Rega Planar 1 MKII Turntable: Experience the Best Entry-Level Performance

After spinning vinyl records for a while, I’ve been researching my next vinyl turntable upgrade. This time, I want a proper turntable that allows for cartridge or stylus upgrades and isn’t fully automatic. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Sony PS-LX310BT turntable; it’s been great. However, it’s about time for me to upgrade to something more audiophile-like.

After extensive searching for the best entry-level turntables that met my budget, I narrowed it down to two entry-level models: the Pro-Ject Essential III and the Rega Planar 1. Both have received 5-star ratings from What Hi-Fi. The decision was tough, so I focused on maintenance costs, such as the cartridge and stylus.

After a deeper comparison, I decided to go with the award winning Rega Planar 1 for the minimalist features. Although I was very tempted by the glass platter on the Pro-Ject Essential III, I ultimately chose the Rega turntable.

The Rega Planar 1 MKII, also known as P1, is often touted as one of the best entry-level turntables available on the market today. In this comprehensive review, we will delve into the key features, performance, and overall value of the Rega Planar 1 to determine if it truly lives up to the hype.

Hope this Rega Planar 1 review might be able to help you ease your dilemma in choosing your next turntable.

The Rega Planar 1 Can Sing!

I was absolutely amazed by the exceptional clarity of the vocals when I played Taeyeon’s “INVU” vinyl on the Rega turntable for the very first time. The experience was truly mind-blowing, leaving me with a profound sense of awe and excitement.

The sound quality was so impressive that it elicited a spontaneous “WOW” from me. One aspect that particularly stood out to me was how the sound staging remained perfectly centered and impeccably balanced throughout. It was a truly satisfying listening experience that left me feeling delighted.

In terms of sound preferences, I have come to appreciate a more balanced bass tone, steering away from the overly boomy bass that I previously encountered with the Sony turntable. Check out our review of the Sony PS-LX310BT. As of now, the only upgrade I have made is the addition of the 3mm acrylic platter, one of the best vinyl accessories to have, has significantly enhanced my overall listening pleasure.

No doubt the Planar 1 is part of Rega’s lineup of turntables that cater to both audiophiles and those new to vinyl, emphasizing ease of use without compromising on the audio fidelity that is crucial for an immersive musical experience.

Detailed view of the Rega Planar 1 tonearm and cartridge highlighting precision engineering

P1 Turntable - Design and Build Quality

The Rega Planar 1 exudes simplicity and elegance. Comes in black and white finishes, this turntable has a simple design that goes well with any style of decor. The platter is made from strong phenolic resin, it looks sleek and is built to last.

One of the standout features of the Planar 1 is its new RB110 tonearm, which is pre-set for optimal performance. This means no fiddling with anti-skate adjustments or complicated setups – a significant advantage for beginners. The tonearm is paired with a factory-fitted Carbon moving magnet cartridge, making the turntable ready to play straight out of the box.

Setup and Ease of Use

Setting up the Rega Planar 1 is refreshingly straightforward. The turntable comes almost fully assembled, requiring only a few simple steps to get it up and running. This includes fitting the belt onto the sub-platter, placing the platter on top, and attaching the counterweight to the tonearm. Rega’s user-friendly manual provides clear instructions, ensuring that even those new to vinyl can set it up with ease.

The Planar 1 also features a new, 24v synchronous motor, which offers reduced vibration and improved speed stability compared to its predecessors. This motor drives a precision-machined phenolic resin platter, ensuring consistent rotation and minimal wow and flutter.

Sound Quality

When it comes to sound quality, the Rega Planar 1 truly shines. The turntable delivers a warm, detailed, and dynamic sound that brings out the best in your vinyl collection. The RB110 tonearm, combined with the Rega Carbon cartridge, tracks records with precision, revealing nuances and details that might be missed by lesser turntables.

The Planar 1 handles a wide range of musical genres with ease, from the punchy bass lines of rock and electronic music to the subtle textures of classical and jazz recordings. The soundstage is impressively wide and deep, creating an immersive listening experience that draws you into the music.

Performance

The Rega Planar 1’s performance is exceptional, especially considering its price point. The low-vibration motor and high-quality tonearm contribute to noise-free playback, while the precision-machined platter ensures consistent speed and pitch accuracy. These features combine to produce a clear, detailed, and engaging sound that is sure to satisfy both newcomers and seasoned vinyl enthusiasts.

One of the key performance aspects of Planar 1 is its ability to minimize external vibrations. The turntable’s high-density plinth and stable feet effectively isolate it from vibrations that could otherwise interfere with playback quality. This results in a cleaner, more accurate sound that faithfully reproduces the original recordings.

Value for Money

The Rega Planar 1 offers outstanding value for money. It provides many features and a level of performance typically found in more expensive models, making it an excellent choice for those looking to enter the world of vinyl without breaking the bank. Its combination of build quality, ease of use, and superior sound make it a standout option in the entry-level turntable market.

Furthermore, the Planar 1 is a future-proof investment. Rega is known for its upgradable components, allowing users to enhance their turntable’s performance over time. Whether it’s upgrading the cartridge or adding a performance pack, the Planar 1 can grow with your evolving audio needs.

Upgrades: Cartridges, Stylus, Acrylic Platter

One of the significant advantages of the Rega Planar 1 is its upgradability. As your experience and appreciation of vinyl grow, you may wish to enhance your turntable’s performance with a few well-chosen upgrades.

Cartridges

Upgrading the cartridge can have a profound impact on sound quality. The factory-fitted Carbon moving magnet cartridge is excellent for beginners, but more advanced users might consider upgrading to the Rega Bias 2 or the Rega Elys 2. These cartridges offer improved tracking ability and a richer, more detailed sound.

Stylus

The stylus is a crucial component for accurate sound reproduction. Over time, it will wear out and need replacing. When it’s time for a replacement, consider upgrading to a higher-quality stylus compatible with your chosen cartridge. Upgrading to a stylus with a finer tip can help retrieve more detail from your records.

Acrylic Platter

Swapping the phenolic resin platter for an acrylic one can enhance the Planar 1’s sound quality. Acrylic platters are known for their ability to reduce resonance and static build-up, resulting in a clearer, more focused sound. They also add a touch of elegance to the turntable’s aesthetic.

Explore the best Rega Planar 1 upgrades for enhancing your turntable’s performance.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Ease of Setup: The Planar 1 is incredibly easy to set up, even for beginners. Its pre-set tonearm and clear instructions ensure a hassle-free experience.
  • Build Quality: The turntable is built to last, with high-quality materials and a solid, robust construction.
  • Sound Quality: The Planar 1 delivers a warm, detailed, and dynamic sound that brings out the best in vinyl records.
  • Design: Its minimalist design is both stylish and functional, fitting seamlessly into any home audio setup.
  • Upgradability: Rega offers a range of upgrade options, allowing users to enhance their turntable’s performance over time.

Cons

  • Manual Speed Change: Changing between 33 1/3 and 45 RPM requires manually removing the platter, which may be inconvenient for some users.
  • Lack of Built-In Phono Preamp: The Planar 1 does not include a built-in phono preamp, so users will need an external preamp if their amplifier lacks a phono stage.

Why I Choose Rega Planar 1 Turntable

Initially, if you planning to buy Rega Planar 1, the naming of this model can be confusing due to Rega offering various versions of the Planar 1 turntable. These include the Rega RP1, the oldest model, alongside the Rega Planar 1 in gloss and matte finishes, as well as the Planar 1 Plus, which includes a built-in phono preamp. Purchase the Rega Planar 1 on Amazon or Shopee.

The black, white, and walnut versions have upgrades like the RB110 tonearm, a 24V motor, and the Rega Carbon cartridge. These versions are easy to distinguish for their unique features. The decision to go for the Rega Planar 1 was influenced by several factors. I already have a Douk Audio T4 phono preamp, so I don’t need the built-in phono preamp in most turntables. The Rega Planar 1, with its minimalistic features, appealed to me due to its reputation for delivering superior performance.

Additionally, the manual speed change feature was not a deterrent since I predominantly play records at 33rpm. Overall, the Rega Planar 1’s focus on high-quality sound reproduction without superfluous extras made it the ideal choice for my audio needs. The Rega Planar 1 Walnut color has the best aesthetic look but it costs more.

For the best listening experience, see the Hi-Fi Setup Guide.

Conclusion

The Rega Planar 1 MKII is a remarkable turntable that sets a high standard for entry-level models. Its combination of exceptional sound quality, ease of use, and elegant design make it a compelling choice for anyone looking to explore the world of vinyl.

While it may lack some convenience features like a built-in phono preamp and automatic speed change, these minor drawbacks are easily outweighed by its overall performance and value.

Whether you’re a vinyl newcomer or a seasoned audiophile, the Rega Planar 1 is sure to impress. Visit the Rega Planar 1 Official Page Its ability to deliver a rich, immersive listening experience from the moment you drop the needle makes it a worthy addition to any audio setup. For those seeking an affordable, high-quality turntable that doesn’t compromise on performance, the Rega Planar 1 is an excellent investment.

* If you buy something through our links, we might earn an affiliate commission.

IvanYolo Rating
Vinyl Quality
5/5
Sound Quality
5/5
Music
5/5
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