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Rega Planar 8: one giant leap for turtables

 
Rega Planar 8 turntable

 

The launch of any new Rega record deck is a celebration. Each one is so good that awards success seems inevitable. But Rega's latest turntable - the Planar 8 - is a very special deck indeed.

Instead of being satisfied with a deck that's an incremental leap over its predecessor, Rega has drawn inspiration from its limited-edition, £30,000 Naiad turntable to produce a deck that outperforms turntables costing far more.

The Planar 8 impresses even before a record is placed on the platter, thanks to its striking appearance. Like the Planar 6 plinth, the one on the Planar 8 is constructed from Tancast (used in the aerospace industry) and high-pressure laminate, resulting in a plinth that's light but rigid. The Planar 8's plinth, though, benefits further from being a skeletal design - the plinth is only where it needs to be, reducing the weight even more and improving sound quality. Just as how spikes at the bottom of speaker stands minimise contact between the stands and the floor to reduce boominess, minimising the mass of a turntable plinth prevents energy travelling through the deck, which would colour the sound. The plinth's rigidity is further enhanced by the strategically placed bracing (above and below the deck) between the tonearm mounting and the main hub bearing.

The Planar 8 sports Rega's new RB880 tonearm. The RB880 provides friction-free movement and zero levels of unwanted play. The balance weight provides greater levels of adjustability and, therefore, compatibility. The tonearm is terminated with a high-quality interconnect, featuring locking phono plugs.

What cartridge is at the other end of the tonearm is up to the customer. The deck is available without a cartridge for £1,699 but is also available with a choice of cartridges factory fitted. The £1,049 Apheta 2 is the perfect choice to get the most out of the P8, costing just an extra £740 if purchased with the deck (£2,439 in total).

The platter is a three-piece design, developed in conjunction with Pilkington. Whilst the mass of a plinth should ideally be low, the mass of a platter should ideally be high in order for the speed of rotation to be consistent. A high-mass platter puts stress on the main bearing, though, so the glass of the Planar 8 plinth is heavier on the outside than it is on the inside, creating the desired movement without the weight.

Another collaboration Rega's engineers have enjoyed is one with chemists to create a new rubber compound for drive belts. The new belt further enhances speed stability.

The Planar 8 is supplied with Rega's Neo PSU power supply unit. The Neo powers the Planar 8's motor and offers a convenient speed switch - something not often found on modern turntables.

This deck shows just how passionate and committed Rega is in its quest to continually raise the bar. With the Planar 8, Rega has produced a new standard. The deck converts records into sonic gold.

Unconventionally shaped turntables don't usually come supplied with a dust cover and, where one is available, it rarely flatters the deck. The Planar 8, though, comes with a nice cover - see the image below - that doesn't hide the Planar 8's striking looks.

Rega Planar 8 turntable with NEO power supply unit

We're very excited by the Rega Planar 8 and it's in stock at Hi-Fi Stereo. To see the turntable in action, view the video below.


Date of article:12/02/2019


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