There may be some Expressimo's left (they're out of biz), but the state of the art is considered by many to be the Michell TecnoWeight. I'll let others describe it with audiophile language, but it seems to extend bass, help tracking, and give you accurate (.1g) TFA. Forget name, but look for on Ebay and you'll get new for around $125.
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Check out the Kerry Audio Design ad here on Audiogon. This topic has been covered many times, but ancient discussions may have been deleted, by now.
My own experience with the Kerry Audio Design F-2 Titanium H/W Counterweight is that there are across-the-board improvements in performance of an RB-300 just waiting to be unveiled.
Not sure why one can't mess with the Rega sound (although that turn of phrase does make it sound dangerous to try) especially since so many competing counterweights seem to please Rega fans.
Gregory Kerry's design delivers better bass weight and texture, solidity of imaging, harmonic richness, nimble transient handling, and on, and on. And, his ad refers to similar praise from audio press experts.
"The groovetracer? Is that the one sold by Music Direct and several others? " No, that is 'deep groove'. I've read on Audio Asylum that the Groovetracer is better, in that the quality is more consistent. I can attest to the fact that their acrylic plater (the most substantial one available) is an absolute work of art. www.groovetracer.com
I've read elsewhere that the Deepgroove and Groovetracer subplatters correct the Rega's speed inaccuracy (too fast) caused by the dimensionally incorrect (diameter too small) stock cast plastic subplatters.
A Rega TT-PSU also corrects this speed inaccuracy on P5s and P7s. When used together with an aftermarket subplatter, does this result in a too slow platter speed? Has anyone tried combining a TT-PSU with one of these machined subplatters?
I've installed the deepgroove subplatter with ruby bearing, and use the TTPSU with my P-5. I am now solidly in Yesrogers camp; no more upgrades. I'm just buying more vinyl and enjoying it. I've also quit trying different cleaning fluids; I'll stick with the one that I like and just go on with my life. I can now listen to the music, not the equipment.
Over the years I have tweeked my Rega to the point where I now have a really nice detailed, tight, airy sound with excellent imaging
My turntable is a 25year old Planar II - the one with the melamine covered particle board plinth (Not a winner!) and the glass turntable with the non-rega arm
So here are my twweks:
1. get the RB250 arm (minimum)
+ Rega Elys cartridge (minimum)
2. get rid of the crappy Rega RCA plugs
- the wire is actually very good
- adding Furutech RCA's made a world of difference ($20)
- WBT silver solder ($20)
3. cover the melmine surface on the plinth with Cork ($5)
- reduces music induced vibrations
4. cover the underside of the platter with cork
- reduces music induced vibrations
5. install a Mission "sorbothane" turntable mat ($40)
- reduces music induced vibration
- reduces pickup induced vibration
- tightens bass
6. install a decent record weight/clamp
- a hockey puck with a hole that grips the spinddle works great($1)
- extends high end details
- increases image accuracy
- reduces pickup induced vibration
7. loosen the feet
- you should be able to rotate the foot freely
8. isolate the feet from the shelf using large glass marbles ($1.50)
- increases high end details and imaging
9. sit the deck on an MDF shelf in a decent rack
10. Lubricate the subplatter shaft
- in the sump: high viscosity gear box oil
- on the shaft: Duralube oil additive
- Duralube makes a huge difference - so quiet now
OK - I know some of them seem a bit weird, but they each work.
This turntable never was one of Rega's finest - the only good thing was the motor, bearing and platter - Oh, and the cover. So I had nothing to really to lose.
The glass marbles may sound hoakey, but they made an astounding difference, the deck appears a little "wobbly", but it is stable enough with the marbles under the rubber feet - you'll need about a 1 inch marble.
Best bang for the buck - the Furutech RCA plugs - try them before you re-wire the arm
My next tweek is to replace the plinth with one made of MDF - hoping to get rid of the cork look.
I think the end stub on those arms are OK (RB 700?). What you are looking for is a metal end stub that is very secure on the arm, so that it is essentially one piece and I think that arm already has that. Find out which of those weights can be used on the existing stub (if it's OK, i.e.- metal and rigid). You can definitely get improved bass with a better end stub. Groovetracer subplatters are supposed to be excellent. They are well machined alloy subplatters, which should enhance the PRaT on that deck, but again look at what you already have. The marbles sound like a good idea. They're cheap and reversible, if you don't like it. I use pumice sponges under my Rega feet and they really opened up the soundstage. Rega's are very sensitive to the base material/shelf they are sitting on, so check that out. They(like their design)need a light and rigid platform to sit on. A wall mounted shelf is best, otherwise a light floor standing rack works well too. Check out Ken Lyon's posts on "vinyl asylum". He's been tweaking these decks for years and seems to have squeezed every last drop of PRaT out of them. Even stock, they are a ton of fun to listen to when they are set up correctly.
Added the Michell Techno Weight to my Rega RB250 Arm
Purchased from Trichord Research
OK - so this was the only purchase to date where I thought I would not see much improvement and was prepared to live with the fact that it may only "look better" than the Rega supplied weight.
I mean - where's the science? - a lump of metal attached to the "non-business-end" of the arm, just hanging there doin nothin except looking cool!
Boy, was I ever surprised...
- I first noticed considerably more details in the low frequencies and significantly deeper - played Genesis - Trick of the Tail
- then the very precise imaging grabbed my attention - instruments appeared much more separated and focussed - played Eine kleine Nachtmusik from Tacet
- then I put on Stevie Wonder's Superstition - WOW! - what a transformation - so full of energy
- So then I tried my James Newton Howard & Friends album and all of the above differences could clearly be heard quite clearly
To sum it up in one word - DYNAMIC! - much more dynamic
Who woulda thunk it! Definitely a worth-while investment!
It did take 2 weeks to arrive - seems it had customs baffled - they even opened the blister pack!
Trichord Research were very good at responding to my questions about when it was sent and even offered to send another unit. - Nice to see good Customer Service for once!
I'm now considering the Michell Techno-arm
Mark (Mingles) curse you! I thought I was finsihed with tweeks! 8-)
If I read it correctly the idea is to sit a small bar across the pivot point with two out-rigger weights to resist only the lateral movement created by the groove pushing on the stylus - make a lot of sense.
The ole grey matter is now working overtime with a removable design that can simply be dropped onto the the arm.
Seems there are some key points to consider
1. the distance the weights are suspended from the pivot point - there has got to be an optimal distance?
2. keeping the C.O.G. on the same plane as the stylus - I think this is a key reason why the Techno weight works so well, since the weight was no heavier than my Rega Weight and no wider
3. ensuring the weights are centered i.e. precisely balanced
4. do not allow the weight to swing freely
I'm currently working on a 2 1/4" thick MDF plinth, so it will have to wait.
But the winters in Canada are long and dark, so I should have some time - between skiing that is!
Thanks for the pointer.
Pace, Rhythm and Timing. Lot of folks question it's existence and validity. I will say that I think of it in terms of how 'involving' the presentation is, which is purely subjective, and can be measured from the size of my grin. From what I've understood about Regas, this is what these tables are designed to excel at. Their light mass construction is supposed to help enhance the liveliness and attack of the music. Rather than absorbing and sinking vibration like a heavy plinth design, these tables are supposed to shed that vibration quickly.
The final tweek is complete - I finally mounted my Rega components on the completed plinth (mentioned in a previous append) this weekend.
The tweek cost around $50 for materials and IMHO well worth it.
The results were varied from one album to the next, but the one thing that did stand out was the amount of additional detail that is presented to the listener.
- the bass was a little deeper on some albums
- the mid range was definately enhanced to provide a much richer sound, but this was probably due to the change in VTA
- the highs on most albums did not appear to be any different, but on some Genesis, Phil Collins, Police and a couple of Tacet albums I have there was a marked difference in the high frequency details - cymballs for one were much more detailed and brass sound great.
- the music was definately very enjoyable and much warmer in the mid range.
I think the main reason for the improvement in sound is due to the feet - each foot is made up of
- a 1.25" glass marble
- on top of that sits a 1.25" steel washer
- on top of that are two 1/8" layers of underlay foam 1.5" round
- the whole thing sits in a 1.5" hole about 1" deep bored into the plinth
- the marble does NOT touch the sides of the hole
When the plinth is sitting on all three marbles it "floats" just like a suspended deck.
- Any sound that it tranmitted through the floor/stand/marbles/Washer is absorbed by the rubber - since the plinth is too heavy to be moved by any residual sound waves - voila! there is no tranmission to the arm and platter
The unit is basically three pieces of 3/4 MDF cut to almost the same size as the original Rega platter and glued together
Change from the original plinth include:
- the position of the motor is further from the arm, but the same distance from the bearing
- mounted the motor on an aluminum plate with a foam spacer
- the position of the feet now distributes weight more evenly between them, BUT they are at difference distances from one another
- the power switch was moved to the back left corner to shorten wiring and hopefully reduce interference
- made the bearing and arm mounting holes a loose fit to ensure both were securly drawn down to the steel washers that isolate arm and bearing from the plynth
- to centre the bearing I used teflon tape to fill the gap
- I already had the extended Nut with a collar to centre the arm in the oversized hole
Many have reported better success with Birch plywood, so I might just give that a try some day, but for now I'm a happy camper.
My thanks to Mikkysix for some info shared offline - it proved very useful.
Williewonka, did you do Twl's strange tonearm tweak? If so, any thoughts?
Not yet - I'm still thinking on that one.
I must admit that at this point in time I'm content to "Listen to the Music"
I listened to a couple of albums I haven't played for a while last night and the reproduction was amazing.
This plinth is bringing out an imense amount of detail and I believe now the Rega Elys cartridge is settling into its newly adjusted VTA it is performing much much better.
If Mikkysix's definition of PRaT is the size of his grin, then this plinth has tons of PRaT, since my grin was from ear-to-ear last night AND the feet were tapping! (my wife kept giving me these strange looks)
Charlieboy built a 275 lb. isolation box for his TT using maple, sand and granite
A 275lb granite isolation box eh! - Well fortunately, that's something else this plinth seems to cope with very well - it is rock solid and not suffering from vibration as far as I can tell - i.e. at normal listening levels.
This was another one of those tweeks from which I did not expect too much improvement - other than ending up with a nice looking deck. Mainly because MDF is not considered a great material - i.e. it has a sonic signature, mutes high frequencies etc..
I guess I lucked out with the design, because I have not witnessed any of the traits mentioned all over the web
- was it the steel washers that isolate the arm and bearing from the plinth?
- was it the position of the feet (i.e. an irregular triangle)?
- was it the glass marble feet with the foam suspension?
- was it the 3 layers of MDF or its mass?
I don't know, but I think it is the combination of everything - all I do know is that it works - amazingly well!
I think my next acquisition will be the Michell tonearm - now I have a plinth that is worthy!
Well it's been a while since I posted the last update to this thread, so I thought I'd post my latest tweaks...
I have not upgraded to the Michell tonearm as yet and at $1200 it's not that likely, but here are the latest....
1. Installed an ISOKINETIK sub-platter and ceramic bearing
Once again this was one of those tweaks that I thought would provide a marginal improvement and again I was taken by surprise at how much more detail was attained
If you possess a Rega turntable with the standard plastic sub-platter, then get one of these - it's a very noticeable improvement - I purchased mine directly from ISOKINETIK's web site
CAVEAT: this requires a minor adjustment to the arm's VTA
NOTE: Home Depot has nicely machined steel spacers that fit very nicely under the Rega arm - look in the rotary racks where the "special screws and washers" are kept - they do require you to open up the hole a little, but this can be accomplished by emery cloth wrapped around a 3/4" dowel in about 2 minutes
2. Installed a Rega P2 Motor upgrade kit
Since the motor was 29 years old I thought it was time for an upgrade and purchased the upgrade kit.
Although there was a noticeable improvement in wow/flutter it was only really a apparent on those classical tracks where the piano played those long lingering notes, as most other instruments generally display some type of vibrato, which is less detectable.
But wait, is that more PRAT I hear - well yes - a little.
Also, the motor is supposed to be quieter and on a Rega deck maybe it is, but since I had already replaced the deck this might be the reason why I did not notice it was substantially quieter.
Was it worth the price of the upgrade? - Well it was more like it was my last chance to do it since Rega has stopped making the P2/P3 upgrade kits and I apparently got the last one from the Canadian distributor - lucky me!
They are working on a P3/24 kit due out later this year with an even better motor
3. Made a 3/4 inch thick MDF Shelf
I had this piece of MDF left over from making the Turntable Deck (see prior append) and thought it might make a better shelf than the one that came with the audio stand.
I attached (with back to back tape) three small glass plates where the feet would sit to give it a hard mating surface - the feet on the turntable deck are 1.25 inch marbles with a foam suspension interfacing to the deck, so the whole thing wobbles slightly - any music induced vibration is absorbed by the foam suspension and not transferred to the heavy deck.
The heavier 3/4 MDF also absorbs a lot of vibration resulting in some amazing new details.
The turntable now sounds amazing, but the only original components are the lid and the glass platter
Total cost (approximately) of all of the upgrades from the old Rega Planar II...
- RB250 arm - $300
- Cardas arm Rewire - $300
- Michell Techno Weight - $160
- ISOKINETIK Sub Platter - $180
- Rega Motor Upgrade - $225
- MDF Turntable deck $30
Cost of all the messing around and the discovery - PRICELESS! ;-)))
I believe there are more upgrades available for Rega gear than any other brand and most of the ones I tried made a significant difference.
Would a new turntable have been a cheaper option - maybe
BUT - discovering the improvements have taught a lot about what to look for in my next turntable - that is, if I can find something better under $2000
BTW - the MC cartridge I am using is a Denon DL 103 and probably one of the best matches to the Rega Arms available - and at $229 is a steal!
Don't be mislead by the price of this cartridge, there is a reason it's been used by the broadcasting industry for some 30+ years - it is surprisingly good.
If you want to spend more - it also comes in some interesting flavours