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Rega upgrade experiences

Discussion in 'audio' started by audiojoy, Sep 14, 2018.

  1. audiojoy

    audiojoy pfm Member

    I recently purchased a Nad version of the Rega Planar 2 to play with, for 50 quid, and as I had a Dynavector 505 and no turntable to test it on, I thought this would be a good place to start. I just plunk the Dynavector anywhere as it has a free moving base stand. After setting up within minutes using the m Mobile Fidelity Geodisc, away I went. I enjoyed the sound so much so that i decided to start the upgrade tricks available a plenty from ebay and which led to some of the best fun i have had in a long while with analogue.

    So in no particular order ( which might skewer the results a bit) here are my subjective findings

    1) Change from mdf platter to glass 12mm platter. Clearer, more dynamic but much brighter sounding and tonally leaner. 4/10 even with a rubber vibration absorber around the periphery of the glass.
    2) Change to Delrin Platter from Lobster (Phonograph company), quieter background, much more tonally accurate with greater timbral detail emerging, but still very much bright sounding. 4/10
    3)Change to dual rubber belt as per rp8, pulley available on ebay. Significantly smoother and less bright, tonally warmer and more natural sounding 5/10
    4)addition of power supply to control speed with regenerated ac, minimal change noted, a little more refined at all ranges perhaps 2/10
    5) Bearing ball changed to peak ceramic from Lobster on ebay. Much more natural sounding less bright and edgy compared to the standard steel ball 6/10
    6) Change of bearing housing to Peak bearing from Lobster same as 5) but more of everything 6/10
    7) Subplatter change to 33rpmengineering - hardly noticed any difference 1/10
    8) Subplatter changed to Rega Reference from Phonograph/ pseudonym Lobster, immediately noticed, superb timbral detail, total loss of peaky treble and sibilance. Better balanced frequency range, with a great mid range, refined and tonally in my opinion very lifelike although perhaps some loss of macro dynamics. 8/10
    9) as per Tom Evans Squashball dunlop supports, made the imagery much better seperated and easier to follow compared to the standard feet. CAreful though as they need support themselves not to roll the whole turntable to the ground !! 5/10

    Not sure what else I can do apart from change the cartridge, can't imagine any Rega arm bettering my Dynavector. Advised this set up should give any standard rega a great run for their money, not heard the rp10 though.
  2. Koen

    Koen pfm Member

    Change the counter weight?
  3. audiojoy

    audiojoy pfm Member

    I have a dynavector 505 which counterweight are you referring to??
  4. Yank

    Yank Bulbous Also Tapered

    Lucky you. I have long coveted a DV-505.
  5. audiojoy

    audiojoy pfm Member

    dv505 is really such a delight to use, simple easily changed cartridges, easily changed vta and no need to screw in place, really really great simple tonearm to work with. Looks complicated but really not at all.
  6. stevec67

    stevec67 pfm Member

    That sounds like fun, but add up the upgrade costs against a better deck, and you wouldn't bother. A Thorens 150 murders a P2, so if you want sound, buy that. However if you want to have fun with upgrades, then a P2 is great.
    Bob McC likes this.
  7. audiojoy

    audiojoy pfm Member

    upgrades did not cost much the whole lot came to less than 250 quid (excluding tonearm)as they were from auctions on ebay not direct buys.As each upgrade was superior to the cheap material rega uses, and I have a superior tonearm to anything rega have probably made I dont think it would be worth upgrading to a high level rega factory model. But I stand to be corrected.
  8. Fire99

    Fire99 Well-Known Member

    It’s an individual journey, if your the kind of person who enjoys modding then great! I’m the kind of person who would rather not keep changing things- your always chasing your tail wondering if you could make it better. I prefer to leave it to the professionals to build something to everyone’s price point.
    I’ve been incredibly impressed with Rega, enough so that I built an all Rega System! I anxiously await the release of the Naiad so I can tell my son he has to pay his own way through University:)
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2018
    MusicMiles likes this.
  9. audiojoy

    audiojoy pfm Member

    Fire 99 that's the interesting bit, for such a small outlay we don't know if I have reached a level matching the higher models. Rega build to a price point. It is a business after all and has to make a profit. Of course they could have built all these after market upgrades but that would defeat the purpose of their model range and sales promotion. I do not believe anyone is in a position to judge, what, if any great strides are made with the rega aftermarket upgrades with their original counterpart higher end rega turntable models.

    I will shortly fire up in the same system a 12k Lab47 Koma and its affiliated arm, also the Classic Turntable Company Reference studio with EMT 12" arm and finally my EMT 938 direct drive with 929 and tds 15 cartridge, I think we will have a better idea by then. I will fire up the lab47 hopefully tomorrow and report back.

    If it is no where near their potential then RP10 here I come!!!
  10. Koen

    Koen pfm Member

  11. Fire99

    Fire99 Well-Known Member

    By no means am I judging audiojoy, far from. I’m simply just stating that I’m not that knowledgeable or comfortable in turntables to be modding out different aspects but feel more comfortable just buying as is. Do I think one can build a superior turntable- absolutely. That’s the joy of this hobby, everyone can do and listen to what they enjoy. I look forward to some photos and your findings.
  12. Tonyb

    Tonyb pfm Member

    The Peek bearing is interesting, looks like something new to me. The ball looks quite large, I am sure that is bigger than the ruby ball that I fitted some time ago with my Groovetracer subplatter, does this mean that it is specific to the sleeve? The Ebay comments mention minimal oil required, how is this achieved in practice?
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2018
  13. Tonyb

    Tonyb pfm Member

    The double belt mod is also interesting, doubling the side load on the bearing, is that a good idea? It seems however that it does bring an improvement and I would assume this is the increased torque capability. Strange how this torque capability translates into improved sound, but from what I have heard with direct drives and idler drives it seems to be bourn out. Which brings me to the other possible mod for audiojoy, turntable mat. Seems to me the felt or wool options are a bit slippy on glass, you could loose the torque benefit. I am using a soft leather mat which feels much better coupled, I like the sound from this. There is the consideration that if there where a resonance on the glass that the wool/felt isolates the disc/stylus better from the glass, though the damping you have added may have addressed this already. In the end there is only one way to find out what wins. I would recommend some mat experiments.

    Final thought on other mods, decoupling the motor from the plinth?
  14. DavidS

    DavidS pfm Member

    Using the double belts evens out any discrepancies in each belt resulting in better speed stability.This cannot increase torque.
  15. Ptah

    Ptah pfm Member

    I sold all my aftermarket Rega upgrades and bought a Planar 3/Elys 2 for the spare room rig and an RP8/Apheta 2 for the main one. Rega know what they're doing.
  16. Tonyb

    Tonyb pfm Member

    It’s torque capability I was talking about. If the stylus comes up against a big musical transient ie increased drag, do some turntables instantaneously slow down? What is then the magical quality of direct drive designs? These would be micro effects in my mind. If it is just speed stability due to belt defects as you suggest then the benefit is just a reduction in wow or flutter, that is more macro, my feeling is that we a dealing with something more subtle than that with the perceived SQ improvement of introducing a double belt.
  17. Craig B

    Craig B Re:trophile

    I used to think that the DV-505 was the absolute coolest tonearm back in the 1970s. But then I sat down with one at the first real hi-end shop I visited, only to discover that it was the most flawed pivoting tonearm design ever conceived.
    One need only play a slightly warped record to hear why. Specifically, due to the ultra short vertical travel 'sub-arm' (the main beam only moves horizontal), if one's chosen record isn't perfectly flat, with anything from a ripple to a wave in the vinyl the VTA/SRA will vary by many degrees (plus and minus) during each revolution. A complete non-starter IFAIAC, especially so with the exotic tip profiles that were rapidly coming down the pipe back then.

    I still think that it is a badass 'Robocop' looking piece, especially so, on the likes of the Melco 3560 table at that shop. It also sounded great, but so did a lot of others that didn't require all records to be perfectly flat.

    Amusingly, when they first got the Dynavector in they mounted it on a Planar 2 in place of the R200 (at least until they managed to get a custom arm platform fabricated for the Melco). That is how I first heard it with a DV20A on (a quite inexpensive HOMC back then). A few years back, I stumbled upon a picture of what had to be that same Planar 2 via Google images. It must have been the same one, as how many could there be with DV-505 on?
  18. Yank

    Yank Bulbous Also Tapered

    Then by that standard surely it can only be the second most flawed pivoting tonearm design ever conceived, after the Transcriptors Vestigal.
  19. Craig B

    Craig B Re:trophile

    I just knew that someone was going to mention David Gammon's wonder. What a coincidence that it was your good self, Yank!

    There is a difference though, with the Vestigal the vertical pivot point is so close to both the stylus tip and record surface that on a warped record the cartridge can remain in a near parallel relationship to the record surface as it traverses the 'hills'. IOW, it isn't teeter tottering up and down on a short beam, but rotating about its own rear axis; like the pivoting heads of a Gillette Atra razor following one's facial curves.

    Now we'll just have to wait until someone comes along and mentions Pickering's model 190 from 1953, and/or the Shure 'Studio Dynetic', not to mention the Grey 103.
  20. alindsay

    alindsay pfm Member

    Without any doubt the biggest upgrade I did to my Planar 3 was to have the arm rewired by Johnny at Audio Origami. I've done other things but not with such an improvement in reproduction.

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