The new wave of vinyl music lovers has begun to increase in unprecedented volume as more and more audiophiles turn their preferences to preserve analog in today’s digital age. Today I will share my experience on the Rega RP1 turntable and its performance, in the entry level or budget bracket as some would term it. Before many competitors entered the entry level sector, Rega can be said to be one of the best choices for affordable turntables in the market. Beginning from 2006, Rega started to offer newcomers of vinyl music lovers an affordable way to own a TT of his own. The P1 sales performed very well in its own right, albeit there were some drawbacks on some of it features, one could easily overcome those flaws with upgrades on the respective features.
In short, why i bought it…
So what’s special about the Rega RP1 TT? If you followed the development and progress of the Rega family, you would have noticed that this model was specially created to beat the rest of the competition by bringing great sound performance at a super unbelievable price. It is made with great quality, designed for simple set up, easy-to-use mechanisms to cater to budding enthusiasts yet being extremely reliable, giving you unparalled music performance at an affordable price.
How Rega RP1 is different from the rest…
It has not been distracted with confusing consumers with many nitty gritty features, instead Rega focused on addressing consumers real needs – providing excellent sound quality by investing highly in the foundation of a TT. It has not only been a source of interest from beginners, even teenagers and older adults find it very attractive. Rega RP1 differentiates itself from employing precise manual change of speed compared to those of automatic mechanism. The benefit of using this strategy allows it to get rid of speed inconsistencies and also slows down the wear rate of the drive belt.
Outlook wise, the Rega brand has almost consistently branded itself using minimalist styling, going for simple yet sleek and professional look. However, perhaps in an attempt to woo the younger generation of vinyl enthusiasts, they have begun to introduce some other choices to consumers with different stylish finishes. For this model, it seems that they did not allow very much diversity in terms of color differences as they only launched seemingly similar colored tone TTs in grey, white and platinum. This TT is of the dimension: 15 inches by 4.5 inches by 17.5 inches.
Excellent sound quality
When it comes to sound quality, I have to tell you that I could hardly believe at this price point, the sound is bright, lively, warm, clean midrange and surprisingly I could not detect any motor hum. Also the tonearm didn’t produce any grounding buzzes. I played my old records and I was very glad that I made one of the best choices!
Other areas to note:
One of the other things to cheer about is the new tonearm of the RB101, as it uses the 3 point mounting platform (made from composite materials), sort of similar to the normal range of Rega’s. From opening this TT from the box to listening to my first record, it took me only about 5 min! Extremely easy to set up. It has a tracking force range of 1.5 to 2.0 g and the suggested tracking force is recommended at 1.75g. Antiskate was placed untouched at the original setting of around 1g. For budding new vinyl folks, I would say its as easy as ABC. The default cartridge that comes with it is a Rega Carbon MM. I have heard some users preferring the Ortofon cartridge, well to me it works very well so no complaints about it.
Can i upgrade it in future?
Another benefit of purchasing this TT is that when you have more budget or you are getting more serious, you have the option to upgrade many components. This means you do not have to sell it away but just upgrade it gradually part by part when your finances allow and also based on your preferences. I will be frank with you, one of the main reasons I chose this was due to its price point which is something I can afford pretty comfortably and having played in the shop. For now I am not looking to upgrade it but at least in the future, I have the option to do so. That’s what I like.
What are the downsides?
Some drawbacks of this model is that you will find no external power supply, and this means that when you want to change the speed of your TT at the convenience of pushing a button (like many others), you will be disappointed. If you want to change the speed, such as spinning 45rpm, you would have to get off your butt to remove the platter and place the belt manually to the other groove, nothing different from what we did in the past. Nope it doesn’t have an auto-return on tonearm, its fully manual. Also, usually its rare to find automated operation on good decks. For those of you who are wondering if it has a hinged dust cover, yes it comes with one that is removable at ease.
Some users have also shared that they have some slight issues with the platter as it has a tendency to wobble sometimes. Not all users experience it, but those who do, they either replace it or they don’t find it a serious enough problem. I guess im lucky I did not have a warped one!
Did i regret?
My point ultimately is that nothing is perfect, with great sound quality, no hums AT ALL, inexpensive price or rather very affordable price for me, at least – I am able to live with some of the downsides shared above. Manually changing the speed if I need to, I actually derive fun in it, as action gives me the feel that I’m back in the vinyl days – very different from digital all automated which doesn’t give me that feeling. The best part is that when I want to upgrade in future, there are many things that I can do. I don’t have to sell it away at a loss but rather I can save more on a deck itself just by occasionally, gradually upgrading as and when I need or want. That’s the building part where you build your own deck, I find pleasure in my Rega RP1. One’s man food is another’s poison. What’s your food?