Innovative Design and Construction Equate to State-of-the-Art Vinyl LP Playback: Rega Planar 8 Turntable Features Triple-Glass Platter, Neo PSU Power Supply, and RB880 Tonearm
Inspired by Rega's pinnacle creation (the $45k Naiad), the company's U.K.-built Planar 8 turntable goes beyond mere evolution and enters a design realm of its very own. Engineered to squeeze out details embedded in LP grooves with a degree that belies its price class, Planar 8 is both practical and luxury analog. An ultra-lightweight skeletal plinth comprised of a polyurethane foam core, double-braced stress-beam assembly, three-piece super-flywheel-effect laminated glass platter, and new RB880 tonearm combine to provide optimal rigidity, dampening, and stiffness. A new, perfectly round drive belt and Rega's Neo PSU power supply deliver immaculate accuracy and user-adjustable control. The option of getting Planar 8 with a pre-mounted Rega Aria or Apheta 2 moving-coil cartridge heightens its levels of fun and flexibility, not to mention money-saving smarts. All that's left is your sense of adventure – and vinyl collection.
Indeed, in addition to "value," "new" and "innovative" might be the operative terms that best describe Planar 8. For starters, look at the radical plinth distinguished by angles and cutouts – an ingenious design that minimizes mass while increasing rigidity and, by way of its Tancast 8 polyurethane foam core construction, presents energy absorption. The forward-thinking extends to a phenolic brace located between the tonearm mount and main bearing, adding extra reinforcement while barely upping overall mass. Then there's the triple-glass platter, a flywheel-effect type that bulks up in mass at the rim while retaining a lightness that makes the main bearing's job a breeze.
We should also mention that setting up Planar 8 takes no painstaking amount of time or effort, particularly if you order with either the Rega Ania or Apheta 2 cartridge, each which is pre-mounted at the factory. All you need to do is remove the packaging protecting the main bearing and tonearm, fit the tracking weight, and set the bias. Simple!
Sonically, Planar 8 immediately reveals itself as an incredibly insightful musical instrument. It plays vinyl LPs with a combination of composure, authority, coherency, control, and drive that both generates excitement and maintains a balance that evoke the sensations of the finest live concerts. You'll hear oodles of attack, sustain, and weight while also benefitting from audiophile characteristics such as clarity, emotion, and tautness.
Discerning listeners and audio manufacturers often talk about the sweet spot. With Planar 8, Rega has done more than attain it – the British analog experts sit you right down within it. 100% Music Direct Guaranteed.
"While delivering each musical strand with clarity, it manages to tie everything together to produce a cohesive and massively enjoyable whole. It's this combination of hi-fi analysis and simply communicating the emotion in the music that the Rega does so well."
– What Hi-Fi?, five-star review
"Rega's Planar 8 really advances the idea of what constitutes state-of-the-art vinyl playback at this price. Almost regardless of the cartridge you end up choosing, it has the remarkable ability to thrill and entertain and is an exceptionally well-thought-out design that really delivers."
– Hi-Fi Choice, Editor's Choice review
"If your goal is to play and enjoy records and not worry about 'tweaking,' the Planar 8 is easy to recommend. At this price point it's a major sonic and structural step up for Rega and it runs at the correct speed!"
– Michael Fremer, Analog Planet
"If you are looking for maximum musical intensity for your pound, dollar, or euro you will be very hard pressed to find a better turntable at anywhere near this price. I am a Rega RP10 user myself but I've been hearing new things on this newcomer at nearly half the price, it truly is a triumph of analogue audio engineering."
– Jason Kennedy, Editor, ear.net
Double-Brace Technology Prevents Energy Absorption
A super-lightweight plinth combines with a phenolic resin double brace mounted specifically where the increased rigidity is required (between the tonearm mounting and the main hub bearing), forming a structurally sound stressed-beam assembly. Planar 8's rigid plinth design prevents energy absorption and unwanted resonances that add unnatural distortions to the music. Similarly, heavier mass can transfer more unwanted energy – such as motor or bearing noise – directly into the rotating record. The use of braces instead of the complete skin allows double-thickness phenolic resin in key areas while providing further weight reduction to the plinth, directly addressing the issue of mass absorption and unwanted energy transmission.
Ultra-Lightweight Plinth Also Offers Increased Rigidity
The Planar 8 is the second Rega turntable constructed using the ultra-lightweight Tancast 8 polyurethane foam core, a material developed for the aerospace industry. This foam core comes sandwiched between two layers of HPL (high-pressure laminate). HPL is exceptionally thin and extremely rigid. The innovative construction makes Planar 8 skeletal plinth 30% lighter than the original RP8 while offering increased rigidity over the prior model.
Brand-New RB880 Tonearm Delivers Incredible Stability
Rega introduces the RB880 tonearm, equipped with an improved vertical bearing assembly constructed using an aluminum and stainless-steel, low-mass assembly with vastly improved stability and rigidity. RB880 employs Rega's advanced, preloaded zero-tolerance bearing assembly adjusted to less than 1/1000th of a millimeter, giving friction free movement and zero levels of unwanted play. The subtle structure is only visible via small windows at the rear of the new bias housing assembly. A thinner stainless steel balance weight also allows greater adjustability and compatibility. In addition, RB880 is terminated with a redesigned, low-capacitance phono cable terminated with high-quality locking phono plugs for excellent connection.
Super Flywheel-Effect Triple-Layer Glass Platter: Light and Stiff
Planar 8 employs a three-piece laminated-glass platter constructed from two different high-quality Pilkington glasses. As a general rule, the platter is the only part of a turntable that requires extra mass – to achieve constant rotational speed. However, a heavier platter creates more problems for the main bearing design, meaning an ideal compromise creates the best solution. Practically speaking, it relates to keeping as much of the mass to the outside rim of the glass platter to create more flywheel effect but keeping the inside of the platter as light as possible without sacrificing stiffness.
24-Volt Low-Noise Motor Assembly Removes All Stress on Motor Body
Planar 8 features Rega's latest-generation, 24-volt, synchronous, low-vibration motor technology. Uniquely mounted using the highest level of coupling while retaining higher vibration isolation than on any previous Rega model, the new motor-mounting technique (mounted from the bottom) borrows from Rega's cost-no-object Naiad. The unique mounting method removes all stress on the motor body. In effect, the reduced vibration and more rigid mounting delivers superior drive from the new EBLT drive belts. Each motor is hand-tuned to match its own custom Neo power supply before fitting to the turntable in order to optimize the anti-vibration circuit.
EBLT Drive Belt: Perfectly Round and Dimensionally Accurate
Rega spent three years researching and developing the use of a bespoke rubber compound for drive belts. The result of a specialized curing system, the new drive belt offers superior consistency of modulus (a constant representing the degree to which a substance has a particular property, especially elasticity). EBLT belts are manufactured on Rega-designed, super-accurate tools that produce perfectly round and dimensionally accurate belts, critical for ideal speed stability.
Neo Power Supply Unit: Electronic Speed Change and Anti-Vibration Control
Rega's Neo Power Supply Unit affords electronic speed change, advanced anti-vibration control, and user-adjustable electronic speed adjustment. Built upon a high-stability crystal, Neo PSU's DSP generator divides the accurate signal from the crystal to the exact frequency needed to turn the turntable platter at the given speed. It also produces near-perfect sinusoidal waveforms to drive the motor, ultimately generating a 24V AC balanced signal with amazingly minimal distortion.
Low-Mass Hub Bearing Assembly
Planar 8 uses a new, low-mass central bearing assembly in which a single-piece machined aluminum sub-platter and hardened-tool steel spindle run inside a custom brass housing cleverly mounted within the chassis. The mounting eradicates unwanted potential energy being transferred or stored in the plinth.
Preinstalled Cartridge Option: Rega Apheta 2
Featuring a state-of-the-art, ultra-high-powered neodymium magnet and a coil meticulously-hand wound on an iron cross, the Rega Apheta 2 moving-coil phono cartridge combines the benefits of cutting-edge modern technology with old-school analog design principles to yield a world-class cartridge worthy of the finest tonearms and turntables. Able to extract the most meticulous information from record grooves and reproduce music with unerring warmth, soulfulness, and purity, the second-generation Apheta 2 significantly improves upon the original Rega Apheta cartridge and touts far tighter tolerances and exponentially higher detail. This pioneering MC cartridge is distinguished with the long-sought-after blend of crystal-clear high frequencies and firm, tight bass. The stunning-sounding Apheta 2 is housed within a single-piece aluminum anodized body and protected by a CAD-designed, clear, ridged cover that protects the internal wiring so you can handle it without worry.
Preinstalled Cartridge Option: Rega Ania
Rega Ania is not your ordinary high-end MC phono cartridge. It benefits from Rega's complete overhaul of its cartridge-manufacturing facilities as well as the nearly 10 years it invested in developing Aphelion and Apheta 2. Hand-built in England with precision, reliability, and cutting-edge expertise, and offering musical playback defined by richness, elegance, effortlessness, and front-to-back dynamics, Ania changes what's possible in the world of sub-$1k phono cartridges. Designed with the assistance of CAD technology, Ania features a body comprised of PPS-Forton, a sophisticated polymer-glass amalgam whose complex shape helps keeps strength high, mass low, and debilitating resonances to a minimum. The tie-wire-less Ania also boasts a floating iron cross generator, hand-wound to the cantilever's inner tip with ultra-high-purity copper wire. Along with the powerful neodymium magnet, many of Ania's parts actually come straight from Apheta 2. An elliptical stylus and CAD-designed plastic case complete a musical instrument that invites you to see right into the heart of its performance.