Wondering whether to buy the Rega Planar 1? Check out our review!
Are you looking for a trendy record player for under $500? With these criteria, the chances are you’ve stumbled across the Rega Planar 1.
If you’re anything like me, a record player takes pride of place in your home. Watching a player spin your vinyl is one of life’s purest pleasures.
But it takes away from the entire experience if you’re spinning on a player that looks as though it’s been salvaged from a junkyard. So… the visuals matter!
Let’s start by saying, I love the looks of the Rega Planar 1. There’s no denying it’s a suave-looking player.
But is the Rega Planar 1 good?
The Rega Planar 1 is a top record player in the higher entry-level price range. Offering steady tracking, high-grade audio capture, and stylish looks, it’s a top pick. Rega has a huge reputation in this domain and the Planar 1 continues their legacy. For vinyl listeners accustomed to all-in-one record players, the Planar 1 is a solid upgrade.
In this Rega Planar 1 review, I’ll scrutinize the looks, performance, sound, and much more.
With all the knowledge gained from this article, you can decide with confidence whether the Rega Planar 1 is for you.
Rega Planar 1 Review
Every record player has pros and cons, the Rega Planar 1 is no different. Let’s uncover what you may love and what you may not.
About The Brand
Since 1978, Rega has become renowned for delivering high-quality audio equipment. If you’re a newbie to spinning vinyl, it’s worth becoming accustomed to this brand.
How have they gained such a rep? Assembled by hand, every Rega product has peak craftsmanship. From their facility in England, they export turntables worldwide. A Rega turntable isn’t a cheap player to fall off a production line.
The Planar 1 is part of the Planar series of turntables. The models range from 1 to 10, with 1 being the most entry-level costing under $500. For context, the Planar 6 spans from $1,500 to $2000 depending on the cartridge, and the Planar 10 is the most premium-grade turntable costing around $6,000!
The first thing I noticed about the Rega Planar 1 was its looks, shallow isn’t it?
But casting eyes over the white matte finish of the plinth and minimalist design, you can’t help but want it spinning your favorite records.
Is the white finish not for you? It’s available in matte black which has a more subtle demeanor.
The Planar 1 takes minimalism to a new level. Hidden underneath the plinth, even the On/Off button is out of sight.
For me, I love how tidy this player looks sitting on the shelf. Nevertheless, the design isn’t for everyone. If you want a record player with bells and whistles, it isn’t the player for you.
The Rega Planar 1 is not a feature-rich player, but it performs the basics like a boss.
Rega’s own EBLT advanced drive belt is a feature once reserved for only their high-end players. Since 2021, the EBLT drive belt is now fitted as standard on the Planar 1.
So what is the EBLT drive belt?
The belt wraps around the platter to spin the turntable. Many cheap manufacturers use shoddy materials for the belt. While belts are easy to replace, it’s an inconvenience when they wear and eventually snap.
But after endless hours spinning, it’s an issue I’ve never had with a Rega. They make the EBLT drive belt with the input of rubber experts, chemists, and tool manufacturers to improve performance. Accurate with a steady speed, it also has a lifespan longer than most.
Another feature once reserved for higher-priced models is the 24V synchronous motor. For an entry-level turntable to feature this motor it’s quite something. The AC motor and aluminum pulley are low noise, so your music is the sole focus.
I’ve spoken much about the quality of Rega turntables. Should you need confirmation, it’s in the lifetime warranty. For full details, have a look at the Rega website. To summarize, you’re covered if you encounter any manufacturer defect.
But one negative for many vinyl listeners is the difficulty switching between 33 ⅓ and 45 speeds. It’s a downside of the minimalist design. There’s no switch to change the speed, for this you’ll have to move the belt drive to a specific step on the aluminum pulley.
If your vinyl collection comprises mostly albums, you won’t need to change the speeds. Nonetheless, if you have different-sized vinyl in your collection, keep in mind that it’s not a simple flick of a switch to change the speed.
Sure, it can look stunning, but the listening experience depends mostly on sound quality.
Let’s get some confusion cleared up first. The record player costs under $500. But this alone won’t blast out your favorite vinyl. You need an external preamp to drive the audio signal.
Turntable Lab offers the Planar 1, a preamp, and RCA cables for around $650. If you don’t have a preamp, it’s a great option to get you started. All you need is a set of speakers. I’ve found the deep bass and clear highs of the AudioEngine+ make for a perfect fit.
So how does Planar 1 sound?
The Planar 1 punches beyond its entry-level price point. Having started my vinyl journey on an all-in-one turntable, I can safely say the Planar 1 offers a noticeable upgrade in sound quality.
Rega’s own RB110 tonearm is high performance. A counterweight balances the tonearm to ensure the needle pressure hits the spot.
Again, the cartridge is one of Rega’s own. The stylus captures detailed groove information for punchy audio capture. If you’ve got a Rega Planar 1 in your setup, you have a key ingredient to amazing sound quality.
Is Rega Planar 1 Bluetooth?
The Rega Planar 1 doesn’t have BlueTooth connectivity. If you want a record player with this feature, the Planar 1 isn’t for you.
So let’s summarize the Rega Planar 1.
For the beginner, it’s a dream. Out-of-the-box it’s easy to set up and it doesn’t end there, because it’s simple to use.
Its minimalist design is ideal for any audiophile wanting a tidy setup. But this might not be for many vinyl enthusiasts. If you want features galore, look elsewhere.
All’s not lost, because there are many players in this price range that’ll suit these needs. Check out the Best Turntables for Under $500 for some ideas.
But for me, the Rega Planar 1 is a hit and ticks all the key boxes. It’s made by a reputable company offering a lifetime warranty. It looks exceptional and sounds just as good as it looks.
Remember, you’ll need a preamp. To save time and hassle, my advice would be to go for the all-inclusive Turntable Lab offer. All things considered, it offers bang for your buck.
So all that remains—kick back and enjoy the music.