January 26, 2011

Set Up Notes And Follow Up Impressions Of The Rega RP1 Turn Table.

Rega RP1 in Cool Grey.

Following Odiosleuth's review of the Rega RP1 turn table, which I had set up at his place, I'd like to share some set up notes which resulted in the sound that he described rather accurately.

The Rega RP1 is very easy to install and therefore can be considered truly plug and play. All I had to do is to pull the semi assembled turn table out of the box, place it on a even surface, in this case, an acrylic rack that Odiosleuth had leveled previously. The cartridge is pre-mounted to the extreme front end of the head shell, so if one fiddles around and get lost, all one has to do is to re-mount it back to the extreme front end! I rounded the rubber belt from the motor pulley over to the sub platter, then mount the phenolic resin based main platter on top of the sub platter. I proceeded to attach the cartridge counter weight by pushing it all the way up the end stub of the tone arm to balance the cartridge weight, as per the instruction manual. The tracking force measured just 1.5 grams, when I checked with my resident Ortofon DS-1 digital stylus force gauge, which seemed to be on the light side compared to the recomended 1.75 grams. I proceed to listening test, but did not hear any sonic indication that the stylus was tracking on the light side, bass was still full and tuneful without that over sibilance on the highs which usually plague cartridges that tracks too light.

I heard the Rega RP-1 twice, the first time was at the Asia Sound Equipment show room, where they had demo-ed an RP1 vs the older P2 turn table, both mounted with the same Ortofon OM-5e MM cartridge. It was clear as night and day, from just 30 seconds in to the first tune, the RP1 showed that it had a lower noise floor and less white hash, or some would call it a less greyish back ground in the sound stage! The highs seemed tidier and less splashy plus the bass is better articulated compared to the more expensive Rega P2. I can clearly understand why Roy Gandy decided to shelve the P2 permanently once he introduced the RP1.

Then I heard the Rega RP1 again after setting it up at Odiosleuth's place. Comparing with his other source, which is the 13 times more expensive Ayre C5-Xe MP CD player, the entry level Rega Rp-1 did not have as much resolution, it's noise floor was higher and there were some pitch problems. However, for all it's weakness against one of the most formidable modern CD players around today, the Rega RP1 fights back with a big boned and textured sound. The mids are highly densed in a way that most digital source just find it hard to match. The Rega wasn't particularly hard hitting on the bass and dynamics department, but is rather slightly laid back quality in sound character that makes casual music listening an enjoyable task.

At the asking price, the Rega RP1 doesn't pretend(or have any intentions) to be a high end equipment, and it's honest enough to show the strengths of the vinyl format. It provides a painless entry in to the world of vinyl at a price that many of us would probably have more expensive power cords, which is unfair. Asia Sound Equipment will also sell you some upgrade parts should you wanna move up the audiophile food chain in the near future!

For the music lover, audiophile or otherwise, who wants to play music on teh tarik/roti canai budget, rejoice!

Rega is sold by Asia Sound Equipment, contact Eddie Tan at 03-79552091

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