Rega Planar 6/Ania £1469
Rega’s dominance of our Awards continues with the mighty Planar 6. This is the second year it has won this category, and rightly so, as no rival has come close to bettering its combination of precision engineering and classleading sound.
As with other members of the family this is a product that has been carefully refined over the years to keep it competitive. Once again, as with the others, it has taken a particularly big step up in performance with the latest round of upgrades.
The Planar 6’s plinth comprises a lightweight foam core sandwiched between thin but rigid laminates. It’s this delicate balance between lightness and sturdiness that Rega says is crucial to the turntable’s sound.
The deck also uses the RB330 tonearm, also found on the Planar 3, but the ’6 is afforded a stainless-steel balance weight. Other updates include a custom-machined drive pulley, a single-piece aluminium sub-platter and a smoked dust cover to match the dual-layered glass platter.
As before, the Planar 6 comes with a separate power supply unit, in this case a Neo PSU, which also allows you to change speed electronically. The deck’s 24V motor is hand-tuned to match the Neo and its anti-vibration control, too.
The previous RP6 came fitted with an Exact moving-magnet cartridge – an option Rega still makes available for £1259 – but the company now offers a variant with its Ania moving-coil cartridge. As a quality moving-coil cartridge, you’ll need to pair it with a high-quality phono stage for justice to be done, but that will be well worthwhile.
The Planar 6/Ania combination delivers a frankly astonishingly refined and mature sound. It doesn’t go for immediacy to grab your attention, boldness isn’t put to the forefront: instead its party piece is the unnerving ability to juggle balance, subtlety and timing in the most understated way.
Moreover, it seems quite effortless: the difference between having to play the music and acting merely as a conduit for what’s etched into those grooves on the disc. The Planar 6/Ania does the latter with aplomb, sonically drawing as realistic a portrait as any turntable we’ve heard at this price.
Don’t let the visual similarities with the cheaper Planar turntables persuade you that there’s not much of a sound quality jump between the decks. Take a good listen and the improvements with each price increase are clear to hear. If your budget extends this far you really must hear this record player.
Once again, Rega stamps its authority on this category with an outstanding deck