Rega Planar 6 – Review

Rega Planar 6 – Review


This is my review of the new (launched August 2017!) Rega Planar 6.  An upgrade from the old RP6 that I reviewed in December 2015.  It is particularly nice but like many specialised products is available in one colour and one colour only, Polaris Grey.

Out of the Box

Ania cartridge

the first noticeable element was the striking Ania moving coil cartridge

If I’m honest, I did little out of the box, as Rega set the Rega Planar 6 up for me.  As I slid my RP3 out of the way (with an Exact cartridge) the first noticeable element was the striking Ania moving coil cartridge that is really special to look at and peer into.  It is so streamlined, pointy and, as I will no doubt mention later, accurate to drop, a key gain.

Quality

Overall, the quality is never in doubt from Rega

The Rega Planar 6 looks really attractive though not a great deal different from the Planar 3 I looked at a year ago.  The Aluminium brace is prominent on top (there is also a second one underneath) and the tone arm is basically the same, save for a new stainless steel weight.  On a casual lift for positioning, the Rega Planar 6 is not as weighty as you might expect (see later).  Overall, the quality is never in doubt from Rega, as you would expect from one of our foremost British audio companies.

Design

The speed is adjusted now with the NEO PSU

This is the first new Rega turntable to be constructed with an ultra lightweight Tancast 8 polyurethane foam core plinth (a material developed for the aerospace industry).  This material is sandwiched between a new HPL (high pressure laminate). HPL is exceptionally thin whilst extremely rigid, this explains the weight issue I referred to above.  As I mentioned the Rega Planar 6 comes in an understated Polaris matt grey finished with a high gloss polymer black edge trim.

This new Rega Planar 6 comes with a new power supply that is an upgrade to the Rega TT PSU.  It is called the Neo PSU and it has a new high spec Rega 24v low noise synchronous motor.   The motor is matched by hand to its own NEO PSU ensuring optimum anti-vibration control on the turntable.  The speed is adjusted now with the NEO PSU, rather than having to lift the platter and adjusting the belt.

The Planar 6 comes with the Rega RB330 tonearm as standard and this is materially identical to the Planar 3, save for the inclusion of a custom stainless-steel weight that looks a little more, classy.  You can buy the Planar 6 without a cartridge, however it can come with a discounted Ania moving coil cartridge which really is worth the stretch, since it was developed with the Planar 6 in mind.

Next the main platter is made of two bonded bits of glass for higher mass.  This sits on the subplatter that is made from a single piece of machined Aluminium.

Rega Planar 6 Dimensions (Rega site)

Width 448mm
Depth 365mm
Height 120mm (Dustcover closed)
Weight 5.2kg

Performance

Set-Up

The Planar 6 has a very low noise floor indeed

I’m running the Rega Planar 6 with the separate Neo PSU and Rega’s own Fono MC phono stage, the gain settings are apparently higher than I may usually have them. The Rega Planar 6 comes with the new moving coil Ania pick up.  This is an optional extra with the Rega Planar 6 however it is surely worth the investment with this turntable. My pre-amplification is through my own Nain NAC-N 272 into a non-DR NAP 250. As I may have mentioned in the last month, I have a pair of Focal Kantas in Gaulois Blue that are simply out of this world.

I think it is worth noting at this point, this a very nice piece of equipment, that demands a set-up to match.   You are probably not going to get much appreciation of this turntable from a pair of book shelf speakers  (with all respect).  I don’t this is a controversial point, fortunately, I have some glorious speakers to listen to the Planar 6.

Noise Floor

The first thing I noted is what you can’t hear.  The Planar 6 has a very low noise floor indeed.  Compared to the RP3 that I moved aside and even the GyroDec I also have here, it is noticeable.  This is great news because immediately you are just listening to the music.   So, for me, first thing to do is put ‘A Moon Shaped Pool’ on.  Heavy vinyl that is (nearly) brand new is always a treat and sure enough the rhythm takes over.  ‘Deck’s Dark’ does not come across as big as it may do, this is not the Kanta speakers.  The overall sound is a bit lighter than I might have expected but nevertheless the detail is all there, I wonder to myself if this is the cartridge.  There is a very pleasing ‘openness’ to the presentation from the turntable.  When I flip over to ‘The Numbers’ it is confirmed, beautiful detail from an amazing song.  Finally, from A Moon Shaped Pool, the detail and production in ‘True Love Waits’ reminds you how wonderful music can be, or rather is.

One of the features of the turntable and the Ania cartridge in particular is how easy it is to cue up a track.  In search of a deeper track I dig out a rather battered Organ piece (a bit of cleaning was required), Toccata & Fugue in D Minor by Kynaston at the Royal Albert Hall (so old it says £1.25 from Boots, 1970).  Immediately, the Planar 6 hauls out the deepest notes from the organ and I am satisfied there is a heavier tone in the turntable.  Coldplay’s ‘Everglow’ has a lovely rounded, deep, bass line and after playing another favourite vinyl track ‘April Skies’, I am satisfied with the lower ranges from the Planar 6.  Next, I am bound to put on my Ryan Adams’ ‘Live from Carnegie Hall’.  It is superb, detailed vocals and pedal noises draw you to the venue five years ago and I feel privileged to be listening to such a prestigious set-up.

The NEO PSU has a speed control button so I flick on the Planar 6 to 45rpm.  A twelve inch copy of ‘Oblivious’ by Aztec Camera comes bounding out of the system with great precision.  Then, with joy, I put on a 12″ of ‘Radio Head’ by Talking Heads, apparently where it all began for the originally named ‘On a Friday’.

Overall

….the Planar 6 [is] ‘cooly understated’, [but] it is a mighty performer

Although the Planar 6 looks a bit boring, or shall I say ‘cooly understated’, it is a mighty performer.  I feel the sound is a fraction lighter than I might have expected as I’m always looking for the cartridge to drag out every ounce of bass from a groove.  The openness of the delivered sound, however, is the USP for this turntable and it is really exceptional piece of equipment.  With a system such as this, it is fine turntable.

Love

Ania cartridge

Lowest Noise floor

Open sound

NEO PSU speed button.

Like

Polaris Grey is growing on me

Wish

It was available in Lamborghini Orange

 

4 Comments

Add yours
  1. 1
    Brian Z

    I own the P6 and the Fono as well. I have had a hard time finding the proper settings for the Fono pre. The manual says that it comes preset from the factory for all Rega MC cartridges but I have found those setting underwhelming. You mentioned gain in your review and I was wondering what settings you used for the review. Thanks!

    • 2
      Simon Wilce

      Hi there, sorry for the delayed response. I used the gain settings given when Rega installed the P6 for me. I have 1 & 4 down and 2 & 3 up on both channels. Sounds great to me. I can send you a pic if you want.

  2. 3
    Brad

    How much of the improvement do you think is due to the cartridge, vs the other improvements in the tone arm, plynth, and motor? It would have been interesting to run this table with an exact 2 and compare it to the rp3 with the same.

    • 4
      Simon Wilce

      Hi, thanks for the comment. I suspect it is a bit of both but an Exact cartridge on an RP3 in place of the Ely2 would be interesting. I put an Exact cartridge on an RB303 with a 3 point Rega Mount on a GyroDec and it is crystal clear and beautiful.

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