Turntable of the Year $1500-$3000
The UK’s Rega will need no introduction to vinyl fans — this turntable brand survived through the supposed death of vinyl by expanding its electronics offerings, but now finds itself in an enviable position to service those rediscovering the black arts with a series of new and upgraded turntables. Last year its entry-level Planar 1 took out one of our awards; this year we were transported by the delivery from the $1999 Planar 6.
You might think this looks a fairly bare-bones kind of turntable for the price (which doesn’t include cartridge: the two standard offerings are the pictured and reviewed yellow moving-magnet ‘Exact’ cartridge factory-fitted as a $2399 package, or the moving-coil Ania cartridge, a $2799 package). But Rega doesn’t believe in large and solid plinths. Mass absorbs energy, reasons Rega, and slowly-released energy adds coloration, and lost energy equals lost music. For Rega it’s all about lightness, stiffness and bracing. It aims for the lightest possible chassis, with the stiffest possible brace. So the dark surface of the plinth is no common plastic but a Polaris high pressure laminate, between the layers of which lies an aerospace-developed ultra-lightweight polyurethane foam core called Tancast 8.
Similarly the platter has two layers — one smoked-Pilkington glass, one OptiWhite clear — bonded together so that the outer edge is thicker than the centre, thereby achieving a stabilityenhancing flywheel effect without increasing the platter mass to a level which might affect the bearing.
And there’s an outboard power supply with electronic speed change and user-adjustable fine electronic speed adjustment, something which was previously only available on the range-topping RP10, showing how Rega trickles its higher levels down as technology allows.
Set-up is enjoyably simple, and within 15 minutes we were enjoying its sound — the Rega/Exact combination defining soundstaging more clearly than our reference at the price, tightening the image of, say, a central vocal, but still delivering all the spatial impression of live recordings. The best vinyl sounded clean as a whistle, tight as a platypus pocket, even at full climax — not a hint of compression, distortion or soft edges, but full-on bass and in-yer-face impact.
“The Planar 6/Exact combo is tight, accurate, musical and friendly to use, while the offboard electronic speed control carries accuracy to the next level. A wonderful turntable.”
(This through a Musical Fidelity phono stage.) And while its immediately notable merits had a focus on delicacy and detail, it could also rock out and create immense bass impact with the right recordings; we loved the way it could energise the room with a well-recorded LP like Philip Glass’ ‘1000 Airplanes On The Roof’.
Clearly, Rega’s light and rigid engineering focus is a success. The Planar 6/Exact combo is tight, accurate, musical and friendly to use. It was always going to feature in our Awards.
More info: www.synergyaudio.com