Rega Planar 3: Is the Exact a significant upgrade from the Elys 2?

I understand that not everyone loves belt drive turntables or Regas but I have an opportunity to buy a new Planar 3 with the Elys 2 for a really good price or a new Planar 3 with the Exact 2 for a few hundred more.

Is the Exact such a significant upgrade over the Elys that it’s worth paying $300 more for a table with it? Or would it be smarter to get the cheaper one with the Elys 2 and choose another upgrade path for the cartridge in the future? 
Rega cartridges are not worth it, but they made tonearms without adjustable vta to push their own matched carts with it. Actually, a cartridge from respected cartridge manufacturer can be much better than Rega own cart, but you might need a spacer (between cartridge and tonearm shell). 
Thanks for taking the time to reply. I’ve read this about Rega arms and spacers and also that cartridges such as Ortofon, Dynavector, Denon, etc, are better choices than Rega ones.

I also know that there are mixed opinions about Rega tables, but I’ve got a budget and a good deal so I guess I’ll get the less expensive one with the Elys 2 and enjoy it as much as I can while plotting my upgrade path, wherever it may lead. 
You can do much much better than the Elys 2. You’ll be looking to upgrade very soon after your purchase.
  Former Elys owner here.

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Cool. So I’ll save the $300 I’d be spending on the Exact and either buy more records or use it to start saving for my next cartridge.

if you have a decent system, it is always better to spend $ on more music than on equipment

that been said, it is not to say there are not better cartridges than the elys... there are many many better ones, but just not the exact if a substantial upgrade is desired

good luck
If you stick with the Elys 2 because you want to do upgrades later, you may find yourself looking at bigger upgrades than the Exact. You may decide you want moving coil instead of mm and then consider the Rega Ania.   If that turns out to be the case, as it was for me, then you might want to skip the Rega Planar 3 altogether and think about the Planar 6 with the Ania included. It doubles the cost, but at the end of your upgrade path you have a P6 instead of a P3 as your base turntable.  By the time I finished upgrading my planar 3, I realized I could have owned a planar 6 for the same money.  Although I am not unhappy with my upgraded Planar 3, it wasn’t the wisest way to do things. 
The Ortofon 2M MM line's (Red, Blue, Bronze. Black) designer(s) appear to have had Rega in mind as their cartridge shape seems to almost exactly match the angles on the tonearm. I've mounted a few Blacks or Bronzes on Rega tables with excellent results. In general, the Bronze is a little warmer, more forgiving with VTA. The Black is more accurate, detailed but requires precise VTA.

The Bronze is right under your budget.

Rega does pretty well with their MC cartridges but has really dropped the ball with their MM line. I believe Micheal Fremer has the same viewpoint.
The Exact cartridge is interesting- its low end is robust but it's not a cartridge noted for nuance. It is better than the Elys, but probably not worth the price difference. And yes, I once owned an Exact which I bought new at 50% off list. I would never have bought it at anywhere near normal price. I probably owned it under a year. 
At the end of April I bought a new Planar 3 and Ania cart.  The combo is a good match, however it's not any better than my Heybrook TT2 w/OC-9ML so I sold it. The Ania performed exceptionally well on classical music but do I think it's worth the Canadian list of $999 - no way.  I purchased it for $799 +13% tax.  
After I sold the Regas 3 weeks ago I bought an AT/33 PTGII for under $700 Canadian tax in.  not installed yet.

Thanks for the post and comments here.  I just took delivery of a second Rega TT the P3 fitted with the Elys 2 today!  I have a P8 with the Apheta 2 on my main system downstairs but enough chipping away at my wife's will and I can now spin vinyl up in the main living area.  Burned a lot of brain cells flip flopping b/t the P3 and P6.  Ultimately, I chose the "buy more records" approach and settled in on the P3 with a Vincent PHO-701 phono stage and a set of AQ Golden Gates to connect it to the main house system.  Unlike Pip, I wasn't looking for a critical listening TT but more for convenience of not having to blast the downstairs system or having to run down to flip the record.  I can grab a half dozen records at a time and enjoy the whole house.  Plus, personally, I just think Rega TTs are a work of art.  Classic, contemporary, well built ... IMHO, a good bang for the buck.  The set up will sit quietly alone on a tabletop with no other components anywhere near it.  But it will be connected to a 9 zone HTD controlled system so it's vibes will carry throughout the entire house, deck and back yard.  Pip, it's been about 18 months ... have you done any upgrades?  Or maybe just stockpiled a bunch of great vinyl!  Cheers and happy holidays to all!

As you can see-yes, no, maybe.

Asking about Rega and certain other popular brands that have stood the test of time always gets the same results.

Buy it-if your budget permits. I'd go new w/Exact. That's just me.

The differences in subjective opinion on what's 'better" can leave you MORE confused in these audio forums. Hopefully, you have found a dealer that's trustworthy and knowledgeabe.

I have had the P3 with the Elys 2 for a while now and I had a few upgrade ideas but not the cartridge. It’s definitely better than the Ortofon Blue I had with my previous TT

Hi Grislybutter,

What kind of tt did you have before?
I think  about purchase a P2 with the Elys 2…


I lived with the P3 w/ Elys 2 for 5 years and thought vinyl was a cool hobby. It wasn’t until I upgraded to the Exact that I understood why analog playback is so beloved. It’s significantly better, I wish I would have purchased it originally.