Friday, August 3, 2012

Exciting new turntables from Rega

Roy Gandy

Rega fans, start drooling.

First there will be a 40th Anniversary turntable to be launched by June next year.

The price? 25,000 to 30,000 pounds. So you can be assured not very many will be made.

Rega's Roy Gandy, who had dinner with hi-fi bloggers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Thursday night, revealed that the 40th Anniversary model is a radical design.

After much probing, the bloggers managed to extract juicy bits of information from him - its spindle will be made of zirconium which costs 1,000 pounds each to manufacture; and it will be named after a song.

That song will also be recorded and released in a special vinyl 40th Anniversary set.

Roy declined to confirm if the plinth would be skeletal and if carbon fibre would be used. He also did not say anything about the tonearm.

He only said it is a "radical design" which uses different materials and something about "reduced mass".

Rega will also publish a book on turntable design in conjunction with its 40th Anniversary.


Roy also announced that the RP8 and RP10 turntables will be launched in October and the P9 will be discontinued.

The RP8 will cost 1,600 pounds while the RP10 will be priced at 3,000 pounds.

The RP8 will use a different platter while the RP10 will have the same platter as the P9.

Again Roy declined to confirm if they would look like some of the turntable designs that had been posted online.

It seemed a bit ironic because the chat with one of the best turntable designers in the world actually started with a discussion on CD players and the Apollo-R.

We were chatting about how much further Rega could improve its CD players and he said there were fewer companies working on CD players especially on the processor chips.

Rega had found a model that worked well sonically and bought 40,000 to 50,000 pieces of it before the company went bust and that amount would be enough to last another 10 years or so.

He said the chip was more powerful than those found in other CD players except that used by Meridian and it could get more information from the disc.

"The only improvements for the CD player would be in the DAC, output stages and filtering," he said.

Then we started talking about more controversial things like streamers.

Roy said he could not understand why anybody needed a streamer when a laptop can be used instead.

He said he had asked even the experts what streaming was and they could not give good definitions.

On whether a CD player sounds better than a laptop with DAC, he said: "If everything is right, the computer with DAC can sound better using a music player like Audacity." 

He opined that this is because the computer does error correction better than a CD player.

But the streaming must be via USB rather than SPDIF.

On why the Rega DAC could not accept 24/176.4 kHz music files, Roy said it was because such files were not around when the DAC was designed.

"But the problem has been fixed with a firmware upgrade and the later batches of the DAC can accept 176.4 files," he said. Owners of Rega DACs from the earlier batches can send them to their respective Rega distributors for the upgrade.



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