Rega RP3 or Pro-ject Expression III?

I'm looking to get into vinyl, and I think I've narrowed my turntable choices down to the Rega RP3 and Pro-ject Expression III. My assumption is that they're going to be pretty similar, but I'm wondering if maybe one has a better reputation over the other, or if one brand is known for better build quality than the other, etc.

I'll mostly be listening to garage sale records, but would also like to get some of the newer audiophile quality Jazz reissues available.

Thanks for any advice.

Both kill CD. I've had both brands...both are good.
I really like my Pro-ject II Xperience Classic, but if you're set on those two, I might suggest the RP3. I haven't actually heard the Elys or the Sumiko Pearl carts, so I'm not any help there. I heard both of those tables with Grado carts, and I'm still using the Sumiko Blue Point No 2 on my Pro-ject. I think both are good decks.
Go Rega... I know I'll take heat, but Projects do not play the music. Period.
Compare, and write back...
I own a 1Xpression. Would have bought a Rega P3 if I had a local dealer at the time, to be honest. The P3-24 was even better than the P3.

Haven't heard nor seen the RP3, so I can't say for certain about that one.

The Xpressions are very well made and reliable IMO. Not a single problem with mine in about 7 years. Rega's decks have also been pretty solid.

If you buy the Xpression, replace the stock Oyster cart as soon as possible. It's absolute crap. I have a Dynavector 10x5 on mine, which is the upper limit of carts on it IMO. The Xpression's strong point is the tonearm.

I'm not a fan of Rega's carts at all. A lot of people like them though.

I'm not trying to get you to spend more money before you buy, but you should take a serious look at either Pro-Ject's Speed Box or Rega's TTPSU once you get up and running for a bit. Both a a very good upgrade to their respective deck. They'll easily take it up to the next level (again, haven't heard the RP3; basing this on all previous P3s).
Looking at only those two tables, I'd say go for the RP3.

If it were me, I'd look for a used P3-24 with the TTPSU. As Kbarkamian said, it's a great upgrade and I have no doubt you could get a mint used P3-24/TTPSU combo for the same money as either the RP3 or Expression III new.
If it was me, I would go Rega, it probably offers more paths to upgrade in the future (ie: plater, arm, motor).
Thanks for your thoughts, everyone. I went ahead and ordered an RP3 from my local dealer tonight. His demo model sounded sweet through a pair of B&W 802D's--hopefully it sounds good through my Lores, too.

I a/b'd it against an RP1 while I was there, and, as one would hope, the RP3 sounded significantly better. Not sure how much of hat had to do with the cartridge, though.

What were the cartridges? Just curious. Congrats on the deck. I'm sure you won't be disappointed. Had I had a local Rega dealer, I'd have bought one over my Xpression. Not that my Xpression is bad by any means, actually it's been great for the last 7 years or so, it's just that I'm sure I'd have been happier with a P3. But I refused to buy one unheard from an online dealer who I can't walk into their shop if I had a question/problem.
Forgot to ask... What cartridge will you use?
The RP1 had an Ortofon OM5e, and the RP3 had a Rega Elys 2. The Elys 2 can be ordered with the RP3 for $1095, vs. $900 without. I ordered my table with the Elys 2, as it is $300 if purchased separately.
Some of the difference was due to the different carts, but a lot of it was due to the RP3 being a better deck. I'm not the biggest fan of Rega's carts, but for the price of it with the deck it's a no-brainer. Others love them though. It's all preference, like everything else in this hobby.

Congrats again on the deck. It's pretty much impossible to go wrong with a Rega IMO. Not trying to get you to upgrade or spend more money before you've even got the deck, but you really should look into the TTPSU down the road. It's a very big difference. I haven't heard the RP series, but the P3 with TTPSU sounded better than the P5 without one, when both had the same cart connected to the same system. The P3/TTPSU combo sounded a decent bet better IMO. The P5 with TTPSU sounded far better, but it was also about twice the price.

Just some observations. I'm sure you'll be blown away by the bare RP3 and think I'm crazy. I spent way too much time hanging out at a great Rega/Naim/Linn dealer where I used to live. The owners used to let me hang out and listen to music with them. Had I had more money, I'd have bought everything in sight.
Hi Rischa .... Congratulations on your new analog rig. You're going to love the sound of music through an all Rega front end. Your new RP3/Elys 2 is going to make you very happy for quite a while. Check out my analog set-up on my system link. I have been thrilled with my Rega stuff.... beautiful music. Happy Listening.
Adam18, great set up!

RP3 came today. Just got it running for the first time about 15 minutes ago. Listening to Keith Jarrett's Koln Concert. All I can say is, what's a CD again?
Glad you're enjoying it. There's nothing like some good and clean vinyl to truly appreciate music.

Just realized you said you'll be listening to garage sale vinyl. What are you using to clean your vinyl?

If you don't have one, a vacuum machine will be a huge upgrade. The KAB EV-1 is about $170. It's a Nitty Gritty minus the vacuum; simply connect your own and you're good to go. Add a $25 or so hand held stream cleaner, and your vinyl will sound about as flawless as it gets.

I tried a ton of different things before I broke down and bought the EV-1. In hindsight, everything else was a waste of time.
A friend of mine has a vpi record cleaner, so he's been washing all my records for me. I'll have to get one of my own at some point, though.
I have the Xpression III now with a phono tube box II and the speedbox I using an Ortofon turbo MC-3 cartridge. Would it be worth to upgrade to just the RP3 with the same cart and no additional components like the TTPSU? I really like the adjustable isolation cones of the Xpression III. Is there a direct screw in replacement to the feet on the RP3?

The new Rega RP3 is in a league of it's own. You will have to move way up to find a better table for the money. Rega's engineering surpasses pro-ject (as well as many others) spending the money where it counts the most. The result is an extremely rigid yet light TT. This beauty is exceedingly better than the previous model. Just go for a better cartridge and look no further.
Rega RP3/Lyra Delos/DV P75/Cronus Magnum/Canalis Anima/Straight Wire Maestro speaker cables/interconnects.
One more thing, the only TT isolation that works is a sandbox.
Happy listening!

"One more thing, the only TT isolation that works is a sandbox" or IMHO a wall mount will work too.
Why not go for a used VPI HW-19 III? IMO, much better than the Rega or Pro-ject.
True that a wall mount will work extremely well. No doubt about that! It is indeed the second best way to isolate turntables. That said, wall mounts are still receptive to vibration, specially if your speakers are rear ported and placed too close to the back wall. If you really want to reduce resonance to a whole new level, the sandbox is the way to go. Hear it for yourself and, most likely, you will agree.
The VPI HW19 is an amazing table simply because of the way it was built. No parts spared here! Sadly, I cannot share the same excitement with their newer products. I have owned both the HW19 and the Scout and the HW19 sounded much better (to my ears) with an RB250 at half the cost. If you can find a decent HW19/RB250, go for it. Otherwise, $895.00 for a brand new Rega RP3 will provide you with years of happiness, not to mention the fact that there is an upgradable path that will bring this TT to even higher grounds. Just my honest opinion.
@kiko, have you ever tried one of the acrylic platters on the RP3?
Kiko65 -- you're using a Lyra Delos on an RP3? That's impressive.

Upmarket a little, has anyone compared the Rega RP6 with the Clearaudio Concept? Both around $1400 without cart, both unusually handsome, but I'm curious about their sonic characteristics.
To be honest with you, I think this table sounds just "right" out of the box. No after market sub-platter/acrylic platter should be necessary. On the other hand, the TT-PSU, an isolation sandbox, and a better cartridge will really bring this table to a whole new level. Michael Fremer installed a Lyra Helikon SL in this table/PSU combo with great results (Stereophile, December 2011). This speaks volume about its capabilities. HiFi Choice winner 2011 (won over the Pro-ject Xperience 2 Pack and the SRM Tech Athena, both costing much more than the RP3), What Hi Fi 5 stars and top choice $1,500.00 and under . Rave reviews by Jeff Dorgay, Giovanni Militano, Wayne Garcia, Michael Fremer, and Jim Clements all over the analog world.

I have owned many great tables from Linn, Pro-ject, Nottingham Analogue, VPI, Sota, Funk Firm, etc. I'm frankly astonished at how good this new Planar 3 is. Clearly the arm refinements and the double brace tech have had a dramatic effect. Gandy has always believed that heavy turntables, although somewhat resistant to the onset of vibration, will always vibrate and when they do they tend to store energy in their mass as opposed to dissipating the energy. Rega tables will vibrate as well, but for a shorter duration and with less amplitude. This philosophy makes total sense to me.Now the plinth is lighter than ever and stiffer between the spindle and the tonearm. Light but extremely rigid thus avoiding resonance. It's so good that all you have to do is partner this TT with the right equipment, sit back, relax, and enjoy!

Why the Delos?
Analog is all about the last 10%. The Delos will bring improved tracking, improved dynamic range and linearity, better timbre differentiation between various instruments, greater range of tones from individual instruments that reflect more accurately what each performer is doing. In other words, with a cartridge like the Delos you will be able to hear how revealing and dynamic this table can sound.

Limitations? Sure, it's not perfect and a Townshend Audio Rock 7 will prove that in a heat beat. That said, find me a better table/arm/PSU combo for $1,290.00..........hard to beat (again, to my ears).
I would suggest a head-to-head comparison between the RP3/TT-PSU and the RP6 before you decide on the RP6. I couldn't hear the difference between the two. Just a thought.
Thanks Kiko65.

The current issue of the Hi-Fi Critic contains a comparison review of
the RP3 and RP6, notes significant differences, and concludes that the
RP6 represents an even greater value than the RP3. Unfortunately, the
comparison was with the bundled cartridges (Elys on the RP3, Exact on
the RP6), so we don't know how much of the different the cartridge
variable accounted for.
@kiko, do you use the factory mat and footers? I read two separate posts that the RP3 improved with an acrylic platter and more rigid isolation feet.
I use stock, out of the box RP3 with no type of modification what so ever. After 20 years of trial and error, I've learned to put the money where it matters the most. Just be careful how you spend your money, trust your ears, and keep in mind that it is in the cartridge where it all begins. You just need a TT that can dissipate as much resonance as possible. Less external vibration equals better music reproduction. Music retrieval is proportionate to the quality of the cartridge.

I did read the current issue of the Hi-Fi critic, great review overall. My job is not to convince you otherwise nor to take any credits away from the RP6. It is indeed a TT that I would own in a heart beat. I have not auditioned a Clearaudio Concept but I owned a Champion Level I. As good as the Champion was, I would go with an RP6 without hesitation. Another huge factor, the Elys and Exact are worlds apart. Would you rather own a DV 10x5 or a DV 20x2? You will definitely retrieve more information with the Exact cartridge, no doubt about it.

Here are my two cents; same plinth, same arm, same sub-platter, same motor, same double brace technology, slightly different glass platter that weights almost the same, different feet that may or may not make a difference depending on your isolation platform, both with TT-PSU sound very, very similar........ to my ears. Just saying that perhaps saving $200.00 and spending this money on a better cartridge may be worth trying.
Hey Dubrin,
Music Direct is now selling B-stock Rega P7 for $1,795.00! That is $900.00 off the original price. Pretty cool if you ask me. State of the art ceramic platter, much improved RBI 700 arm, P9 feet, TT-PSU, all in all, a great bargain.
You may want to consider this TT before you decide between the RP6 and the Clearaudio Concept.
The Rega RP3 is an excellent choice in its price range. I just purchased the RP6. It replaced a older modded Rega P25. While the P25 was and still is a very good 'table, the RP6 takes its performance to a whole new level. Inner detail of the mids were amazing and the noise levels that can plague anolog have gone to almost CD quiet levels. For the first time I now feel my turntable exceeds my CD player in just about all sonic catagories. I am using a Soundsmith SMMC2 cartridge. It's the best cartridge I have used to date having cartridges from Sumiko, Dynavector, Clearaudio etc. I use the RP6 pretty much stock, using only a carbon fiber platter mat and clamp. Just for anyones info, the older Iron age acrylic platter will not properly fit the new RP6. It sits to high on the hub. The older Expressimo Heavy Weight counter weight will not work either, as the hole in it is just a touch to small for the rear tonearm stub although I would imagine there are some of these tweaks out there that will work with the new Regas.
So has anyone tried the Music Hall Cruise Control 2.0 with the RP3 instead of Rega's TTPSU? A poster here tried the Cruise Control 2.0 with a Rega 3-24 and really liked it. The 3-24 and the RP3 have the same motor, correct? TIA
@kiko, I think the RP3 and RP6 sub-platters are different...