After almost two months I have a turntable on my desk again – this time this is Rega Planar 2 Review.
Rega holds a special place in the hearts of those who grew up in the analog era, as it is widely regarded as a symbol of exceptional sound quality and reliable hi-fi equipment. As a mid-range British manufacturer, Rega has introduced numerous iconic devices that have left a lasting impact on the industry. While Rega is most renowned for its exceptional turntables, such as the legendary Planar 2, its amplifiers and CD players have also consistently met and exceeded the high expectations associated with the brand since the mid-seventies.
It’s worth noting that Rega’s reputation for producing top-notch audio equipment extends beyond turntables. Their amplifiers and CD players have garnered praise for their sound quality and performance, further solidifying Rega’s position as a trusted name in the industry.
Overall, Rega has established itself as a prominent audio manufacturer, consistently delivering excellent sound quality and reliable performance across its range of products. From their legendary turntables to amplifiers and CD players, Rega continues to meet and exceed the expectations of audio enthusiasts.
Rega Planar 2 Specifications
- Base: Solid chassis, rigid suspension
- Material: Carbon
- Drive: Belt transmission
- Speeds: 33 1/, and 45. switching over a pulley
- Platter: New float glass ‘Optiwhite’ 10 mm – Improved accuracy platter
- Motor: 24 V low noise motor, fixed to the base, external power supply
- Handle: Rega RB220
- Head: Rega Carbon MM
- Dimensions (WxHxD): 447xll7x360 mm (with lid)
- Weight: 5.5 kg
You can download the manual here->Rega Planar 2 Manual
Construction & Design
The Rega Planar 2 turntable holds a significant position in the Rega turntable lineup, positioned between the Planar 1 and Planar 3 models. At first glance, the primary difference between the Planar 2 and Planar 3 is the metal connector between the tonearm’s base and the platter’s shaft in the higher-end model. The Planar 3 also features an improved RB330 tonearm and the option of an optional TT-PSU power supply for the motor.
However, when considering the Planar 2 as the first model above the basic entry-level option, it offers a compelling package that certainly meets the expectations of audio enthusiasts. The Planar 2 consists of a well-designed base, a reliable tonearm, and a headshell, all working together in perfect synergy.
In the latest iteration, the traditional wooden base has been replaced with an acrylic sandwich in either glossy black or white lacquer. While some may express concerns about the perceived inferior qualities of the new material compared to wood and its potential impact on sound coloring, the primary drawback of the base remains its rigid suspension system. The turntable relies on three rubber feet, which have been enlarged and damped to minimize vibrations. However, it is still recommended to place the record player on a well-isolated surface to further isolate it from external vibrations. This compromise in the design represents a trade-off within this particular class of turntables.
The slim design of the turntable incorporates a motor with electronic speed regulation and an external 24-volt power source. The motor is positioned within the base and features a switch located under the left edge to maintain the sleek aesthetic. Connected to the motor is a solid plastic pulley that rests on a brass bearing, with a 10-millimeter-thick glass plate placed on top. While the glass plate is precisely manufactured and perfectly flat, it is acoustically unconventional for gramophones. This is primarily due to its tendency to “ring” at frequencies corresponding to the surrounding vibrations. Additionally, its acoustic impedance differs from that of vinyl, leading to insufficient absorption of resonances occurring in the panel itself. To address this issue, an attached mat must be used in conjunction with the glass platter.
The glass platter offers several advantages, including its solid mass, which enhances speed stability and minimizes vibration originating from the motor. Gear shifting is achieved manually through a pulley located beneath the platter. While such a solution may be considered a drawback in higher-end turntables, it is deemed acceptable for this particular class of turntables. However, it is advisable to use gloves when removing the platter to prevent leaving fingerprints on the glass surface. Glass platters provide improved performance and aesthetics, and taking precautions to maintain their pristine appearance is recommended.
The RB220 tonearm incorporates notable innovations. Drawing inspiration from the successful RB250 and RB300 models, this nine-inch model features an integrated headshell and aluminum tonearm. It rests on a newly designed bearing that boasts minimal friction and zero backlashes, as claimed by the manufacturer. The tonearm includes an integrated piston and automatic anti-skating adjustment, along with mass adjustment using the weight. Unlike higher-end models, the weight at the rear end of the tonearm lacks a scale. Instead, the adjustment follows the rule of “one circle – one gram” when the tonearm is brought to the zero position, with the green dot on the rim indicating the precise weight position. However, it’s worth noting that the RB220 does not offer the ability to adjust the VTA angle, making the process of switching to another cartridge more complex than a straightforward replacement.
The Carbon cartridge, which is Rega’s entry-level moving magnet (MM) cartridge, is included in this package. It offers a 2.5 millivolt output and features a replaceable stylus. The recommended tracking force for the Carbon cartridge falls within the range of two to three grams. Additionally, the turntable comes with an acrylic cover that is attached to the back of the base using two hinges. In terms of weight, the entire record player weighs over five kilograms.
Rega Planar 2 Tracking Force Adjustment
To set the tracking force on the Rega Planar 2, follow these steps:
a. With the cartridge fitted and aligned using the supplied protractor, ensure that the bias adjustment slider is set to zero.
b. Screw the balance weight along its shaft until the stylus is “floating” just 1mm clear of the record.
c. The recommended tracking force can be applied by rotating the balance weight so that it moves towards the front of the arm. A half-turn gives 1g tracking force. It is recommended to use a force within the upper limit of the cartridge maker’s recommended range. Set the bias adjustment slider to the same number as the tracking force control.
If you are not satisfied with this basic package, you can get the Performance Pack from Rega, which includes the Bias 2 MM head, an improved belt, and a wool mat. With an extra charge, of course.
The Planar 2 turntable is designed to be a hassle-free, plug-and-play solution. It comes pre-assembled and finely tuned at the factory, ensuring optimal performance. When unpacking the turntable, the user can verify the alignment of the tonearm and cartridge using the provided protractor, although minimal deviation is expected. The tonearm and platter are perfectly parallel, showcasing attention to detail. Setting the Vertical Tracking Angle (VTA) to an average value of 2.5 grams is recommended. With a quick setup process, it takes less than 15 minutes to connect the turntable to a compatible preamplifier.
The Rega Planar 2 turntable is highly regarded for its exceptional sound quality, with specific features designed to enhance the overall listening experience. The minimalistic design of the Planar 2 extends to its features, as it lacks Bluetooth, a built-in phono preamp, and pitch control. However, the features it does possess are carefully crafted to improve sound reproduction.
One of the standout components of the Planar 2 is its RB220 tonearm, which incorporates new ultra-low friction ball bearings and a stiffer bearing housing. These enhancements contribute to the turntable’s ability to deliver dynamic, straightforward, and honest sound reproduction, showcasing a well-balanced range. The tonearm is often considered the star of the Planar 2, playing a significant role in its impressive sonic performance.
Rega has also made improvements to the turntable’s stability by designing new feet and changing the packaging. These enhancements further contribute to the overall sound quality by reducing vibrations and ensuring a stable playback platform.
Overall, the Rega Planar 2 turntable is renowned for its engaging and high-quality sound reproduction, offering a listening experience that captivates the listener and highlights the fine details of the music.
Additionally, I conducted a listening test without using the mat, placing the record directly on the glass surface. As stated earlier, the record adheres quite well to the glass, but as anticipated, this arrangement affects the sound quality. The previously discernible details became lost, resulting in a diminished and thinner soundstage, with the midrange slightly emphasized. The treble became thinner and more pronounced. It is possible that some individuals may appreciate this calmer and potentially more monotonous sound. However, it is not the optimal solution for acrylic plates, and it is advisable to maintain the use of a mat or even consider acquiring a higher-quality alternative.
Rega Planar 2 Video Review
Some users have reported a hum or buzz in the speakers when using this turntable. Here is the solution:
Rega turntables, including the Rega Planar, utilize grounding to ensure proper audio performance and eliminate potential buzzing or interference. The grounding process involves connecting the turntable’s ground wire to the appropriate grounding points on the preamp and amplifier.
According to the information found, Rega turntables, including the Planar, typically ground via the left ground on the RCA output. To address buzzing or interference issues, it is recommended to ensure the correct grounding of your preamp and amplifier. If your equipment is not properly grounded, you may experience buzzing when touching the tonearm or being near the turntable.
To resolve this issue, it is suggested to create a grounding cable using a crimping kit and a plug. By using a high-quality ground wire, connect the earth pin on the plug to your preamp and amplifier, thus establishing a solid ground connection. It is also recommended to polish the ground pin on the plug for optimal contact.
By implementing this grounding solution, you can effectively eliminate buzzing or interference that may arise from improper grounding. It is important to note that the issue does not stem from the turntable itself but rather from the grounding of other equipment in your setup. Taking these steps should result in a properly grounded Rega turntable and a significant reduction in buzzing or interference.
The turntable features a minimalistic design and is belt-driven, requiring an external preamp for operation. Its manual speed change adds to its simplicity. Users have found the Rega Planar 2 to be easy to set up and use, feeling luxurious and well-made. One area of improvement mentioned is the stock Rega Exact cartridge, which can be easily upgraded to enhance the overall performance of the turntable.
In conclusion, the Rega Planar 2 is regarded as a classic turntable that offers engaging sound, fantastic aesthetics, and ease of use. While it may have some minor limitations, such as the stock cartridge, its overall quality and performance make it a strong contender and one of the best turntables available under $1000.
Rega Planar 2 Pro & Cons
- Very musical and lively but polite and moderate
- An excellent package of components in mutual synergy
- Rigid suspension makes it more sensitive to the type of surface
- Inability to adjust VTA
- You may experience a hum or buzz
- The factory cartridge isn’t so good