Originally Published July 1, 2016
Jason Kennedy of The Ear gives the Rega Planar 2 turntable a whirl and finds that it's impossible to beat!
Rega continues beating the drums of innovation. A new turntable comes to market that sets a higher bar for what you should expect of performance and fit-n-finish at its price. The Planar 2 turntable is a snap to setup and its gloss plinth, Optiwhite glass platter and one-piece tonearm mean long term reliability and superb playback quality. The original Planar 2 came out in 1976. This model has consistently met the mark throughout its 40-year history and many revisions. So hardy are Rega Planar tables, that many built in the '70s and '80s are still in use today! The new Planar 2 turntable sells for $675 including the Carbon cartridge. Available in gloss black or white. Looking for more? Check out the Performance Pack Kit ($195) and Fono MM ($395). Find a Retailer near you to experience Rega.
Excerpts from the review:
...it's more reliable in the long term and probably sounds better. Rega has a good reputation for making turntables that last because they stick to solid engineering principles and don't cut corners when it comes to build-quality.
The RB arms really stand out as great value, every other budget tonearm feels flimsy by comparison, which is bad for both durability and sound – without rigidity a tonearm is a major source of distortion. For best results only the stylus should vibrate, everything else should be as inert, notwithstanding the need to allow the stylus to track the groove.
Using it to drop the stylus into the groove of Binker and Moses Dem Ones (Gearbox) resulted in a tune where the drummer and saxophonist's innate groove is delivered with all the drive and energy it needs to get your foot tapping and your head bobbing. This turntable is a lot of fun, it may not be as sophisticated as the Planar 3 but it gets to the parts that a great many turntables, both affordable and otherwise, do not.
The Rega made the ensemble playing sound as nimble as a flea, the rhythm section as solid as a solid thing and the sax as articulate as any voice.
...with the Planar 2 the band sounded more real and seemed to be more in time, something that Regas have always been better at than most.
Going from the Planar 2 to the new Planar 3 with its Elys 2 cartridge and multiple other differences does make a good case for the more expensive turntable. You get more power from drums, a lot more fine detail, tighter timing and more precise focus on the various instruments; more is more. But going back to the P2 is not a painful experience because the fundamentals are still the same, the music is no less enjoyable but the resolution is lower.
The Planar 2 turntable is a more refined than the old Planar 3 but it has the best timing in the business at this price point. Add in the drop dead looks and Rega's enviable track record for reliability and build quality and you have a budget turntable that is nigh on impossible to beat. If you want to hear what vinyl is really all about get thee to a Rega dealer forthwith.