Friday, January 8, 2010

Performance Platter for Rega turntables

Rega turntables are so tweakable that there are lots of gadgets that are touted to make them sound better.

There are companies like Groovetracer that makes special counterweights to improve the tonearms, acrylic platters to replace those made of glass and MDF and subplatters to replace the cheap plastic stock model.

Michell also makes counterweights for the Rega while another company called Iron Audio makes its own version of the acrylic platter.



Eddie Tan  placing the
Performance Platter on a Rega P3-24


Now, Malaysians can be proud of the fact that a local retired electrical engineer by the name of Michael Lim has come up with his version of the Rega acrylic platter.

The platter designed by Michael Lim uses pure acrylic which is sand-blasted to give it a matt look.

"The sand-blasting also creates a rough surface which will slow down and dampen vibrations. You can use the platter without a mat," he said.

There is a recess cut out for the record label so that the part of the vinyl with grooves will have better contact with the platter.

The aptly named Performance Platter is thicker than the glass platter which lowers the centre of gravity and gives it the flywheel effect for rotational stability.

Hi-fi shop manager Eddie Tan will gladly demonstrate how effective the Performance Platter is. He will simply play a song on a Rega P1 with its stock MDF platter and then play the same song with the Performance Platter. The sound immediately becomes smoother, the noise floor is lower and the images are more solid and stable.




Designer of the Performance
Platter, Michael Lim


Michael Lim said the Performance Platter can be used with the Rega P1, P2, P3-24 and the old Rega Planar 2 and 3.

"With the Rega P5, you will have to stick three cork footers on the underside of the platter to raise it by 2mm so that it won't knock the wooden edge of the P5's plinth which juts out.

"Even with the P5, it is not necessary to change VTA if you are using Rega's cartridges. As for other cartridges, it depends on their height. If you use an Ortofon cartridge, you may have to change the VTA. A metal washer will be provided for free," he said.



With a Rega P5, it is necessary to stick
three cork footers to raise the platter.


The Performance Platter costs RM395 and is a fabulous upgrade. Eddie said since it was introduced in late November last year, he has sold about 30 of them.

Michael Lim has not finished with his designs - after all he is an inveterate tweaker and owner of some 20 turntables - and his next product is a sub-platter.

"The hub will be made of aluminium while the axle will be of stainless steel. Unlike others, mine will use the original ball bearing that comes with the Rega turntable. The hub will have concentric rings to slow down and dampen vibrations.

"The diameter of the sub-platter will be exactly the same as the stock plastic model," he said.

Many vinyl addicts have discovered that the secret of the so-called "Rega sound" is that the sub-platter is slightly smaller than required making the platter and hence the record spin slightly faster than 33 1/3 - with the Regas, records spin at 33 2/3 to 34 rpm. Rega tweaked the pitch, making the sound livelier, bouncier and pacier.

The Groovetracer sub-platter is the required size and many users have reported that it gives a neutral and "un-Rega sound".

Michael Lim is fully aware of Rega's "secret" and has decided not to change things.

The sub-platter, still unnamed, will be available by next month.

Michael Lim has a third trick up his sleeve - a 20-25kg marble plinth for Rega turntables. He is still looking around for someone who can make it to his specs.




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