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Old 10th September 2007, 05:50 PM   #1
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Default Troubleshooting Rega Planar 3

I picked up a second hand Rega Planar 3 for a great price. Only thing is that the RB300 tonearm was damaged. The bit where the anti-skate setting is was cracked off. The previous owner reattached it with some epoxy. The wiring at the base of the RB300 was also sheered off. I was able to reattach the wiring.

As far a listening goes, the turntable sounds fantastic compared to the Dual 1229 (?) that I grew up with. I have complaints though. Hum. I can drown it out with music, but I'm always aware of it. I've tried two different phono amps with similar results. The stereo imaging doesn't seem right either and sometimes louder passages distort lightly.

It also has it's original Boston Acoustics cartridge. I'm guessing it's at least 15 years old. It's a high output MC.

Is the wiring bad? How can I be sure the anti-skate is working at all? Could my cartridge be worn out?
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Old 10th September 2007, 06:14 PM   #2
chrisb is offline chrisb  Canada
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Default Re: Troubleshooting Rega Planar 3

Quote:
Originally posted by whitelabrat
I picked up a second hand Rega Planar 3 for a great price. Only thing is that the RB300 tonearm was damaged. The bit where the anti-skate setting is was cracked off. The previous owner reattached it with some epoxy. The wiring at the base of the RB300 was also sheered off. I was able to reattach the wiring.

As far a listening goes, the turntable sounds fantastic compared to the Dual 1229 (?) that I grew up with. I have complaints though. Hum. I can drown it out with music, but I'm always aware of it. I've tried two different phono amps with similar results. The stereo imaging doesn't seem right either and sometimes louder passages distort lightly.

It also has it's original Boston Acoustics cartridge. I'm guessing it's at least 15 years old. It's a high output MC.

Is the wiring bad? How can I be sure the anti-skate is working at all? Could my cartridge be worn out?

A few observations - two of the issues mentioned are easy to fix, depending on how much further you're willing to invest in the table.

The stock factory wiring on the RB300 was never its strongest performance feature, so a complete rewire wouldn't be out of the
question. There are several options, including ready-made rewire kits from folks like Origin Live, etc.

The phono cartridge could certainly be due for updating. Note that some cartridge designs are less susceptible to hum than others - I'm very happy with my AudioNote IQII, (made by Goldring) in my P3/RB250 rig; but I can guarantee you several dozen alternate recommendations - unfortunately, it's getting harder to find opportunities to audition replacement candidates.



A combination of the damaged wiring, age of the cartridge and possible misalignment of cartridge could certainly explain the hum, imaging and distortion problems, and as noted above could be easy to fix. However, the repair to damaged anti-skating mechanism are of more concern, as it could possibly impede either or both the horizontal and vertical arm bearings.

All things considered, it might be worth looking at a complete replacement of the arm with the cheaper RB250 (arguably a better value for the money)
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Old 10th September 2007, 06:46 PM   #3
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The arm seems to track well for what it's worth. It doesn't skip at all or fly all over the place. I was thinking in a worst case situation I could use a weight to put the right amount of force on the arm.

I agree with your cartridge assessment. I figure I'd go with a Rega cartridge just because I'm worried about the spacing. I'd need spacers to get a tall cart.

Chrisb, I notice that you mention using a Sumiko Blue Point Special with your RB250 in another thread. How did that sound? Is there an equivalent Goldring cart for the AudioNote?

Incognito makes a rewire kit for the RB300. I'd probably better replace the whole arm with something better before going down that road.
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Old 10th September 2007, 07:06 PM   #4
chrisb is offline chrisb  Canada
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Quote:
Originally posted by whitelabrat
The arm seems to track well for what it's worth. It doesn't skip at all or fly all over the place. I was thinking in a worst case situation I could use a weight to put the right amount of force on the arm.

I agree with your cartridge assessment. I figure I'd go with a Rega cartridge just because I'm worried about the spacing. I'd need spacers to get a tall cart.

Chrisb, I notice that you mention using a Sumiko Blue Point Special with your RB250 in another thread. How did that sound? Is there an equivalent Goldring cart for the AudioNote?

Incognito makes a rewire kit for the RB300. I'd probably better replace the whole arm with something better before going down that road.

The Blue Point Special never quite "lifted my skirt", so to speak - very dynamic and detailed, but more than a little anemic in the lower registers.

The AudioNote is apparently based on the Goldring 1022, with of course some customizations beyond "just a rebadge". However, in either of the RB series arms, it does require the ability to adjust VTA. This was famously not a standard feature of Rega arm - "buy our cartridge - you won't need it" . I never particularly liked the Rega cartridges, so the lack of VTA was overcome with one of the after market gadgets (Origin Live, IIRC).

As to replacing the RB300 with something better, don't underestimate the RB250. I had ample opportunity to compare both, and the reason I chose the RB250 it for my latest table had nothing to do with the lower price.
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Old 10th September 2007, 08:47 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by whitelabrat

Incognito makes a rewire kit for the RB300. I'd probably better replace the whole arm with something better before going down that road.
Forget the Incognito kit and rewire the arm yourself with Cardas 33awg wire and some new Cardas clips. The 4 x 33awg wire with shield is $9.24/ft at parts connexion. This gives you the opportunity to run straight to your preamp if you wish and deal with the hum/ground issue.

This page for Rega rewire may help:
Hot Wired Rega

Jeff
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Old 14th September 2007, 09:20 PM   #6
tubenut is offline tubenut  South Africa
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If you were to just replace RB300 with RB250, take the RB300 steel stub and counterweight and put it on the RB250 instead of the plastic stub and matching weight. You will need a gauge for setting tracking weight after that but it makes a big difference to the sound.
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Old 14th September 2007, 09:52 PM   #7
chrisb is offline chrisb  Canada
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Quote:
Originally posted by tubenut
If you were to just replace RB300 with RB250, take the RB300 steel stub and counterweight and put it on the RB250 instead of the plastic stub and matching weight. You will need a gauge for setting tracking weight after that but it makes a big difference to the sound.

Well, if you really get tweaky with upgrades to either arm, replacing the stock factory wiring is definitely worthwhile, as are any of several after market counterweight / stub replacements. In my own case, a local designer/guru developed an underslung design from a combination of Delrin & brass. After only a few short listening sessions, I decided I liked it over the stock, and haven't to others since - no doubt there many to choose from and YMMV

For anyone considering taste testing a range of cartridges, a VTA mechanism of some sort. By the end of the day the add-ons could easily double the original cost of the arm, but you'd arguably still have something that easily outperformed costlier arms.
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Old 14th September 2007, 09:59 PM   #8
tubenut is offline tubenut  South Africa
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The RB300 stub and weight if bought from Moth group for eg only cost less then half of the OL weight mod.... It is a killer upgrade for the budget conscious RB250 owner....

I agree fully on the wiring, also shove a few, say two or 3, teeny O rings over the finger lift.....
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Old 16th September 2007, 11:21 PM   #9
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the Rega carts hum notoriously,even my Rega exact did, especially towards the end of each side.

on the standard wiring the arm is earthed through the carts blue wire, rather than a seperate earth, the black earth and blue wire are 'commoned' on the inside of the vertical bearing pillar. this is sub optimal,as is the crappy spring plate they put inside the rear stub tube to act as the earth point.

a rewire will fix this.

I've just had my P5 rb70 rewired with silver and it'sa good step up, though i think the seperate earth was at least as responsible for the imrpovement as the new wire was.
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Old 17th September 2007, 01:05 PM   #10
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O-rings on the fingerlift...??

I haven't heard that one before - what differences did you hear with the rings on/off?


Easy mods are good news!

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