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TURNTABLE ⸜ complete


Manufacturer: REGA RESAEARCH Ltd.
Price (when reviewed):
• w/o cartridge – 22 999 PLN
• with cartridge– 28 599 PLN

6 Coopers Way, Temple Farm Industrial Estate


Provided for test by: ONE AUDIO


images by Rega | „High Fidelity”

No 232

September 1, 2023

REGA was founded in 1973. Its name honors its two founders, Tony Relph and Roy Gandy (RElph & GAndy); Roy is now the company's owner and managing director. Rega specializes in turntables, and they have given it its popularity. For years, however, it has offered electronics and speakers. We test its PLANAR 10 turntable.

O BE HONEST, I WAS NOT PREPARED for what a marvelous form factor the Planar 10, Rega's top model in the Planar series, is. I was familiar with this turntable from exhibitions, as well as the lower Planar 8 model, but it wasn't until I unpacked it at home and moved it to the Finite Elemente rack that I appreciated the courage of the engineers of this English company. For this model is tiny, and its base is so openworked that it is almost non-existent. And this means that its perceived value is several orders of magnitude lower than that of any classic design.

To do something like this you have to have extraordinary confidence and a deep belief that the most important thing for buyers will be the sound you get with the proposed solutions. But who would dare to do something like this, if not Rega? Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, the company is synonymous with analog and is one of those manufacturers that not only survived the time when vinyl was pushed out of the market, but still managed and thrived during that time.


In 2007, REGA recorded, absolutely unexpectedly, a twofold increase in turnover. And this was thanks to turntable models that had not been modified for years. As Bill Philpot writes in his monograph A vibration measuring machine, a team of managers then gathered at Temple Farm, its headquarters, to consider what to do in this surprising situation (p. 138). Roy then came up with a proposal to prepare new versions of existing models. The problem was that Rega was a kind of "outlier." As Philpot writes, Roy's ideas were so different from what other manufacturers were doing that he had no one to talk to about his ideas. The problem was also that Rega had been self-sufficient up to that point, and everything they designed came directly from them.

The solution came from Phil Freeman, now CEO of Rega Research, who decided to learn everything Roy knows about turntables so that he could be an equal partner to him. After months of listening and discussing together, Phil proposed to design something without considering the costs. Thus "Naiad" project was born, the most expensive and advanced turntable in Rega's history.

The most important innovation was the abandonment of the classic base in favor of a skeletal base, made of Rohacell foam covered with carbon fiber and with ceramic inserts binding the tonearm and main bearing. As Gandy always says, the base should be as light as possible and as stiff as possible. The idea is to minimize the transfer of vibrations from the main bearing, the motor and from the air, and to prevent the accumulation of energy in the turntable's structure; for this energy is belatedly returned to the stylus, with less amplitude, but nevertheless, leading, he adds, to a blurring of the signal. Rigidity, in turn, is responsible for the "structural integrity" of both the base and the components connected to it - the arm and main bearing.

The next step was a new base for the top models of the Planar series. The idea was borrowed directly from the Naiad model. In order to reduce the cost, and thus the final price of the turntable, they reached for polyophilene foam sealed with laminate on both sides. They added the RB808 tonearm to it, and this is how the RB8 model was born. In order not to discourage buyers with a novelty base, a plate was added to the set, which made the turntable look as if it had a classic rectangular base.

Planar 10

MODEL PLANAR 10 (P10) was developed based on all these efforts. Its immediate predecessor, the RP10, received the RP8's skeletonized Tancast 8 foam base and a new platter, made of aluminum oxide, as well as an all-new top-of-the-line arm, the RB2000. The P10 repeats the best of the RP10, modifying the most important elements even more heavily, going directly back to solutions from the top Naiad turntable.

⸜ THE BASE It's an ultra-lightweight turntable, weighing just 4.7 kilograms, in which there is no more pretense - its base is exactly as Phil and Roy designed it. It is extremely rigid, and mechanically stable over time. Lightweight padding is provided by polyurethane foam originally developed for the aerospace industry.

| Tancast 8

THERE IS A WHOLE RANGE of Tancast foams, and the one used by Rega (Tancast 8) was chosen for its vibration damping properties - it is the lowest density version. It is easily machined, allowing small prototypes to be made, and is also used in the modeling industry. As its manufacturer writes, "during machining, the fine structure of the foam is exposed, and dimensions can be measured to an accuracy of +/- 0.1 mm (+/- 0.004 inches)."

THE TOP LAYER and bottom layer are high-pressure laminate (HPL). Another element from the Naiad model has been added to this mechanical system - a ceramic "bridge" connecting the arm and platter bearing, in lower models made of metal or HPL laminate. This development is called DB (Double Brace Technology) in the company's terminology. The company writes about it:

(…) This rigid plinth design prevents energy absorption and unwanted resonances which will add unnatural distortions to the music. Equally, heavier mass can transfer more unwanted energy such as motor or bearing noise directly into the rotating record. The tonearm and cartridge must be able to read accurately, directly from the platter. This unique Rega double brace solution enables this.

The use of braces instead of the complete skin allows increased thickness in these key areas while providing further weight reduction to the plinth which directly addresses the issue of mass absorption and unwanted energy transmission., accessed: 1.08.2023

In the P10 the upper bridge is ceramic, and the lower bridge is made of high pressure laminate (HPL), the same as the one in the base. The whole stands on three rubber feet. Instead of a classic anti-dust cover, we get a minimalist acrylic plate placed over the platter, supported from behind by a short pin. The base is available in dark gray or white.

⸜ TONEARM The arm is also new, it's the RB3000 model, the successor to the RB2000. Although it looks similar, it is even more refined. As the manufacturer writes, it has been designed to have as few mechanical joints as possible and using the stiffest materials "in all critical areas." The RB3000 arm's tolerance is so low that no glue is used anywhere in the design.

The latest version of the arm tube was designed specifically for it. Each is hand-polished (keeping mass to an absolute minimum), and the design focuses on redistributing mass and further reducing stresses and resonances. This advanced design increases the rigidity and stiffness of the entire assembly, while further reducing bearing stresses. And these are new bearings, with each bearing hand-selected to fit with a press fit from a paired spindle, matching both inside and out.

Rega's arms are set up slightly differently than the classic ones, because they use dynamic VTF. The idea is that it should not change with the waviness of the record or even the needle itself, but should be constant. So first you level the arm with a weight on the axle until it is in balance, and then use a knob on the arm itself to set the tracking force. You won't find VTA adjustment - Roy Gandy considers this problem to be greatly exaggerated, and Paul Messenger in the aforementioned monograph shows the technical justification for this position. Gandy believes that it is better to make a mechanically stable arm.

All of these changes were made possible by the fact that over the past few years Rega developed a new manufacturing process that allowed it to, as we read, "improve all key elements of production." This has given - among other things - a very precise bearing fit. The RB3000 is the first Rega arm to benefit from these changes.

The signal to the phono stage is ran by interconnects integrated into the arm wiring. The idea is not to create additional solder points in the circuit. The cables look ordinary, though they are solid and thick. Rega used to use cables from the German company Klotz, which specializes in products for the professional market. Those used today look similar, so perhaps they are being prepared for the British in an OEM system. Unusually, there is no separate ground cable, this one is connected to the signal ground. Despite this, I did not hear any hum in the speakers.

⸜ PLATTER The Planar 10 uses a new lightweight main bearing assembly. The one-piece, machined aluminum sub-assembly and hardened tool steel spindle operate in what the manufacturer says is a custom brass housing designed for improved mechanical integrity. The assembly is unusually mounted on the underside to eliminate parasitic energy transmitted or stored in the base.

The main platter is made of ceramic sinter. It is made to achieve a flywheel effect. The ceramic oxide powder is pressed, fired and diamond-cut. Its latest version has a modified design with improved coupling to the sub-disc. A white felt mat is applied to the platter.

⸜ DRIVE The motor was installed using a new technique developed for the Naiad model. It is a 24-volt synchronous (AC) motor. It is custom-made for Rega and has twelve, rather than the usual eight sections, which improves the precision of rotation. Rega has also mastered a technique that helps dampen motor vibrations almost completely. It relies on the fact that the power supplies provide separate voltages for the two phases - these voltages are synchronized, so that the system remains in balance.

The drive belt is made using a special technique and has the company name EBLT Reference. It was first used in the 2021 Planar 8 and Planar 10 models:

Each belt is moulded on our highly accurate custom tooling using a unique secret blend. Once moulded, the belts are cryogenically frozen and barrelled to remove any excess flash in order to create perfect cross-sectional roundness which is critical for accurate speed and stability. In normal use and conditions, the lifespan of the EBLT drive belt is 50% longer than the previous model., accessed: 15.03.2023.

In lower models Rega uses single, while here it is double. This reduces the wow effect of the sound, that is, it improves the stability of the rotation, but increases the noise created when the belt slides over the motor axle and the sub-platter. The chosen compromise depends on the designer. The motor is powered by the new PL10 power supply. Its housing is vibration-proof and looks similar to those used by Rega in that company's amplifiers. The voltage is generated in it by means of a DSP chip with a precise clock, Rega says.

⸜ CARTRIDGE We can order the turntable without a cartridge or with one of Rega's two cartridges: Apheta 3 or Apheta 2. Apheta 3 is an MC-type cartridge. It features a very powerful neodymium magnet and a coil wound by hand on an iron yoke; the coil is fifty percent smaller than in the first version of the cartridge. According to the manufacturer, the reduction in weight allows more freedom to track the groove.

The Apheta 3 is housed in a one-piece, anodized aluminum body and is protected by a CAD-designed, smoked, rigid cover that protects the internal thin wires. The recommended VTF is set slightly higher than cheaper Rega cartridges, at 1.9-2 g. Its internal impedance is 10 Ω, and its output voltage is 350 μV. This is the company's second cartridge from the top, and sold separately, it costs 8250 PLN (1 PLN = 0,22 Euro).


⸜ HOW WE LISTENED The Rega Planar 10 turntable was tested in a HIGH FIDELITY reference system. It stood on a carbon fiber top shelf, of Finite Elemente Master Reference Pagode Edition Mk II rack. I used DS Audio ST-50, a solidified gel, to clean the stylus.

During testing, I treated the Rega turntable as a complete system, that is, I listened to it with the factory installed cartridge. I used an external phono preamplifier RCM Audio Sensor Prelude IC, from which the signal was forwarded via Crystal Cable Absolute Dream interconnect. I placed a Verictum X-Block passive filter on the power supply, and an active Nordost QPOINT on the preamplifier (test → HERE).

⸜ Records used for the test | a selection

⸜ KUNIHIKO SUGANO TRIO +1, Love Is A Many Splendored Thing, Three Blind Mice TBM-26, LP ⸜ 1974.
⸜ TOMMY DORSEY & FRANK SINATRA, The Dorsey / Sinatra Sessions Vol. 2 (July 17, 1940 - May 28, 1941), RCA CPL2-4335, 2 x LP ⸜ 1982.
⸜ TOMASZ PAUSZEK, Lo-Fi Lo-Ve, Audio Anatomy AA-006-17-LP, 2 x 180 g LP ⸜ 2017.
⸜ DEPECHE MODE, Ultra, Mute DMLP9 | STUMM148, 180 g LP, ⸜ 1997/2007.
⸜ MILES DAVIS, Miles Davis and the Modern Jazz Giants, Prestige/Analogue Productions AJAZ 7150, „Fantasy 45 Series”, Limited Edition # 0706, 2 x 45 rpm 180 g LP ⸜ 1959/2005.
⸜ DOMINIC MILLER, November, Qrious Music QRM 114-2, 2 x 180 g LP ⸜ 2010.


RECORDED ON MARCH 22nd. 1974, at Toshi Center Hall (Tokyo), KUNIHIKO SUGANO TRIO +1's album, Love Is A Many Splendored Thing belongs to a small group of Three Blind Mice records recorded live. When I bought it, I was familiar with such recordings, but from XRCDs recorded in Switzerland, at the Montreaux Jazz Festival. So I didn't expect that it was possible to record stage material in such a way that it had many of the advantages of a studio recording, topped by the specific atmosphere of a concert.

The studio aspect I'm referring to is that the piano - Kunihiko Sugano, brother of Okihiko Sugano, founder of Audio Lab. Records - is extremely sonorous and powerful. It helps that Sugano plays mostly with his right hand, firmly, emphatically. But capturing something like this in an equally dynamic and explosive way is very difficult. It is equally difficult to reproduce it later, without smoothing the attack and blurring it in time. And Rega played this album as if effortlessly. In the sense that it showed what I'm talking about without fixating on this one task. Probably because its sound is so incredibly free of the "mechanics" of sound that we usually associate the turntable with.

So the momentum of this playback was also amazing. The large stage, with the instruments characteristically laid out as in the 1950s, that is, drums on the left, double bass in the middle and piano on the right, seemed endless. Literally. And that's because the English turntable shows the bodies of the instruments without cutting them out of the background. Their reverb is a lot like them in that it too has no clear end, but fades away gently and without drawing attention to itself. It's also a design that brings the instruments into our room.

I mentioned dynamics - the percussion played outstandingly fast and explosive. Three Blind Mice recordings are known for this feature, but you still need to be able to render it. With Planar 10 it doesn't feel slowed down, as if the turntable didn't exist at all, and the signal was transmitted from the cartridge levitating above the record straight to the speakers. The kich drum’s strike was low and deep, though it wasn't "visceral." Also the double bass, with an outstandingly clear melodic line, was not deepened. It was, by the way, by its sound that it was easiest to recognize that this was a "live" recording, since in the studio the TBM recorded this instrument lower and harder.

The thing that caught my attention only after some time was the nearly complete absence of pop&crakcs and travelling noise. Not an absolute lack, because that's not possible with vinyl records, but unnoticeable enough that I didn't pay attention to it. You see, pops&cracks have peculiar characteristics - very fast rise time, fast extinction and high energy in a very narrow band. This makes them incredibly difficult to "ignore" by a turntable, and the vast majority of designs can't cope with it.

Those that tolerate it well suppress this range in one way or another, most often by large mass or appropriate choice of materials. Rega thinks damping is bad. And although I know excellent heavy turntables, the way this English manufacturer supports its thesis is very convincing to me. It seems that minimal mass does not accumulate cracks energy and thus does not dilute the signal. And yet they are at an incredibly low level. At the same time, the sound remains open and lively at the same time, which is very difficult to achieve for heavy turntables.

I found out how well it works in the P10 by playing FRANK SINATRA's historic recordings from one part of the three-part album containing sessions from 1940-42 that he recorded with TOMMY DORSEY's orchestra. The album won a Grammy Award for Best Historical Album in 1982 and includes 78 rpm acetate transcriptions.

Pops&cracks, both from the turntable transcribing the acetates to tape and the LP itself on which they appeared, was minimal. The sound had an uncanny ease of swinging, and even the electronic process of turning mono recording into a stereophonic one, which I normally can't stand, was quite OK in this case. Because the music itself is wonderful. And it was hard to believe that the depth of the trombones and the density of Sinatra's voice could have been so well recorded, without the blatant attack of the trumpets.

The presentation had adequate depth, it wasn’t blown to the sides, which is what happens when you warm up the sound. Anyway - this sound is neither warm nor cool, it just sounds amazingly natural. It doesn't suffocate us with its presence and yet everything is there, for both timbre, dynamics and impact. There is also bass, although the way it is reproduced by Rega turntables is different from what we know from most classic designs.

Listen to the Electronics Invention from TOMASZ PAUSZEK's Lo-Fi Lo-Ve album, and you will hear a very low, clearly delivered lower band. However, it will not be a "massaging" bass, so to speak. The low notes from the Pauszek’s album filled the base of the recording, laying something like a solid foundation under the higher sounding notes. They did this, however, in a fast way, without dragging the sound out. The panorama was thus drawn wide and deep, the sound also had a very nice pitch.

Only that we have to forget about the "breathing" of the bass, this is not the case. On the other hand, let's play Love Thieves, a track from the DEPECHE MODE’S Ultra album, and we can hear exactly the sound of an electronic instrument, used here in the role of bass, as we know it from the best performances. Placed just after the first stanza, Gore's guitar was warm, thick and nicely "boosted" by the panorama created by the long reverb. Again, the highs were well controlled and clear. Although there was a lot of them, the information about them was clear, it seemed to me every time that the most important thing in this presentation is the midrange and its breakthrough with the bass.

Because the Rega plays with an incredibly natural sound. It differentiates recordings without falling into the trap of excessive selectivity. Signal buildup is perfect with it, making events "happen" here and now. When MILES DAVIS at the beginning of the Miles Davis and the Modern Jazz Giants says: "Hey Rudy, put this on the record, man - all of it!", and in a moment the instruments come in, we get shivers down our spine, that's how credible it sounds (nota bene - to call your record like that, you have to have balls :).

Davis' biographers mention that he almost beat Monk during this session, to which he replies in his autobiography that this is nonsense, that they were very close. Monk's piano, recorded at very close range in the small room of Rudy Van Gelder's studio in Hackensack, does not thrill with a billion sounds. Rather, Monk leans over it in reverie, even though, after all, the rhythm section - Percy Heath's double bass and Kenny Clarke's drums - are driving forward like a locomotive down the hill. And all of this Rega's shows effortlessly. It's as if she's saying "I don't have to do anything, I can do anything."


ON THE COVER OF MY COPY OF DOMINIC MILLER'S ALBUM entitled November is his autograph. And while that's not the only reason I like it, it's something I look at every time I reach for it. The artist submitted it to me a long time ago after a concert at a small club in Bielsko-Biala, and he was surprised and excited at the same time by the fact that I brought vinyl and not CD with me.

I remember this concert perfectly, as I try to remind you from time to time. Because it was so unbelievably vital that it shamed most concerts by rock groups considered "sweepers." Miller played as if this was to be his last concert, but completely uncluttered, naturally, as if everything that happened in front of us, intended or not, was part of a larger plan.

This is also how Rega's Planar 10 sounds like. The sound of this turntable is devoid of the elements that we associate with "playing a record". In the sense that we don't think about if there is more of one element or less of the other, because what matters is music, because we just flipped the record to the other side. It's a fantastically natural sound. But it's not for everyone. Those who like a heavy slam at the bottom of the scale may not be entirely satisfied. For although Mark King's bass opening W3 from the aforementioned album had excellent fill, it didn't go as low and with as much energy as with, say, the Transrotor Massimo, or the J.Sikora Reference (tests → HERE and → HERE).

Rega offers something different. Freedom, even - liberation. Independence. The momentum. Saturation. And on top of that it looks great - it is, in my opinion, one of the better visually designed turntables I know. Despite the fact that it doesn't actually have one - a paradox, right? But a paradox in the spirit of Zen, where artists subdue the material until the sculpture doesn't appear. Yes, the Planar 10 is simply a work of art, in every respect.

Technical specifications

Turntable’s dimensions (with dust cover on) (W x H x D): 420 x 115 x 350 mm
P10’s power supply dimensions (W x H x D): 218 x 80 x 320 mm
Turntable’s weight: 4.7 kg
PL10’s power supply weight: 3 kg


Reference system 2022

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2) Line preamplifier: AYON AUDIO Spheris III Linestage |REVIEW|
3) Super Audio CD Player: AYON AUDIO CD-35 HF Edition No. 01/50 |REVIEW|
4) Stands (loudspeakers): ACOUSTIC REVIVE (custom) |ABOUT|
5) Power amplifier: SOULUTION 710
6) Loudspeaker filter: SPEC REAL-SOUND PROCESSOR RSP-AZ9EX (prototype) |REVIEW|
7) Hi-Fi rack: FINITE ELEMENTE Pagode Edition |ABOUT|


Analog interconnect SACD Player - Line preamplifier: SILTECH Triple Crown (1 m) |ABOUT|
Analog interconnect Line preamplifier - Power amplifier: ACOUSTIC REVIVE RCA-1.0 Absolute-FM (1 m) |REVIEW|
Speaker cable: SILTECH Triple Crown (2.5 m) |ABOUT|

AC Power

Power cable | Mains Power Distribution Block - SACD Player: SILTECH Triple Crown
Power (2 m) |ARTICLE|
Power cable | Mains Power Distribution Block - Line preamplifier - ACOUSTIC REVIVE
Power Reference Triple-C (2 m) |REVIEW|
Power cable | Mains Power Distribution Block - Power amplifier - ACROLINK Mexcel 7N-PC9500 |ARTICLE|
Power cable | Power Receptacle - Mains Power Distribution Block: ACROLINK Mexcel 7N-PC9500 (2 m) |ARTICLE|
Power Receptacle: Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu ULTIMATE |REVIEW|
Anti-vibration platform under Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu ULTIMATE: Asura QUALITY RECOVERY SYSTEM Level 1 |REVIEW|
Power Supply Conditioner: Acoustic Revive RPC-1 |REVIEW|
Power Supply Conditioner: Acoustic Revive RAS-14 Triple-C |REVIEW|
Passive filter EMI/RFI: VERICTUM Block |REVIEW|


Speaker stands: ACOUSTIC REVIVE (custom)
Hi-Fi rack: FINITE ELEMENTE Pagode Edition |ABOUT|
Anti-vibration platforms: ACOUSTIC REVIVE RAF-48H |ARTICLE|

  • HARMONIX TU-666M "BeauTone" MILLION MAESTRO 20th Anniversary Edition |REVIEW|


Phono preamplifier: Phono cartridges: Tonearm (12"): Reed 3P |REVIEW|

Clamp: PATHE WINGS Titanium PW-Ti 770 | Limited Edition

Record mats:


Headphone amplifier: AYON AUDIO HA-3 |REVIEW|

Headphones: Headphone Cables: Forza AudioWorks NOIR HYBRID HPC