Rega Planar 3 experience - advice?

Hi,

A few months ago I decided that I was (for the most part) done with fiddling with vintage turntables. After a good amount of research, I decided to buy a brand new Rega Planar 3, based on both reviews of the sound quality and the fact that I liked its aesthetics. I went with a reputable local dealer who gave me a very reasonable price on it, and I put a VM540ML on it. It sounds very nice to me and I don’t have any complaints regarding the sound quality. However, that is where the good part ends. Ever since I first set it up, I noticed far more motor noise (mechanically audible from within a few feet of the turntable, not while listening to music) than I would expect from a turntable of this caliber (and price). I let the dealer know, and the Rega distributor sent him their oiling kit as apparently this is a fairly frequent problem due to the turntables being stored on their side at the warehouse and oil pooling up at one side of the motor. Needless to say, the oiling made minimal, if any, difference. I applied it and ran the motor for 24 hours twice at home as well, as per the instructions. Still no difference.

Another thing that I noticed is that using the RPM app to measure wow & flutter on my iPhone gives somewhat high readings between 0.25% and 0.70%(!). The w&f readings aren’t consistent, and change constantly while the platter is spinning. Now, I don’t know how adept I am at hearing this, but it always has me wondering whenever I hear something on a record that *might* be speed fluctuation. I examined the belt and noticed that it was slightly misshapen, as it must have been sitting at one place on the pulley for a long while. At this point, I talked to the dealer again and he said for me to drop it off and he would send it to the Rega distributor. He sent it off, and it came back with the distributor saying that they found no issues. The dealer then charged me for the shipping to Rega, as they didn’t find anything wrong with it (which he never mentioned before I sent it out). Is this industry standard practice or an oversight?

I brought it home and set it up, and from the very short time I have listened, the motor noise seems to have decreased a fair amount to a point which I would say it is practically inaudible. So either the distributor did something and didn’t admit it (which I find unlikely), or their running the motor every day for a week fixed the noise. However, I measured the W&F and it is just as bad as it was before. I’m wondering if it needs a belt replacement. I also noticed some marks on the front of the dust cover that were not there when I dropped it off, which I am annoyed about.

What should I do? This experience has left me with a bad taste in my mouth as I really expected a turntable that was the least problematic as possible. I’m apprehensive about bringing this up to the dealer again. He has been very helpful in general, but I don’t know how much more he would be willing to do as the Rega distributor gave it a clean bill of health. Any advice would be welcome!

Thank you!
Ben
 

Prime Minister

Site Owner
Staff member
Sorry you are having issues with the Rega. I've had at least half a dozen Regas (P3, P25, P6, P7, P9, Planar 8, and more!), And I've had 2 problems. The P7 had a break in the tonearm wiring, and the Planar 8 had a weird motor noise. Both were fixed quickly and with the least amount of inconvenience to me. All of which means nothing in your situation.

If I can make a recommendation, go get yourself a Rega white belt. Believe it or not, it made a very big difference for me. Rega has done a ton of work on belt materials, and the upgrades do work nicely. I'm surprised that the dealer didn't recommend this to you.

Of course, the belt you had on it should work well as is. I have the one from my P6 still around, but I just put it in a box, and now it's buried in the locker, otherwise I'd send it to you. Go talk to your dealer, and see if he will give you a deal on a white belt. Worth asking!
 
Thank you, I really appreciate it! I was thinking about the white belt myself. I just ordered one from Amazon UK from a seller that probably forgot to mark the listing as no US shipping. I’m crossing my fingers and hoping that it will fall through the cracks and actually be shipped! If it is, I will have it sometime next week. The foreign premium on some Rega products is ridiculous! The UK price is less than half what it is here.
 
Good news: the order went through and the package has shipped! I was able to buy the Rega white belt for around $29 shipped. Still not cheap, but less than half of the $59 it costs here in the US. I’m hoping that it will lower the w&f readings.
 

Prime Minister

Site Owner
Staff member
Good news: the order went through and the package has shipped! I was able to buy the Rega white belt for around $29 shipped. Still not cheap, but less than half of the $59 it costs here in the US. I’m hoping that it will lower the w&f readings.
Wow.
That's an amazing price. I definitely noticed an improvement. Hopefully it works well for you too.
 
Update: Yesterday as I was listening to an LP, I noticed that either the platter or subplatter now has a visible warp in it that was definitely not there before it was sent off to Rega. I emailed the dealer about it, but haven’t heard back yet. I’m pretty frustrated with this turntable, and at this point, I would ideally just like to return it. That seems like an unlikely possibility to me, however.

EDIT: here is a video of the warp
 
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adaug

Senior Member
Update: Yesterday as I was listening to an LP, I noticed that either the platter or subplatter now has a visible warp in it that was definitely not there before it was sent off to Rega. I emailed the dealer about it, but haven’t heard back yet. I’m pretty frustrated with this turntable, and at this point, I would ideally just like to return it. That seems like an unlikely possibility to me, however.
EDIT: here is a video of the warp
have you tried removing the platter and re-seating it? could something be caught under the platter? hard to imagine that glass warped so much so quickly.
 

Celt

Peanut Head
Looks to me that the platter isn't seating down firmly against the subplatter. Remove the platter and look for a nub or something sticking up from the subplatter. Remove it with a pocket knife.
 

TimF

Junior Member
Get things sorted to your liking through the dealer, don’t go messing around and potentially create another issue. You paid good money, it’s a new table and you should be satisfied as the customer. Something isn’t right here, and I would imagine a dealer worth his/her salt would stand by it and correct the situation one way or another. Just my humble 2-cents worth....
 
I have definitely reseated the glass platter a number of times, both ways. It looks to me as of now that the subplatter is indeed uneven, somehow. I have just sent the dealer an email expressing my desire to return it. We'll see what he says.

I received the white belt today, and it did actually improve the w&f down to a more consistent 0.25-0.35%. This still seems excessive for a turntable of this price, though, to me. It also brought the speed down from 33.7 rpm(!) to a more acceptable 33.4. I'm just disappointed and frustrated with Rega's quality control at this point. They certainly make their tonearms well, but I am not impressed with the rest of this table.
 

Prime Minister

Site Owner
Staff member
I have definitely reseated the glass platter a number of times, both ways. It looks to me as of now that the subplatter is indeed uneven, somehow. I have just sent the dealer an email expressing my desire to return it. We'll see what he says.

I received the white belt today, and it did actually improve the w&f down to a more consistent 0.25-0.35%. This still seems excessive for a turntable of this price, though, to me. It also brought the speed down from 33.7 rpm(!) to a more acceptable 33.4. I'm just disappointed and frustrated with Rega's quality control at this point. They certainly make their tonearms well, but I am not impressed with the rest of this table.
To be honest, I don't think it is Regas quality control that is the issue. Any manufacturer can make a lemon. The major issue here, IMHO, is the service, or lack thereof, from your dealer. They should just make it right for you.
 
To be honest, I don't think it is Regas quality control that is the issue. Any manufacturer can make a lemon. The major issue here, IMHO, is the service, or lack thereof, from your dealer. They should just make it right for you.
I see your point. I do think the dealer is a decent guy, and he has cooperated very well to try to make this right. The thing is that it came back from the Rega service center (which I think is run by The Sound Organisation) as within spec, which just makes no sense to me.
 

Prime Minister

Site Owner
Staff member
I see your point. I do think the dealer is a decent guy, and he has cooperated very well to try to make this right. The thing is that it came back from the Rega service center (which I think is run by The Sound Organisation) as within spec, which just makes no sense to me.
I'd say take it back to him and show him the issues. Maybe it did get damaged in shipping. But ultimately, it's his job to make sure you have a properly working turntable.
 

fiddlefye

Senior Member
When you buy "old used crap" like I tend to you expect that sometimes it will need to be serviced to function 100%. When I buy new I expect everything to work precisely as designed or it needs to go back.
 
So, the Rega distributor sent out another Planar 3 and I went to the dealer the other day to inspect it there. Well, what do you know? It exhibited motor noise as well. I don't think I'm being unreasonable here (though the dealer may feel otherwise): I don't expect direct drive whisper quiet operation from a belt drive turntable. In my experience, one can usually hear a very faint whirr from the motor of a decent belt drive, but the noise that these Rega turntables exhibit is much louder than what I consider acceptable. The dealer is now checking with the distributor to see if they will take it back now that it's already been a few months, and how much of a restocking fee they'll want if they agree to do so. While this isn't ideal, I don't mind paying a reasonable restocking fee just to forget this whole mess.
 
The dealer ended up returning the turntable and refunding me, minus a restocking fee of a bit less than 20%. I am overall happy with the resolution and am just glad not to have to deal with that turntable anymore.
 
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