Rega Planar 2 Turntable
- RB220 tonearm mounted with a Rega Carbon MM cartridge
- 10mm thick clear float glass platter
- 24v low-noise, low vibration motor
- Acrylic turntable dust cover
Rega spent the last couple of years developing the Planar 2 alongside the slightly costlier Planar 3 and other than the stylish P2 logo you’d be hard pressed to see the difference between the two turntables.
H 4.6” x W 17.6” x D 14.17”
RB220, ultra low friction, Rega designed, bespoke, zero play ball bearings, stiffer and lightweight bearing housing, automatic bias, integrated arm clip and a custom aluminum arm tube.
11mm self-securing brass bearing.
High gloss acrylic laminated: gloss black & gloss white.
New 24v low noise, low vibration motor assembly and new PCB.
Rloat glass ‘Optiwhite’ 10mm.
Rega, Rega Planar 2, Turntables, Turntable Reviews 2016
The Planar 2 is a clean-looking design with a fresh gloss white acrylic laminated plinth available in gloss black as well. It measures in general numbers, 17” across, 14” deep and 4 ½” high including the dust cover, weighing 12.1 pounds. Make no mistake, this is a modern-looking turntable. It sits on three rubber, non-adjustable feet, and Rega claims they have been designed to reduce vibration transfer.
The belt-drive, shallow mounted 24v low noise motor spins the 10mm thick clear float glass platter and sits on newly configured brass bearings. Rega includes a felt pad over the platter. A pulley accessed by removing the platter allows the belt to be set for both 33 1/3 and 45 rpm. It is a bit awkward to handle the glass platter to switch speeds but works nonetheless. The on/off switch is conveniently placed under the plinth to the front left opposite the tonearm.
Rega developed the new RB220 tonearm, which is just as cleanly designed as the turntable itself and measures 11”. Rega boasts that the RB220 has “ultra low friction, zero play ball bearings”. It also features an automatic bias assembly, negating the need to set the anti-skate. The arm tube is of aluminum. Notice how dead parallel the tonearm is to the record surface.
The factory set azimuth is also set perfectly vertical.
The RB220 tonearm comes mounted with the Rega Carbon MM cartridge. The tonearm does have an adjustable balancing weight on the end. The Carbon cartridge tracking pressure is set using a digital gauge and I was able to get it where I wanted it exactly at 2 grams.
Rega includes a cardboard head alignment protractor. It came from the factory almost dead-on square, but a check with the protractor, and I made the slightest of adjustments.
The final piece in the setup is the acrylic cover which has two rear clips that slip into the plinth completing the hinge. My one gripe is the hinge is not secured once you place it. I assume Rega might think someone would want to take the cover on and off, yet I found if you don’t use both hands, it does tend to slip off, so I learned quickly to handle the dust cover with both hands.
The P2 was extremely simple to set up, making it a great choice for the beginner/novice vinyl lover. Of note, the Rega P2 turntable is grounded through the left channel negative, for those looking for an independent grounding wire.
Using a reference level Pass Labs XP-25 phono preamplifier, I wanted to get some first impressions, and know what the Planar 2 is capable of, sounding its best. The Pass Labs XP-25 is one of the finest phono preamplifiers available, and it offers front dial settings for Gain, Capacitive loading and Resistive loading. I found the best configuration for the Rega Carbon, moving magnet cartridge to be with the gain set to 53dB, while setting the capacitive loading at 100 pf and the resistive set to 47k-ohms. I also used a Rogue Audio Sphinx Integrated amplifier with a built-in phono stage that I think might be typical for a P2 buyer.
I pulled out a pair of Definitive Technology Mythos STS speakers, again trying to match up what I’d think is a balanced system.
Using an iPhone RPM app, which I wouldn’t consider 100% reliable or official, I found the turntable spins ever so slightly fast about 33.59 rpms with just the phone on the turntable and 33.53 rpms with a record playing and the needle down. That’s 99.4% accurate, pretty great in my book.
I have put the Rega P2 through some bench testing and will have those results published soon.
As I mentioned in my preview, The Rega P2 immediately sounded clean and controlled with a solid bass punch and the mid-range vocals natural and balanced, almost comfortable listening. The music is never bright or aggressive but rather smooth and warm.
I found the soundstage quite consistent between albums, although I wouldn’t exactly say it’s broad and deep, I do feel it improved over time. More importantly the instruments are delineated nicely and voices clear and natural. I found no shrill or brightness in the higher frequency range but rather a tamed sweetness.
The 1963 Stan Getz/João Gilberto bossa nova styled jazz record features Getz’s tenor sax and Antonia Carlos Jobim on piano. The sax is never bright and thickly brassy but rather the tone is breathy, sensing the air in the instrument. Gilberto’s guitar is textured nicely and the P2 clearly defines as his voice as softly rich. His wife Astrud’s performance on the other hand is rendered sweet and sultry.
Hearing Gilberto’s voice I thought about Neil Young and his mellow, grittier vocals. The appeal to Neil Young’s voice in my opinion is his sense of vulnerability and the Rega was spot on as I played his Harvest album. But musically, I was pleasantly surprised by Rega P2 portraying the warmth and texture from the London Symphony Orchestra’s accompaniment on the tracks, A Man Needs a Maid and There’s a World. The range of instruments across the soundstage is beautifully balanced. However, on the featured track of this album Old Man, I’d hope to hear a bit more definition with the instruments as I’ve heard James Taylor’s banjo pop off the speakers. Although blended and balanced, this is a track I where I looked for a bit more articulation.
I found more weight in the music from Linda Ronstadt’s Simple Dreams album. He voice is naturally powerful and her transitions from soft to full-out are clearly evident with the Rega. I expected as much, but I was more impressed with the punchy bass from the P2 on this rock album. Ronstadt’s interpretation of Warren Zevon’s Carmelita comes off with a melancholy and sorrow, giving credit to the P2 for its musicality.
Gavin Harrison’s album Cheating the Polygraph reinterprets eight tracks from his Porcupine Tree association into a jazzy, brassy and big band arrangement. Again, the P2 comes off as mellow and controlled, brass instruments are never harsh or bright but blend nicely “within” the band. I enjoyed the trumpets jumping out slightly while his drum playing is tight, all sounding very musical, melodic.
Although The Sub Grand For A Complete Turntable Setup Is Saturated, I Think This REGA, THE P2 Stands Out – I’d Consider The $2,500 Range Of Turntables Before You’d See A Return On That Investment To Hear A Striking Difference.
- Simple to set up
- Simple to operate
- Design, clean and modern
- Warm and clean playback
- The dust cover to have a fixed hinge attachment
- Different method of changing turntable speed
The Rega Planar 2 is a comfortable sounding turntable that I could leave on for hours, flipping vinyl, doing other things and enjoying the music. It’s general warmth and controlled sound is truly what vinyl is all about. It did take some time for the Carbon cartridge to break in, bringing out a bit more definition and resolution. I do wish I had the P3 for comparison and perhaps a couple of replacement Rega cartridges to play with, but this is a very fine setup. The P2 is a great looking turntable; minimal, modern and elegant, looks do count. I’d venture to say though that this unit is about simplicity and ease of use and setup and for that alone I give high marks to the design team. Rega dropped the P2 from its lineup about 10 years ago and it’s a welcomed back respected moniker.