THE VER­DICT

Focus-Science and Technology - - Innovations -

Let’s get one thing clear: there isn’t a duf­fer in sight here, and all three turnta­bles of­fer im­pres­sive value for money. So which one you should buy comes down to per­sonal taste and lis­ten­ing habits.

If sonic fi­delity is all that mat­ters, then on sound alone the Rega Planar 2 just nudges it, though if you lis­ten to a lot of dance mu­sic, hip-hop, reg­gae or heavy rock you may find it doesn’t pack the bot­tomend welly you’re af­ter. It’s also a nui­sance hav­ing to re­move the plat­ter to change speeds, and you’ll need a sep­a­rate phono stage if your amp doesn’t have one. The Pro-Ject Es­sen­tial III fares a lit­tle bet­ter at the low end and packs in more fea­tures, but loses points for that low torque, which rules out quick changes be­tween records (though you can al­ways hot-swap records with the plat­ter still spin­ning!). While both those turnta­bles look as good as they sound, the Au­dio-Tech­nica AT-LP5 is a bit less wow in the looks depart­ment and lacks a lit­tle high-end def­i­ni­tion. It makes up for it with an ex­ten­sive fea­ture set, its ease of con­nec­tiv­ity and sheer sonic ‘oomph’.

So if you’re likely to be blast­ing a wide range of mu­sic at par­ties, go for the Au­dio-Tech­nica, while if you’re a jazzbo or folkie who does a lot of solo, latenight lis­ten­ing we’d rec­om­mend the Rega. And if you’re some­where be­tween the two, the Pro-Ject deck should suit you nicely!

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