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Question Yet another to upgrade (or not) thread...

yug

Active member
Jan 13, 2020
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Hi everyone.

I figured this would be a good place to get some turntable advice, so here I am. I have a few questions, and as this might get a bit confusing, I'm going to try and break it out:

1. I have a ProJect Essential 1 - bought in 2011 - which I've since upgraded from an Ortofon 3E styli to an OM10.

It's served me well, and sounds great with both my old Denon mini Hi-Fi and my Q Acoustics M4 soundbar. However, my phono preamp is only a cheap Behringer PP400 which produces a bit of hum at higher volumes.

I also seem to get an awful lot of static from using an anti-static carbon fibre brush before playback; I can tell because I almost always hear a 'tttsssssssssssss' noise through the speakers as I pull the record away from the spindle. Is this normal? I've just learnt to live with it.

I also, on occasion, get inner groove distortion. But this only seems to be on select records, which are likely to be naff pressings to begin with.

2. So, should I:

A) just get a better phono preamp and stick with the OM10. If so, which preamp?
B) sell the TT and pick up the quite lovely looking Rega Planar 1 Plus which includes a built-in preamp (saving me hassle)?
C) sell the TT and get the Rega Planar 1 and a new preamp for a similar price?
D) ignore Rega, and get a better ProJect deck. If so, which?


The Rega comes with a Rega Carbon cartridge and styli, which I hear is a bit of a ball ache to upgrade unlike the Ortofon OM range. But I've also heard it sounds fantastic, so I'm unlikely to need to upgrade it for casual listening anyway, and if I were to, it would only be the stylus I'd upgrade.

My budget is £350 max.

One last thing, I use a rubber turntable mat. Is a cork one likely to make any difference?

If you read all this, thanks for your patience!
 
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sonic1

Well-known member
Dec 27, 2019
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I think the Rega Planer 1 plus is a good option but with a budget of £350 you could do a little better.

How about the Rega Planer 2 which I know is £399 but you sell your Pro-Ject ( You should get £100 ) so that gives you £450 from there you should be able to pick up a second hand Rega fono mini A2D for £50

I just managed to get a fono Mk3 for just over £100 from ebay, take your time and you can get a bargain and the best part is 99% of people who sell Hi Fi gear keep the box's and treat everything better than they do their wives.
 

yug

Active member
Jan 13, 2020
9
9
25
I think the Rega Planer 1 plus is a good option but with a budget of £350 you could do a little better.

How about the Rega Planer 2 which I know is £399 but you sell your Pro-Ject ( You should get £100 ) so that gives you £450 from there you should be able to pick up a second hand Rega fono mini A2D for £50

I just managed to get a fono Mk3 for just over £100 from ebay, take your time and you can get a bargain and the best part is 99% of people who sell Hi Fi gear keep the box's and treat everything better than they do their wives.
Thanks. That’s a route I could take.

A quick Google search shows that the P2 also comes with the same cartridge and stylus as the P1. Does this mean it’s also harder to upgrade?

For £400, it seems steep for what it offers. Unless the fancy platter and so on really make a difference over the P1.
 

DougK

Well-known member
Dec 8, 2013
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Rega make very nice turntables but are hamstrung with their own brand carts. Apparently AT carts are the same height as Rega so there is an upgrade path of sorts and AT make some excellent carts. If you want to fit other brands then the arm will need shimming to accommodate.

Failing that there is of course Pro-Ject who also make very nice turntables but you are generally hamstrung with their choice of Ortofon carts, not my favourite carts, but the upgrade path is more open to other brands without the need of shims.

Definitely lose the Behringer and get yourself something better.

I've got a rubber mat on the Pioneer and it doesn't seem to cause any further issues than the felt mat on my Marantz. Static can be reduced by wet-cleaning and new inner sleeves, but you'll either need to get this done professionally or purchase the cheapest cleaner, (Knosti Disco Antistat), and do it yourself.

IGD can either be the record itself or more generally it is the cart not aligned correctly. I've never found the Ortofon range to be good trackers, the best trackers I've heard are AT and Nagaoka, especially if the sylus profile is a fine-line or micro-line. The Ortofon 2M Bronze is a fine-line and I rate it higher than the 2M Black in respect of tracking ability and overall performance.

Regarding your options I would be inclined to go with either B or D with an inbuilt phono stage, or maybe another brand entirely.
 
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yug

Active member
Jan 13, 2020
9
9
25
Rega make very nice turntables but are hamstrung with their own brand carts. Apparently AT carts are the same height as Rega so there is an upgrade path of sorts and AT make some excellent carts. If you want to fit other brands then the arm will need shimming to accommodate.

Failing that there is of course Pro-Ject who also make very nice turntables but you are generally hamstrung with their choice of Ortofon carts, not my favourite carts, but the upgrade path is more open to other brands without the need of shims.

Definitely lose the Behringer and get yourself something better.

I've got a rubber mat on the Pioneer and it doesn't seem to cause any further issues than the felt mat on my Marantz. Static can be reduced by wet-cleaning and new inner sleeves, but you'll either need to get this done professionally or purchase the cheapest cleaner, (Knosti Disco Antistat), and do it yourself.

IGD can either be the record itself or more generally it is the cart not aligned correctly. I've never found the Ortofon range to be good trackers, the best trackers I've heard are AT and Nagaoka, especially if the sylus profile is a fine-line or micro-line. The Ortofon 2M Bronze is a fine-line and I rate it higher than the 2M Black in respect of tracking ability and overall performance.

Regarding your options I would be inclined to go with either B or D with an inbuilt phono stage, or maybe another brand entirely.

Thanks. I'm inclined to go with the Rega P1 Plus for convenience sake.

We've recently downsized and I also have a handful of consoles plugged in nearby so it's a bit of a mess of wires behind the TV cabinet at the moment. (I do try to keep the TT cabling entirely separate from TV stuff, mind).

In terms of wet cleaning, I've owned a Disc Spin for years and it's mint. But occasionally I just use a micro fibre cloth and some cleaning fluid for a quick wipe, although I'm not convinced it actually does anything for newer, crackly pressings other than driving dust further in the grooves. In fact, I had better results as a teenager using washing up liquid and tap water of all things.

The only thing putting me off the Rega, like you say, is upgrading the stylus. I wish they've make it clearer about what will and won't just pop right on that cartridge. Although, for all I know that stock stylus probably sounds great and I'll never need upgrade.
 
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DougK

Well-known member
Dec 8, 2013
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Rega P1 is a safe bet even with the on-board phono as it should be better than the Behringer.

If it's a Spin Disc then that's fine, a bit on the manual side, but fine. Use the correct cleaning solution and always use new liners. Never, ever use tap water and washing liquid, it will just add to your woes.

Let us know how you get on.
 

yug

Active member
Jan 13, 2020
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Rega P1 is a safe bet even with the on-board phono as it should be better than the Behringer.

If it's a Spin Disc then that's fine, a bit on the manual side, but fine. Use the correct cleaning solution and always use new liners. Never, ever use tap water and washing liquid, it will just add to your woes.

Let us know how you get on.
Thanks again. I've located a local Hi-Fi specialist who I might contact for a demo. They seem to stock a lot of Rega gear.
 
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yug

Active member
Jan 13, 2020
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Did you purchase from Acoutic Streams ?
yeah, picked it up this morning. All good.

surprised how... dunno... more alive it sounds than the project. No sibilance on any records so far either. Nuts considering the cartridge is pretty cheap.

spinning an old soundgarden 7” which was previously used in a pub jukebox and it sounds far better than it should
 
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yug

Active member
Jan 13, 2020
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Only complaint is the motor is kinda noisy, but you only notice it when nothing is playing. Other than that, all good.

My IRS era REM records sound banging
 
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