Rega planar 3 and beyond

Loomah

Standard Member
Hi
I have a Rega Planar 3. A proper old one from around 1986. When bought it was paired with a NAD 3020e amp which was later superseded by a Marantz PM6003 amp both of which worked wonderfully. However the turntable has spent a lot of time out of favour, for one reason or another but is now back "on the scene".

My issue(s) though are that I don't understand all things hi-fi and expect to be able to plug it in and go! The new amp (streamer) is a NAD M10v2. I have grasped the fact that I need a phono stage/preamp to sit between the NAD and the Rega but don't know where to start.

I don't know what the tone arm on the Rega is, other than it's a Rega arm (not Linn). The cartridge is a Nagaoka MP-11 Moving Permalloy Boron thing (don't ask me!)

So basically I'd like some advice about phono stages and potentially cartridge upgrade. I'm aware that both NAD & Rega produce phono stages and I see no real point in looking beyond them, but it's not a closed shop!

Any help/pointers would be greatly appreciated
Thanks
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
If the arm is a silver S shape then it will be a Rega R200, if it is straight and black then it is likely to be an RB300.

The MP11 is a moving magnet (mm) high output cartridge so if you want to stay with Nagaoka then the MP110 is it’s direct replacement with the MP150,200,300 and 500 being further up the tree. For great value and sound then the Audio Technical VM95 series is also a good starting place with the ML being a very good sound.

However, if you have an old record you can test put your cartridge/stylus/turntable on then if it sound OK it may be worth just changing the stylus which are available new. It’s also worth noting that I think the MP150 stylus can fit on the MP11 body for an upgrade but worth calling SnVinyl to check.


For phono stages then something around the £200ish mark would seem appropriate for your deck. The Rega Fono mm is a solid choice as would be something from Graham Slee, there are many online shoot outs for phono stages so worth a google.

However, if the turntable has been stored for a while it may be worth taking off the platter and removing the dub platter and giving the bearing a clean and an oil plus treating it to a new belt and finally doing a full set up on the arm once you have the new cartridge (alignment, tracking and anti skate forces).
 

Loomah

Standard Member
Hi @Ugg10
Many many thanks for your reply!
One of the key things for me was the fact that you have identified the mp11 as a mm cartridge. One of the first things I realises when I started looking at this was that not all phono stage are created equal and we're dependant(?) on the cartridge!

The stylus pointer is a massive helper. And I only have "old" vinyl- circumstances took me down the streaming route 3 years ago, which is ultimately what led me to the NAD M10.

I'm aware I'm going to need to give the turntable a service - if nothing else at all a new rubber band should be necessary! As for doing all the tone arm setup I'm going to park that and research it. I don't recall how I ever did it in the forest place or how the different bits make a difference!

As for the actual phono stage the rega fono is one I'd come across but initially knowing the mm bit was what I needed. I have seem that there is an iFi component out there. Does anybody have a view on this? I've a couple of ifi bits, mainly around headphones

Anyway thanks once again for your invaluable input. And does the quality of the Samyang match that of your 6D? I mean once we ignore the fact its not a Nikon! I was looking at and considering one some time ago?

Cheers
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
The IFI Zen Phono is getting good reviews at the moment so we’ll worth a look at around £150, this has four gain options so can deal with both mm and mc cartridges. The Tisbury phono is another at that price that usually gets good reviews as well and again can take both mm and mc cartridges.


 

DT79

Well-known Member
The MP11 boron is a decent cartridge by all accounts, so I’d probably stick with that and put a new stylus on it.

As for the phono stage, I know this is cheeky but hopefully not breaking any rules….

Someone else was asking about TT set-up and I wrote chapter and verse on each aspect. I’ll see if I can dig it out, but it will probably be later (if no one else has covered it first by then).
 

acgingersnaps

Well-known Member
Hi. I use the iFi phono. Good bit of kit. Low noise floor, nice clean signal and so will allow your cart to to do it's job.
The gain settings will be useful too, when I maybe have a go with MC in the future.
I'd happily recommend it, especially at £150.
 

Loomah

Standard Member
Hi all and thanks for all your input.
I threw the iFi into the ring because of the one size fits all (cartridges) approach. But as I don't know the difference between MM or MC or or or...
I have a strange relationship with iFi as I had all kinds of issues with my Zen Can but then happily dived into getting a GO Blu as a replacement for my audioquest mdac nano and certainly haven't been disappointed!
Also a new stylus feels like the right way forward. I think in my ignorance I have been using stylus/cartridge interchangeably. Yes, that's the level of ignorance you are dealing with here!!
I still feel I am likely to go with the Rega Fono but I need to do s little more research than just taking the What HiFi award as gospel.
@DT79 if you find your chapter and verse that would be handy but don't put yourself out as I have skimmed through 2 such articles elsewhere so I know the info is available. One bit of info I would find useful tho is whether it's possible, or worth, changing the RCA cables coming out of the TT? And where I would source a new "drive" wheel of whatever you call the big bit of the hear mechanism which is made of plastic??

Once again thank you so very much for your help.
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
I would not bother changing the RC cables you are down in the realms of inaudible difference at that point. If it works then use it.

The wheel that the platter sits on is the "subplatter", this is what the drive belt goes around. Is this what you mean. if so there are a number of upgrades in this area and i would suggest you also look at the bearing at the same time.

Here's a bit of bed time reading -




Or you could strip out all of the mechanical bit from the Planar 3 and use them in an SRM acrylic conversion, at least one forum member has done this iirc.


there is also the 24v motor conversion kit that Rega sell just to top things off.


And all of this is before you get on to tonearm upgrade from Originlive , Audio origami, Michell etc. The Michell Counterweight is a popular upgrade.

The Planar 3 and RB300 have a large modification following and as such there are lots of goodies to empty your pocket with.
 

Loomah

Standard Member
Ok once again thanks for the input. I think I've taken myself down the route of daftness a little here. I know it was 35 years ago but when you consider the turntable cost £188 and the cartridge £36 spending £250+ on upgrades seems silly!!

Everything I've asked and all the input I've received has been relevant and most helpful. Bottom line is I can't do anything without the phono stage so that is my first port of call. Then it will be about some basic maintenance. Then I start looking at "upgrading" what I have.

It's just one of those journeys for me similar to me trying to understand if there is a worthwhile benefit to balanced connections or bi-wiring. I'm never going to hear the difference!!!

Thanks for all the help and input and for not making me feel more clueless than I actually am!
Cheers
 

acgingersnaps

Well-known Member
I know it was 35 years ago but when you consider the turntable cost £188

~£600 in today's money. Spot on for a P3.
Agreed that the phono stage is an essential, but I'm a big fan of cartridges as being an easy upgrade win that can make a huge difference.
 

Loomah

Standard Member
I've learned a whole lot in this thread, for which I'm grateful to one and all.
As you confirm the phono stage is a must - after all without it I have a barely audible, tinny set up - my first lesson😁. The other stuff will come when I get back into it. Hopefully I'll need neither a cartridge nor a stylus. I think a new elastic band is essential (as I felt that was probably necessary 10 years ago) together with the suggested clean and lube.
But there definitely is a point where a completely new turntable becomes the most sensible option. I just don't want to reach that point!!
 

Loomah

Standard Member
Hi All
Just to close this off I ended up with the Rega Fono MM, Chord interconnects and a new elastic band. The band made a massive difference - I don't recall ever being able to switch the turntable on and it start rotating almost immediately!

For anyone reading this I initially found the Fono MM combined with NAD M10v2 and B&W 706 S2s very "bright". I don't really know the audiophile lingo for stuff but it was initially very top-end-y. This was disappointing as one of the albums I played was used for my tester when buying the NAD/B&W combo to push the bass a little (Van Halen's Sunday Afternoon in the Park).

Pretty sure I need (at least) a new stylus so that may make a difference or I'm going down the route of a subwoofer (which is the route I was hoping to avoid choosing the B&Ws over KEFs - ho hum)

Once again thanks for the help and input
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
Are the 706's new, if so you may need 50-100 hours of playing at low-medium volume for them to settle down/bed in.
 

Loomah

Standard Member
relatively speaking yes but circumstances meant that they got a lot of running in time while I was awaiting delivery of my NAD. Basically putting something on before leaving the house for days on end!! I wouldn't know if they've hit 100 hours but easily 50 as my target was about 35!!
 

Apollo83

Active Member
...Or you could strip out all of the mechanical bit from the Planar 3 and use them in an SRM acrylic conversion, at least one forum member has done this iirc...

The Planar 3 and RB300 have a large modification following and as such there are lots of goodies to empty your pocket with...

Hi Loomah,
I took an old Planar 3 and upgraded...
My story is here: SRM Azure turntable - a DIY upgrade

Pretty easy to do - nuts and bolts and a small bit of soldering.
But take Ugg's warning seriously... You can easily spend the price of a new Planar 3 modding an old one... More fun modding though :)
 

Loomah

Standard Member
Pretty easy to do - nuts and bolts and a small bit of soldering.
But take Ugg's warning seriously... You can easily spend the price of a new Planar 3 modding an old one... More fun modding though :)
I'm not the sort of person to do all that. I already commented on an earlier post that there comes a point where a new turntable makes more sense. Even if I was that kind of person I don't have a soldering iron!!

I'm in conversation with a "local" av store about the subplatter, stylus(or cartridge) and resetting the time arm things. And as they also deal B&W, the subwoofer option.

As I'm listening to more vinyl (old and new) the overall sound is settling in with me. It's weird having not heard some stuff in that way for so long. At some point I'll compare the same song on vinyl and MQA. Should be interesting 😉
 

The latest video from AVForums

AVForums Movies Podcast: Streaming Theatrical Releases And The Future Of Cinema
Subscribe to our YouTube channel

Full fat HDMI teeshirts

Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom