Inspire Quest Rega Upgrade

DandyCobalt

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On another thread...

http://www.whathifi.com/forum/turntables-and-lps/rega-p9-at-what-cost

...I was trying to decide (with forum help) on what path to follow, after a Rega P3-24.

One suggestion, from CJSF, was to keep the P3-24, but subject it to an upgrade from Inspire HiFi in Chesterfield. They take your Rega, reuse the arm (in this case a Rega RB301), sub-platter and thing below it, but then replace the plinth, the platter and other options.

After talking with Robert from Inspire, I decided to go the whole hog, plumping for a plinth with Mocassar ebony veneer, on top of the standard 50mm birch ply.

Here is what my Rega P3-24 looked before...



and here's what it looks like now...





The result is absolutley stunning! The build quality is excellent - it is now a substantially heavier beast - it really feels like a much more expensive machine, and is exactly what I was after when I started the search.

The complete turntable that I now have has:

50mm birch ply plinth with lacquered mocassar ebony veneer

23mm acrylic platter

Acrylic Acri Mat

Inspire HiFi puck

Acrylic cone feet

Origin Live counterweight

From my P3-24: sub-platter, RB301 arm

Goldring 1042 cartridge

TT-PSU power supply. (played via Trichord Dino/+ and rest as per profile)

Robert also refitted the lid hinges, so my existing lid fitted back perfectly.

(a note if you already have a Rega wall bracket: ask Robert to put the feet in the original Rega positions, as Inspire prefer wider positioning for the feet)

After refitting the counterweight and sorting the downforce (I've gone for 1.75g to start, using a cheap ortofon balance), I was ready to play.

With all settings (volume etc) the same as with the P3-24 before the makeover, I played the records that I was most familiar with from previous playing:

Beck - Sea Change (mofi version)

Leonard Cohen - Old Ideas

Jonathan Wilson - Gentle Spirit

and then a new one Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Street Survivors", new remastering on Mobile Fidelity.

The most obvious change to sound was that the soundstage has grown sideways and forwards. Quite considerably.

On vocals, the singer seems to be about two feet closer to me, and the instruments seem about a foot wider each side of the l/r speakers.

Also, there seems to be a lot more separation to the instruments, and the bass seems much more defined.

As a bonus, there was none of the static that I have been plagued with before the change. Not a crackle, even when lifting off the vinyl after playing.

I'm really pleased with the results. (for info, total cost of the upgrades was approx. £480)

Thanks to all, and especially cjsf, for the heads-up on Inspire Hifi, and thanks to Robert for creating a unique turntable for me.
 

CJSF

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Very nice Dandy, is Mrs Dandy happy? . . . The Standard Rega does look a bit grim edgwise:?

Did you upgrade or damp the subplatter, or is it the standard original?

CJSF
 

DIB

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Congratulations! That looks absolutely gorgeous, I'm sure it sounds as good as it looks.

As a fellow Goldring 1042 man, I'd be very interested in seeing how low yours tracks. Mine, is no more than 1 - 1.5mm off the vinyl. It sounds great but had it checked out by an expert over the weekend and was told everything was in order, and that the 1042 does track lower than most cartridges.

.
 

DandyCobalt

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CJSF said:
Very nice Dandy, is Mrs Dandy happy? . . . The Standard Rega does look a bit grim edgwise:?

Did you upgrade or damp the subplatter, or is it the standard original?

CJSF

I did have sub-platter damping, but Robert took the segments out, and I haven't put them back. Perhaps, with everything else it no longer needs them. I'll do an A/B test at some point.

ps. Mrs C is very happy
smiley-smile.gif
 

DandyCobalt

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DIB said:
Congratulations! That looks absolutely gorgeous, I'm sure it sounds as good as it looks.

As a fellow Goldring 1042 man, I'd be very interested in seeing how low yours tracks. Mine, is no more than 1 - 1.5mm off the vinyl. It sounds great but had it checked out by an expert over the weekend and was told everything was in order, and that the 1042 does track lower than most cartridges.

Mine is same distance above vinyl (no more than a mm). Sounds damn fine. Here's a pic ...

 

respe

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I should be able to do my own comparison next week, I am collecting a used Quest on Friday, fitted with a RB251, I will fit a DL110 short term, as I have a couple in a draw at the moment, and feed that into a Edwards MC1 + PSU phono stage. It will be interesting to see how it stacks up against a P9 Apheta and ios.
 
A

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I've been banging on about Inspire since I got my LP12 from them, nice to see someone else is extremely happy with the results. Looks fantastic.
 

CJSF

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DandyCobalt said:
CJSF said:
Very nice Dandy, is Mrs Dandy happy? . . . The Standard Rega does look a bit grim edgwise:?

Did you upgrade or damp the subplatter, or is it the standard original?

CJSF

I did have sub-platter damping, but Robert took the segments out, and I haven't put them back. Perhaps, with everything else it no longer needs them. I'll do an A/B test at some point.

ps. Mrs C is very happy
smiley-smile.gif

Keeping Mrs C on side is the right move . . . 8) When I was playing with damping the sub, it worked very well with the 20mm acrylic I was using, although I found 'minus two sections' tuned things in a bit . . . :)

CJSF
 

CJSF

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Mmm . . . just showed Hazel your pictures Dandy . . . "can we do that with ours", she said? . . . seed sown and germinating :rofl:

Neither of us like the P5's skirting board wood edge, even if it is cherry . . . ?

It sound like I'm off to Chesterfield on a dem????

CJSF
 

DandyCobalt

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I suppose if you do the same thing to a P5 then you could sell the Rega parts (plinth etc) that aren't re-used? That would bring the actual cost down too.

Best advice would be to visit Inspire and see the finishes - Robert sent me a photo of a similar one that he'd put rounded edges on - I must admit that rounded edges would have been even better, but the lid wouldn't have fitted again. (I think he's an exhibitor at the Weybridge audioworld show on 24/25 March.)

What's really nice is that it has the simplicity of a Rega, but the look, feel and sound of something much more "bespoke".

I'll experiment with the damping, as is easy to do, but first I've got a pile of unopened vinyl to get through, and more on its way from acoustic sounds in the US. (An ideal compromise - a fab "new" turntable plus lots of new vinyl for less than a p7/p9/linn etc).
 

CJSF

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Yes, I like the idea of round edges, but I too feel the lid is required. However, if he is up for suggestions I have a couple of ideas?

I had a listen to 'Beck - Sea Changes' . . . wow!!!! It was our Horlicks hour listening last night, we both loved it. Obviously I dont have the vinyl, I found it on Spotify, if the quality on the vinyl is anything like I heard last night, I want a copy, thats the best Spotify album I have ever heard, it comes over just like analogue, with all the texture and atmosphere and the sound stage is enormous and well defined. If you have Spotify Dandy, give it a try A-B let me know how it compares? . . . Down side is £50 for the vinyl . . . !!! I will keep my eyes open in the charity shops and boot sales. Meanwhile I have a stunning down load copy.

CJSF
 

DandyCobalt

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CJSF said:
Yes, I like the idea of round edges, but I too feel the lid is required. However, if he is up for suggestions I have a couple of ideas?

I had a listen to 'Beck - Sea Changes' . . . wow!!!! It was our Horlicks hour listening last night, we both loved it. Obviously I dont have the vinyl, I found it on Spotify, if the quality on the vinyl is anything like I heard last night, I want a copy, thats the best Spotify album I have ever heard, it comes over just like analogue, with all the texture and atmosphere and the sound stage is enormous and well defined. If you have Spotify Dandy, give it a try A-B let me know how it compares? . . . Down side is £50 for the vinyl . . . !!! I will keep my eyes open in the charity shops and boot sales. Meanwhile I have a stunning down load copy.

CJSF

Sea Change on vinyl (mofi) is a real keeper - absolutely superb. I'll A/B/CD it with the CD too
smiley-smile.gif
 

CJSF

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Looks like I have got the 'thumbs up' if I want to go the 'Inspire' rout? Not in any hurry, they tell me they are moving factory in 5 weeks, so I recon it would be wise to keep away for a few months. Happens to suit me, what with Hazel in hospital and then caring for her, garden will need some work in-between times.

I would be very interested in a progress report Dandy.

CJSF
 

DandyCobalt

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CJSF said:
Looks like I have got the 'thumbs up' if I want to go the 'Inspire' rout? Not in any hurry, they tell me they are moving factory in 5 weeks, so I recon it would be wise to keep away for a few months. Happens to suit me, what with Hazel in hospital and then caring for her, garden will need some work in-between times.

I would be very interested in a progress report Dandy.

CJSF

I'm sure you'll be delighted cjsf!

Just recovering from a sudden-onset food bug (and from a very good hotel of wine chain too) but the weekend will be black, round and mostly 33.3rpm (with some 45rpm Nat too I expect).
 

chebby

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DandyCobalt said:
Just recovering from a sudden-onset food bug (and from a very good hotel of wine chain too) but the weekend will be black, round and mostly 33.3rpm (with some 45rpm Nat too I expect).

That may work on your manager but we know better :)

You just wanted an extra day with your new turntable.

And why not?
 

ifor

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I popped in and had a chat with Robert on Tuesday about an Acri-mat and platter to replace the felt and glass on my Manticore Mantra. Unsolicited he said he might be able to do a plinth too. He doesn't know the Mantra, but I think I'll drop it off with him for a few days to see what possibilities he dreams up.
 

respe

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I collected a Quest modified Rega this afternoon, at the moment it has a Rega Bias 2 on a bog standard RB251. This is feeding a Edwards MC1 + PSU phono stage. It has the Quest acrylic platter mat. In ''standard'' form its a very interesting turntable, and I think that for the basic cost is money well spent on P3. It probably gives you a better sounding deck than you would get for the same money.

I will have to think about the potential tweeks from here,

Full arm rewire through to phono plugs

Technoweight

Sub Platter

external PSU.

Now the cost for that lot makes some £600 ish, added to the quest +p3 so whats that £1,100-£1,200 , mmm nearly what I paid for my 9.

I think for now just the techno weight.

I put the ceramic platter from the 9 on the quest, just to see.... should not have done that, I think the RB1000 and apheta will be having a little holiday shortly.
 

CJSF

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Interesting, the 'Quest' Rega is pointing the way to mass rather than light?

The next thing will be tone arms made from solid material? I think there are acrylic head shells and end stubs . . . why not whole arm tubes? even bearing housing assemblies . . . be more of a 'tone pole'? 8)

CJSF
 

DandyCobalt

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Managed to get time to listen to a few more records over the weekend, and they have all confirmed that the Quest produces a much punchier, btter defined delivery - really enjoyable.

The vinyl I've listened to has been:

Leonard Cohen "I'm your Man" (Music on Vinyl 2011 pressing) - very good.

Sinead O'Connor's new album "How about I be me (and you be you)?" - fabulous - excellent quality and very good tunes. I love the cover of John Grant's Queen of Denmark that she does. (with mp3 download)

Cocteau Twins "Stars and Topsoil"(a collection 1982-1990) 2011 edition - only got to play one side, but very good - makes me want to watch Lost in Translation again. Also, as it is a white vinyl, I took a few pics with on the quest...here's one:

 

DandyCobalt

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A question that was bound to rear its head - how far can I go on the cartridge front with this setup?

Tempted by the moving coil world - and as a "once for a long time" change, how much would I have to spend to get a really noticeable step up in performance?

I like the rounded sound that my Goldring 1042 mm gives, and seems to work with my other gear.

My Trichord Dino/+ can accommodate moving coils - so any recommendations?
 

CJSF

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DandyCobalt said:
A question that was bound to rear its head - how far can I go on the cartridge front with this setup?

Tempted by the moving coil world - and as a "once for a long time" change, how much would I have to spend to get a really noticeable step up in performance?

I like the rounded sound that my Goldring 1042 mm gives, and seems to work with my other gear.

My Trichord Dino/+ can accommodate moving coils - so any recommendations?

Well then Dandy, first what is your budget? Second, how much upgrading did they do, for instance is the sub platter the original or a metal replacement, what did they do to the arm. I have spoken to Robert on the matter of metal subs, he says they cant hear a difference compared to the original and a metal one . . . :? I'd need to be convinced, although, I dumped the Acrylic, on a metal sub platter, far to analytical, lacking smooth musicality . . . However that is a different can of worms . . . sort of? But in my book of experience it may have a bearing?

May be first, ignore my doting 'i's' and crossing 't's' and find a friendly dealer who will loan you cartridges to try, get a feel for how much you need/want to spend, is the expenditure cost effective? Failing a local dealer, Divine Audio in Desbrough are into loaning out cartridges via the post.

I think the Grado might be a consideration, the 'Master' being around £600?:O If you can find a stockist, Benz is reputed to be the business in the £500 range, and then there is the Lyra Dorian £595 one I was up for!!! . . . again Divine Audio show them on their site.

All speculation without a budget and perhaps what you might like to improve on in your present cartridge?

CJSF

PS, I have an idea but not for descusion on hear, email me????: cliford.stone@ntlworld.com
 

DandyCobalt

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Hi cjsf (email sent),

I've still got the plastic sub-platter (and a bag of the sub-platter damping segments, that weren't replaced after the Quest upgrade). I haven't experimented with/without them yet. Otherwise, Inspire acrylic platter, acrylic mat, puck are new.

I think I'll need to spend at least £500-£1,000 on a MC cartridge, but willl need to be sure it will have a good impact. I'm prepared to invest if it will make a big difference, but I appreciate auditioning will be the onlyy way. But I don't want to waste any dealer's time/effort/risk unless I am sure it will be worthwhile. I suppose an alternative would be to take t/t into a dealer and experiment there?

I'm adding an upgraded power line to the Trichord Phono amp/psu - otherwise everything downstream needs to stay the same (OH insists).
 

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