MM Cartridge advice please

I’ve had a very good offer for my Rega P25 with Exact cartridge. It’s in a second system that my daughter uses. And itself approaching 25 years old!

If the offer is accepted I’m likely to buy a new Rega P3. But what cartridge should I consider? The Exact replaced another ( purple) Rega cartridge Elys ? But I can’t say the Exact really excites me. I find it dull.
So for around Exact money what should I be asking my dealer for?
The cartridge will be plugged into my 72/HC/140 with standard MM boards.

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Hi. I can advise you on the cartridge but I had a P25 before my Xerxes and it was excellent if I was you I’d get a new cartridge and keep it rather than get a P3. Sorry!

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If we were talking about an 8 it would make sense, but I’m not sure swapping a 25 for a 3 is a great idea. Regarding cartridges, the Ortofon 2M range is good. I have a Black but there are cheaper ones too, such as the Bronze. They are taller than a Rega cartridge so I have a 2mm spacer under the arm, but Rega say it’s unnecessary.

I’ve always though of the P25 as a fancy 3 of the day. With that wood surround and the RB600 arm.
Now how that compares to a new P3 I don’t know. But from above, perhaps better than I was thinking!

Did you hear a difference with/without the 2mm spacer? Intresting that Rega don’t see it as necessary yet Ortofon see that it is ( because their cartridges are 2mm or so heigher). Hence the change to VTA.

The discussion are endless. Essentially it comes down to the Pythagorean theorem. Two mm difference in tonearm base height create a minuscule difference in angle at the stylus tip; the effect of differing record thicknesses is larger, and the deviation of the cutting head when cutting the record is larger, too. Rega’s position is that the loss of rigidity (the central idea in all of Rega’s design, in addition to little weight), either due to a spacer or VTA-adjustable bases, is not worth it. In the Rega book, they call VTA obsession a psychological problem and not a technical one. But others may disagree.

It is best if you make up you own mind, the geometry is neatly explained here:


I can’t say I compared; I had it added when I bought the 8. While Rega say it’s unnecessary, they do make them….

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All things considered a Goldring 1042 is always a safe bet. I had one in my Origin Live version of the RB250 for many years (on a Xerxes 10) for many years - sounded great. Went to an upmarket derivative a couple years back - Audionote IQ3 which is much better, but at a cost.

Their goal is essentially to sell Rega carts, which don’t need spacers. Why can they say that a tungsten spacer will be prejudicial for rigidity?
If VTA was not important, why all brands of tonearms use them?

It’s pretty clear that any additional piece can only make rigidity smaller. Whether it matters, who knows. Personally, as I said in previous discussions, it seems odd to me to buy a Rega, with its very opinionated design, and then immediately making changes that diminish its design goals. But that’s everyone’s own decision.

Anyway, not even Rega is saying that VTA does not matter at all, just that the range of adjustment that is usually available has a very small effect on the stylus - and that’s basic geometry (see the link). Of course there may well be particular arm/cartridge combinations that are so far out of reasonable VTA that an adjustment would be necessary. I think Rega’s point of view would be that in this case a different combination makes more sense then adding the complexity of VTA adjustment to every arm just because it may help in odd cases.

Whether every arm brand uses it (what is “it”? Not every arm provides highly exact VTA adjustment) is debatable, but in any case you could make the same argument about most brands using high mass designs and Rega doing the opposite.

But we don’t have to rehash it, that’s why I recommended to Thegreatroberto to make up his own mind - surely that’s best

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…In any case, on my P9/RB1000 (now I have P10) I tried a DV XX-2 Mk II with and without 2mm spacer. It was audibly better without the spacer.
If you draw the triangles of the two geometries to scale, you might (or might not, of course) agree that it’s just not worth it to use a spacer.


The P25 was always ( in my head anyway) a poor man’s P9!

Really Jlewis? I didn’t knew that. :joy::joy:

I went from P3 to a s/h P7, which not only looks much better - sound is another league altogether.
Price was close to be same.
That is with a Shibata AT VM95SH.
No spacers needed

BTW Rega P3 are no longer available with Elys bundled, they seem to be working on new cartridges (phew).

I have said this before…I’m sure

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My local dealer told me a similar story a few weeks back. Rega appear to have a new MM range out shortly. But I’m not wed to Rega cartridges.
I’m a bit out of touch with current Rega TTs. I get the P8 and 10, but this will be for a second system. And one which my daughter will use.
Just looking purely at the Rega web site, the P6 looks like a P3 with the speed controller. The P1 and P2 clearly at the budget end.
Is the current P3 with its rb330 arm not that great ? Genuinely don’t know. But I would audition before purchase. And that I need to put the price of my P25/RB600/Exact up !

The 6 has a better plinth, made from light foam, a better bearing and a more tightly specified version of the 330 arm, as well as a better arm lead. There are probably more differences, but it’s certainly not just the external speed control.

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Rather than sell and replace your P25, you could install some simple upgrades for a modest price, especially if you would DIY and are interested in evaluating incremental updates;

  • metal (often stainless steel) subplatter
  • metal pulley (there’s 2 and 3 belt versions for greater stability but they do remove the option of 45’s)
  • metal brace

Start with a search for ‘Michael Lim’, but there are others.

There’s also a 24v motor upgrade pack available.

Nagaoka MM cartridges work well on Rega’s though you might need a spacer. I have a MP-200 on my planar3. And the stainless subplatter was a huge improvement.

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Thanks HH. Thought it would, and should be more differences than the Web site suggests for the difference in money.

The P25 is getting more love ( over a current P3 anyway) than I thought. Even when I bought it new in 1999? I thought it was a dressed up P3. Albeit with a better arm and cabling. The cherry wood is still in good condition. I have previously changed the motor to a 24v version and use the latest external speed control ( which i’d keep).
I’ll review keeping it now! But my question over the cartridge is perhaps more important now. The ortofon M2 bronze is a good starting point as ate some of the other suggestions.

For the price of a new P3 you can probably get a used RP6 which will show it a clean pair of heels.

The current P6 has quite a lot of differences to a P3, more than just offboard speed control (better platter, Solid alloy Subplatter, better belt)- when I was auditioning the P6 was much closer to the P8 than the P3, which makes sense as there isn’t a ton of difference between the 6 and the 8 beyond the skeletal plinth cutout and tighter tolerances on the 880 arm. I decided on the P6 and am more than satisfied.

Based on your Phono boards a Linn Adikt would be a good choice of cart too, they mate well with Naim N type boards/stageline etc… and fit Rega arms pretty well…