Newguy Help on TT

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by SugarGnar, Aug 9, 2019.

  1. SugarGnar

    SugarGnar Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Bellingham, WA
    Buying my first TT setup and getting into vinyl. I'm not an audiophile but I can appreciate quality sound and notice differences at the cheap and medium grade. I've done a lot of studying and reading over the last month and like anything I know nothing about I constantly up-sell myself. I started with a used PL-500 for $100 bucks and figured since I had to upgrade the cart (busted needle on M97HE) and find a Preamp I should just get the Planar 1 +, then a Planar 2 to future proof some upgrades, oh wait big jump at Planar 3, wait wait why not the XYZ? Reining in here a bit due to budget (pilots are always broke). I'm leaning towards the Planar 2 but I think that puts quality trimmin's (preamp, speakers) out of the budget.

    Then I saw Bill's note on another thread
    That makes me think I should just stick with the Planar 1, toss an Nagaoka MP-110 with a Schiit Mani (or even the Planar 1+ with the built in Rega Mini thats on sale currently), and just plan to replace with higher quality later as I save up. Thoughts?

    Also, this forum is awesome. You folks impart some great knowledge without a lot of the BS that plagues other forums.
    alan967tiger and Randoms like this.
  2. Thorensman

    Thorensman Forum Resident

    We all have to start somewhere.
    A well set up turntable with decent phono stage will blow you away.
    Rega a very good place to start.
    vinnn and Twinsfan007 like this.
  3. vinylontubes

    vinylontubes Forum Resident

    Katy, TX
    The best advice I can give you is to save more money for the Planar 3 with cartridge and a matched phono stage. Settling for a lesser turntable when your aspirations are much higher seems like your just putting off the inevitable. To get you started with the Planar 3, you can go with a lower cost cartridge and phono stage to expedite the initial purchase. After that, you can choose to get a much better cartridge/stage a later point. Going the route of the Planar 1 or 2, just seems like this could be an immediate purchase but with compromises that you'd have regrets about. Both the Planar 1 & 2 are designed by Rega as "bridge" products you add to their customer base. Once you are in the base, the hope is that you later upgrade to the Planar 3 or 6. If the endgame is likely the Planar 3, using either the Planar 1 or 2 as stepping stone puts off it off years from now. If you just skip the stepping stone path, the Planar 3 is only months off.
  4. Cyclone Ranger

    Cyclone Ranger New old stock

    Best Coast USA
    Would not go with the Planar 1 or 2, especially at the US prices for them, as they are more ‘lifestyle products’ than audiophile ones (nttawwt).

    Would agree with VinylOnTubes above to save up for a Planar 3, or, if you’re open to used, this particular cheap-but-killer front end:

    Technics SL-1200mk2, mk3, or mk5 (used; about $500)
    Nagaoka MP-150 (new; about $250; upgradeable to MP200)
    Schiit Mani (new; $130)

    Very nice analog front-end for under $900, and the Technics is sonically on par with the Planar 3. Winner-winner chicken dinner... just make sure that you can inspect the Technics in-person prior to purchase. :thumbsup:
  5. rockin_since_58

    rockin_since_58 Forum Resident

    Simi Valley, CA
    I bought a Planar 1 and added the Nagaoaka MP-110 cartridge. I just never liked it. It sounded horrible and the turntable itself was very noisy. Ended up selling a few parts off it and tossed the rest in the trash. I am currently using the Nag 110 on my AT-LP7 which replaced the Planar 1.
  6. swvahokie

    swvahokie Forum Resident

    Planar 3 is a much better deck than a P2. The 330 arm is lights out. If you are serious, save up and get the better deck.
  7. Ken Clark

    Ken Clark Forum Resident

    Chicago Suburbs
    No such thing as future proof anything if you hang around here for any length of time. If you don't have a lot of vinyl concentrate on building a collection of music while saving for a solid vinyl playback system.
  8. Cyclone Ranger

    Cyclone Ranger New old stock

    Best Coast USA
    PS- Can’t emphasize enough what a waste of time and money small ‘incremental upgrades’ are. Working your way up the Rega line one step at a time is just going to guarantee that it’ll be a very long (and costly) time before you finally get the Rega you really wanted... in this case, probably the Planar 3. :sigh:

    Which also happens to be highly moddable too, btw.
  9. Henry Love

    Henry Love Senior Member

    +1 on the 3.
  10. Ken Clark

    Ken Clark Forum Resident

    Chicago Suburbs
    Planer 3 with Exact would be hard to beat.
    Fishoutofwater likes this.
  11. Cyclone Ranger

    Cyclone Ranger New old stock

    Best Coast USA
    The Exact is a nice cart, especially at the UK price of $325 US-equivalent.

    Unfortunately though, they charge $600 for it in the US. :(
    displayname and Dan Steele like this.
  12. Thorensman

    Thorensman Forum Resident

    Not familiar with the Planer.
    Heard one. Good machine

    I am familiar with costing.
    I wasted a lot of money trying to do
    It by buying bargains.
    If you can hear the Rega 3 with quality
    Phono stage a budget cartridge would be fine. If you like it, then save up .wait for a Rega at the right price

    Many budget cartridges can be upgraded
    With a stylus swop.
    The advice you have been given is
    Good luck
    displayname and Cyclone Ranger like this.
  13. I would consider something from ProJect. The company seems to be making improvements and implementing them ahead of the game. One of their new improvements is actually retro, what we learned back in the 1970's, the "S" and "J" style tone arms. Using turntables commercially, we found that the curved type tone arms outperformed the straight shaft type. Added to that was a removeable headshell, which made it easier to replace a stylus and/or with multiple headshells pre-mounted with different cartridges, it allowed us to almost instantly swap out for a cartridge which would better be suited for playing different record formats.
    The PL-500 is a heck of a turntable and with the auto-return, you can avoid playing the lead-out track, endlessly until you can stop it yourself. But then again, maybe you like playing the lead-out track on side 2 of the Sgt. Pepper's LP.
    My favorite TT of all time is the Pioneer PL-12D-II.
    Dan Steele and timind like this.
  14. Randoms

    Randoms Aerie Faerie Nonsense

    Hi @SugarGnar and welcome to the forum.

    I don't know how big a record collection you have, or indeed how good (sadly linked to how, much?) a sound you are after (and what amp and speakers you are using), but I would take your Pioneer to a Rega dealer and hear a Planar 3 and 6 and if they also stock Technics, a current model and see which you like the sound and feel of. Small changes are imo a waste of money and you spend far more buying what you really want. This will show you how far you need to go to get a worthwhile improvement over your PL500, which is by no means a poor turntable and put you in a better position of what is a good next step for you.

    Everyone has a different expectation level, but if you buy something that does not come up to you're expectations, you don't play more music, then that is a waste of money. If you save up and buy something that matches, or exceeds your expectations, then whatever the cost it is money well spent.

    Years ago a friend Hi-fi dealer friend who I was working for on Saturdays gave me some brilliant advice, "stop pissing in the wind and buy what you really want. You will enjoy your music far more, not have buyer's remorse, and long term it will save you money". Apart from the fact that my bank balance took a hit, I never regretting buying a better turntable and later amp and speakers.

    Your money, your choice, but it is better to make that decision having heard for yourself your options.

    Happy listening!
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2019
    bever70, Cyclone Ranger, KT88 and 2 others like this.
  15. KT88

    KT88 Forum Resident

    The Planar 2 is nice enough and sounds great with a great cartridge, levels better than what you have experienced thus far. If you can't see affording the Planar 3, then the 2 will do and allow more to be spent on a fine cartridge. Then also a separate phono stage. Once you have all three pieces, you'll be able to upgrade any of them at any time, should you decide to do so. If you get a nice cartridge and phonostage to match, that could be a long way off.
    Dan Steele and Thorensman like this.
  16. SugarGnar

    SugarGnar Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Bellingham, WA
    First, a thank you to everyone for your responses, I really appreciate the feedback. I'm late on my own response because of the feedback here I decided a field trip was needed. Hawthorne stereo in Seattle, great shop and people if you're in the area, check them out.

    Testing with Marantz AV7703 amp, some killer speakers, and a mix of Miles Davis Round Midnight and Madeline Peyroux spinny discs. Everything was set to really shine. I started with the Planar 1 and it sounded....OK, but it really felt like everything was being held back. You could hear everything there, just muted and wanting in the background. The Planar 2 was night and day difference. Miles' horn and Madeline's voice were what I expected to hear, it was great. They didn't have a Planar 3 but I've tried out a few other players and decided to stick with the Planar for looks and sound.

    Hearing the jump from the 1 to 2 and based on everyone's advice, I'm going to trot up to Vancouver this weekend and check out the Planar 3 as it sounds like the best long term option for me and can be had for about $8-900 US up there. Thanks again!
  17. Cyclone Ranger

    Cyclone Ranger New old stock

    Best Coast USA
    Cool... let us know how it goes. :thumbsup:
  18. myles

    myles Forum Resident

    Near Marlow, UK
    A friend of mine bought a P2 and when the inevitable upgradeitis started with changing his cartridge, he realised that due to the auto bias system on the arm he would be 'stuck' with Rega cartridges. I didn't have the heart to tell him the 2M Blue he was looking at would need the arm shimming too!
    I've had a few Rega turntables and the arms with proper bias adjustment are the way forward here - as stated above, aim for the P3 if you can afford it.
    Cyclone Ranger likes this.
  19. Benzion

    Benzion "Cogito, ergo sum" Forum Resident

    Brooklyn, NY
    You can look for a good deal on a gently used Planar 3, and may be lucky enough to score one for the price of the new P2.

    On a side note, I'd advice against the Schiit Mani. If you can save up for it - you're much better off with a Lounge LCR III. Even the stock one will wipe the floor with the Mani, and may be the last phono you ever need.
    Dan Steele likes this.
  20. McLover

    McLover Forum Resident

    East TN
    If you want a Rega, skip the lower end ones, get a Planar 3. In the long run, you'll be happier owning it than something lesser.
    Dennis Metz and Cyclone Ranger like this.

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