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Vinyl is coming back in a big, big way. If I remember correctly, last year was the biggest selling year, in terms of record sales, for several decades in the UK. I don't think this is a fad either: with the advent of excellent streaming services like Spotify, the consumer model seems to be moving towards this: 'try' the album on Spotify and, if you like it, buy it on vinyl. It keeps your vinyl collection great - only great - and doesn't limit you in the same way CDs (or any other 'hard' medium) do.
Like many others in my generation, I had a great deal of old records in the attic. Almost forgotten about and with nothing to play them on, they sat dormant for too long. So I decided to bite the bullet and buy a new player in the dawn of this new 'era' of the record. The best way to get onto this vinyl trend is to do one of two things:
-1- Buy a second hand player. They are excellent value for money, were produced in the 'golden age' of turntable equipment and are very hardy. After all, there is a reason they've lasted this long! One caveat however is the fact that replacement components can be difficult to source.
-2- Buy a premium new player. This is where the Rega RP3 comes in. You will need to be serious about committing to the equipment as an entire setup can cost over £500 for one that sounds great. As well as a turntable, a pre-amp, amplifier and speakers will be needed, making the cost higher than the other 2 options. It is highly worth it, if you are willing to commit to the cost, as replacement parts are easier to find, the players are of good build quality and they offer arguably the best value in the long run.
After shopping around I eventually found a modern record player that I was completely satisfied with - you can imagine my relief after I had gone through several players, testing them before deciding they were pretty useless. The Rega RP3 is a superb player for the price point and a lot of it is down to Rega's philosophy when it comes to turntables. The arm is hand-made and elegantly constructed, the belt and motor is easy to operate (there's a manual belt drive change) and it works almost instantly out of the box (after connected to the aforementioned hifi components). It sounds absolutely gorgeous - improved by the 'low' price for a player at this kind of level.
The only real caveats of the Rega is its large size, its motor hum (which reduces eventually with use) and the felt mat, which can leave small amounts of fibre on the records. I can not fault this turntable however as it is such an incredible piece of equipment for the price - a perfect 'entry level' new record player.
I suspect that many people reading this may not be sure exactly what to look for in a turntable these days, especially if you are lucky enough to be born in the 80's, so this is also an attempt to help everyone out. I have had the Rega for a year now but have been a semi pro DJ for much longer. The Rega Planar 3 is a High Fidelity turntable. Before I go any further I will state that it cannot be used for DJing. All you budding Djs out there know which turntable you need so stop reading this and go out and buy two! The first thing that you notice about this deck is that it has no buttons or knobs to speak of. To change the speed you have to remove the platter (which is made of glass) and flip the drive band from one position to another. It is compatible with 45rpm (usually Singles, 7 or 12 inch) and 33rpm (usually albums). So what does all this high fidelity stuff mean for a turntable? Well for a turntable of this quality it will out perform most CD players that cost twice as much. It will always sound "analogue" in that the harshness that some people hear coming from CD , especially in the treble, is not there. For the like of me and you this means dance music can be played louder without giving us a headache! In comparison with DJ decks you will notice that the bass goes just as deep but that you can hear all the other instruments in the right proportions and the timing is better due to better speed control of the record. In even in a modest separates system a turntable will sound less harsh and tinny. By the way, did you know that on Dance 12 inches they cut the grooves deeper to give more, deeper bass. For club purposes vinyl is still a must. The arm of this turntable (called the RB300) is quite famous and is used on many turnatbles costing much more. The turntable can be easily upgraded by the addition of a better cartridge (costing anywhere from £30 to £3000), and other tweaks that can be found at:
www.originlive.com (no i don't work for them and its not really a proper advert) You will also notice in Virgin and HMV that vinyl is coming back into fashion, and not just for dance music. Some old classical recordings still sound much better on their original analogue recordings. The big advantage of turntables for me is the feeling that you get from having to make a bit of an effort (ie getting up from your chair) and taking a big chunk of vinyl and slapping it on. When you realise that the sound is better you wonder why you forgot how good that black stuff sounded.
If like a lot of people your old albums are gathering dust through lack of use invest in the rega planer three. This turntable is a sound investment no pun intended,place that favourite old album on the platter and relive your lost youth. The rega is fine turntable with good quaility arm fitted just add a cartridge and you are ready to rock and roll. This turntable is very well engineered and an excellent reintroduction to vinyl replay,fitted with a AT110 cartridge it produces a fine sound giving a real insight into the music. Play rumours and listen to the close harmonies you could almost be in the studio with them something which you do not get with cds. My only gripe is having to remove the platter to change the speed,but it is worth it. If you decide you want to listen to those old albums the rega is a fine choice to on the road to audio nirvana.