Is the platter level and on the sub-platter properly? If so then you have a defective table.You should hear no noise either on start up or after.
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Remove the belt and clean the pulley and subplatter carefully, wipe down the belt with Talcum powder,cornstarch or Pledge furniture liquid polish and reinstall.Usually the problem comes with the belt dragging slightly in the pulley grooves and riding up and popping back down again.Application of the powder or polish reduces the tendency for the belt to grab & release and ride up in pulley groove.
The start-up rattle is normal, tho. Don't worry about it or you'll go crazy.Rega recommends that you leave the player on and spinning for your entire listening session.
The other respondants are correct in that the "thunk" on start-up is normal. It is not, however, normal once the platter is up to speed. I agree with giving the platter a push as you turn the table on. Although I personally have a P25 which does not have the "thunk" on start-up, my brother uses a P3. We recently installed the new motor upgrade that is now available which gets rid of this noise. While performing the upgrade it became obvious as to why the noise occurs with the original motor. It's mounted, IMHO, in a really cheesy manner with, essentially, rubber bands. The motor literally hangs there and can flop around. I think Rega made a great evolutionary improvement with the upgrade to the P3. Be advised that the upgrade kit my brother got came with no instructions. I would assume that the intent is to have this installed by a competent dealer. Fortunately (for my brother) I have an electronics background and was able to discern where to wire to the new regulator board. The motor upgrade is very solid. You must determine for yourself if it's worth the $150.
Luck to you...Woodrow
If you have an older Planar 3, the start up rattle is normal, but not the continued rattling. The new P3 motor has a different mounting scheme which shouldn't rattle at all. This motor is offered as an upgrade to older tables for 155.00. I would recomend this as an upgrade if, in fact, you don't already have it.