Posted on 2nd March, 2016


In a move that would put a smile on the face of Michael J. Fox, Rega has gone back to the future by giving its classic Rega 3 turntable a whole new spin.

Now called the Planar 3 (2016), the makeover has resulted in a significantly better looking, better engineered and brilliant sounding turntable, according to Synergy Audio's Philip Sawyer.

Sawyer is the long time Australian distributor for the entire Rega portfolio and has had a bird’s eye view of the development of the spanking new Planar 3 2016. telling StereoNET:

This turntable is probably the most significant design change in the history of the Rega 3 turntable.

Recapping that history Sawyer reeled off the versions of the 3 models starting with its launch as the Planar 3 in the 1980s. Later revamps included the P3, P3/24 and more lately the RP3.

But keen eyed vinylphiles who have back copies of 1970s UK audio magazines will also tell you about a great sounding turntable sold by the High Street stores. The ads show it was called the Rega Planet.

History aside, what’s clear is the Rega Planar 3 is the beneficiary of more than 3 decades of research and development echoing another classic; Linn’s equally long running LP12.

While significantly cheaper than a basic LP12 at its RRP of $1249 complete with new RB330 tone ($1499 with the Rega Elys2 cartridge), the Planar 3 2016 is also the first model to be unveiled at this price point by Rega for five years.

So what’s new and what’s window dressing about the Planar 3 2016?

Genuinely new is the RB330 tonearm that Sawyer says has a totally new precision bearing housing said to be more stable and have a feather-like freedom of movement in all planes thanks to greatly reduced friction levels.

There’s also a new armtube, which looks superficially similar to Rega armtubes, but we’re assured is superior thanks to computer modeling which results in better mass allocation and fewer resonance hotspots.

Rega has given the RB330 a new bias rig, integrated armclip and sleeker spring housing complete with highly visible calibration numbers. Cabling, which can be an afterthought on some tone arms has received close attention with a view to better sonics. The cable is built in-house and is a low capacitance type terminated with classy Neutrik RCA plugs. As for the counterweight, after a series of prototypes, Rega choose to go with a new 100g mild steel design.

The plinth is now finished in high-gloss acrylic and its composition is made up of laminated layers that Sawyer says makes the whole thing stiffer and more anti-resonant.

An easier to reach power switch and an option of black or white high gloss finish along with much improved bracing comprising a 3mm phenolic bottom brace and a new matching top brace, top off plinth improvement.

Down below Rega has gone with an all-new, sturdy brass main hub bearing which we’re told is whisper quiet in operation.

The Planar 3 2016 uses a new 12mm glass platter with a beautifully polished rim. Underneath Rega has fitted all new anti-vibration, anti-resonance feet.

It’s pleasing to see Rega has given its new turntable a 24V motor and a new PCB which allows users to add Rega’s optional TT-PSU and change speeds electronically easily and quickly.

The new Planar 3 2016 weighs 6kg and measures (H/W/D) 11.7x44.7x36cm. Sawyer also confirmed to StereoNET this week that the first few turntables arrive in a couple of weeks, while the main shipment is due to arrive May/June.

Rega is distributed in Australia by Synergy Audio Visual.

Marc Rushton's avatar

Marc Rushton

StereoNET’s Founder & Publisher and still buried deep in the review room auditioning everything from docks to soundbars, amplifiers and headphones. Marc is also the founder of the annual International HiFi Show.

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Posted in: Hi-Fi
Tags: rega  planar3  turntable  synergy audio visual