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Vintage Rega Planar 3

notsodaftdanny1

Active member
Nov 24, 2020
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Looking forward to reading posts on an interesting forum!
Newly retired and with time on my hands I have set up an AV room in the house, rekindling my love of hifi which started when I was 18 (many, many years ago).
This included dusting down, and retrieving a vintage Rega Planar 3 from the garage which probably hasn't been played for over 20 years. Naively I thought it would still be "plug and play".However the cartridge and stylus on closer inspection don't look good at all. Considering upgrading it and researching on the internet( a valuable resource in this case), I'm thinking it might not be worth it. From what I've found out, it could need apart from the cartridge, the R200 Acos tonearm rewired or replaced, new belts for the turntable and suspension motor. Don't know whether the motor will need replaced but I reckon could be outlaying between £200-£300 worst case scenario.
My question is this: do I refurbish this deck or buy a new Rega Planar 1? I wouldn't object to spending money on upgrading if the end result was as good as a new purchase. Maybe sentimentality is influencing me too much. Would appreciate some advice.
 

notsodaftdanny1

Active member
Nov 24, 2020
12
2
25
A very warm welcome!

Think it would depend how solid it is. And if the structure is sound from being I’m guessing in a damp garage.
This is the million dollar question. Apart from the cartridge, everything, at first glance looks ok. The unit isn’t warped or chipped. But 40 years of degradation of the wiring, motor etc is the worry. I have been quoted £80 for a basic service. So, when you add on what “might” need done in addition to this cost, I am in the territory of perhaps better giving it a decent burial. You can see my dilemma.
 

DCarmi

Well-known member
Nov 15, 2019
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570
All I can add is that I have a 1986 vintage Planar3 (RB300). It wasn't stored in a garage but I did get the arm rewired and replaced the drive belt and updated the cartridge. Total cost around £200 (though a cheaper cartridge would be an option). There comes a point where you may well end up spending more to maintain than replace.

Possibly your biggest worry would be the rubber anti-skate belt in the arm. If that has perished then a replacement will be very difficult to find (if not impossible).

I'd be tempted to replace.
 

millennia_one

Well-known member
Sep 1, 2014
561
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11,270
This is the million dollar question. Apart from the cartridge, everything, at first glance looks ok. The unit isn’t warped or chipped. But 40 years of degradation of the wiring, motor etc is the worry. I have been quoted £80 for a basic service. So, when you add on what “might” need done in addition to this cost, I am in the territory of perhaps better giving it a decent burial. You can see my dilemma.
Think it would be worth getting it looked over
 

majex45

Active member
Nov 22, 2020
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My guess would be it needs a new drive belt and new suspension bands (if fitted) and probably a new stylus but I cannot see what else can be wrong with it if the garage is not damp. Presumably you had the dust cover on it and possibly still in the maker's box? If it has got damp in the bearings then pop it on the the auction site as spares & repair and use the money raised to look at a new turntable after listening to a few when possible.
I am using a Garrard 86SB from the ark, a new drive belt and new stylus and it's in fine fettle again although absolutely not top notch these days (or, for that matter, when it was made).
 
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notsodaftdanny1

Active member
Nov 24, 2020
12
2
25
My guess would be it needs a new drive belt and new suspension bands (if fitted) and probably a new stylus but I cannot see what else can be wrong with it if the garage is not damp. Presumably you had the dust cover on it and possibly still in the maker's box? If it has got damp in the bearings then pop it on the the auction site as spares & repair and use the money raised to look at a new turntable after listening to a few when possible.
I am using a Garrard 86SB from the ark, a new drive belt and new stylus and it's in fine fettle again although absolutely not top notch these days (or, for that matter, when it was made).
Thanks. Garage is not damp but in winter can be very cold and in summer very hot, so you get both extremes. Decisions, decisions!
 

Al ears

Moderator
Thanks. Garage is not damp but in winter can be very cold and in summer very hot, so you get both extremes. Decisions, decisions!
Well worth keeping, but you'll need a fair bit of cash to bring it back to life and I would replace the tonearm if you are keeping it.
Note the motor suspension bands, as previously stated,if fitted will be shot as will the drive belt. Motor should be fine, May need to check bearing etc.
The Project Debut Carbon Evo is the one to go for if you go new.
 

GeoffreyW

Well-known member
Sep 17, 2005
150
5
18,595
And the antiskate belt of the R200 will be beyond repair.
You can easily check the platter bearing, clean out any old oil and replace it.
Does the motor spin, are there any untoward noises or vibrations?
Does the arm move freely in all planes? New drive belts are cheap enough, so perhaps work your way through and see exactly what works and what doesn't, then make a decision. You could contact Jonny at Audio Origami about your R200 arm, he can work wonders, but an RB300 will be better, I feel.
I sold my Planar 3/R200, and bought an RP3, which sounded far better, and am now upgrading it slowly.
All the best, and have fun.
 
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DCarmi

Well-known member
Nov 15, 2019
71
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570
Of course, if you do decide to replace then you could put the old Planar 3 on Ebay. Someone will buy it! There are/have been quite a few such systems there, selling for decent prices.
 
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notsodaftdanny1

Active member
Nov 24, 2020
12
2
25
Of course, if you do decide to replace then you could put the old Planar 3 on Ebay. Someone will buy it! There are/have been quite a few such systems there, selling for decent prices.
Thanks for all the suggestions, folks. Initially I have decided to go down the upgrading route, Specialist company are rewiring the tone arm and replacing the bias belt. I will renew the turntable and motor suspension belts, oil the spindle bearing and hope the motor and capacitors are ok!
What cartridge replacement would be a suitable and easy match? Budget no more than £100 for cart and stylus.
 

Al ears

Moderator
Interesting you are spending all that money on upgrading and then going to have a restricted budget for a cartridge to put on it........ however. I would be looking at something like the AudioTechnica AT-VM95EN or similar like the Goldring E3
 

notsodaftdanny1

Active member
Nov 24, 2020
12
2
25
Interesting you are spending all that money on upgrading and then going to have a restricted budget for a cartridge to put on it........ however. I would be looking at something like the AudioTechnica AT-VM95EN or similar like the Goldring E3
LOL! Problem is the wife doesn’t know about this “expenditure!” If she asks how much it has cost then the reply will be: “Less than £100 all in”. Seriously, though, don’t want to go overboard initially with the cart. Thanks for the recommendation. Had thought about the Goldting. Once deck is back up and running, I will report back on: a) the total cost and b) how it all sounds. Might be another few weeks,
 
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notsodaftdanny1

Active member
Nov 24, 2020
12
2
25
Well worth keeping, but you'll need a fair bit of cash to bring it back to life and I would replace the tonearm if you are keeping it.
Note the motor suspension bands, as previously stated,if fitted will be shot as will the drive belt. Motor should be fine, May need to check bearing etc.
The Project Debut Carbon Evo is the one to go for if you go new.
Hi folks. Update on what's happened in the past month with the vintage Rega Planar 3. I had the tonearm professionally rewired and anti skate mechanism rebelted. Guy said otherwise the tonearm was in very good condition. Cost about £165. I replaced the turntable belt and motor suspension belt myself for circa £20 and spent £95 on a Goldring E3 cartridge. I then realised that my Onkyo receiver didn't have a phono stage and was about to order (reluctantly) a Rega pre amp for about £100 when I thought it might be worthwhile having a rake in the garage again. Came across an Arcam 6 plus which would have been my second or third amp after the original Creek. Brought it in to the house, let it acclimatise for a few days and connected it up to the Rega and Mission floorstanders. Back to the garage again to dig out ( from some 300 albums) the record which was used to demonstrate the Rega back in 1982 ( motor stamped 1582) in Ivor Tiefenbrun's hi if shop in Glasgow. This was Grace Jones "Nightclubbing". Sounded terrible., so I set about readjusting the cartridge and tonearm. Was very frustrating as just couldn't get it right by following a couple of YouTube videos. Eventually with my own trial and error I got it playing and sounding fine, albeit with numerous crackles and pops commensurate with an LP from almost 40 years ago. Couldn't find the floor spikes for the Missions so I swapped them for Dennon (Mission) bookshelfs on stands (yes, another garage find) as I was worried that my 2 year old granddaughter would be flattened if one of them fell on top of her as she ran about as toddlers do.
Although I'm happy with the end result for less than £300, I'm not convinced that I have the cartridge and tone arm set up to be the best it can be. I have read several articles about VTA, Azimuth overhang etc but it's all too confusing. Any advice in layman's terms welcome. E.g., how do I know my cartridge is sitting correctly in the shell, etc? One shock I wasn't expecting is the cost of new vinyl records! Absolutely crazy especially for so -called
Special Editions.
 

DougK

Well-known member
Ensure that the turntable is completely level before performing any adjustments, this part is important as if it's not level then the rest of your adjustments will be out.

When balancing the tonearm with zero VTF try to get it level with the platter, I use a triangular ruler for this purpose and eye-ball along its length to ensure it is parallel with the platter; a straight edge of some kind will assist you greatly.

Next use the scales to dial in some VTF, e.g. 2g, then use the stylus alignment gauge to align the cartridge correctly, this part is critical and requires time and patience to get spot-on, (I believe an illuminated jewellers loupe is an essential piece of kit to correctly align a cart using the guage; failing that a torch and and some very good eyes will suffice).

Once aligned re-check the VTF and adjust if necessary, Goldring recommend 2g but can be adjusted to suit up to a max of 2.5g.

You've done well so far (y) Any problems or Q's just come back and ask, we've all had to learn the hard way and most of us are self-taught. YouTube is your friend here
 
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