The Rega Planar 3 is the classic Rega turntable. It's really the price and performance turntable that put Rega on the map and kept them there for nearly forty years. We sell more Rega Planar 3's than any other turntable and we're happy every time we do because we know we helped someone make a great purchase. The Planar 3 brings the nicer RB330 on-piece cast tonearm, the same tonearm as Planar 6, and Rega's excellent mainline tonearm. The table itself gets a more heavily damped plinth, a 24 volt motor, Rega's torque-tube style brace between tonearm and spindle, and an upgraded platter with polished edges. It's a looker! The packaged in Rega Elys 2 cartridge is Rega's entry-level three point mount cartridge which gives perfect alignment and no-fuss setup and a PRAT*'ful energetic British sound. The Rega 3 can benefit from several meaningful upgrades including the Rega Neo Turntable Power Supply, and Rega Exact 2 Cartridge, or Rega Tungsten Counterweight. There are many good aftermarket products for the Planar 3 including the Groovetracer subplatter. The Planar 3 is the number one enthusiast upgradable midrange turntable in the world . <--there I said it.
*Pace Rythm And Timing
All things considered, we decided to leave the Brio-R as the heart of this system, simply because it is indeed up to the performance of it's brothers in this system, and it allows us to stretch up to the superb Dynaudio Special Fourty loudspeakers. If you wanted to upgrade this system, we would go with the $1675 Rega Elex-R which brings more power and a little nicer phono stage. You could honestly pluck the Brio out of this system and drop in a much higher end integrated amp from McIntosh or Luxman and the system would still make sense - that's the upgrade path we would see.
Ahh, the Dynaudio Special Fourty. This speaker is a jewel and has the awards to back it up. The Special Fourty was created as a 40th anniversary speaker for Dynaudio and brings with it remarkable midrange clarity and resolution coupled with tight and accurate bass. It's special, and one of the great speakers that will hold its value and be spoken of with a known reverence for years to come. We would not think twice about fronting this speaker with a high end McIntosh C2700/MC275, Audio Research VT80SE or a nice big Luxman integrated. They are that good - resolution monsters with great dynamics. A vocals lover's speaker.
Lastly comes the speaker cable upgrade, and again, we gained significant resolution, so let's enjoy more of that with better cables. The twist with this system is that the Cardas Parsec Speaker Cable has a secret: it's actually a bit of a tone control. The Parsec adds a little bump in the middle bass to a speaker which makes smaller speakers sound a bigger and bit fuller - more like their floorstanding brothers. At Pearl Audio we've use this trick of the trail with Cardas Quadlink, Parsec's ancestor, for many a year to muscle-up bookshelves or thin bodied floorstanding speakers. If you wanted, you could actually take this system up another notch by adding a Cardas Parsec Power Cable, but for that money we'd suggest investing in the Elex-R first. The Parsec Power cable is a very good later-on upgrade and will bring more bass and harmonic content to this already excellent system.