Super nice Rega 25 with RB600, upgraded phono cable, Rega white belt, and
a Rega Elyse cartridge mounted and ready to go. It sounds reallly good.
To sum it up Michael Fremer said (see review below):
"Like the 9, the Planar 25 produced the kind
of deep, tight, authoritative bass and rich, buttery highs I usually
associate with far more expensive 'tables. And like the 9, the Planar 25
had the snappy, focused rhythmic decisiveness found on the better
turntables.The 3 sounded somewhat hard and thin compared to the Planar 25"
This turntable comes in original box, with dust cover, and will be double boxed for protection.
I am also an authorized dealer for PS Audio, Oracle, Resonessence,
COS Engineering ,
Verastarr, Canary Audio and Triangle Art. Paypal or CC adds 2.9%, Thank
Midwest Audio, Mishawaka, Indiana. 574 329-1850
Review From Stereophile, Michael Fremer:
I literally dropped everything when Rega's new
Planar 25 turntable arrived a few weeks ago. I'd heard the 'table
compared with the Planar 3 at designer Roy Gandy's house when I visited
Rega last fall—see "Analog Corner" in the January '99 Stereophile
—and was anxious to audition it in my own system and tell you what I heard.
In analog, it's the little things that count—hardly news to toilers and
tweakers in the vinyl underground—and Rega's upgrade of the basic
Planar 3 design to the Planar 25 can only be described as visibly
"small." But the sonic improvements I heard during my first encounter
with the $1275 arm/'table combo were audibly big.
What Rega has done here is give you a large measure of the Planar 9's performance (see review in Stereophile,
August 1997, Vol.20 No.8) for less than half the price. How? One of the
keys to the 9's sound is its outboard power supply, housed in a
sumptuous cast-aluminum chassis. The supply drives the twin-phase
synchronous motor via quartz oscillators (one for each speed) and
high-current FET-based amplifiers. The supply trims the phases,
virtually eliminating motor resonances. When I visited Rega, I held a
motor in my hand while a technician adjusted the pots until it felt as
if it had stopped spinning—that's how effective the circuit is.
Obviously, this alone improves speed accuracy. More important, it allows
the motor to be hard-mounted directly to the plinth. On the Rega 3, the
motor must be suspended to (one hopes) prevent vibrations from reaching
the platter and tonearm. The problem with suspending the motor is that
any movement relative to the platter changes belt tension, which changes
speed. Since the motor is always vibrating, the speed is always
changing. While the changes are not perceptible as shifts in pitch or
any other gross form of speed error, astute analog observers have long
noted that these minute shifts cause a hardening and brightening of any
This is one reason why direct-drive,
phase-locked-loop turntables, while measuring virtually "perfect" (and
thus declared so by the measurement-happy mainstream audio press, back
when it covered analog), almost always sound brighter and harder than
belt-drive turntables. The speed can never be spot on, so the loop
"hunts and pecks" for perfection, overcompensating and undercompensating
as it goes, thus creating the minute speed variations that cause
brightness. [The frequency of the servo's hunting'n'pecking was often around 3-5kHz, the region where the ear is most sensitive.—Ed.]
In the case of the Planar 3, good as it is, the suspended motor causes a
similar problem. A hard-mounted, vibration-free motor is one reason the
Planar 9's sound simply overwhelms the 3's in terms of liquidity,
focus, and harmonic richness, even though so much of the basic system is
the same. Unfortunately, the cost of the electronic drive used on the 9
makes it impossible to use on a budget 'table like the $1275 25.
Rega's chief electronics designer, Terry Bateman, was responsible for
the 9's drive circuit, and he set about finding a less expensive way of
achieving the same result in the 25. He couldn't, finally, but he did
manage to come up with an inexpensive, ingenious, and compact circuit
that accomplishes a great deal of what the 9's supply does in terms of
vibration control. The circuit is small enough to fit in the motor
housing under the plinth, and, more important, is effective enough to
allow the motor to be hard-mounted.
This development led to the
idea of releasing a new turntable to celebrate Rega's 25th year. With
the drive upgrade in place and a retail price targeted, Rega looked for
other ways to bring the 9's performance to the analog masses. A new
tonearm was fashioned, the RB600—essentially the RB300, but wired with
the RB900's low-capacitance Klotz GY 107 cable and Neutrik RCA plugs.
The look is sexier than the RB300's black powdercoat: glossy clearcoat
over silver-anodized finish, with the high-density tungsten
counterweight used on the 900. The 600 uses the 300's threaded-pipe
mounting system and high-quality pre-loaded bearings. The 900 features
ultra-high-tolerance bearings and a more rigid, antiresonant,
three-point mount of stainless steel.
The Planar 25 and Planar 9 share the same
thin, light, but very rigid plinth of chipboard and phenolic laminate,
and the same attractive wooden frame (available in various finishes),
which attaches via three standoffs. The 25 sports the same three
hollow-rubber feet (tuned to slightly different frequencies) used on all
The 9 uses a drive hub of extremely hard,
exquisitely machined and polished vanadium with dual O-rings, and a
high-density, ultrarigid ceramic-oxide platter that takes three weeks to
make. The 25 is fitted with the 3's plastic drive hub, single O-ring,
and glass platter. All Rega 'tables are topped by a felt mat.
Analog's Shifting Sands
Back when I reviewed the Planar 9, I was skeptical about its hard,
ringy platter and thin, low-mass plinth. I was convinced that damping,
and lots of it, was the key to low coloration and the accurate retrieval
of information. I couldn't understand why Roy Gandy would go to all
that trouble to produce an ultrahard ceramic platter that rang when
Well, the 9's dynamic, rhythmically lithe performance
turned my head. The Simon Yorke's snapped it off. The Yorke's platter—24
lbs of (mostly) nonmagnetic austenitic stainless steel—also rings when
struck. And the armboard, made of a light, rigid wood laminate, also
seems to be the opposite of what's needed.
But hearing is
believing. Both products produce a fast, clean, harmonically convincing,
exceedingly well-organized sound. Instead of damping resonances, these
turntables (and other products, such as Black Diamond Racing cones and
shelves) use stiffness to raise their resonant frequency. The higher
that frequency, the more quickly the energy can dissipate. Both damping
and quick dissipation can work effectively; many great examples of both
can be found throughout high-end audio.
The Planar 25 steps out in style
Setup of the Planar 25 is the same as with other Rega 'tables: fast and
easy. Since you can't adjust azimuth or VTA, once you've set overhang
and antiskating you're ready to play records. A few days after the
Planar 25 arrived, a small box bearing Grado's new Statement phono
cartridge arrived. This $2600 wooden-bodied cartridge has the lowest
output of any Grado in recent memory, if not ever: 700µV. I installed it
in the Planar 25 and attached the Neutrik connectors to the Lehmann
Black Cube set for MC (61dB) gain, loaded at 47k ohms.
height of the new Grado, like that of the others in the wooden-body
line, puts the arm below parallel to the record surface, but not
severely so. As Roy Gandy loves to point out (or rub in, depending on
your perspective), you have to dramatically alter the pivot height to
make small changes in VTA. Though the arm is clearly not parallel to the
record surface when you look at the cartridge body alone, you might
think that it is.
I put the Planar 25 on the top shelf of a
Zoethecus stand fitted with a constrained-layer-damped Z-Slab and
thought about what records to spin. What a painful job! Staring me in
the face was a new MoFi gold CD of Squeeze's great East Side Story. I sat down and played it on Naim's CDX HDCD player fitted with the optional outboard power supply (currently under review).
MoFi's transfer, using its new Gain 2 mastering chain, is really
outstanding: immediate, dynamic, three-dimensional, and highly resolved
on top. In other words, very "analog-like." The recording, by Roger
Bechirian, Elvis Costello co-producing, is especially honest for a rock
recording, and does justice to the great octave singing duo of Chris
Difford and Glenn Tilbrook, who also wrote most of the tunes.
The gold CD has tremendous bass clarity and authority—especially the
kick drum—and the cymbals ring, shimmer, and decay impressively. Since
there's not a bad tune on the disc, I listened straight through.
Then I switched to the LP. Granted, I have an original British A&M
pressing—a "Porky Prime Cut." This means it was mastered by George
Peckham, one of the greatest rock mastering engineers of the analog era.
(Look for "Another Porky Prime Cut" or "Pecko Duck" in the
leadout-groove area.) It sounds much better than the American A&M
version, but the difference, good as the MoFi gold CD is, was
remarkable. The LP on the new Rega resolves much more detail, and while
the CD was impressive on top, the shimmer and ring of the cymbals were
far more real on the LP.
No point in further hammering CDs in a
turntable review. What you probably really want to know is how much
better the Planar 25 is than the 3, and how much better the 9 is than
the 25. To determine that, I had to (reluctantly) remove the
Grado—which, based on limited listening on the Planar 25 and through a
$699 phono section, convinces me that it is among the finest cartridges
I've ever heard at any price—and switch to more familiar transducers.
I tried the Clavis D.C., the Transfiguration Temper, the Grado
Reference, and the $595 Rega Exact. I also substituted the Ringmat for
Rega's supplied felt mat, and put inexpensive but extremely effective
Vibrapods under the Planar 25's rubber feet. (To keep the 'table level,
you need to put an unnumbered pod under the right front foot, a #2 under
the left front foot, and a #5 under the rear foot, where the motor is.)
Toward the end of the evaluation, I received a Paulson isolation stand,
which uses monofilament to create a spring suspension between two
platforms. But I didn't have it long enough to draw any meaningful
conclusions about its benefit under the Rega.
The Planar 25 is
worthy of the finest cartridges in the world, though you can't adjust
VTA without using spacers, or one of the many VTA adjustment add-on
devices on the market. Even without optimizing VTA, the Planar 25
offered far richer, more refined sound than the 3, with a smoother, more
graceful, and far more transparent midband; deeper, better-controlled
bass; and pristine high frequencies.
Like the 9, the Planar 25
produced the kind of deep, tight, authoritative bass and rich, buttery
highs I usually associate with far more expensive 'tables. And like the
9, the Planar 25 had the snappy, focused rhythmic decisiveness found on
the better turntables.
The 3 sounded somewhat hard and thin
compared to the Planar 25, and couldn't control wide dynamic swings
nearly as well. At less than twice the price, the 25 is way more than
twice as good as the 3. If I owned a 3, I'd trade up to the Planar 25 in
a minute. And while the 9 is, as I remember, somewhat more refined, I
don't think it's worth the extra $1600 or so. You're better off
investing in a higher-quality cartridge and putting it on the Planar 25.
The Planar 25 is a fitting tribute to Rega's 25-year legacy of
producing great audio gear at reasonable prices. If you're in the market
for a new turntable, you ought to hear it before you buy one at any price. It's an incredible value, and a fine performer.