Turntable Reviews

Rega RP3 Turntable

ARTICLE INDEX

Design of the Rega RP3 Turntable

The RP3 advances Rega's turntable philosophy of a lightweight plinth design. Rega believes that heavy turntables are resistant to the onset of vibration but they will vibrate and when they do they tend to store energy in their mass as opposed to dissipating the energy. So Rega chose a different path in making their plinths very light but rigid. The thought behind this approach is that the system dissipates energy and reduces sympathetic vibrations – it will vibrate as well, but for a shorter duration and with less amplitude.

The RP3's plinth has a textured external finish which hides the particle board underneath. The underlying board has channels cut out to breakup standing waves. The prior model had a rigid phenolic resin coating to stiffen the plinth. During development of the RP3, Rega's R&D team found that the system could be stiffened specifically between the tonearm and the spindle. So they developed a bracing system that does just that through the use of two 2 mm-thick phenolic resin braces. One is on top of the plinth and the other is on the bottom, hence the name "Double Brace Technology" or "DBT" for short. The top brace can be seen in the close up below. Holes are drilled in the DBT brace just like structural parts from a spaceship.

What this means is that the plinth is lighter than ever and it doesn't need a phenolic skin like the old P3's. So Rega offers the RP3 with a number of different finishes that look better than the old design. My review unit has the "Titanium" finish. Also available are white and a dark grey as well as special edition colors on a limited basis.

The RP3 uses a high quality 24 V motor similar to the one found in its predecessor, the P3-24. The motor is still mounted directly to the plinth, driving the belt through its metal pulley. The platter is a solid piece of glass with a frosted edge and a felt mat of 100% natural wool. The table rests on three feet that are not adjustable. Besides the TT PSU reviewed here, upgrade options include colored mats, improved drive belts and a turntable wall bracket.

This table comes with Rega's newest incarnation of their wildly popular RB300 series of tonearms. The new model is dubbed the RB303 and it has been optimized through CADD/CAM design processes. The RB303 arms are die cast and hand assembled like their predecessors. What's different is that the new armtubes are stiffer with a weight distribution that promotes a lighter headshell assembly while breaking up standing waves better. The included counterweight works great for the Rega Elys 2 cartridge but it was just barely heavy enough to work with my Sumiko Blackbird cartridge.

Shims are a required extra if you plan on adjusting the vertical tracking angle. They are available from your Rega dealer. There are different counterweights available to match up better with your cartridge if required.

I also evaluated the Elys 2 MM cartridge. This is the second from the top of the line among Rega's MM offerings and features parallel wound coils and an elliptical stylus. It is commonly factory fitted with the RP3 table and when purchased this way, it comes at a savings of $100 for the consumer. 

Rega sent along their updated power supply, the TT PSU. It has electronic switching between 33-1/3 rpm and 45 rpm. The logo glows green when set to 45 and red when it is set to 33-1/3. This is way more convenient than moving the belt to change speeds. The TT PSU is a much more robust power supply than the standard wall wart and its regulated power supply is governed by a crystal clock. It also has the advantage of reducing vibration by way of its twin phase drive. It also moves the power supply to a remote location away from the low level signals in the cartridge and leads.

The audio signal is via a pair of good quality, attached interconnects with gold-plated RCA plugs. There is no separate ground wire as the ground is via the interconnects. A clear acrylic dust cover is included.