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Turntable +cartridge
RP6 'Union Flag Edition' + Exact

Price (in Poland): 4940 PLN

Manufacturer: Rega Research Limited

6 Coopers Way | Temple Farm Industrial Estate
Southend on Sea | ESSEX | ENGLAND | SS2 5TE


Country of origin: Anglia

Product provided for testing by:

Text: Wojciech Pacuła | Photos: Wojciech Pacuła Translation: Janusz A. Szorc

Published: 1. February 2013, No. 105

This is one of those reviews I have been waiting to write for a long time indeed. It has been over a year since I first talked about reviewing one of Rega turntables with a platform made by Polish Monolith Audio to their Polish dealer (, even before Audio Show 2011. Some things, apparently, have to take their time. The good thing is that for this review I got the RP6 model, one of the newest products of the manufacturer; the latest RP8, as far as I know, is not being sold in Poland yet.
I am reviewing not just a turntable but a tonearm, a cartridge and an anti-vibration platform as well – a whole system. The RP6 came to me in the Union Flag Edition (looks splendid!!!) fitted with the EXACT cartridge and with the RB303 tonearm. The turntable sat on the above mentioned platform.
The turntable itself is available in two options. The first is just a “bare” turntable without a cartridge, equipped with the RB303 tonearm and sells in Poland for 3,890 PLN. According to the dealer the UK price is 798 GBP.
The turntable comes in black, white, red and green finish. The second version is fully equipped and comes with the factory fitted EXACT cartridge and the RB303 tonearm. The price is 4,940 PLNin Poland and is a total of 3,890 zł for the RP6 and 1,050 PLN for the cartridge. In the UK you would have to pay 998 GBP. It is available in all colors plus the Union Flag Edition. The last one is supplied with the EXACT cartridge fitted.
The RP6 was built according to a new concept with a double brace – metal and plastic –between the tonearm mounting and the main hub bearing. The platter is made of glass and is 16 mm thick, more so on the edge. To better fit it onto the plastic subplatter the latter is fitted with an aluminum adapter. The turntable is equipped with a 24V twin phase synchronous motor controlled by a separate power supply with speed control.
The EXACT cartridge is a top MM model from the manufacturer. Its main body is a one piece component with a particular attention to the top surface being perpendicular to coils. Those are wound in house by Rega. Using a special coil winding machine it was possible to reduce the number of coil turns by one third. The stylus has a “Vital” or “Fine Line” shape.

A turntable is a product particularly susceptible to vibration. Especially if it is such a lightweight as the RP6. That is why what we put it on is equally important as the turntable itself. The Polish dealer came up with something unusual and solely for this project created Monolith Audio, a company manufacturing anti-vibration platforms. They are available in several versions: ∙ For electronic devices (amplifiers, CD/SACD players, DACs) and speakers with the price tag of 900 PLN. They are available in custom ordered sizes. ∙ On ball bearing feet, dedicated to turntables. There are two options: a) Standard feet (metal alloy with tungsten carbide ball) for 1,200 PLN b) Ceramic feet with aluminum oxide ball for 3,200 PLN. As we were informed the price of manufacturing the feet alone is over 2,000 PLN. The platforms are made of carefully selected solid wood. To make one, one has to go through 100 cubic meters of timber of 8-10% humidity, which requires tremendous amount of work. A block design allows to achieve a product without flaws, dimensionally stable in various working conditions. This type of platform has much better mechanical properties than one made of single block of wood. The company makes plinths, platforms and wooden elements for several big manufacturers in Europe and elsewhere. Due to strict marketing agreements their names can’t be disclosed, though.


Recordings used during test (a selection)

  • Bill Evans, Bill Evans Live At Art D'Lugoff's Top Of The Gate, Resonance Records, HLP-9012, "Limited Edition - Promo 104", 2 x 180 g, 45 rpm LP (2012).
  • Brian Eno, Craft On A Milk Sea, Warp Records, WARPCDD207, 2 x 180 g LP + 2 x CD + 24/44,1 WAV; reviewed HERE.
  • Cocteau Twins, Stars and Topsoil, 4AD, CAD 2K19, 2 x 180 g, white LP (2000/2011).
  • Pet Shop Boys, Please, Parlophone/EMI, PCS 7303, LP (1986).
  • Peter Gabriel, So. 25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition, Realworld, PGVOX2, 4 x CD + 2 x DVD + 180 g LP + 180 g, 45 rpm LP (1987/2012).
  • Talk Talk, Spirit of Eden, Parlophone/EMI, PCSDX 105, 180 g LP + DVD 24/96 (1988/2012).
  • Wes Montgomery & Wynton Kelly Trio, Smokin’ At The Half Note, Verve/Universal Music K.K. [Japan], UCJU-9083, 180 g LP (1965/2007).
  • William Orbit, My Oracle Lives Uptown, Guerill Studios/Linn Records, AKH 351, 2 x 180 g LP; reviewed HERE.

I know some very serious audio reviewers for whom a turntable is junk and such basic turntables as the Rega are total junk. They hold to their opinion based on their knowledge of recording technology and technology in general never bothering to confront that knowledge with such a trivial thing as reality. Come to think of it, this may not be such a bad thing, though. One could come to a conclusion that it would be even worse if they held to their point of view DESPITE their listening experience.
I have to admit that I do not comprehend that notion. Despite the fact that the digital technology has gone through profound changes during the last two or three years and even a CD can sound unbelievably well, the reference point is still analog technology – for the very few chosen ones in the form of reel to reel and master tapes and for the rest a turntable and vinyl LPs. Well, at least it is still a reference point for people I respect most and whose opinion I trust.
There is something in vinyl that escapes a simple description of “friendly”, “soft”, “warm” and “smooth” which are often synonymous with the sound of vinyl. There is something “between” the notes that makes us think that the music happens here and now, something that makes us suspend our disbelief, for a while at least, and despite obvious shortcomings of the format we absorb the music.
The Rega RP6 is a perfect example of how a simple designed turntable can achieve that sort of a “window” to another dimension where we experience music directly, without the need of technology. Aware of the fact that this is just a “trick”, that there are things even a budget CD player can do better, we enter the world nevertheless, just as we are.

The “trick” is to go through layers of our analytic self and move the music to a higher level of emotions – as it happens in a concert hall. The reviewed turntable can do that graciously and effortlessly. It provides us with thick sound rich in harmonics, with beautifully differentiated shades of color. Generally, it is a “rich” sound because it presents a full color spectrum with the all the shades and scintillating moments referring to live experiences.
Its midbass is evidently emphasized. It gives the sound panache, kick and fullness. The darker side of this coloring is that it does not allow for precise differentiation of the bass, double bass or a bass drum. Had I been an opponent of vinyl I would point to that very characteristic as something that disqualifies it and that would be the end of it.
However, as I am perfectly familiar with the sound of live instruments, from analog and digital recordings I made myself or assisted in the process, I am aware that “exactness” is just a one of many conditions of a good sound and not one you can’t live without for that matter. It should be sought after; be our destination point, a haven to which we sail. It can’t be sought, though, at the expense of other aspects such as phase matching, coherence, color, saturation and cohesion. They make the sound come “alive” and seem natural.
For exactly that reason the second weakness of the LP format did not cause me to doubt my sanity. I am talking here about traveling noise and crackle which in RP6, due to its lightweight design, is more evident than in heavy turntables or the ones with decoupled sub-chassis. In such lightweight designs as the one under review traveling noise is a bit more prominent. That cannot be helped. These are the flaws that are there but are not the part of music, so to speak. These are not digital distortions served as an immanent part of the sound. Here the sound is a full, integrated ‘self’ served together with this “stuff”. Therefore, despite the fact that I would prefer not to hear that noise, the problems arising from the very nature of vinyl did not draw my attention away from the musical message or make me feel uncomfortable. This is one of the “magical” characteristics of vinyl, one which can’t be unequivocally explained. There is no sensible explanation as to why we so easily let go of this type of distortion while with CD players even a slightest deviation from accuracy often grows (in our minds) to the extent that make the listening unbearable. Since I cannot find an explanation myself, I just give my subjective description – the way I perceive it personally.

As it will later turn out, both problematic properties of this model (or, more precisely, this system as it consists of a turntable and a cartridge) can be, to a certain degree, treated. They will always be present and a strong bass will always be a distinctive feature of this particular turntable but their level will be much lower. We will deal with that in a jiffy.
Now, we arrive at a point where it is worthwhile to describe the tonal balance of the RP6 with the EXACT “on board”. One feature we already know, namely a strong midbass which gives the sound enormous volume and panache. We do not get bored no matter what we listen to – even Cocteau Twins from the white vinyl collection Stars and Topsoil sounded nice. Nothing spectacular – bright treble and a slight chaos in that range can’t possibly be changed – but rather pleasant and with good taste.

With better pressings things will only get better, much better! Smokin’ at the Half Note by Wes Montgomery with Wynton Kelly Trio, an analog remaster released in Japan on an excellent pressing sounded insanely deep and full. Differentiation and rendering of shades evoke goose bumps. The music “happens” in our vicinity with a strong foreground and a very wide expansive soundstage, extending past the speakers. Its depth does not cause our heart to tremble because it is just right. What the turntable does with the foreground, though, is exceptional, rarely experienced with CD players except the very top ones.
This can be heard with all records, not only with the gems from Japan, original pressings from Decca or Mobile Fidelity remasters. Also with records that have their history of mastering and remastering as convoluted as credit history of some very “resourceful” businessmen.
Let the example be the recent 2012 version of Spirit Of Eden by Talk Talk. Buying the vinyl record (180g) we also get a bonus DVD with audio material in 24/96 format. The record itself comes from 1988, when digital had long been present in recording studios. Despite that the material was recorded on a 2 inch, 24-track analog tape. It was then mastered on a 32-track digital recorder and finally mixed to stereo on… an analog tape. All releases, including the latest one, come from this analog tape. What is so special about that? For example the fact that the Mitsubishi Pro Digi 32 digital recorder could sample the signal with the maximum frequency of 48 kHz. Hence, everything above 22 kHz level (transients and a large part of percussion instruments energy) was cut out at the very beginning. Aware of all that I sat to listen to this album with mixed feelings. Needlessly so. Despite its complicated route from the recording mics in the studio to the speakers in my room the latest vinyl version sounds great. Much better than the remastered CD from 1997. Better than the digital version included on DVD!

What I want to say is that the shortcomings of LP format and the reviewed turntable are very easy to forgive. The RP6 with the EXACT cartridge is so involving that one does not want to listen to digital format, no matter how good. The latter is simply not as full and saturated as the music presented by the reviewed turntable. The effortless way in which the sound fills the room and the speakers disappear is enchanting. Rega, or actually its designer, has a knack to make simple devices do the work in 110%. A simple plinth, even braced with some kind of gizmo, a glass platter, an MM cartridge and a small frail motor produce the kind of sound most of the music lovers will like without any desire to change anything in it – suffice to recall Stephen Mejias from Stereophile who owns the P3-24 (see the interview HERE).
Perhaps with the exception of Monolith Audio. It is one of the very few improvements of Rega turntables not being made by Roy Gandy that really work and bring considerable results. To such an extent that after an extensive listening of the RP6 on the platform I would not listen to anything without it.
The changes that take places are of structural character; this is not some “tuning” of color or dynamics or any customary evoked aspect of sound. Noise and crackle diminish right after you put the turntable on the platform. After a careful audition you realize that the distortions did not disappear; they are still there. The foreground, however, is stronger and the instruments are better defined. The noise is masked and we perceive that as its decrease. The effect is just great.
Bass profits as well. I could live with the type of presentation described above. Everything I spoke about is still applicable. Monolith Audio makes bass better differentiated. Upper frequencies as well but it is the lower regions that make the real impression. To appreciate it one has to listen for some time to good audio or to test the turntable and the platform longer than for a day. Then it will be difficult to do without.
As in case of every high quality product, the platform works on all aspects of sound, not just a part of it. It does not really change anything; it simply enhances the good qualities of the product sitting on it. Such a comprehensive approach leads not to rejection of a turntable or a CD player, if not placed on it, but to appreciation of their qualities and urges to fully explore those qualities.
The 180g 45 RPM album Bill Evans Live At Art D’Lugoff’s Top Of The Gate is a splendid example of this phenomenon. George Klabin, the session engineer making a live recording without an opportunity to do any prior soundcheck, recorded the first two tracks, Emily and Witchcraft, with the double bass and the percussion a little too prominent, which he adjusted on the fly on the next tracks. Played by Rega sauté, the difference was obvious. The fact that the turntable slightly emphasizes part of bass did not affected the overall perception – the whole recording seemed bigger compared to that played on CD players. The platform caused the previously somewhat hardened attack of double bass or percussion to be now softer and the whole more vivid. The difference of the volume level of those two instruments was presented a tad better, was more evident. What is more important, however, their volume changed. The rule is that the material is mixed at a presumed set level of listening volume (be that on earphones or speakers). And there is only one volume level that guarantees achieving the same listening experience in home environment. In this case it was audible that the sound better “sits” in later tracks, although an inexperienced listener would be prone to favor the first two. The Rega RP6 sitting on the Monolith Audio was able to show even such subtle differences!


Equipped with the EXACT cartridge, the Rega RP6 together with the Monolith Audio platform is a whole system. The components are good enough on their own but together they present us with a sound with panache and volume similar to a live event. The sound intimacy, its “here and now”, the proximity of the foreground as well as splendid color differentiation make it far from boring. Dynamics is rather average, with no sudden changes. This does not really matter because subjectively most digital players seem flat with this type of presentation. Emphasizing a part of bass spectrum makes many aspects of the sound better with a little loss. Traveling noise and crackle tend to be lower with heavier and decoupled turntables than with the Rega. However, there is no irritating “sizzling” of high frequencies here. The presentation seems to be perfectly balanced with high frequencies present but not more than necessary. And tastily differentiated at that. If this particular combination makes your heart beat faster, do not hesitate – life is too short for boring Hi-Fi, as the classic said…


Rega is well known for a few of things, setting it apart from other turntable manufacturers. The plinth for example. It should be light and non-decoupled. In all basic models, including the RP6, it is made of wood with a phenolic resin skin. For some time now, a double brace has been used to increase rigidity between tonearm mounting and the main hub bearing – metal on top, plastic on the bottom. This solution is called Double Brace Technology and allows for further reduction of weight. The energy storage is considerably shorter then.
16 mm glass flywheel platter is made of two pieces – slightly thinner (upper) and thicker (lower) using a complex and labor intensive UV curing bond technique. The thicker outer extra ring acts to increase flywheel effect. On top of that comes classic wool mat. The platter rests on a plastic subplatter; not directly, as there is a very rigid aluminum top hub adaptor. The driving belt is very short and the motor is atypically not in the left back corner but directly behind the hub.
The ring on the motor hub is made of aluminum and has two diameters. There is no need to change the speed manually as the RP6 comes with the TT-PSU outboard power supply which sports power button and the speed button. When set to 33 1/3 rpm the Rega logo is red; set to 45 it is green. It is coupled to the turntable motor via a short 4 pin umbilical. The power supply uses a crystal quartz generator provides precise balanced power signal. The motor is a 24 V twin phase synchronous design. Each unit is manually tuned to its power supply to minimize noise and vibrations.
The turntable is equipped with the RB303 tonearm – a direct descendant of the RB300, the most famous tonearm in the world. By the way – a great article describing its history can be found in the November issue of “Hi-Fi News & Record Review” (Steve Harris, Rega RB300, Vol. 57 No.11, November 2012, p. 120-124). One thing that should be noted and remembered are the words of Roy Gandy, Rega’s owner:

What most designers tend to do is to get one major thing that the feel is important and spend all their money and development time going for that, assuming that when they’ve got that part of the design working, everything will be a lot better. But real design is not about that. It’s about realising that you can’t make anything perfect, and that everything is a series of compromises. And if you get the ideal set, then everything works at its best.

The RB303 tonearm introduced in 2011, currently used in the RP3 and the RP6 turntables, has a three point mounting system used for the first time in 2007 in the RB301 tonearm. It is designed with the latest 3D CAD/CNC technology.

The EXACT cartridge is an MM type. Its one piece body is made of Pocan – a polymer harder than industrial aluminum. The coils are manually wound which results in a very narrow magnetic gap – 0.25 mm. The stylus has Vital shape (Fine Line). The manufacturer points out that the bracket suspension is made of just one component while in products from other manufacturers it can be as many as five. The reduced component number lowers losses and improves the response time of the whole system. The cartridge has a three point coupling improving stability. Its output voltage varies between 6.8 and 7.2 mV.

Distribution in Poland

ul. Nowickiego 5/54 | 02-112 Warszawa | Polska
tel.: 784 50 50 50


  • CD player: Ancient Audio Lektor Air V-edition, review HERE
  • Phono preamplifier: RCM Audio Sensor Prelude IC, review HERE
  • Cartridges: Miyajima Laboratory SHILABE, review HERE), Miyajima Laboratory KANSUI, review HERE
  • Preamplifier: Ayon Audio Polaris III [Signature Version] with Re-generator Power Supply
  • Power amplifier: Soulution 710
  • Integrated amplifier/headphone amplifier: Leben CS300 XS Custom Version, review HERE
  • Loudspeakers: Harbeth M40.1 Domestic, review HERE
  • Headphones: Sennheiser HD800, AKG K701, Ultrasone PROLine 2500, Beyerdynamic DT-990 Pro; 600 Ω version, review HERE, HERE, and HERE
  • Interconnect: CD-preamp: Acrolink Mexcel 7N-DA6300 (article HERE, preamp-power amp: Acrolink 8N-A2080III Evo, review HERE
  • Speaker cable: Tara Labs Omega Onyx, review HERE
  • Power cables AC (all equipment): Acrolink Mexcel 7N-PC9300
  • Power strip: Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu ULTIMATE
  • Stand: Base; under all components
  • Resonance control: Finite Elemente Ceraball under the CD, Audio Revive RAF-48 platform under the CD and preamplifier
  • Pro Audio Bono PAB SE platform under Leben CS300 XS [Custom Version]; review HERE