old AR XA with mods vs Rega RP1

Hi folks,

newbie here. Have old AR XA turntable with Underground Sound mods (sub-chassis and springs from a long time ago) plus Rega RB 250 tone arm from 1988 (wow, I found the receipt). Sumiko Black Pearl cartridge from the 1990s. Turntable not used very much for the past 10 years, but I'm starting to play records again. Music Direct has a Rega Union Jack table RP1 with Rega Bias cartridge. Is there any question that this is better than what I'm using?

thanks for the advice, opinions and leads for what to read to become more enlightened. cheers, John
I've had a couple of these tables in the past. A friend had one. He used a Grado arm and an old Grado signature I cartridge on it. It sounded terrific. In fact, I much preferred it to his much more expensive table and I'd always request the AR be used for our listening sessions. Musical as all get out. And, can you believe that back in the day, the table with a stock AR arm only cost 65 bucks?
AR hands down the winner by a mile.
No question, keep the AR.

Thanks for the quick replies. I'm happy with the AR and listening to records again. Instead of buying a new table, I'll have more money to spend on records.

cheers, John
You would be disappointed with the Rega. It would be a very big step backwards.
Spend the money you saved on the table, and upgrade your arm to the British made Audiomods pick-up arm. It's a drop-in replacement for Rega arms (it uses the new Rega 303 arm tube). The Audiomods website has all the details, with both pro print mag reviews and customer testimonials.
Much better to upgrade to a good arm like a Jelco SA-750D, depending on the cartridge. 750D >>> better than the audimod/rega.
Keep the AR and do as Bpoletti suggested go with the better Jelco arm. The Rega is no match for the AR, the deck was designed and modded by of the audio greats George Merrill/Underground Sound and enjoy spinning vinyl....
I used to have an original AR table I had modified to accept another make arm. The same as a Linn Sondek, just not as well made ;-)! I put a Formula 4 uni-pivot on it, which I wouldn't do now---the AR's suspension was very "loose", which made the uni-pivot too unstable IMO.

By the way, the Audiomods arm is NOT a modified Rega, though Jeff does use the new Rega 303 arm tube (the only Rega part, other than the cueing lever), which he very heavily modifies. There are Audiomods owners who also have SME's, Helius Omega's, etc., and find it competitive with them. I would much rather have one than a mass-produced arm with an S-shaped tube and removable headshell, but that's just me. The Audiomods Classic Arm is only 455 British Pounds ($708 at the moment), and is completely hand machined from blocks of billet aluminum by a master machinist, one-by-one, to your specifications, the mass of the arm adjustable to meet the effective mass needs of your cartridge. An outrageous bargain!
By the way, the Audiomods arm is NOT a modified Rega.

Yes it is, It is based off of and uses Rega parts. That does not take anything away from its performance or value, but rather it is just a fact.
Well, the Audiomods Arm is a modified Rega only if you consider the tube of an arm the one and only determiner of what constitutes an arm! Unlike other Rega "based" arms, Jeff uses only the Rega arm tube in the arm he hand machines all the other parts for, and the arm tube itself is re-engineered to such a degree that it can hardly still be considered a Rega. He does NOT use the Rega yoke, bearing assembly, bearings, main pillar, plastic arm platform, anti-skate, cueing platform and arm rest (except in the budget Classic model), counterweight or it's stub.

In place of all the other parts which comprise a Rega arm (which he does not get from Rega---he buys only the arm tube---with one inconsequential exception, noted below---from Rega), Jeff hand-machines from billet aluminum a new yoke of his own design, new bearing assembly, new main pillar, platform for the whole arm assembly, thread & weight anti-skate, cueing platform and arm rest (except, again, in the Classic model), and adjustable mass counterweight and it's stub. In addition, he makes a new armboard mount that his arm slides into, allowing height and VTA/SRA adjustment of the arm. He replaces the Rega steel bearings with ceramics, and offers a precision Micrometer with calibration that allows on-the-fly VTA/SRA adjustment during play. The Rega 303 arm tube itself undergoes extensive re-engineering, as detailed previously.

If you consider the Audiomods Arm a modified Rega, I don't know what I can say to change that perception. This is a misconception Jeff still has to deal with, no matter how many times what I have just said is repeated. Does the fact that the arm tube, and the arm tube alone (with the exception noted above) is sourced from Rega make the arm a "modified" Rega. The answer is, I propose, obviously no. If Jeff made his own tube (of which there is no need---it's a great tube, far, far better than that found on, for instance, all the Jelcos), there would be NO connection between Audiomods and Rega arms. The rest of the arm, in fact it's entire design and construction, is COMPLETELY different from a Rega.

If I had $700 to spend on an arm, or even $1700, I'm not aware of another arm I would rather have than an Audiomods, whether the budget Classic (455 Pounds---$705) or the top-of-the-line Series Five (625-675 Pounds with silver wire, an additional 120 for the Micrometer). They both seriously out-perform their competition, as many satisfied owners will tell you on the Audiomods website, some of them also owners of other far higher priced arms as well.