is that adjusting the tracking force within recommended 1.8 to 2.2 does not change the sound at all :)

Maybe I should try the enhancer?
 
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acgingersnaps

Well-known Member
Update #2:
I bought a Rega P3 and had the shop to put on AT-VM95SH that I bought separately.

I love the airiness and the detail, but bass is lacking a bit.

A surprising thing is that adjusting the tracking force within recommended 1.8 to 2.2 does not change the sound at all :)

Maybe I should try the enhancer?
Hi. How long have you given the cart? They're one of the few hifi items which I actually believe need a bit of break in time.
Another possibility is that you're confusing tighter, more acurate bass for a lack of it. This is very common as you move up the quality ladder, but lots of people find it better after they've adjusted to it. Just a thought. Might be wrong.
 
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moujik

Member
Hi. How long have you given the cart? They're one of the few hifi items which I actually believe need a bit of break in time.
Another possibility is that you're confusing tighter, more acurate bass for a lack of it. This is very common as you move up the quality ladder, but lots of people find it better after they've adjusted to it. Just a thought. Might be wrong.
I did give the cartridge a day when I wrote it. This will be my first week-end when I can have another proper go :)
I appreciate the bass is tighter, which I like, but you can't deny the fact that it's 'mixed' lower, excuse the pun.
I had a bright system before with Marantz CD player, and I lived with it.. )

In my headphones Elys 2 didn't sound too dissimilar to AT-VM95SH, just saying it because many claim Elys 2 is overpriced on its own.

What's the mystery with tracking force? Maybe I should buy a scale to check if it gets set to what it says..
 
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acgingersnaps

Well-known Member
I did give the cartridge a day when I wrote it. This will be my first week-end when I can have another proper go :)
I appreciate the bass is tighter, which I like, but you can't deny the fact that it's 'mixed' lower, excuse the pun.
I had a bright system before with Marantz CD player, and I lived with it.. )

In my headphones Elys 2 didn't sound too dissimilar to AT-VM95SH, just saying it because many claim Elys 2 is overpriced on its own.

What's the mystery with tracking force? Maybe I should buy a scale to check if it gets set to what it says..
You need far more than a day for your cart to settle in and your ears to adjust (although i don't know how revealing or not the rest of your kit is). I'd definitely give it quite a bit more time.
Re the alignment, if you don't have a little electronic stylus weight and a protractor, i would get both. Essential.
 
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