SOUND ENGI­NEER­ING

Rega has spent Ob years de­sign­ing, per­fect­ing and hand-build­ing prod­ucts in 1ri­tain ” prod­ucts that ha"e im­pec­ca­ble engi­neer­ing at their heart

What Hi-Fi (UK) - - Feature -

¦je look at a turntable as mea­sur­ing equip­ment. That’s what it is. It only has to mea­sure tiny vi­bra­tions in the groove.õ

That might be the most un­ro­man­tic way any­one’s ever spo­ken about a turntable. But Roy (andy, founder and owner of Rega, isn’t in­ter­ested in wax­ing lyri­cal about ‘high fi­delity’. )e looks at a turntable as an engi­neer­ing chal­lenge.

The whole ethos be­hind all of Rega’s prod­ucts is good engi­neer­ing. That’s the topic of his forth­com­ing book – 5he 7icratipn

.easvrinh .ad­hine – which aims to be the de­fin­i­tive work on turntable de­sign. Roy’s fo­cus on high-qual­ity crafts­man­ship, tak­ing pre­cise mea­sure­ments and us­ing high-qual­ity tools is what in­forms all of Rega’s prod­ucts.

An engi­neer him­self, Roy states firmly that Rega is Ôan engi­neer­ing com­pany, run by en­gi­neers, who hap­pen to like mu­sic equip­ment.õ And those twin pas­sions of science and mu­sic drive ev­ery­one work­ing there – in ev­ery depart­ment.

When you think of Rega, you’ll think of im­pec­ca­bly fin­ished, hand-made Bri­tish prod­ucts. But the peo­ple work­ing at Rega don’t Kust make am­pli­fiers, speak­ers and turnta­bles: they also make the specialist tools used to man­u­fac­ture and as­sem­ble them. That gives Rega full con­trol over ev­ery as­pect of the man­u­fac­tur­ing process.

It also means that no-one else can repli­cate its prod­ucts. Want to take apart an RB330 ton­earm and re­build it your­self? Sorry, you’re out of luck – only Rega has the tools you re­quire.

Inçe­nious & Èe­siçn

Rega is a Ôhaven for peo­ple who like mak­ing things with their handsõ. 'or in­stance, there are only a hand­ful of peo­ple on the planet who can hand-wind a mov­ing coil as­sem­bly per­fectly – and Rega em­ploys three of them.

The ex­ter­nal sup­plier who builds the fly­wheel plat­ters for the RP and RP8 works on a CNC rout­ing ma­chine. The same ma­chine was used to make the Kigs and fix­tures that form the plat­ters – out of the same ma­te­rial (glass) em­ployed in the fi­nal prod­uct. It’s an in­cred­i­bly pre­cise and in­no­va­tive way of work­ing – al­most [ero-tol­er­ance level. It’s that spirit of find­ing in­ge­nious ways to make the engi­neer­ing even bet­ter that drives Rega.

The inkec­tion-mould­ing com­pany that makes part of the bias as­sem­bly is lit­er­ally around the cor­ner from the Rega fac­tory in Southend-on-sea, Es­sex. Be­ing based in Bri­tain wasn’t a pa­tri­otic choice, though, says Roy. It’s for prag­matic rea­sons: hav­ing lo­cal sup­pli­ers nearby with whom you can meet and col­lab­o­rate fre­quently – all while sav­ing costs.

Roy doesn’t be­lieve in lis­ten­ing to turnta­bles at the end of the line and hand­pick­ing the ones that sound the best. )e doesn’t need to. Elim­i­nat­ing pro­duc­tion or engi­neer­ing vari­ables from the very be­gin­ning means that ev­ery speaker, amp and turntable Rega makes sounds ex­actly the same as its sib­lings.

In the 40 years it’s taken for vinyl to fall out of fash­ion and back into it again, turntable

de­sign has changed dras­ti­cally. The new Pla­nar turnta­bles are the most tech­ni­cally ad­vanced Rega has ever cre­ated. But the ethos re­mains.

Ôthe se­cret for good pro­duc­tion,õ Roy says, Ôis to give our fac­tory good parts.õ

That’s all it boils down to: good parts. Bear­ings, spin­dles, mo­tor coils – ev­ery mi­nus­cule de­tail is checked metic­u­lously when they ar­rive at the fac­tory. ÔSO when you build 100 mo­tors, they’re 100 mo­tors with per­fect pul­leys on.

Ô(et the build­ing blocks right, get the ba­sic engi­neer­ing right, cre­ate an ef­fi­cient, ac­cu­rate pro­duc­tion chain, and you can be ut­terly con­fi­dent in the out­put.õ

Rega cur­rently pro­duces 4, 00 turnta­bles ev­ery month – and the big­gest chal­lenge re­mains mak­ing sure ev­ery turntable is iden­ti­cal, while keep­ing costs to a min­i­mum. The re­cent vinyl re­vival has had a huge ef­fect on Rega, but not Kust in sales. Profit goes back into in­vest­ing in re­search and equip­ment. Bet­ter equip­ment means greater ef­fi­ciency and bet­ter turnta­bles. The process ben­e­fits ev­ery­one.

While there’s no know­ing how long the vinyl resur­gence is go­ing to last, Rega will con­tinue to make the most of it. It’s al­ready given a thriv­ing U, busi­ness a chance to learn and grow. And, of course, it’s turned on a whole new gen­er­a­tion to the Koy of us­ing turnta­bles.

Ôwe’re Kust a man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pany us­ing our ex­per­tise, try­ing to give peo­ple the best sound for the money,õ Roy says.

That ex­per­tise is now ex­tend­ing to try­ing to mea­sure mi­cro­scopic ro­ta­tional vi­bra­tions in plat­ters for fu­ture leaps in turntable de­vel­op­ment. They can’t prove it’s a thing. Ô:et.õ, says Roy… Ô:et.õ

:la­nar N

Itys been around since the late ¨Rbs, won the :roduct of the =ear Award fi"e times and has now been re­designed for LBMQĽ gain­ing yet an­other fi"e-star "er­dict

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