New to vinyl, considering Rega Planar 3...

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by scarface1981, Dec 31, 2011.

  1. scarface1981

    scarface1981
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    I've been into HiFi for many years but have not ever quite made the jump into vinyl. I have a CD setup that I'm very happy with, and I'm looking for a turntable that will pair well with my amp/speakers. My current system is:

    Quad 405 mk 2 w/ Quad 34
    KEF 104 a/b
    (currently fed by Arcam rDac/DVD setup)

    I'm happy with this as a setup and am looking to pair a turntable with this that will provide a similar level of performance.

    Having taken advice from a friend who has a lot of experience with HiFi vinyl, he suggested a Linn LP12, however time spent on eBay suggests I won't get one for what would be in my budget, I'd prefer not to get much above the £2-300 mark.

    Reading the posts on here, the Rega Planar3 sounds like it might be about right, but as it is significantly cheaper than the LP12, I don't know how well it will pair with my system.

    Any thoughts would be much appreciated! New or second hand turntable alternative suggestions welcome.
     
  2. Alan Mac

    Alan Mac
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    You write that you are very happy with your Compact Disc (CD) set-up.

    My advice would be to avoid vinyl records, shellac records, wax cylinders and even cassette tape, unless you have an existing collection or an interest in the history of recorded sound.


    Alan
     
  3. simon ess

    simon ess
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    Advice that I, for one, very happily ignore :)

    The Rega is reckoned by many to be an excellent TT for the price.

    I recently bought an old Thorens TD150 ii for £50. A service and a new cart and stylus later, it's fantastic. Can't compare it with a Rega, but it's lightyears ahead of my Project Debut 3.

    The Thorens is very similar to an early LP12.

    The Project is in the same sort of price bracket as the Rega, but many seem to prefer the Rega. I've not heard one.
     
  4. Tannoyman

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    Hi

    The Rega Planar 3 is a well tried and respected if rather boring deck (in terms of it's appearance not fuctionality)

    However given your obvious liking for vintage kit it would be nice to consider designs that would fit in age wise. One that comes to mind would be the Garrard 401 with SME arm. This combination is capable of extremely good performance including bone crunching bass. This might be a little beyond your budget as it may cost around £500 without cartridge, so perhaps vintage Thorens decks like the TD125 which can be found more cheaply Thorens arm. Also worth considering are the Ariston RD80 or RD110. These are very similar to the Linn (and were also made in Scotland!) in terms of design and quality but tend to be much cheaper because they are not widely appreciated or publicised.

    One caveat with vintage gear is that repairs and spares may not be easy to obtain so some prior research might be advisable

    Hope this is helpful

    Kind regards

    Tannoyman:thumbsup:



     
  5. scarface1981

    scarface1981
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    Thanks very for the advice Simon and Tannoyman, it's a helpful start.

    I am more concerned about sound than looks if I'm honest, so it sounds to me like the Rega option would be a solid choice as I can't afford the LP12 or Garrard 401 (both out of my budget).

    I am however interested in the other options - certainly the Ariston's if they are even vaguely comparable to the LP12! Are we talking a small difference in sound quality or significant? Would you recommend one above the other?

    I have heard good things about the TD160 (not much about the TD150, not sure if there is a significant difference in quality), but I don't know much about it as a deck. I'd be very interested in any deck that might be fairly budget but could be significantly improved with a decent cartridge addition - any thoughts?

    Thanks for your help so far!
     
  6. Tannoyman

    Tannoyman
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    Hi Scarface

    I had a Linn Lingo with Ittok arm for 21 years and loved it to bits. The Ariston SL110 I ran for 5 years and whilst I never did a side by side comparison I think the Ariston with good set up (always vital) would run it close but at a much cheaper price. I would guess that you would pay less than £120 for the Ariston. They were often paired with the SME 3009 arm so you may see one with this arm already fitted.

    The Thorens TD150 and 160 were middle of the road decks in their time and both were well regarded. The top of the range alonside the 150 was the TD125 which was a great deck with a built in strobe light. It not only worked very well it was also very pretty (to my eyes) It too was often paired with the SME arm but it would probably be cheaper with Thorens own arm which is quite reasonable. However condition is everything with vintage kit so I would suggest that you should if possble see (and hear) before you buy.

    On the subject of cartridges you do not have to spend a fortune. There are good ones avialble at relatively modest prices such as the Shure M95 at c. £80 or the Grado Prestige Gold at c£130 both are MM's and both are good. If you have a bit more cash the Goldring 1042 at c.£200 is a gem with lively powerful sound ,great detail and good bass.

    One of the beauties of vinyl is that there is superb material avaliable that cannot be obtained on CD, particularly records from the golden age of vinyl (1958-65 ish)

    Hope this is helpful

    Kind regards

    Tannoyman :)

     
  7. Mr Pig

    Mr Pig
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    Small.

    It depends on the LP12 in question but the Ariston RB11/RD11s sounds virtually identical to an early Linn LP12. The arm and cartridge will make a bigger difference. I had an Ariston in the house with a Rega RB250 arm on it which sounded miles better than an LP12 with a Linn Basik LVX Plus arm.

    These old decks are not junk. They're well made and deliver. Take care what you buy though as you can end up spending more than you might like getting it working ok and sounding good.

    The Planer3 is a safe bet. It will not sound as good as a well sorted RD11 or a decent thorns etc but importantly it is good enough to sound fine through your system. I'd say it was a minimum standard for you, if you use a poorer deck your system will probably rip it up. A lot of the quality comes from the RB series arms, which are frankly astonishing.
     
  8. scarface1981

    scarface1981
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    Ok, sounds like there are a number of options out there! I think I'll have to check out eBay and see what comes up over the next few weeks. The Ariston and Thorens decks sound like they could be great if I can pick one up with a good arm, then maybe replace the cartridge with a new one.

    What are the pros and cons of the RB and SME arms you both mentioned in terms of musicality?
     
  9. Mr Pig

    Mr Pig
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    I'd buy locally so that you can check them out etc. Take your time as not all old decks are great, they made rubbish back in the old days too.

    I don't know much about SME arms at all. Some are better than others but they're all ok. I can't see past Rega arms to be honest. They are simple, great sounding and virtually indestructible. With a few tweaks they can mix it with the best so I can't think of a reason not to buy one.
     
  10. Tannoyman

    Tannoyman
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    Hi Scarface

    The RB arms are boring but more versatile with modern cartridges. The SME 3009 S2 was very good but only really suitable for high compliance cartridges like the Shures & Goldrings that is why SME launched the Series V. I recently learned that the tooling for the Series V arm cost £1m in 1986. No prizes for guessing why most 'new' arms these days are based on the Regas.

    One great thing with the SME's is that SME will still repair any arm they ever made and it will come back like new. I had the rare priviledge of visiting their factory recently which was simply stunning. Others talk of quality - in the Marketing Dept mainly! SME practise quality. They twin themselves with Rolex for exchange factory visits.

    Happy hunting

    Kind regards

    Tannoyman

     
  11. Mr Pig

    Mr Pig
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    This is all very terrific but how much does a Series V cost exactly? It's like someone asking for a cheap, reliable watch and recommending a Rolex! ;0)

    It's pointless talking about SME. The newer arms are too expensive and the older ones are too quirky, and still too expensive! Why people pay over the odds for them I don't know. It's just the name I guess. Just as they could buy a cheaper modern watch that will tell the time perfectly well.

    I think that 'boring' is a bit unfair. Grey or neutral would be a more accurate way of describing stock Rega arms I think and it's not a bad thing. You can get your turntable to sound any way you like by choosing the cartridge etc to suit. If the arm has a very strong character, like the Linn Ittok I used to have, you can't get around it no matter what you do. The Regas work much better, which is why they decimated the tonearm market when they were released and are the best selling arms of all time. Unless you've got a fairly Hi-End deck it is simply obtuse not to use a Rega. And in fact many Hi-End decks still use a Rega because they're good enough for it!

    So meanwhile, back at the ranch ;0)
     
  12. scarface1981

    scarface1981
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    Thanks guys, I really appreciate the discussion, it's very useful. Any suggestions of places to look for turntables other than eBay? I've been fortunate with the kit I've bought from there in the past, but it sounds like buying a deck unheard might be a bad idea.
     
  13. scarface1981

    scarface1981
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    Oh, one other thing, looking at the Thorens turntables on eBay, there are a fair few 150/160 decks going for not much money (£20/30) - I'm thinking that getting one of these in mechanically sound condition and then adding a Rega arm and a good cartridge could be a good way to get a very good sounding deck within my budget. Any thoughts?
     
  14. Tannoyman

    Tannoyman
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    Hi Mr Pig

    When I said boring I meant boring because they are so ubiquitous. Very few makers outside the serious hi end develop new original tonearms anymore. I would bet that 3 out of 4 arms sold now are either pure Rega or Rega derived.

    In terms of sound quality you are quite right about the Regas, they are good.

    To pick up your other point. Yes SME products are expensive but the reason the people pay for them is because they are a purchase that last a lifetime and will perform as well or better than anything on the market. You would perhaps be better placed to comment on this when you have experienced their better products firsthand and seen how they are made. Seriously - it is not hype. SME kit is beautifully made and sounds gorgeous but as an SME owner perhaps I could be accused of bias. Unusually in hi end (dreadful trerm) hi fi they are expensive not because of obscene margins but because they cost a lot to make.

    It takes 1 month to assemble a Series V arm so that all of the stresses in the metal parts can be allowed to equalise after assembly before final adjustments can be made.

    I bought my first SME arm, an 3009 II Improved in 1971 which I ran with a Shure V15 II carttridge (an almost de rigeur combination in those days) Garrard 401 deck in an SME 2000 plinth system. Ahhh nostalgia's not what it used to be! I have been an music nut for a very long time - how sad is that!

    However if you were to suggest that hi end kit is poor value I would totally agree. I am incensed when I hear of an amplifier manufacturer (who shall remain nameless) saying that he could not priovide well made decently designed casework for a £120k amplifier unless he charged more money!!! What an a..e

    Kind regards

    Tannoyman



     
  15. Mr Pig

    Mr Pig
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    Yes, that would be fine. They are good turntables. The other similar one is the Ariston RD11 and RD11S. They are all very similar to an early Linn LP12.

    It's not so much wanting to hear it, more wanting to see what sort of condition it's in. You're better buying a deck with an arm on it if possible as they'll usually sell for less than they do separately. When buying consider any cartridge fitted as worthless. Often sellers sellers want to bump the price up if it's got a nice cartridge on it but if the stylus is worn out it's scrap no matter how good it once was.

    The Thorns 150/160 are very small decks designed for quite short arms. If you fit a longer arm like a Rega it can foul the lid in use. You can fit the deck into a bigger plinth later and not use a lid etc but something to be aware of. The Ariston is bigger, it's close to the size of an LP12.

    Ariston RD11 with an LP12 armboard:

    [​IMG]

    You can actually fit the RD11 into an LP12 plinth.

    Ariston RD11S:

    [​IMG]

    Another deck worth considering is a Goldring/Lenco GL75:

    [​IMG]

    Ok as standard but with modification you can fit a Rega arm on it and fit it into another plinth:

    [​IMG]

    Here's one with a Naim Aro on it, that's a very good arm and gives you an idea of the quality of the deck:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2012
  16. Mr Pig

    Mr Pig
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    Sure, I know they are well made but that's why the Rega arms are better value. Rega managed to make a cast arm-tube before SME did, they were the first to manage it. They kept the price down by using cheap plastic mouldings where it didn't matter, like the arm-rest etc, but used a cast arm-tube and very high quality bearings.

    All of the parts on an SME V are very high quality so yes, it's a top-quality arm but it's also over budget!
     
  17. formbypc

    formbypc
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    Gumtree and/or classified adverts in your local area? If the seller is local, they may offer you a listening session before purchase.
     
  18. Mr Pig

    Mr Pig
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    Just to let you see, this is the inside of an early Linn LP12:

    [​IMG]

    THIS is the inside of an Ariston RD11:

    [​IMG]
     
  19. simon ess

    simon ess
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    Very interesting!

    Thanks Mr Pig.
     
  20. scarface1981

    scarface1981
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  21. steveledzep

    steveledzep
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    I'm no expert, but it looks like a later version of the Ariston TT. Being later doesn't mean it's better though ! Probably isn't as good as the original design Mr P took a shot of. I used to have an early Thorens TD150 many years ago and they were designed on a similar principle to the Ariston and LP12. I don't recognise the arm on the one you link to, may be an Acos ? Others on here will certainly know what it is.
     
  22. Mr Pig

    Mr Pig
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    I've never seen one of those before! As it's an RD11 I assume that most of the workings under there are the same but with electronic speed change added. The armboard arrangement looks the same as the RD11S.

    It's probably a decent deck. If you got it for £100 I think it would be worth it, assuming it's in good condition etc. Arm doesn't look too great though, that would put me off as it'll cost you to replace it.
     
  23. scarface1981

    scarface1981
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    I was thinking of offering less than it's going for on the grounds that I'll have to replace the arm with a Rega or similar, and will need a cartridge. So all in all it looks likely to be around the £300 mark.
     
  24. Mr Pig

    Mr Pig
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    Yeah, thereabouts I think. Too expensive. The thing is, it's a quirky deck. The original RD11 is a lot simpler so it's much easier to do stuff to. Very simple motor and power supply. With this one if you get a issue in that speed control system and you could have problems.

    It doesn't even look that great cosmetically, I'd let it slide. Just keep looking :0)

    There was a guy put an RD11 up on eBay a few weeks ago. He'd put it in an LP12 plinth with a Linn armboard so it looked exactly like an LP12. It was in really nice condition and had a Rega RB250 on it but no lid. He was asking for £200, it was worth it all day long, but he didn't get it!
     
  25. scarface1981

    scarface1981
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    So not worth the hassle to get it sorted? Or not worth £300? I was including the cost of a new cartridge in there too.
     
  26. Tannoyman

    Tannoyman
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    I think Mr Pig is quite right. Condition is key with secondhand equipment and particualy secondhand vintage equipment. Things that look poor from a distance seldom look better close up. The philosophy should always be "if in doubt don't" As my old Dad used to say "there are at least as good fish left in the sea as ever came out of it".

    Some thing good is bound to come up if you keep looking.

    Hope this is helpful

    Kind regards

    Tannoyman :thumbsdow

     
  27. Mr Pig

    Mr Pig
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    Well, a bit of both I suppose.

    It's not that it's not worth £300. Once sorted it will be better than anything else you could buy new for that money, a lot better. It's more that you should be able to buy a much nicer looking deck that will sound just as good for less money.

    The cost is not the most important thing though. You're going to be looking at this thing for years God willing and if it's tatty it's just going to annoy you. More to the point, because of the way it's made there won't be much you can do about it. The original RD11 is much simpler and it is quite easy to tidy them up. Many people make or buy new plinths and armboards for them and they look terrific. You can polish the platter to a very high shine too, takes about an hour with some Duraglit.

    So I don't think this is a bad turntable, or poor value. I just think you can do much better.
     
  28. scarface1981

    scarface1981
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    Ok, thanks guys. I'll keep looking.
     
  29. scarface1981

    scarface1981
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  30. Mr Pig

    Mr Pig
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    No, it's a little later but it's not rubbish, it's still a decent turntable. If in good condition and cheap it could be a good buy. Anything around or under £100 would be good value.

    Personally I wouldn't buy it because of the arm. Linn's Basik arms are just that. They're not that great and nowhere near as good as a Rega. They're also much more fragile. I would want to check the bearings on any LVX I was thinking of buying. I would buy a Rega blind as there is little chance of it having problems.

    If it's local and you can go and see it then cool. Let me know and I'll tell you how to check it over. If you get it cheap you could fit a Rega arm to it later if you wanted, the deck itself is a good one.
     

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