This multi-award winning ‘Plug and Play’ design utilises the handmade RB110 tonearm, with pre-set bias and a factory fitted Carbon cartridge. Set-up is possible in under 30 seconds and delivers incredible performance well beyond its price point. Every single aspect of the Planar 1 has been meticulously designed to improve performance. For the first time the Planar 1 is now running a 24v, low noise, synchronous motor to reduce vibration transfer combined with the brand new RB110 tonearm fitted with Rega's bespoke zero play bearings.
Only sharing the drive belt, sub platter and dust cover from the outgoing RP1, this is truly a new turntable for 2016.If you are looking to get back into vinyl and want serious performance that will last you a lifetime, then look no further.
The RB110 is purpose built for the Rega Planar 1 and Planar 1 Plus turntables. It is designed, engineered and hand-built at the Rega factory in England. The included 111g RB110 tonearm weight is pre-balanced so that when you snug it up against the back of the tonearm wand it will have the optimal tracking force pre-set for the Rega Carbon cartridge. This is a very nice feature because it means you don't need a tracking force guage, and if someone messes with the arm, you know you can just push this counterweight right up against the stop and have correct tracking force set.
The RB110's anti-skate (aka bias) is fixed and set for the Rega Carbon cartridge as well. This relative unadjustability was done to keep the costs down and the quality up. The compromise is honestly a superb design decision as the Rega Carbon is an excellent cartridge to stick with for this table given its performance and the user-replaceable stylus.
You can use other cartridges with this arm - they just need to have similar tracking and anti-skate needs, which in reality, for the lower-mid price range cartridges tend to be fairly similar. You can vary the tracking force on this arm by using a tracking force guage and just moving the tonearm weight further away from the stop at the tonearm pivot - so you can decrease it, but not increase it, which is just fine given the Rega Carbon cartridge is a moderately heavy tracker.
The Rega Carbon cartridge is optimized for use with the Rega Planar 1 and Planar 1 Plus turntables. It features a carbon stylus and a conical diamond tip. The conical profile tends to cede a little bit of resolution to more elaborate cartridge profiles but rewards in being an easier and more forgiving cartridge for a given tonearm and table. The cartridge has an extremely importand user-replaceable stylus which means that should the cartridge wear out or become damaged you only need to pop off the front piece (the stylus assembly) and snap a new one on. No setup required.
The only difference is the Planar 1 Plus has a built-in phono stage.
The Planar 1 Plus already has a phono stage in it, so you do not need to purchase one. This provides a very neat and clutter-free option in an entry level but still audiophile grade turntable.
When Rega designed the Planar 1 Plus, they began with the Planar 1 turntable and the Rega Fono Mini phono stage, removed the USB componet to keep costs down then installed that phono stage right into the Rega Planar 1 Plus. You definitely gain a little performance by having a very short wire from the tonearm to the input of the phono stage, but you may lose a little performance by having the phono stage circuit board share a power supply with the turntable. The vibrations of the turntable shaking the phono board circuit board are also a concern. In listening in our store, the performance of the Planar 1 with external Rega Fono Mini MM and the Planar 1 Plus are virtually indistinguishable.
Yes, you will need a standard RCA interconnect cable to connect from the standard line-level rca outputs on the back of the Planar 1 to the standard line-level inputs on your receiver. You will not need what is known as a Phono Cable because there is actually one hidden inside of the Planar 1 Plus - it's the (very short) wire that comes out of the RB110 tonearm and directly into built-in phono stage. If you are using a Planar 1 Plus, make sure you use a regular RCA cable to plug into your receiver as those are designed to handle the higher voltages (around 1-2 volts) output by the phono stage rather than the tiny voltages (around .3 millivolts to 6.5 millivolts) appropriate for Phono Cables.
If you have a big box store home theater receiver, then you will probably get better sound from a Planar 1 Plus than a Planar 1 plugged into the receiver's phono stage. The reason being that the internal phono stage of most of these receivers is equivalent in performance to an entry level external $20 phono stage you would buy online. An entry level audiophile receiver will be a much closer call. In our store, the Planar 1 Plus sounds about as good as the internal phono stage in the Rega Brio integrated amplifier - if you're buying a Brio, we would encourage you to buy the Planar 1.