Rega Planar 3
Reloaded - Stage 2
by James Leahy
Ever had an
old flame you couldn't quite bring yourself around to cutting loose
even though she had seen better days.....? Too many good times that
just can't be brought back, you don't have to tell me about that!
Better the devil you know in any case I say. Well that is exactly
what this customer thought when he decided to resurrect his vintage
Hi-Fi system that he stumbled across in the attic one afternoon in
those never quite get around to it clean-up's you keep putting off.
He brought me his somewhat neglected but never forgotten Rega Planar
3 with an S-shaped tonearm of some description. Not sure what make
it was but some of you in the know might be able to enlighten us.
The picture to
the left tells the sad story of the Planar 3's sorry shape before I
begun the makeover.
Anyway the tonearm was looking a bit tired
and had a few too many miles on the clock. What better excuse do you
need to ditch this old timer and up-grade to a brand spanking new
Rega RB250? I can't think of one. Well this old tonearm's bearings
were shot and the internal wiring was looking like it could use
replacing with just about everything else on it. The new RB250 had a
number of factory improvements already in place and neither of us
needed any convincing that this was a sure fire way to go and
quickest shortcut to audio Nevada we had ever hear of.
The first step was to dismantle this baby
and remove the old tonearm from the plinth then check measurements
and prepare to mount the new Rega RB250.
The new RB250 tonearm kit as with all other
tonearm kits from Rega comes complete with everything one could
possibly think of to replace your table's old tonearm. There is the
Tonearm Mounting Template to set up the RB250 on non Rega tables.
Also a Cartridge Alignment Protractor is included as you will need
this no matter what table you are mounting the tonearm on. This
RB250 tonearm kit sells for only $379.00 and is quality all the way.
It is used as the tonearm of choice by over 15 independent turntable
manufactures as the one they choose to use on their tables. With
it's one piece tube, headshell construction there is a very high
level of rigidity. Classic Rega all the way.
After removal of the old tonearm the hole in
the plinth must be checked and if necessary modified. The hole
diameter for the RB250 is 23mm. I had to slightly enlarge this
example to fit the RB250. The fitting of the tonearm in the plinth
should be snug, not overly loose or too tight. This is a good time
to give the table a general check and clean. Remove the spindle and
check it is lubricated. If it is a touch dry, clean off the spindle
assembly with a cloth and lubricate with Tri-Flow that contains
Teflon. Go easy with the lube here, a little goes a long way. This
is some very slippery stuff and works a treat on all small
mechanical parts. This is the best time to also check and replace
the drive belt too if needed as they are relatively cheap and a must
for constant speed.
This is the finished product with the RB250
freshly mounted on the Rega Planar 3 and the spindle mechanism and
glass platter re-installed. The VTA should be checked after the
cartridge is mounted on the tonearm and the tonearm mounted to the
plinth. In this case no extra spacers were needed.
You will also need a cartridge tracking
weight gauge to set the correct weight to the RB250 depending on the
specifications of your cartridge as no scale is provided on the
RB250. After this you need to set the anti-skate adjustment on the
RB250 which matches the cartridge's tracking weight. Carefully check
the lift action and make sure you have sufficient height to clear
the records surface. If not, loosen the Allen keyed arm lift grub
screw and adjust.
In this case we used the customer's old
cartridge that was still in good condition surprisingly. It was a MC
Supex 900 Super that was in keeping with the vintage theme of this
rebuild and sounded great on my system for it's age. It added to the
character of this table considerably. If your cartridge is not up to
the goods anymore I would recommend a minimum of an
Ortofon Salsa MC cartridge for this rig.
With the original acrylic dust cover going
amiss over the years, I supplied a new clear unit at $360.00. No I
hear you say, they aren't cheap. Tell me about it, so don't lose
This little project was now complete with
the new dust cover, RB250 tonearm plus drive belt. The rig now
sounded and looked better then new. Too easy. The customer was happy
because the table held more sentimental then monetary value to him
and it has a modern touch with a retro look. Not everything in this
world comes down to dollars and cents for some.
Now go dust off yours, and spin those big
black CD's today!