Rega Research is a stalwart name in the audio world. For decades, Rega has produced the best analog turntables on the market from their entry-evel Planar 1 Turntable to their top-of-the-line flagship Planar 10 Turntable. While we could wax poetically on the virtues of the sonic wonders produced by the Planar 8, Planar 10, and legendary Naiad turntables, it is the popular Planar 1, Planar 1 Plus, and Planar 2 turntables that many will first encounter. These record spinners serve as an easy way to get into analog replay without breaking the bank. Today, we want to look at highly affordable Planar 1 Turntable, which retails for just $595.
Our friends over at Future Audiophile recently reviewed the Rega Planar 1 and gave us one of the frankest looks at the turntable. To set the stage for the reader, reviewer Michael Zisserson points to a few key aspects that sets the Planar 1 apart from similar turntables: Features Rega's famed RB110 tonearm, high-efficiency synchronous motor that reduces mechanical interference, Rega's easily replaceable Carbon Cartridge, and the new proprietary EBLT drive belt (for 2021 models and newer). Together, these combine to offer an exceptional package that outpaces everything else on the market under $600. For parity's sake, Zisserson also lists a few reasons why you may not like the Planar 1: low upgradeability, manual speed change from 33 1/3 to 45 rpm, and a lack of the sonic sophistication you expect from Rega's higher-end turntables.
All that is well and good to consider before purchasing a new turntable, but as we all know it comes down to how it plays the music! Does the Planar 1 give life to your vinyl and move you? After spinning Martin Simpson's Sad or High Kicking album, here's what Michael had to say:
The Rega Planar 1 resolves Martin’s dexterous inflections and tempo changes without missing a beat. The fretless bass guitar also maintains its voice throughout the recording, with Martin’s wanting vocals preserved with clarity that leaves little on the table. Tonal balance is remarkably neutral, which helps preserve the authenticity of the performance. Certainly, a refreshing trait when most entry-level pieces try to hide flaws behind a veil of bloated warmth.
In his closing remarks, Michael Zisserson notes that the Rega Planar 1 has earned a place in his system. He knows that it is destined to be replaced by something more complicated (may we suggest the Planar 3?) but for now the Planar 1 sits comfortably as the analog centerpiece of his listening room system. Perhaps you should consider the same!