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RP3 - pros and cons of external Fono mk2 stage & TT PSU?

Hans_2049

Member
Apr 16, 2020
11
0
20
Hi all,

Via second-hand conduits I recently find myself in possession of and (generally enjoying) a Rega-based set with the 2017 Brio, RP3 that came bundled with Elys2, Fono mk2 stage, and a TT PSU. They feed a pair of Q Acoustics 3050's that I got at a good price (had previously an enjoyable but limited pair of old Jamos).

I got the Fono + TT PSU bundled with the RP3 and simply assumed they are beneficial to the sound. Indeed, with the old Jamos, the Fono did help add some air and widened the stage a bit. Now, with the 3050s, I simply cannot detect that much of a difference between the Fonos and the default integrated stage in the Brio. Perhaps there is a still a bit more width and a tad more space around each instrument, but somehow, with the buttery and airy sound of the 3050s, I don't really miss it. And secondly, I don't really miss the PSU when I skip it. Perhaps it's in my head, but I would even venture that some music sounds nicer without the PSU, a bit more laid-back with pleasantly twinkling treble.

It would seem like a relief to simply get rid of a couple of parts and whittle the set down to its essential elements. And at the same time, I don't want to get rid of components which can serve me in future upgrades i.e. cartridge, speaker..

So, I would be curious to know from any Brio owners out there, in which situation did a Fono really go a cut above? And ditto for the PSU - are my speakers just too forgiving to notice the difference when I bypass it?
 

Al ears

Moderator
The TT PSU provides a means of switching speeds external to the turntable itself.
If you ditch this you will be back to changing the belt position on the pulleys on the motor spindle.
It also, allegedly, offers a more stable power supply to the motor thus ensuring better speed stability. You would only notice a sound difference if the turntable itself was running slightly slower or faster than 33.3rpm when used without the PSU.
For the sake of convenience I would keep it and it will be a good addition if you ever try to sell on the turntable.
 

Hans_2049

Member
Apr 16, 2020
11
0
20
The TT PSU provides a means of switching speeds external to the turntable itself.
If you ditch this you will be back to changing the belt position on the pulleys on the motor spindle.
It also, allegedly, offers a more stable power supply to the motor thus ensuring better speed stability. You would only notice a sound difference if the turntable itself was running slightly slower or faster than 33.3rpm when used without the PSU.
For the sake of convenience I would keep it and it will be a good addition if you ever try to sell on the turntable.
Thanks AI ears, that's quite clear. I do not notice much overall pitch change, but will try to pay attention to this. Do you know if the native RP3 motor also more liable to have unsteady speed, as in speeding up+slowing down cyclically (is there an industry term for this)? I don't detect this when I listen, but just wondering.

Maybe you can also can help me shed some light on my Fono stage question.. Do you have any idea if the Rega Fono is essentially the same circuitry already at use in an amp such as the Brio? And if it is indeed different than the Brio, is it simply the Elys 2 that doesn't quite perform well enough to bring that difference to light?
 

Al ears

Moderator
I have no evidence that the motor has any speed defects. You would certainly hear it if it had. Some speed differences will be noticeable if the belt is coming to the end of its life.
I would think that the preamplifier in the Brio will be very similar, if not identical, to the Fono but again I am not sure. If you are happy with the turntable plugged directly into the Brio then sell on the Fono.
The Fono was obviously designed for those that use amplifiers without inbuilt phonological preamps.
I have never really got along with Rega cartridges but have not heard the Elys2. I am pretty sure it can be bettered for the same sort of money and, as you have no idea I assume as to it's history it may need replacing anyway.
 

Hans_2049

Member
Apr 16, 2020
11
0
20
I have no evidence that the motor has any speed defects. You would certainly hear it if it had. Some speed differences will be noticeable if the belt is coming to the end of its life.
I would think that the preamplifier in the Brio will be very similar, if not identical, to the Fono but again I am not sure. If you are happy with the turntable plugged directly into the Brio then sell on the Fono.
The Fono was obviously designed for those that use amplifiers without inbuilt phonological preamps.
I have never really got along with Rega cartridges but have not heard the Elys2. I am pretty sure it can be bettered for the same sort of money and, as you have no idea I assume as to it's history it may need replacing anyway.
Thanks. It seems to me indeed that the Fono is intended for amps without built-in phonostage, or at least to bring the Rega sound to other setups..

What would you think are interesting cartridges to consider around the Elys 2 price range? (200 euros here in NL). What I currently have is a bit too warm and melted sounding - that could be the cartridge getting worn out though - and would be interested in something a bit livelier and more detailed..
 

Al ears

Moderator
I would be looking at something along the lines of the Audio Technica AT-VM95SH that is around £157 in the UK, not sure what it is in the Netherlands, or the more expensive Clearaudio Concept MM, or cheaper Nagaoka MP110.
Note these will need aligning as they don't have the Rega three-point mounting system, and the correct tracking weight set but they should give you what you are looking for soundwise.
 

Hans_2049

Member
Apr 16, 2020
11
0
20
I would be looking at something along the lines of the Audio Technica AT-VM95SH that is around £157 in the UK, not sure what it is in the Netherlands, or the more expensive Clearaudio Concept MM, or cheaper Nagaoka MP110.
Note these will need aligning as they don't have the Rega three-point mounting system, and the correct tracking weight set but they should give you what you are looking for soundwise.
Thanks. Will keep an eye out.
 

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