If either of the new Rega turntables cost 10x what they do the hi-fi world would be thronging with their praises. As it is the entry level nature of Rega’s best known turntables and the relative affordability of the RP8 and RP10 mean that they have not been taken as seriously as they deserve.
Both are built on a skeletal foam cored chassis that is lighter and stiffer than any turntable has ever been. This is virtually ultimate realisation of Roy Gandy’s theories about turntable design and construction. The ultimate has been saved for the Naiad, a limited edition megabucks design that has yet to be finalised. Roy explained that the reason for having a light, stiff platform is that energy transfers from high to low mass things and not vice versa, when a mini hits a lorry it’s the lighter vehicle that suffers. When the tonearm is excited by the cartridge that energy is be transferred into the stiff light chassis, not the other way around.
The difference between these turntables lies beyond the plinth but this element is the key to their prowess, both models have an ability to thrill you that very few sources can match. I had so much fun with the RP8 (above) that it completely revived my enthusiasm for vinyl, streaming has been a distraction of late, but now it has been put firmly in its place. Spinning your favourite records on this turntable is an addictive experience, it makes you realise that when it comes to pace, dynamics and emotional uplift digital sources still have a way to go. It is also highly resolute, exposing the layers in complex recordings; laying bare the percussion on Stevie Wonder’s Mistra Know It All and the vibrato on Billy Gibbons’ guitar on Bad Nationwide (ZZ Top). The RP8 is a remarkably sophisticated, and powerful turntable with the ability to produce huge soundstages and the quietest details, I love it.
The RP10 moves the goal posts all together. Same chassis, same Apheta MC cartridge; whole new ball game. This is a turntable to rule them all and I seriously doubt whether even the finest LP12 could compete in terms of pace, detail resolution or sheer enjoyment. I am staggered by the way it renders instruments and voices so realistically, it’s no longer a case of great sound it’s great musicianship, great melodies, great songs. I am totally diverted by the content and oblivious to the means of delivery. The mechanics of the process are invisible, you are given the full musical mother lode and boy is it fantastic. My notes contain no references to the sound but everything about the way that recordings are made and what the musicians did to achieve the end result. The life it pulls out of ancient vinyl is just extraordinary.
Before you think about upgrading your cartridge or phono stage listen to one of these Regas, their prices do not reflect the musical glory that they can reveal in your record collection.
Health warning: these turntables will turn you into a vinyl addict.
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