Rega RP3 Turntable Tweaks

Discussion in 'System and Room Tweaks' started by Audio Refugee, Aug 6, 2018.

  1. A couple of months ago I upgraded the plastic subplatter on my Rega RP3 with a GrooveTracer Reference subplatter. I'm very happy with the difference. I live very close to GrooveTracer so I contacted Frank via email to see if I could drop by and pick it up to save on shipping. Super nice man and a phenomenal machinist. His business is right next to the San Jose International airport, so he gets allot of vibration from the incoming and outgoing aircraft. I noticed that he had his office turntable sitting atop a Symposium Svelte shelf that sat atop Symposium rollerblocks. It was a nice set up and worked really well in an extreme environment.

    I was able to score a used 19"x14" Symposium Svelte, but their roller blocks were more than I wanted to spend, new or used. So, I scoured the internet and finally ran across another company called Ingress Engineered Products located somewhere in Canada that also makes rollerblocks. I bought a set of their Level 2 Version 2 blocks for $95. So far, I really like them and they didn't break the bank.

    20180806_121750.jpg
     
  2. TubeHiFiNut

    TubeHiFiNut Administrator Staff Member

    Our esteemed @Prime Minister has a long and distinguished history with Rega tables plus the various upgrades and tweaks.

    There are certainly a lot of upgrades and tweaks out there for Rega tables.
     
  3. David

    David Moderator

    I have Xindak version of those balls too they’re pretty.
     
  4. I really like my RP3. The difference between it and my old Thorens TD 280 mk3 is... they aren’t comparable. Night and day. The RP3 is a MASSIVE upgrade. I was lucky. My audiophile buddy Sam gave it to me along with an Ortofon 2M Bronze. I tried and tried to pay him, but he wouldn’t have it. I tried again. Wouldn’t take anything. He said people were generous to him throughout the years and he wanted to pay it forward. Can’t say enough good things about Sam. He’s been a great source of knowledge and coaching for me as I’ve waded into this hobby.

    As mentioned I’ve upgraded the sub-platter. I also scored a good deal on a used GrooveTracer delrin platter. Still trying to decide if I like it better than the stock glass and felt. Still undecided. We’ll see. Sam and his buddy Brian have been gently suggesting I consider moving to a moving coil cartridge. If I did I’d need to change my preamp too. The new Parks Audio Puffin has my attention. It would be a big upgrade in terms of cost. Just don’t know yet.

    I’d like to make my integrated amp my next upgrade. I have my heart set on a Primaluna Classic. I suppose I’d consider a One or Two, but I’ve not reached the differences yet.

    Anyway, I’d be interested the Prime Minister’s thoughts.
     
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  5. David

    David Moderator

    Another cheap tweak u can do is try isolation springs instead of the balls. Can be had from douk audio on eBay. The best isolation I’ve ever tried all my tts sit on them
     
  6. Thermionics

    Thermionics Post Whore In Training

    Have you tried a ceramic bearing? Also, do you have the 24v DC motor or the 115v AC?

    -D
     
  7. JohnVF

    JohnVF Administrator Staff Member

    In regards to the LOMC move...you have a 2M Bronze. It's a very nice cartridge and LOMC isn't necessarily an upgrade for it. Its personal taste, not some universal step up (no pun in intended). I have several LOMCs laying around here and they're nice, but my joy comes from MM and MI carts. Currently on deck are my beloved Nagaoka MP-500, a Grace F9, Shure V-15vmr and Ortofon OM-30 while Zyx, Shelter and AT LOMCs sit in my cart storage boxes. You can step up pretty far with an Ortofon 2M body, all the way to the Black stylus. It all comes down to what sound you like, the quality of your phono pre, and what your phono pre likes. My phono pre absolutely loves a MM cart, and so do I (after maybe a decade of trying to do the 'right' thing with LOMC).
     
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  8. Prime Minister

    Prime Minister Site Owner Staff Member

    Ok, I guess I better chime in here too. :)

    I've had a couple of Regs tables over the years. These include:

    RP3
    RP6
    P25
    P7
    P9

    The RP3, RP6 and P25 were all heavily modded. I think you nailed the best mod. The Groovetracer, with its little zirconia bearing, really lifts the Rega to a different level. That mod is the best thing that you can do, on anything lower than the P7/RP8. Even Rega agrees, as the new Planar 6 has the aluminum subplatter. Surprisingly enough, the white belt also made a noticeable difference. In general, it's a good thing. The magnitude of change you will hear depends on how lucky you got with the quality of your existing belt.
    If I were to do it again, the only other mod I'd do is a better set of feet. I don't know what Is out there now, but the feet used in the RP6 and up were very nice.
    At this point, I'd make sure it was well isolated on a good shelf, and call it a day.

    As far as cartridges, I agree with what John said. MM, MI or MC differences are just as much a matter of taste as quality. I declared years ago on here that the Nagaoka MP500 is a cartridge I could live with forever. It really is that good. I'm currently running a Grado TLZ, which is a total gem, but out of production. It would likely be something like the Statement Master or something in the current line. The only MC I've heard that would move me away from the MM/MI world would be the Transfiguration Proteus, currently at $6k. Anything less then that isn't worth it to me.
    What I would spend the money on instead is a really good phono preamp. That one piece that will do more for your vinyl playback is the preamp. I'm at a point now where I would make the single biggest investment of my system in the phono preamp. Until you max out the preamp, any change from your 2M Bronze at this point is just a change in flavour, not quality. The bronze is actually a very nice cartridge , and a real sweetspot in the Ortofon line. To me, I figure you would need to drop at Least $2k, at new prices, into a phono preamp to hear the best the Bronze can do.

    My two cents for now. Basically, you've done the biggest mod that makes any sense on the Rega. You've got a very nice cartridge (just make sure it's perfectly aligned!). You are not gonna hear what they are capable of until you upgrade your phono preamp.
     
  9. Thank you, Prime Minister. Thank you so much for all the insights and suggestions. I sent you a donation a few days ago for maintaining such a great site and I invite others to do the same. We’re fortunate to have such a great venue where we can gather and share info.

    That said, your post is like going to the mechanic and hearing good news bad news. The bad news is sometimes hard to hear. A new preamp... Dang it. Two THOUSAND dollars... OUCH!

    Yet, I know your right. I just have no idea what to look at. I like tubes, but maybe that’s not necessary? That would be a HUGE expense, but I could save, sell a motorcycle and swing it. But, I could do it maybe once unless it was something used that I could flip if it didn’t stir my soul.

    I’m curious about what you might recommend?
     
  10. On a separate note I just rolled the 12AT7s in my Jolida from a pair of Siemens Halskes to a pair of Mullards. I’ll report on any difference once I have time for a music fest! At the time that I was ordering them I was really tempted to roll the tubes in my Budgie from a separate pair of Siemens Halskes to a pair of Amperex 7308s. I’ve read solid reviews of these. They’re about $140 apiece, so after tax and shipping it was more than $300. I paid $180 for the Budgie. I decided to hold off for now. This hobby really is a bit of a rabbit hole.
     
  11. Prime Minister

    Prime Minister Site Owner Staff Member

    To clarify, you don't have to pay $2000. There are lots of good used options out there. But I set that as a financial benchmark of what class of gear you should be looking at. I've tried a bunch of "Giant Killers" and they just don't. It just seems that phono preamps just cost dollars to produce.

    A lot of that seems to go into the power supply. Let's take the Project RS. A nice little phono preamp as is, but it really comes to life when you add the battery power supply. Just like the Lehmann products. The Black Cube is a nice little phono , but it starts getting serious at the SE II level. We won't talk about the Silver Cube....

    As far as SS vs Tube, I've listened to a ton of Phono preamps, and as serious a tube guy as I am, I'd go SS. And these are about the only component I'd make that call so decisively.

    @JohnVF has a killer phono preamp that falls right into this category. Maybe he can chime in with some details.

    Let me know if I can help in any way.
     
  12. JohnVF

    JohnVF Administrator Staff Member

    Prime Minister and I listened to a moving iron cart (Nagaoka MP500, occasionally switching to a Grace F9 MM) playing through my Primare R32 preamp all weekend 2 weeks ago. The Primare was, used, about $800 USD I think. Him and I are both used to listening to top flight, state of the art, gear and we seemed to be quite OK suffering through my MM based setup. I've spent a lot of time with phono preamps costing north of $20,000 and the Primare didn't and doesn't give up much of anything to anything I've heard in this context, mostly due to the fact that it was better matched to the entire system than a lot of what is encountered in stores/demo setups. It's not to say it is overall better in EVERY context and for every listener, just that it was here as the result of much experimentation and knowing the voice of my system and where I personally wanted it to go...basically, it's an integral part of a whole rather than just throwing money and other people's recommendations at a problem. The right piece to a complicated sonic puzzle. The Primare is a wonderful preamp for MM carts. It has LOMC capability as well but loses its magic when used that way. A SUT takes care of that but I just don't really love any of my LOMC carts the way I do the Nagaoka, Shure V-15vmr, and Stanton 881s here.
     
  13. Thank you both for the feedack and suggestions. There is definitely something missing in my current set up; although, it sounds better than it ever has before. What had been driving me nuts was a glassy top end, a lazy bottom end and an absent mid range. I’ve corrected much of that with the new speakers, new speaker feet and a tube roll.

    I did notice that the systems I heard at the Cal Audio Show seemed to have a much larger and more three dimensional sound stage than my system while playing vinyl. But, I understand they’re completely different set ups than mine.

    You really have me thinking hard about the Primare R32. All of the reviews I’ve found and read echo what you’ve said, @JohnVF. They seem a bit rare, though I was able to find one. I’m negotiating with the seller now. As much as I love tubes I may move to this SS preamp instead. I think it should fit right in with my current amp/speaker/turntable/cart combo. I’ve got my Budgie pre sold if I can make this work.

    Again, thanks for the suggestion!
     
  14. Prime Minister

    Prime Minister Site Owner Staff Member

    Excellent news! The Primare is a sweetheart. I look forward to your thoughts on it.
     
  15. I’m excited! I hope this happens. It’s not a done deal yet, but if I can keep this on the rails it’s a pristine unit with little use. I’ve decided that if it does happen that I’m going to pay it forward and give the Budgie to my brew master friend, Dennis. He’s made me some OUTSTANDING IPAs. He was reluctant, but I insisted he make a Russian River Pliny the Elder clone. It turned out so good. He deserves it.

    So appreciate your direction on this. I think it’s going to be at least two if not three steps up for me. I’ve got a solid tube set in the Jolida right now, so the Primaluna will wait.

    On a separate note I was able to visit the Phonograph Museum in Paris earlier this summer. I’ll post those pictures and thoughts in another thread. We were given a private tour! I’ll also post a few pics of the Citroens I saw in the French car thread when I get some time.

    Thanks again for pointing me towards the Primare. ;)
     
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  16. JohnVF

    JohnVF Administrator Staff Member

    Oh, very nice. I do hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Note that if its been sitting awhile like mine was that it won't sound good right out of the box. Mine stays on all the time, at least if I'm not going away for awhile. There's not a whole lot inside for such a big box, and it doesn't make much heat but man does it ever sound good with my MM/MI collection. And it will do LOMC just fine, but the noise floor is a bit higher that way and I think it sounds a bit better using a step up transformer with it, instead of employing its active LOMC head amp. Depends on the SUT really, but if you ever do get LOMC curious, it is by no means bad in that regard. It's just truly special with a MM. I have a very nice tube phono stage (Juicy Music Tercel II) and another good solid state option (iFi iPhone w/giant aftermarket external linear power supply) but the Primare just really works in my setup. Again, just let it warm up/run in for a bit before judging it.
     
  17. Should be here tomorrow. Not sure when I’ll have time to hook it up and listen, but I’ll report back when I do. :D
     
  18. Prime Minister

    Prime Minister Site Owner Staff Member

    Ummm. Tomorrow night?
     
  19. :frown:Not here yet. Maybe tomorrow.
     
  20. Prime Minister

    Prime Minister Site Owner Staff Member

    Damn!
     

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