Rega Planar 1 Plus Review
Whether you're new to the vinyl experience or you just rediscovered crates full of classic LPs and want to upgrade your setup, there’s never been a more exciting time to gear-up and experience all that records have to offer. Today, we’re putting the spotlight on a mid-tier turntable that hits it out of the park on multiple fronts: the Rega Planar 1 Plus. Not only is it crafted by one of the industry’s best, the Planar 1 Plus can be set up and operated by a total novice with a pair of powered speakers, and it delivers BIG in the sound department. And if all of that’s appealing, you can get it for under 600 bucks. This is one piece of equipment that strikes a great balance of value and performance, opening the door to real audiophile playback without crushing your wallet.
Meet Rega and its Planar 1 Plus turntable.
If you're new to vinyl, Rega might not be the first name that pops into your mind when considering powerhouse audio brands. But when it comes to excellence, few turntable brands are more respected. Headquartered across the pond in Essex, England, Rega arrived on the scene in the 1970s with its first Planar turntable design. It’s since continued to innovate and hone the art of spinning records, currently offering a solid modern lineup crafted to draw every last drop of delicious sound from your favorite albums.
While Rega makes quite a few technically advanced audiophile turntables, it hasn’t forgotten about music fans looking for quality entry-level gear that sounds great and is priced right. And that’s exactly what Rega’s new Planar 1 Plus turntable achieves. In fact, it’s built using the same platform as one of Rega’s most successful turntables of all-time —the Planar 1 — but adds an exciting new twist: a built-in phono stage. By integrating a phono preamp into the turntable, Rega has created a record player that delivers straightforward vinyl playback without the need for specialized systems or equipment like a preamp.
An award-winning design made even easier to use.
It’s hard to argue against Rega’s decision to use its Planar 1 turntable as a blueprint for an all-new design. After all, the Planar 1 is a proven winner with “Best of” accolades from the likes of What Hi-Fi?, Stereo Plus, and Sound + Image. And there’s good reason for all of that praise, because few quality turntables have successfully melded audiophile-grade performance with a simple-to-use design.
At its core, the Planar 1 Plus is identical to its older brother, tapping the same hi-fi components the Planar 1 uses to deliver clean and revealing playback. That includes a 24-volt synchronous AC motor, a re-designed brass main bearing, and a phenolic resin platter integrated with a gorgeous thermoset gloss-laminated plinth. It also includes a moving magnet cartridge that’s factory selected and pre-fitted to a handmade tonearm. Take the sum of those parts, along with others (like the turntable’s isolation feet), and the Planar 1 Plus plays records without introducing audible rumble and noise that can ruin a listening experience.
The Planar 1 Plus is also insanely easy to set up. In fact, Rega says that both models are designed to be unboxed and playable in under 30 seconds. And because the Planar 1 Plus comes with a built-in phono stage, you’ll find it’s even more turnkey, allowing for simple plug and play use with nearly any stereo or powered speaker system. That means no guesswork or fumbling with complex equipment, and you likely won’t need to expand upon your current system. Simply open the box, add the counter weight, make a few connections, and you’re well on your way to experiencing seriously good analog sound.
Simplicity (and great sound) is in the details.
Let’s dig a little bit deeper into the Planar 1 Plus’s design to better understand what makes it great. Starting with its tonearm and cartridge, Rega has made life easier by factory-fitting a high-output Rega Carbon cartridge to an RB110 tonearm. This pairing was selected by Rega’s engineers because it delivers excellent sound while eliminating the need for advanced installation and setup skills. The cartridge’s moving magnet design makes it easy to service, allowing you to replace the stylus as it ages and wears (which you'll want to do on occasion to continue getting the best performance out of any turntable).
The tonearm houses a shielded wire that runs from the cartridge directly to the turntable’s integrated phono stage. This stage, a redesign of the company’s popular Fono Mini A2D, is strategically mounted on the underside of the player’s plinth.
Functionally speaking, the stage adds gain to the incoming electrical signal generated by the cartridge, giving it enough strength to be heard during playback. All turntables need a preamp, but not all come built-in — most are integrated in the audio chain as a standalone box or within a receiver or processor. The Planar 1 Plus eliminates the need for any extra gear, allowing you to save on space and cash. The only cable you need to connect is the included twin phono to phono cable (or an optional phono to 3.5mm plug) that links the turntable to your existing stereo system.
It’s a super smooth operator, too.
Great sound is further enhanced by the turntable’s low-noise operation. Keeping in line with its hi-fi bones, the Planar 1 Plus’s high mass phenolic platter is driven by a belt drive system that’s powered by a 24-volt synchronous AC motor. Housed inside a cover tray with integrated cooling, Rega’s engineers have incorporated a new PCB and aluminum pulley into the motor’s design. The result? Ultra-smooth operation that delivers improved speed and stability, without introducing unwanted hum and noise.
Here’s the bottom line:
Experts from around the industry have gotten their hands on the Planar 1 Plus and the reviews have been glowing. The Ear, Hi-Fi Choice, and AVForms all say it’s a recommended best buy, while What Hi-Fi concluded Rega has “struck gold” with the “perfect marriage of convenience and sound quality.” And we couldn’t agree more: This is a real winner. For under $600, you get a player that’s factory tuned to perform the second you lift it from the box. It’s such a simple high-performance turntable experience, we're confident you’ll be impressed too.
The good news? You’re just steps away from experiencing everything the Planar 1 Plus has to offer. World Wide Stereo is proud to carry the Planar 1 Plus, which you can check out and order right here. Have any questions? Our experts are here and ready to provide answers via email, live chat, or phone (1-866-961-7781).