Rega Planar 3/2 - Significant modifications
Hi, I originally posted this in another forum, but felt members here may benefit from this also, so I am re-posting some key elements in the processes I used.
I just rewired my RB300 tonearm, with Isokinetik silver plated wire (Cardas cartridge clips with Mundorf supreme silver lead free solder) : straight loom to the phono preamp..., and finished making a custom 3kg disc to mount the motor from the Rega Planar 3 on. I also dampened the tonearm with 7 expandable earplugs, and put 2 very thin slithers of earplug foam inbetween the spring coils in the weight adjustment part of the tonearm (they ring like a bell), while it was set at 3.5g (maximum-opens the spring up totally) and then set the weight via jewellers scales - leaving the setting at 3.5g.
I have NEVER heard a Rega sound soooooooooOOOOOOO GOOOOOD...!!!
Extra wide soundstage, depth, transparancy, black-silent background, detail, with a laid back clarity...yet so much PUNCH and tight bass....
...and its still in the initial hours of being 'burnt-in'....I cant tear myself away from it.....I also have a ruby bearing in it, and acrylic platter. In the lead base, which I made from a jar stainless lid, I drilled a hole, got a paper-mate biro pen, and took the spring out, cut it in half, and put it in the hole, and used the steel bearing I replaced with the ruby one, for the platter, and used it for a 'thrust bearing' as part of the lead base.....
...man, what a rewarding effort...., some tracks evoked pure emotion....WoW
... I still need to finalise a few minor points...ie: ext-cable clamp, 3 point mini-feet on base etc...,
... that is an 'ancient' Shure M75EJ Type II on there with a near-new Swiss Huco Hyper-elliptical .2 x .7 stylus...The Nagoaka MP-200 is looking like a good cartridge/stylus....for future consideration hmmm
j7's confirmation/advice from Audio Origami regarding RB300 mod
...on chatting with j7 from Audio Origami, he confirmed my suspicions about using 'foam spray' in the tonearm, compromising the bearings working properly, and that my foam earplug plan was the most sensible...
...and also commented on concerns I was having about drilling holes in the RB300, as per the Michell tecnoarm. He stated that 'he does not drill the arm tube, as his experiments with an accelerometer showed little or no difference, shifting the ring to a slightly higher frequency when doing so, and that foam was a much better solution for tonearm tube ringing'.
...I found him to be quite a helpful and well-meaning chap...If mods are needed to a tonearm, I would most certainly choose him to do so, for this reason, and the fact that he does not overcharge...and likes what he does..., and his work and advice/confirmations facilitate greater/practical results...
...his 'gold-plated' RB250 tonearms look stunning....:yummy:
I isolated the motor completely from the plinth, by pouring about 3kg of molten lead into a stainless steel lid, and when cooled, flattened the surface, and bolted the AC motor on the lead base, incorporating a 'built in' thrust bearing situation in the base itself
The leaded base was an idea/thought I had at the time, which occurred when I purchased 2 x slate slabs for a custom Rega Planar 3 I am going to make. Most use the 2nd slab for the motor assembly, however, I don't like the complex look/weight of it all.
One 30mm slate is much more elegant and solid looking. I considered using a 'core drill' to drill out the part for the motor assembly, and have it mounted separately, on the cut-out slate part with a metal (brass?) base glued/attached underneath it.
...With the stock standard Rega Planar 3 I have (purchased from Paul at Classique Sounds Leicester UK (tel 0116 2835821) -- a friendly decent sort of chap), I decided to make the lead base modification...., and ...it works brilliant-ly....
..I do not believe, that much more improvement can be made with regards to motor vibration isolation, unless one went to negligible-effect extremes past that...., for the size of a medium size preserve jar lid, you can fill it with molten lead to near/about 3kg, and it looks great under the TT in brushed stainless steel....If doing a 'thrust bearing' mod, one must ensure that some tacky/sticky grease is in the hole/spring/bearing assembly part, before bolting or screwing the motor onto the base...
THIS IS BETTER THAN ANY TWEAKING WITH DOUBLE SIDED TAPE AND HANGING BANDS/WASHERS ETC...or whatever might be done 'in-situ' on the TT motor housing. Best results are total isolation with only belt connecting motor assembly to platter. You need to ensure that there is at least 2-3mm clearance between the top of the motor assembly and the underside of the plinth. When leveling the plinth, ensure that the motor assembly is equally leveled...and enjoy :cool:
Final motor modification
I took some of the shrink wrap off to spread the wires from the motor and flatten them glued to the lead base with contact cement. I then cut some Coles rubber mesh to suit the top, so that it does not scratch the plinth (while moving/adjusting the base etc), and just so that it has some aesthetic element to it...I also did the same with the 2 washers/ground bolt head on the bottom of the base...
I then soldered a longer wire and female plug (with shrink tube) to the circuit, ensuring that the circuit is also stuck on with silicone. Silicone is used for the wiring in the plinth cavity in varying places to ensure it will be vibration free.
I proceeded to cut the plastic cover to suit the motor base, and ensure there will be enough clearance so that it does not touch it. I sprayed the interior black, to be consistant with the plinth colour, and placed a piece of foam over the top of the circuit board.
The shaped plastic cover was stuck on with contact cement, and with one screw, and the part where the wire protrudes, was given a dab of silicone as well as that part of the wire; and foam covered as well (including motor wire). The connected wire is allowed to 'hang' slightly away from the plinth, but is foam covered 'just in case' a minor connection with the plinth/cover may occur : -- all to dampen, ensuring zero vibration.
Motor assembly is very easy to detach... and re-attach.... In addition, when the belt gets 'stretched'..., just move the motor back a couple of mm's... :)
Idea: I have been pondering this issue for a while now..., if 'acrylic' platters make a difference, due to resonant qualities, for the better than glass...(due to ringing effect), then how does putting a metal subplatter on, made of metals that ring more, than resin (ie: aluminium, stainless steel etc) create any improvement???
I am thinking of just filling the resin subplatter with silicone to dampen it...it should work quite well...
I would rather come up with a solution improving the standard --- see if it makes a difference, then....spend $$$ if none can be found...
From what I have seen in other posts/comments on web-sites, the aluminium sub-platters are referred to as 'anti-resonance' ..., with 'anti-resonance patterns'........so, I wonder why??...use a metal that 'resonates' more than plastic/resin/acrylic would??
...so, its simple...I would just get a silcone cannister in a gun/dispenser, and squeeze silicone into the cavities, and get a plastic gyprock (or any flat putty-type blade) and push it into the cavities and flatten evenly at the same time..., until all are even...and let dry...
Action: I just ended up filling the bottom/top halves of the sub-platter with roofing silicone..., believe me, its not for the faint-hearted...It feels 'heavy' and 'well-damped', kind of solid... I just cleaned up the subplatter from extraneous silicone dregs etc...put it on, (with the perfected mod to the motor), and I am amazed that there should be such a difference..., more dynamic, 3D soundstage improvement, clarity, black background, seems more silent..., the 'timbre' of instruments is more evident and has added prescence in the room...., as well as vocals tonal quality...., and overall even 'smoother'.... (did I mention punchier deeper bass??)
I feel like there are people playing musical instruments in my room and singing to me... :cloud9:
...everytime I do something to modify it, my Rega sounds better.... :cheerful:
...there is no way, I am going to purchase a 'aluminium subplatter' after this result....hehehe
...filling stock sub-platter with silicone
I did this modification at my own risk, weighing all the pros and cons...being careful, its quite a messy and tricky job..., but worth it...I reckon... (when done properly and with patience and care)
...I MADE SURE I WASHED IT WITH DETERGENT FIRST then RINSED VERY WELL ... and quickly dried the metal part and shook the rest off and leave to dry..., for best adhesion...
...after injecting silicone in all the pockets, with a spatula or something similar -- the spreading of the injected silicone that now fills all the pockets, was evenly spread.... in a circular motion around the spindle with one corner on the inside plastic lip (underside) and over the outside lip, moving like around a clock face..., ensuring all the silicone is pressed in evenly covering all the sections and evenly weighed, by eye/level...
..for the topside, (after injecting silicone in all the pockets, as also done in the underside), I found the best way was to drag while pushing the silicone down into the pockets from the center to the outside, its kind of tapered from the inside to outside, but that is OK, as the outer lip holds the platter, and the silicone is just 'damping'...., I had to fiddle and muck around a lot, getting it even at times, adding a dab here and there..., and be patient, but its rewarding...Its amazing how much heavier the sub-platter becomes...
...first I did the underside, .... then I put it in something (with a hole in the centre of it) that will hold it LEVEL until it dries..., then did the same for the topside...I waited until it was dry before cleaning/scraping silicone extra on the outside etc, use a plastic ruler first, scraping it off, then a dry 'scotch brite' Coles dishwashing thin ...whatever it is...(actually they are great for cleaning but not scratching too much, as they are rough plastic or something, and not metal) was used to clean the rest off the end of the sub-platter where the belt goes...
...I ensured the silicone was totally dry, before inserting into base..., and added a few extra drops of oil..., enjoy...:)
...further isolation enhancement
...a further isolation enhancement (assuming one has a solid sound roof/beams), is to have the turntable on a shelf via bracket, (or hanging with heavy weights-maybe?) attached from the ceiling -- or to a solid wall).... WITHOUT the motor assembly..., and THEN have the motor assembly on the standard sound system shelf on the floor...BOTH aligned at the same place, where they should be, but attached/isolated, at the different locations...
...a 'split plinth/motor isolation' AND 'split placement' system ... :Pawprint:
Well, you obviously are very excited about this (seven posts in less than 90 minutes!) :D
Thanks for all the photos and ideas - I'm in the process of modding/upgrading my older Planar-2. Right now it has an Origin Live RB250 (just the tail shaft) and my next project will be a heavier platter (I just ordered a bunch of 12" Corian blanks - stole the idea from Planet10's example). I think freshening up the bearing will be the next step after that.
You've added a bunch of weight already - why not build a custom plinth? The Rega construction seems to be based on a lightweight component model to push the resonances up, while you seem to be going the opposite direction with your approach.
Just some thoughts. Thanks again!
Disclaimer: this thread and subsequent posts outlines procedures that I used for my Rega modification and is for information purposes only. Certain procedures used may require professional assistance and/or advice. Construction of the base in particular should be done by a professional only. It is up to the user to determine safety issues and concerns and research them accordingly. If anyone decides to duplicate any of the procedures listed, they do so entirely at their own risk and volition.
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