What should I do with my RP3?

Long story short, I’m in need of a upgrade path for my analog setup. I’m Currently I’m all digital into my Supernait 2, but would like to reintroduce my turntable into the system.

What I have - Rega RP3, no cartridge.
What I need - for now a phono stage and cartridge but eventually a new table would be nice.

Given what I have, should I stay in the world of Rega? What ideas should I consider?

Thanks,
Eli

I think you need to decide on the outset whether you are going for MM or MC cartridge routes. That changes everything.

Not least because if you get a Stageline (the obvious phono stage partner) you will have to commit to one or the other. Or if you want to keep things elegant, trade in the SN2 for a SN3 with a built in MM stage.

I have a feeling once you decide where you fall on this one point, the rest will follow naturally. The RP3 will take either of course, it makes no difference. Though I think modern MM offer exceptional performance for the money. The best MM are certainly in MC performance territory but then they cost similar too. But if you were to throw an expensive MC at the RP3 you certainly can. The mullet/monkfish theory works for turntables too. An expensive cartridge on a cheap deck is better than a cheap cartridge on an expensive deck.

I want to use an MC cartridge. I think I’ll have more options to choose from if I eventually upgrade the table. I could be convinced otherwise, but never really thought about MM as a long term choice.

Excellent. That clarifies you’ll be using an external phono stage then, like a StageLine at least. Most MC cartridges start at prices similar to or greater than the RP3 deck you’ll be pairing it with - but as I said, I think that’s okay. Especially as you indicated it might be a stepping stone deck anyway.

From here onward, I think almost any other forum member is more knowledgeable about potential paths forward for vinyl on an RP3 than I am.

Actually, I would prefer a cheap cartridge on a good /better deck than a better cartridge on a basic deck. Your RP3, imo, is a basic deck and is suitable for a MM set-up. Spending more on the cartridge would not be what I would do.
The world of vinyl has a few hard/fast rules and many more areas of grey…I think the best thing you can do is find a dealer that you are comfortable with and start the journey with some guidance…Turntables, tonearms, cartridges,phono stages, interconnects are all part of the package and this is where a good dealer can save you a lot of time and possibly save you from making a poor pairing choice. Plus, they can show you how to set up your cartridge and this will be helpful for future tinkering…Good luck and enjoy the journey…vinyl is where its at :+1:!

3 Likes

I disagree. A P8 with a relatively cheap MM cartridge sounds better than a P6 (for example) with an expensive MC cartridge. And buying the better deck makes a cartridge upgrade possible in future when it’s due for replacement.

4 Likes

I had an older Planar3 RB300 fully serviced and updated. I used it with the Rega Elys and Fono, then upgraded to Exact cartridge. Finally, I upgraded the Fono to the Aria, with the idea of trying one of the Hana MC carts. Before I could do that, a nice used RP10 came my way — I traded the 3 to my dealer, who took it home for his second system.

Each step was an improvement, but, at each level, the 3 was amazing, IMHO. I would not be ashamed to be using it still.

Enjoy.

Nick

That’s what I’ve done. My P8 has an Ortofon 2M Black, which cost £500, and is excellent. I chose MM because my SN3 has an MM phono input. In the OP’s situation I’d be wary of putting a good MC on the RP3. An Ania would be OK but I wouldn’t go beyond that. I’ve always understood the turntable hierarchy as deck, arm, cartridge.

2 Likes

I bought a Hana SL because I knew I was soon going to upgrade the deck. The Hana with a rega MC fono worked exceedingly well on the RP3. If you plan to upgrade the deck and want to end up with a MC, get that now.

Ooh! That’s a nice useless covid boredom poll to set up: Turntable quality hierarchy. Will start immediately.

This is one of the directions I was initially considering. Here are my concerns installing the Hana on my current deck.

  1. Do I need to get involved with spacers? I’m fairly impatient and I thought a Rega cartridge would minimize the hassle factor in setup.

  2. Phono stage. It seems I can pick up a used stage line or new Fono MC for similar money.

Is the Rega stage the best way to go given the non Rega cartridge?

SL did not need any spacers. The Fono works well and has the advantage of being able to match the cart via dip switches. I am now just awaiting delivery of a better phono stage (Gold Note) now that I have the P8. Until it arrives I can’t compare them but will comment when I’ve run the Gold Note in.

1 Like

If you’re planning on staying with a Rega turntable then I’d suggest getting an Ania Pro cartridge (which most people seem to agree is considerably better than the regular Ania) and the Fono MC phono stage. The Ania Pro is probably as high as you should go with the RP3 but would also be a really good match with a P6 or P8 if you decide to upgrade. The Fono MC stage will follow nicely, but if the bug really bites you can always upgrade to the Aria phono stage, which is excellent.

1 Like

Dynavector 20X2 and Stageline.

Will comment from what I have. The Ania Pro on a Planar 6 with the Aria phono stage.

With this setup it betters digital streaming on my Star.

Cannot comment on using a P8 with a lesser cartridge than the Ania Pro though. One day in life when I can run a deck without a lid without it turning into a third cat I’ll look into that answer.

One thing I can say is that if you go all Rega it takes guesswork out of the equation and makes sure everything just works together. The cartridges even attach perfectly aligned.

And if you do opt for a Rega MC, the Aria makes it sing. I was using a 500 euro phono stage with my Ania Pro for a while and the Aria made me realize the cartridge was twice as good as I thought it was!

So I guess it’s up to deciding if you want to experiment with other things or not. For me, for now, I wanted something really good without thinking about it too much and certainly without needing to take anything apart.

Thanks for this advice. I’m hearing that the pro may be a big step up from the original Aria. If I go the all Rega route to seems as if I have a few options.

1: Rega Ania or Ania Pro with Fono MC, keep the RP3 and upgrade to a P8 down the line.

2: Rega Fono MC and buy the P6/Ania bundle.

3: Or what if I were to buy a cheaper MM cartridge (Exact?) and buy the Aria phono stage. A bit much for my current deck but would as it’s MM and MC would allow me to upgrade the table and cartridge however I want down the line.

Thanks for thinking all this through with me.

Personally I had quite a bumpy road here.

Initially I bought the P6/Ania bundle.

So just in case this is where you end up here goes:

It’s very important to know the Ania has an elliptical stylus. The consequences of which I was fully unaware of when I bought it. To my ears it was extremely sibilant, making some of my record unlistenable. After testing with the dealers Ania they agreed that the Ania highlights sibilant recordings. They even tested and confirmed the issue on a P8. If you do go Ania make sure that you are not sensitive to this. It played instrumental just fine but on vocals it really was unpleasant to me on many albums.

The Ania Pro has a vital profile stylus. It removed the sibilance problem completely. And it has quite a bit more detail and has far more pleasant bass reproduction IMO.

The Pro costs a few hundred more but for me it was completely worth it. Demo the vanilla Ania like crazy first if that is still the one you think you want. Don’t be like me who managed to take his most sibilance free records for the initial listening session :man_facepalming:

1 Like

Thanks, that helps. The bundle idea seems like it could be a compromise on both the cartridge and deck since I’m fine keeping the RP3 for now. What do you think of the Aria/Exact idea until I decide to upgrade the deck?

Not heard it myself so all that would just be guesswork hehe.

@znai ‘s comment above about MM on a P8 would have my ears perking up if I went that route…

Sorry, the MM would only be for the RP3. I would then upgrade the cartridge when I upgrade the deck. The idea would be to get the Aria stage with the Exact (which is admittedly overkill in this system) since I can keep using it down the line.