First time buyer advice

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by ClawHammer, Jun 18, 2022.

  1. ClawHammer

    ClawHammer Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Hi all,
    This is my first post so hello to you all. Sorry, it’s a long one.

    My wife and I have inherited two lots of old vinyl recently and have been looking to purchase the hardware required to play it on. We’ve also purchased a few vinyl records from a local second hand shop but not sure if this is a good idea or not?

    Whenever I purchase significant items or new tech, I spend a long time looking into it until I feel I have enough knowledge to make a purchase. I would guess I spend longer than is ‘normal’ on such decisions. However, my wife is expecting a new turntable for her birthday in about three weeks but I don’t feel completely comfortable enough to make the purchase so just looking for some opinions.

    I’m seriously considering purchasing the following hardware: -

    Rega Planar 2
    Rega Fono MM Mk5
    Rega Couple3 RCA Interconnects

    The reason for choosing the above are numerous… great reviews, great looks, recommended by the retailer I plan to purchase from, price (cheaper than most parts of the world as I live in UK). I must admit I went for the 2 over the 1 for a very stupid reason… I love the aesthetics of the glass platter. Is the above equipment a wise choice or are there other options I should consider? I can’t increase my budget so other suggestions would need to cost the same or less.

    Another ‘issue’ I have is that initially this new equipment will be used with my home cinema amp and surround speakers. I have a Denon AVR-1912 and B&W Mini Theatre (M1 surrounds and PV1 sub). I know that I can connect the new equipment and my understanding is that it will play in stereo through 2 of the surround speakers. I’m not sure if it will use the sub though or if it even needs to? Regardless, how bad will the sound be using this setup? Does anybody have any experience of using this equipment for listening to vinyl?

    Apologies for the long post and TIA for any informations, suggestions and opinions.
    All the best,
    Lenny99 likes this.
  2. Ntotrar

    Ntotrar Forum Sciolist

    Tri-Cities TN
    I see no reason this won't work as long as you have an open AUX input on the receiver. It will/should play from your front left and right speakers unless you opt to use a "stereo matrix" setting that uses additional speakers. Sub woofer in or out whichever sounds better. I have owned Rega and it seems the kit your looking at will be a decent match with your current equipment.
    ClawHammer likes this.
  3. vinylontubes

    vinylontubes Forum Resident

    Katy, TX
    You don't know enough until you hear what you're buying. Anybody else disagree with me?

    Since you're in the UK, you should consider at least hearing the Planar 3 over the Planar 2. The truth is you're buying a piece of equipment that will last decades. It's really not worth trying to save money on a lower end model for something you'll potentially keep for that long.
  4. Cherrycherry

    Cherrycherry Forum Resident

    • Give yourself more time to research and hear the right turntable.
    • Give your wife a birthday card with a picture of a turntable and a promise. Unless she is deaf; buy the cheapest turntable you can as a gift, while you research the right turntable for you.
    Mad shadows and ClawHammer like this.
  5. Aereoplain

    Aereoplain Forum Resident

    charlotte nc usa
    IMO, you are spot on.
    Go with this and call it a day.
    P2 is nice as is the phono and connects
    BluTorch, clhboa and ClawHammer like this.
  6. brubacca

    brubacca Forum Resident

    That sounds like a good starting point. I have a Planar 2 and it works on much more expensive gear.

    I would consider Chord Cable Clearway instead of the couple. It's probably half the price of the Couple and a nice inexpensive interconnect. I don't know UK prices but here is the use the Rega Couple is probably 40% more expensive and quite honestly not worth it for your AVR.
    Swann36, ClawHammer and Aereoplain like this.
  7. ClawHammer

    ClawHammer Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Thanks for all the comments, advice and suggestions. Sounds like I’m not buying anything completely rubbish or incompatible. I take on board the suggestion of hearing before buying. I’ve just searched Rega’s website for dealerships near me and found my local independent AV shop is a Rega dealer. I will call them to arrange a demo on Monday. Also, take on board suggestion of buying the Chord interconnects although they’re only £10 cheaper they do have great reviews and awards.

    Is there anything else I need to purchase? I know I need something to clean my records so will research this today.
    Looking forward to setting all this up and listening to our record collection.
    clhboa likes this.
  8. Mark Shred

    Mark Shred Fiery the angels fell..........

    All I'd say, is get a P3 over a P2. They are an extremely good TT and with a few modifications become an outstanding TT. Just my opinion.
  9. Crab33

    Crab33 Forum Resident

    United Kingdom
    The Rega turntables are well reviewed in the UK and should be fine if you like their aesthetics and functionality (e.g. moving the belt by hand to change speed). You've made your decision of the Planar 2 over the 1 but some people are suggesting the 3 over the 2. I guess you have a budget and you have to draw the line somewhere. I'm sure the 2 would make a very enjoyable first turntable.

    If you do manage to compare them in an audition, bear in mind that the fitted cartridge has a significant bearing on the quality and character of the sound. The 2 has the Rega Carbon (as does the 1), which is a respectable budget cartridge with a conical stylus. The 3 has the Rega Elys 2, which has an elliptical stylus. So, the turntables will sound different partly because of the different cartridges. You can, however, later change the cartridge on either turntable, if you wish - so, you could upgrade the cartridge on the 2 to a model with elliptical stylus (or better).

    Another thing to point out about these cartridges is that the Carbon has a replaceable stylus but the Elys 2 does not (unusually for a moving-magnet cartridge). This means that when the stylus wears out on the Elys, you will have to replace the whole cartridge. This will not be an easy feat on a tonearm with fixed headshell and doing it on a regular basis (depending on how often you use the turntable) may prove a pain. I believe the Planar 3 is available without cartridge, so I would be inclined to go down that route and choose an alternative cartridge (with replaceable stylus) from the outset.
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2022
    ClawHammer and dennis the menace like this.
  10. rich100

    rich100 Forum Resident

    Middle of England
    Agree with the above regards budget limits and cartridge selection. Yes the 3 is better than the 2 but it costs more, of course. As for the cartridge I don't have experience of these but an elliptical tipped stylus will generally be better, but again it will affect cost if not taking the supplied option, perhaps see what the dealer can offer? TBH you'll end up wanting to change it at some point anyway so just see see it as an interim, see what you think of it and upgrade when ready.

    The M1's are nice speakers I use as surrounds, but they are small so won't have much bass, if you keep the sub working with the front stereo pair it might sound better than without.

    As for second hand vinyl and buying 2nd hand, try to be choosy on quality (look for obvious scratches etc), dirt can be cleaned and indeed one of the best improvements for vinyl listening is a cleaning regime to at least wash any new records (I don't do them repeatedly myself, just on purchase), there are relatively cheap manual washing kits available but a vacuum RCM is a game changer, I have quite a few 70's and 80's up's that sound pristine now, even new records need it due to the dirt/dust that comes on new records - but that's a whole separate debate.

    For the interconnects, I would save yourself some cash and get something cheaper but still good quality, I'm seeing them at £100 a pair which seems way over the top to me.
    ClawHammer likes this.
  11. Swann36

    Swann36 A widower finding solace in music

    Lincoln, UK
    cables I’d go for are Chord Clearway they do punch above there weight
    ClawHammer likes this.
  12. MonkeyTennis

    MonkeyTennis As woke as Billie Eilish

    I enjoyed a P3 + Elys II for a number of years (before upgrading to a P8). I’ve enjoyed many listening sessions with my brother who still has his trusty P2 (with the Carbon). While the P2 is no slouch, even allowing for differences across our systems and room, the difference between the P2 and 3 is very apparent and audible in terms of SQ and, in particular, detail retrieval. I’d therefore echo others here and give serious consideration in perhaps saving a little more and then jumping in with P3. The P3 has the better tone arm (you’ll struggle to match that at the same price point), a better platter, subplatter, and the Elys II is the far better cart.

    I think the P3 particularly makes sense if you envisage upgrading other aspects of your system down the line. The P3 is far more upgradeable that the P2 and will likely deliver better results should you wish to step up to an Exact, or even an MC, cart in the future.

    Having said that, if you are looking for a way to enable you to spin a record and listen casually, I can’t imagine that you will be disappointed with the P2. It’s very easy to live with, rock-solid-reliable, and a proper fun listen. In the UK, both TTs offer real value for money and are very difficult to beat.
    ClawHammer likes this.
  13. Cote Dazur

    Cote Dazur Well-Known Member

    In stereo it will play trough the L and R front speaker plus sub (2.1),

    It will, does it need to or do you want it to, depends entirely what L+R front speakers you have and how they are positioned in your room. Most likely will work better with the sub.

    It should not sound bad, it will play like any other stereo source, a AVR receiver is just an integrated amplifier with more than 2 amplifier, and a sub output with a Digital Signal Processor (DSP) to balance the sound between the different speakers. In direct stereo mode, it will work just like a 2.0 or 2.1 stereo integrated amplifier.

    You will be fine, enjoy your vinyl records on your new TT.
    ClawHammer likes this.
  14. The Pinhead

    The Pinhead SUDACA ROÑOSO

    Not a Rega !
    ClawHammer likes this.
  15. MonkeyTennis

    MonkeyTennis As woke as Billie Eilish

    Not an especially useful comment, dontcha think?
  16. rodentdog

    rodentdog Forum Resident

    Your Denon doesn't have a phono preamp built into it.
    ClawHammer likes this.
  17. RemyM

    RemyM Forum Resident

    That's why he has Rega Fono MM Mk5 on the list.
    ClawHammer and rodentdog like this.
  18. Vaughan

    Vaughan Forum Resident

    Essex, UK
    I don't see how you can go wrong with the Rega. Although, I'd not be spending anything more than Amazon Basics offers on interconnects. Rega are made in the UK and are therefore easy to get parts/repairs to should they ever be needed. It also happens to sound pretty darn good.

    Keep in mind - my current listening is on a Rega RP3 with an RB300 tonearm, and a microline stylus. I use the Neu PSU and an Elex-R with it. My main love is for Linn, but the Rega is much more affordable for what I wanted. I'm more than happy with my choice.
    ClawHammer and MonkeyTennis like this.
  19. William Bryant

    William Bryant Forum Resident

    Meridian, Idaho
    I had a Rega for years but recently replaced it with a Pioneer DJ PLX-1000.

    The Rega never ran at exactly 33 1/3 RPM, it allowed footfalls on the floor to knock the stylus out of the groove, it didn't allow VTA adjustments, it had no built in way to level it and sat on only three feet, it had no grounding, it had hard wired RCA cables, it required removing the platter to change to 45 RPM, and it generally seemed far too expensive for the flimsy physical object it was.

    The Pioneer DJ runs at exactly 33 1/3 RPM, it keeps the stylus in the groove when I jump on the floor directly in front of it, it provides easy VTA adjustment, it has four adjustable feet for leveling, it has grounding, it has RCA jacks, it changes to 45 RPM at the touch of a button, and it seems like a bargain when I look at the beautiful brushed aluminum and pick up all 30 lbs of it (the Rega weighed less than half of that).

    Overall, the Rega seems like a toy compared to the Pioneer DJ which seems like a solid, serious piece of audio gear.
  20. Robert C

    Robert C Forum Resident

    London, UK
    Your budget appears to be ~£800. In my opinion/experience, you'd do much better looking at equipment from the likes of Audio-Technica, Pioneer, or Technics, that come with built-in phono stages and probably include cables in the box (not to mention a better cartridge!) Spending £100 on cables when the cartridge is spherical seems like an odd allocation of funds.

    Looking on Richer Sounds, I'd consider the following: Pioneer PLX500 (£299), Audio-Technica LP5X (£349), Technics SL-1500C (£899). I appreciate there is quite a price difference between the Audio-Technica and Technics but I couldn't see anything in the ~£600 range. Edit: There is the Pioneer PLX-1000, but it doesn't have a built-in phono stage or cartridge. It's a great turntable though, rivalling the new Technics SL-1200.

    All of these turntables are direct drive, which offers better speed and pitch stability than the Rega's belt drive. The AT and Technics come with high quality eliptical styli. They're all heavier than the Rega, with the Pioneer and Technics being twice the weight of the Rega. This should help with dispelling vibrational problems.

    Given you're new to vinyl, I think the Audio-Technica LP5X offers a good price:quality point. You'll get good quality reproduction of your records without investing a huge ammount of cash. If you enjoy the format, you can go on to upgrade the stylus (the AT-VM range is very good). You could even put the money saved towards a cleaning machine or more records!
    fretter and ClawHammer like this.
  21. Cote Dazur

    Cote Dazur Well-Known Member

    This made me smile, as I can see that feature very important for a professional DJ turntable. :winkgrin:

    One tid bit of information was missing from your post though, are you enjoying your music more with the Pioneer? I am assuming you are, as this the bit that would really matter to me.:)
    ClawHammer likes this.
  22. William Bryant

    William Bryant Forum Resident

    Meridian, Idaho
    Yes, music in the right key without the occasional sound of a stylus jumping out of the groove is very enjoyable! :)
    ClawHammer, Robert C and Cote Dazur like this.
  23. MGW

    MGW Less travelling, more listening

    Scotland, UK
    It sounds as if you have thought this through rather well. As others have said the Rega 3 is a big step up in performance but the step in price is not insignificant either. The 3 is worthwhile if you can afford it, not if you cannot.

    The best thing to do is to get along to a dealer for a demonstration and to see what they recommend and offer in terms of the cartridge and interconnect. They might also have other thoughts on the phono stage.
    ClawHammer likes this.
  24. Vaughan

    Vaughan Forum Resident

    Essex, UK
    Oh, my other advice - set a budget, and stick to it.

    This is probably the most important consideration. There's always something "better", and your mind can quickly switch to a more expensive component. The trouble is, there's no end to it. Set a budget, make sure you stick to it. This doesn't have to be the last equipment you ever buy.
    ClawHammer and MGW like this.
  25. MonkeyTennis

    MonkeyTennis As woke as Billie Eilish

    I’m on my second Rega. My brother as a P2. My partner a P6. All of them run bang on, and the only skip I’ve ever had is more down to the sprung wooden floorboards in my office and me pratting around like an idiot.

    Rega won’t be for everyone. Just as Pioneer, Linn, Project, or whatever, will have both fans and the unimpressed. But if you are going to critique the current Rega offering, you should be fair about it. The Rega philosophy is, and always has been, low mass, high rigidity - which is a legit and reasonable approach to TT design. Not the only legit approach, but an approach supported by the science. My P8 is shockingly light, but anything but filmsy.
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