View Full Version : Vintage AR XA vs new Rega RP1?


Wes_in_VA
08-28-2012, 11:40 AM
I'm tossing around getting a new TT. I hardly ever play my vinyl and it's largely due to my TT's, 2 vintage Realistics (a Lab 250 and a Lab 500). Both need a good setup, something I just haven't gotten around to.

A dealer here in town has a vintage AR XA for sale and I'm in love with the looks of that table. It's simply beautiful. Since I'm mainly a CD guy, maybe that table's fine for me? Heck, very few of my albums are in great shape anyway.
On the other hand I'm considering going with a new Rega RP1. Something brand new that will be set up for me, thus saving me the hassle.

The question being, is one or the other of these that much better of a table that I would be much better off with that one? This will be going in my mancave since my main system isn't in a place that's TT friendly: 2 cats, 2 dogs, 3 kids....

marcmorin
08-28-2012, 11:58 AM
I'm tossing around getting a new TT. I hardly ever play my vinyl and it's largely due to my TT's, 2 vintage Realistics (a Lab 250 and a Lab 500). Both need a good setup, something I just haven't gotten around to.

A dealer here in town has a vintage AR XA for sale and I'm in love with the looks of that table. It's simply beautiful. Since I'm mainly a CD guy, maybe that table's fine for me? Heck, very few of my albums are in great shape anyway.
On the other hand I'm considering going with a new Rega RP1. Something brand new that will be set up for me, thus saving me the hassle.

The question being, is one or the other of these that much better of a table that I would be much better off with that one? This will be going in my mancave since my main system isn't in a place that's TT friendly: 2 cats, 2 dogs, 3 kids....

A properly set up, upgraded AR XA will flat out smoke the P-1. Hand cueing is the only issue. If you are OK with that, there should be no question.

beatcomber
08-28-2012, 12:01 PM
A properly restored AR-XA will outperform many much more expensive tables.

Marc Morin is your go-to guy here on AK - he also makes available several inexpensive, easy-to-install custom parts that will really kick it up a few notches.

Dr Tinear
08-28-2012, 12:09 PM
The AR XA and the Rega RP1 are both belt-drive turntables with pivoted arms, but that's where the similarities end. The design philosophies behind these two turntables are poles apart.

The AR has a subchassis, suspended on three damped springs, that carries the arm and the platter. This suspension is highly effective at keeping unwanted vibrations from coming up through the base and plinth and finding their way to the stylus. It does make the turntable prone to skipping if the floor below it is flexible, though. The inner platter is die-cast aluminum, precision-machined and dynamically balanced after casting so that it's concentric with the spindle and has the correct diameter for accurate speed. The outer platter is also cast and dynamically balanced. The result of this careful design and manufacture is a superb wow and flutter spec of 0.03% WRMS and a speed accuracy of +0.3% or better. The XA met the stringent National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) turntable specs (except for starting time, which was longer than allowed because the motor torque was low). The XA's tonearm used to get a lot of complaints, but is actually quite good if it's set up properly. It lacks a cueing control, which may be an issue for some audiophiles. It never was for me in the thirty-plus years I used an XA. It also lacks a tracking force scale, so you'll have to use an external balance to set the tracking force, and it has no anti-skate control.

The Rega RP1 has no suspension, so it needs to be installed away from vibration sources. The arm and platter bearing are rigidly mounted to a lightweight plinth, its materials and dimensions chosen to dissipate vibrational energy quickly to minimize coloration. The subplatter on the RP1 and all the other Rega models below $1500 MSRP is molded phenolic -- a design choice that has spawned a thriving cottage industry that makes aluminum replacement subplatters machined to tighter tolerances. The arm and platter bearings are of very high quality, and most people consider the tonearm to be better than the one on the AR. There have been many anecdotal reports that Rega models prior to the RP1 tended to run slightly fast and that some samples exhibited audible flutter. I haven't seen any such reports on the RP1, so perhaps Rega has made its manufacturing processes more consistent. Rega founder Roy Gandy doesn't believe in publishing specs, so there are no manufacturer's specifications to compare to AR's numbers.

The bottom line is that it's a matter of preference. Listen to both if you can and pick the one that sounds and works better for you. My preference would be the AR, but I'll be first to admit that a vintage XA is not for everyone.

jleon92f
08-28-2012, 12:22 PM
A properly restored AR-XA will outperform many much more expensive tables.

Marc Morin is your go-to guy here on AK - he also makes available several inexpensive, easy-to-install custom parts that will really kick it up a few notches.

+1:thmbsp::yes::D

beatcomber
08-28-2012, 12:26 PM
The XA's tonearm used to get a lot of complaints, but is actually quite good if it's set up properly. It lacks a cueing control, which may be an issue for some audiophiles. It never was for me in the thirty-plus years I used an XA. It also lacks a tracking force scale, so you'll have to use an external balance to set the tracking force, and it has no anti-skate control.

Two additional comments...

The lack of cueing control really is not a big deal, unless you're a total klutz. Within a fairly short amount of time I developed the technique for moving the arm without causing any mishaps.

The lack of anti-skating makes the stock arm more compatible with high-compliance styli like the JICO SAS.

Art K.
08-28-2012, 12:37 PM
A properly set up, upgraded AR XA will flat out smoke the P-1. Hand cueing is the only issue. If you are OK with that, there should be no question.

A P1 is not an RP1.

marcmorin
08-28-2012, 12:56 PM
A P1 is not an RP1.

True that. Sorry for the typo.

Same money thrown at both tables, and the XA still smokes it. Hand cueing being the only advantage during play for the RP1. Placement of the tables as mentioned earlier in this thread is critical in their own ways for both tables.

Dandy
08-28-2012, 12:59 PM
A P1 is not an RP1.

Better platter and bearing, but it's still a basic Rega.

Wes_in_VA
08-28-2012, 01:00 PM
I'm not too worried about the hand cueing. I'll just stick to CD's if I've had more than 1 beer. :)
The AR is $250 and comes with a basic Shure cartridge. I'm confident in this dealer's ability and willingness to get it set up so that's not an issue.
If I were to leave that table close to stock, would ya'll still think it's the way to go?

Wes_in_VA
08-28-2012, 01:04 PM
True that. Sorry for the typo.

Placement of the tables as mentioned earlier in this thread is critical in their own ways for both tables.

What do you mean by "in their own ways"? I understand about the need for more isolation with the Rega, but what might the AR need?

avole
08-28-2012, 01:13 PM
I wonder how many people have actually compared the turntables in question? If they haven't, then their comments are questionable.

beatcomber
08-28-2012, 01:18 PM
I'm not too worried about the hand cueing. I'll just stick to CD's if I've had more than 1 beer. :)
The AR is $250 and comes with a basic Shure cartridge. I'm confident in this dealer's ability and willingness to get it set up so that's not an issue.
If I were to leave that table close to stock, would ya'll still think it's the way to go?

$250 is a bit on the high side, unless it's minty with dustcover and new stylus. Which Shure cartridge is included? That might change things somewhat.

It's not difficult to service and set up these tables by yourself. I bought mine a couple of years ago for $45 on CL and bought a replacement headshell on eBay for $50. A new belt was maybe $15 or so. It didn't take a lot of time or effort to get it cleaned up and running properly.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v480/beatcomber/hifi/ARXA.jpg

Wes_in_VA
08-28-2012, 01:19 PM
I wonder how many people have actually compared the turntables in question? If they haven't, then their comments are questionable.

I'm new enough to TT's that any feedback helps.
I'm lucky that I'll likely be able to compare side by side.

avole
08-28-2012, 01:23 PM
Fair enough. I haven't heard either turntable side by side, but I'd think the Rega arm a lot better than the one on the AR.

Wes_in_VA
08-28-2012, 01:28 PM
Fair enough. I haven't heard either turntable side by side, but I'd think the Rega arm a lot better than the one on the AR.

That was sort of my inkling going into asking this question, and I do like the idea that the Rega's brand new. BUT, that AR is soooo beautiful. If the sonics are there it would be really cool.

beatcomber
08-28-2012, 01:44 PM
That was sort of my inkling going into asking this question, and I do like the idea that the Rega's brand new. BUT, that AR is soooo beautiful. If the sonics are there it would be really cool.

The sonics are definitely there. I could be happy having an AR-XA as my only table.

marcmorin
08-28-2012, 02:33 PM
Fair enough. I haven't heard either turntable side by side, but I'd think the Rega arm a lot better than the one on the AR.

When the AR arm is upgraded with modern parts, not a chance.

marcmorin
08-28-2012, 02:48 PM
What do you mean by "in their own ways"? I understand about the need for more isolation with the Rega, but what might the AR need?

What the AR needs is a solid foundation, and not springy floors. As the floors spring rate is different than the suspension rate. That's about the only mechanical/acoustical feedback it's not immune to.

I agree with Beatcomber that the asking price should have some answers behind it, such as what has been done to the table, and what cart it has.
If the table hasn't been upgraded, the asking price is based on the reputation of tables in top working order.

avole
08-28-2012, 03:01 PM
When the AR arm is upgraded with modern parts, not a chance.Have you done a side by side comparison, marcmoric. I'm a big fan of Rega arms, if not their turntables, but I'd think you'd have to spend quite a bit of time and effort getting the AR arm to sound as good.

Not a fan of AR arms, by the way. The turntable, with another arm such as a Linn or a Rega, now that's a whole different story!

Dandy
08-28-2012, 03:05 PM
I wonder how many people have actually compared the turntables in question? If they haven't, then their comments are questionable.

Few people are likely to be able to compare these tables side by side at this moment. This does not make gereral comment about the OPs choice invalid. Heck, I have about ten tables around the house here at the moment, and could not rig them up easily for side by side comparison, but I still can compare them subjectively. It's far better that the OP can do a side by side comparison of course.

beatcomber
08-28-2012, 03:15 PM
Have you done a side by side comparison, marcmoric. I'm a big fan of Rega arms, if not their turntables, but I'd think you'd have to spend quite a bit of time and effort getting the AR arm to sound as good.

Not a fan of AR arms, by the way. The turntable, with another arm such as a Linn or a Rega, now that's a whole different story!

Before going any further, let me state upfront that I have no experience with Rega turntables or Rega tonearms.

The AR-XA tonearm appears primitive, but looks can be deceiving. Marc did some work on mine, including reconditioning the tonearm bearings and shaft and probably a few other things that he could better describe than I can. I also inserted one of his custom-made polished steel thrust plates into the arm well. The arm tracks flawlessly and I am getting some amazingly holographic sound from my AR. The only real weak link is the delicate plastic headshell, but only because it is easy to damage and expensive to replace.

cactuscowboy
08-28-2012, 04:24 PM
I'm new enough to TT's that any feedback helps.
I'm lucky that I'll likely be able to compare side by side.

Side by side comparison would be ideal. I would bring a paper 'strobe disc' (free download at vinylengine.com) and a small desk lamp to check speed. Either turntable needs to hold speed accurately at 45 and 33 1/3 RPM. If either one or both don't, you'd best seriously reconsider. Job #1 of any turntable is to spin at accurate speed. Sadly, not all manufacturers make that a priority.

Bring something challenging to listen to. A solo piano or oboe LP with lots of sustained notes will quickly reveal if either turntable has wow & flutter issues. Also listen carefully for excessive rumble or motor noise that intrudes on the music.

Also consider ease of use, build quality and how each actually sounds. If aesthetics are a concern, factor that in as well.

I have experience with the AR turntable. My parents owned one back in the '60s and I had occasion to spin my modest collection of 45s on it, as well as hearing my parent's extensive collection of Classical LPs. Dim memories at this point but I recall it was fine piece of gear and sounded great.

Dr. Tinear provided a concise and well written comparison of these two turntables. The design philosophies are indeed very different. Given the choice, I would go with the AR without hesitation.

Good luck with your turntable shopping venture.

beatcomber
08-28-2012, 04:34 PM
Side by side comparison would be ideal. I would bring a paper 'strobe disc' (free download at vinylengine.com) and a small desk lamp to check speed. Either turntable needs to hold speed accurately at 45 and 33 1/3 RPM. If either one or both don't, you'd best seriously reconsider. Job #1 of any turntable is to spin at accurate speed. Sadly, not all manufacturers make that a priority.

I seem to recall Marc Morin saying that the AR motor will either spin perfectly on pitch or not spin at all. My AR table was in pretty sad shape when I got it, but the motor worked flawlessly, especially after I oiled it.

majick47
08-28-2012, 05:11 PM
Sitting side by side the choice would be the AR (made in the USA) a much more substantial table than the Rega.

marcmorin
08-28-2012, 05:17 PM
Have you done a side by side comparison, marcmoric. I'm a big fan of Rega arms, if not their turntables, but I'd think you'd have to spend quite a bit of time and effort getting the AR arm to sound as good.

Not a fan of AR arms, by the way. The turntable, with another arm such as a Linn or a Rega, now that's a whole different story!

Well, yes I have. I just finished demo-ing a Linn Basic Plus arm on an AR TheTurntable vs the original arm on an XB. the Linn arm is shod with a Grado Signature 8MZ with new stylus. The XB arm is shod with a Grado of lesser repute (but with an advanced stylus). The XB arm has been upgraded with sapphire pivots, polished pivot pins, horizontal pivot thrust plate, internal damping of the tube, re-wired. It also has had a bayonet style headshell assembly added to stock arm tube. The Linn arm is in flawless shape. Same tune, singing wings crying beasts Santana was used for the comparison. The XB arm is more nimble, less microphonic. Sonically it held its own in tone but had the advantage of depth in time and space. Both the XB table and the TheTurntable have my suspension tuning upgrades, and pulley upgrades.

I'm also a fan of Linn arms, and my ES-1 sprorts an Akito ll rebuilt by J7 at Audiorigami shod with a Grado Sonata-1.

Wes_in_VA
08-28-2012, 05:47 PM
Thanks for all the info and feedback, folks. What a huge help.

I was wrong on the price of the AR: It's actually $295. That does include the dustcover and a Shure V15 Type II, so no big "scroe" on the cartridge. What appeals to me is that it was taken as a trade by the guy that owns the shop and he's pretty particular, can help with setup and/or any issues...and he owes me a bit of a favor so I can probably get it for more like $240ish.
Is that way high on an AR XA in good condition?
I'm leaning in the direction of the AR since it would be cool to run this in my vintage tube setup and that would be fitting with the Eico HF20/Dynaco PAS 3x combo.

flavio81
08-28-2012, 06:01 PM
AR XA (with a properly reconditioned tonearm or a different tonearm) >>>> Rega RP1

Dandy
08-28-2012, 06:08 PM
Shure V15s are very nice carts. I don't know the type IIs well, but the type IIIs and IVs are excellent. If the stylus is good I'd *guess* it's worth $100, making the AR XA $140.

I see TAS voted the AR XA no. 1 as a 'significant' design: http://www.avguide.com/review/the-ten-most-significant-turntables-all-time-tas-216?page=1 It does suggest that you'll probably want to upgrade the tonearm sometime.

flavio81
08-28-2012, 06:18 PM
Shure V15s are very nice carts. I don't know the type IIs well, but the type IIIs and IVs are excellent. If the stylus is good I'd *guess* it's worth $100, making the AR XA $140.

I see TAS voted the AR XA no. 1 as a 'significant' design: http://www.avguide.com/review/the-ten-most-significant-turntables-all-time-tas-216?page=1 It does suggest that you'll probably want to upgrade the tonearm sometime.

Type II was later "reincarnated" as the M75 which is a classic with very nice sound.

Dr Tinear
08-28-2012, 06:24 PM
Type II was later "reincarnated" as the M75 which is a classic with very nice sound.

I didn't know that. My AR XA currently has an M75 in the headshell. The combination sounds very good and tracks everything I've thrown at it. Guess I need to find an excuse to install the XA in an extension system rather than leaving it on a shelf in the basement.

Pio1980
08-28-2012, 06:35 PM
Losing the Shure is no biggie, the equivs are dime-a-dozen common and just another vintage cart IMO, probably needing a stylus. I'd still go with the AR and eventually sensibly upgrade the suspension and OEM arm.

loquatious
08-28-2012, 06:38 PM
i'll add one more vote for the AR XA - if its in good shape. the price you mentioned seemed high until you said it came with a shure V15 type II. that cart alone is commanding over $200 (more if it has a genuine shure stylus) on the used (ebay) market. good XAs are commonly bringing $175-$225 these days as well.

do a completed auction search on ebay. you can see what price is being asked for an item, and what prices they are actually selling for. then factor in additional shipping costs.

can't go wrong with a good XA, but condition is everything. of course, XAs are totally rebuildable and easily modified and upgraded. can always sell the type II to recoup some $ if you decide to.

AR XAs have a proven track record. we'll have to see where the rega is in 50 years. yes, the type II is said to have been reincarnated as the M75 when the type III replaced it. the type III was then reincarnated as the M91ed (which is what AR spec'ed for the XA) when the type IV came out.

i love the M91ed XA combo, as do many.



.

flavio81
08-28-2012, 06:51 PM
yes, the type II is said to have been reincarnated as the M75 when the type III replaced it. the type III was then reincarnated as the M91ed (which is what AR spec'ed for the XA) when the type IV came out.

If i'm not mistaken, it is the M95 the one that was a reincarnated type III. electrical specs are closer.

The M91 is part of the M75/M44 family, while the M95 is not. Electrical specs (inductance, resistance) are very different from the V15-III.

bobins08
08-28-2012, 06:58 PM
The price on the AR is not a great deal even if you factor in the Shure cartridge. I do think the Sure cartridge provides some extra value. Hopefully it is very clean and properly set up for you.

The great thing about the AR is the sound and the upgrade-ability (made up the word). :yes:

If you end up loving vinyl you have something fantastic to build on with the AR XA.

Br1ck
08-28-2012, 08:18 PM
The AR XA is a very good table. It smokes my Music Hall 2.2 in every way. So good for me that I bought a second one recently for no good reason.

A lot of the allure of a table for me, shallow I know, is looks, and the XA is one of the all time no frills designs ever.

Grados sing on these.

marcmorin
08-28-2012, 08:21 PM
The AR XA is a very good table. It smokes my Music Hall 2.2 in every way. So good for me that I bought a second one recently for no good reason.

A lot of the allure of a table for me, shallow I know, is looks, and the XA is one of the all time no frills designs ever.

Grados sing on these.

Grados will prefer certain arm characteristics. The AR XA/XB arm in good working condition meets most of what a Grado asks for. Properly rebuilt, and yes they do sing.

avole
08-29-2012, 03:35 AM
Well, yes I have. I just finished demo-ing a Linn Basic Plus arm on an AR TheTurntable vs the original arm on an XB. the Linn arm is shod with a Grado Signature 8MZ with new stylus. The XB arm is shod with a Grado of lesser repute (but with an advanced stylus). The XB arm has been upgraded with sapphire pivots, polished pivot pins, horizontal pivot thrust plate, internal damping of the tube, re-wired. It also has had a bayonet style headshell assembly added to stock arm tube. The Linn arm is in flawless shape. Same tune, singing wings crying beasts Santana was used for the comparison. The XB arm is more nimble, less microphonic. Sonically it held its own in tone but had the advantage of depth in time and space. Both the XB table and the TheTurntable have my suspension tuning upgrades, and pulley upgrades.

I'm also a fan of Linn arms, and my ES-1 sprorts an Akito ll rebuilt by J7 at Audiorigami shod with a Grado Sonata-1.Off topic I know, but that's more or less what I found was the difference between the Linn and the Rega, albeit on a Thorens, with the Rega adding greater depth and space. Both with the humble AT95E.

beatcomber
08-29-2012, 07:06 AM
Type II was later "reincarnated" as the M75 which is a classic with very nice sound.

...which is essentially identical to the M91ED.

beatcomber
08-29-2012, 07:08 AM
the price you mentioned seemed high until you said it came with a shure V15 type II. that cart alone is commanding over $200 (more if it has a genuine shure stylus) on the used (ebay) market.

I don't think the V15 Type II is commanding that kind of money, but the Type III and Type IV certainly do.

ddarch
08-29-2012, 07:25 AM
Video on Vintage vs Contemporary Tables (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R485bOCU8OA)

KentTeffeteller
08-29-2012, 08:16 AM
I'll take my AR XA with Mayware Formula IV tonearm over Rega RP1, RP3, and RP6. It is better built, needs no extra BS to spin on speed, and is reliable every day with only minor maintenance. Poor man's Linn.

jleon92f
08-29-2012, 08:39 AM
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8426/7860897314_36b66e8ff9_c.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/12113091@N02/7860897314/)
Jeff Beck w/Amstels (http://www.flickr.com/photos/12113091@N02/7860897314/) by jleon92f (http://www.flickr.com/people/12113091@N02/), on Flickr

Works for me..:thmbsp: Grado Black..

marcmorin
08-29-2012, 08:52 AM
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8426/7860897314_36b66e8ff9_c.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/12113091@N02/7860897314/)
Jeff Beck w/Amstels (http://www.flickr.com/photos/12113091@N02/7860897314/) by jleon92f (http://www.flickr.com/people/12113091@N02/), on Flickr

Works for me..:thmbsp: Grado Black..

Ah, you need to hear an upscale Grado on that. Wanna borrow one? :thmbsp:

Guitar Shop is one of my listening test albums.

avole
08-29-2012, 08:54 AM
I'll take my AR XA with Mayware Formula IV tonearm over Rega RP1, RP3, and RP6. It is better built, needs no extra BS to spin on speed, and is reliable every day with only minor maintenance. Poor man's Linn.I think you mean Pro-ject, not Rega! Neither the Pro-jects nor the Rega require much if anything in the way of maintenance, by the way. Very much set and forget.

I lived with the Aussie equivalent of the Mayware for a couple of years. Sound quality good, but they re-define the word "delicate". Changed to a Rega arm and never looked back. Fuller sound, zero hassles.

jleon92f
08-29-2012, 08:55 AM
I have the Shure N95e I think it is on my other AR-XA, they both sound great!:banana:

http://farm5.staticflickr.com/4011/4710274223_36a3021829.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/12113091@N02/4710274223/)
My AR-XA #2 2010. (http://www.flickr.com/photos/12113091@N02/4710274223/) by jleon92f (http://www.flickr.com/people/12113091@N02/), on Flickr

Vinylcalle
08-29-2012, 10:45 AM
Sitting side by side the choice would be the AR (made in the USA) a much more substantial table than the Rega.

Yeah instead of that stupid country named England (whose language you use, who built such crap as Rolls Royce and Bentley etc.) :D :scratch2:

michaelhigh
08-29-2012, 11:57 AM
The sonics are definitely there. I could be happy having an AR-XA as my only table.

Me too. If I had no Thorens TD-165 I'd have the XA set up with my Sansui 8080DB and Klipsch Fortes. It's set up with a Pioneer SX-838 and a pair of Klipsch kg2's.:banana:

Dandy
08-29-2012, 12:51 PM
I've just been into my local hifi shop in England and looked at the current range of Rega tts. Taking the long view, I'd still go for a vintage AR over the RP1.

flavio81
08-29-2012, 01:46 PM
Yeah instead of that stupid country named England (whose language you use, who built such crap as Rolls Royce and Bentley etc.) :D :scratch2:

If turntables were comparable to cars, then the RP1 is far from being a Rolls Royce. I'd say the RP1 is built to yugo standards, and has had its share of problems. Just google "RP1 platter issues" or "RP1 platter wobble" for example.

Wes_in_VA
08-29-2012, 02:19 PM
Well, dangit, looks like my particular question is a moot point. I just spoke with the guy that owns the shop with AR and he sold it a couple of weeks ago but hasn't update his website yet.
I had pretty much decided on the AR and contacted him to make sure he still had it.
Now I'm thinking the Rega doesn't sound all that appealing in comparison, so I guess maybe I'll just wait to see what else might pop up. I do very much like the idea of buying a TT locally (or , of course, form an AK'er!)

beatcomber
08-29-2012, 02:30 PM
I do very much like the idea of buying a TT locally (or , of course, form an AK'er!)

In Salem, VA, I highly recommend Uptown Audio (http://www.uptownaudio.com). The owner, Bill, is a great guy to work with. I've bought a few things from him in recent years, and he provides excellent advice and service.

Wes_in_VA
08-29-2012, 02:36 PM
In Salem, VA, I highly recommend Uptown Audio (http://www.uptownaudio.com). The owner, Bill, is a great guy to work with. I've bought a few things from him in recent years, and he provides excellent advice and service.

That's who had the AR. He also sells Rega.

beatcomber
08-29-2012, 02:45 PM
Ah, I suspected as much... I've bought some Rega products from Bill.

Dr Tinear
08-29-2012, 02:47 PM
Well, dangit, looks like my particular question is a moot point. I just spoke with the guy that owns the shop with AR and he sold it a couple of weeks ago but hasn't update his website yet.
I had pretty much decided on the AR and contacted him to make sure he still had it.
Now I'm thinking the Rega doesn't sound all that appealing in comparison, so I guess maybe I'll just wait to see what else might pop up. I do very much like the idea of buying a TT locally (or , of course, form an AK'er!)

Pity about the AR. I think you would have enjoyed it. I'd recommend keeping an eye on the Barter Town forum in case an AR or another good used 'table turns up among the for-sale listings. I've seen more than a few quality turntables change hands there, including many Thorens and Technics models. Two of them ended up in my audio inner sanctum -- a really clean Technics SL-1700 that will soon be going into my main system and a Technics SL-220 parts unit that I repaired and modified to play 78 RPM records.

avole
08-29-2012, 03:26 PM
Nothing wrong with Rega, don't believe some of the rubbish you read here!

That said, I'd go for the RP3 or the P3-24 if you can find it. The RP1 is strictly budget, but around the RP3 level Regas are seriously good. Unlike most other manufacturers, Rega have been around for a long time, so they must be doing a lot right.

One caveat: If you haven't a concrete floor, any solid plinth model, such as Rega, requires a wall shelf to perform at their best.

marcmorin
08-29-2012, 03:35 PM
Well, dangit, looks like my particular question is a moot point. I just spoke with the guy that owns the shop with AR and he sold it a couple of weeks ago but hasn't update his website yet.
I had pretty much decided on the AR and contacted him to make sure he still had it.
Now I'm thinking the Rega doesn't sound all that appealing in comparison, so I guess maybe I'll just wait to see what else might pop up. I do very much like the idea of buying a TT locally (or , of course, form an AK'er!)

BaMorin@AOL.com

Wes_in_VA
08-29-2012, 03:38 PM
BaMorin@AOL.com

I'll shoot you a message. Thanks!

majick47
08-29-2012, 03:42 PM
As someone said lets see how many Regas are still running 50 years from now.

majick47
08-29-2012, 03:53 PM
And a Rega turntable being compared with a Rolls Royce/Bentley is a bit of a stretch.

avole
08-29-2012, 04:06 PM
Judging from the planar 2s and 3s, they'll be one hell of a lot still running in 50 years, and still fetching good prices.

Who is comparing them with Bentley's and Rolls Royces? I think you misunderstood the post.

Vinylcalle
08-29-2012, 04:27 PM
And a Rega turntable being compared with a Rolls Royce/Bentley is a bit of a stretch.

Well no one here compares Regas to RR and Bentley except for perhaps you.

But you on the other hand had the argument that the AR XA would be better since it was made in USA.
My reply was to point out that England isnīt exactly a country thats known for making rubish. When it comes to turntables I would say England has made better ones than USA. USA has allways been better at amplifiers and speakers generally speaking. But than again for me itīs pointless were the product is made. Both USA and England has made both great thing and complete rubbish.

Vinylcalle
08-29-2012, 04:36 PM
If turntables were comparable to cars, then the RP1 is far from being a Rolls Royce. I'd say the RP1 is built to yugo standards, and has had its share of problems. Just google "RP1 platter issues" or "RP1 platter wobble" for example.

Of course no one (at least me) is comparing them to each other. But then in what way is it relevant that the AR is made in USA. And just as I pointed out the England has got a pretty good reputation in building quality gear to.

I have had both a AR XA and a Rega P1 (I have installed half a dousin of RP1s).
The Rega P1 sounded okey but it had some isuses with quality that I wouldnīt tolerate today. On the other hand Regas are perfect for people who just want to play and never spend ours aligning things. The AR I once owned had a better tonearm (Grace 707) and was also better. But than as have been said the tonearm is the weak point on the AR.

Well I would suggest that TS gets a used Rega Planar 3. Had one at home for some maintance a while ago and it was performing pretty good.

Vinylcalle
08-29-2012, 04:40 PM
Judging from the planar 2s and 3s, they'll be one hell of a lot still running in 50 years, and still fetching good prices.

Who is comparing them with Bentley's and Rolls Royces? I think you misunderstood the post.

+1.

Early Rega Planar 2/3 are about 35 years today and most of them are still running strong.

I recommend Regaīs for those who like a simple turntable that doesnīt need much attention.

Iīve heard most models including a couple of P9īs and they perform well. But if you are willing to go the hard way with setting up all kind of angles etc. you can get better for that kind of money.

Dr Tinear
08-29-2012, 05:17 PM
... My reply was to point out that England isnīt exactly a country thats known for making rubish. When it comes to turntables I would say England has made better ones than USA.

Umm ... no. I've worked on vintage turntables from both sides of the Atlantic and would say that the American turntables overall were at least as good as the British ones. Consider that AR, Weathers, Empire, Rek-O-Kut, VPI and SOTA all made or still make turntables in the States, and Voice of Music made some pretty credible budget turntables including the BICs. There were and are some fine turntables out of England too, but the U.K. also gave the world a long sequence of cheaply-made BSRs and forgettable Garrards.

Both USA and England has made both great thing and complete rubbish.

Absolutely true, and a list of rubbish from the U.K. would have to include the Lucas electrical systems in most British cars from the 1950s into the 1980s.

KentTeffeteller
08-29-2012, 07:06 PM
And the Garrard 301 and 401 will be spinning long after many Regas get retired. I like the Rega tonearms for budget, but much prefer any SME.

Russellc
08-29-2012, 07:40 PM
If turntables were comparable to cars, then the RP1 is far from being a Rolls Royce. I'd say the RP1 is built to yugo standards, and has had its share of problems. Just google "RP1 platter issues" or "RP1 platter wobble" for example.

Agreed! That's about the worst argument I've ever heard. (concerning England and Rolls) +1for AR.

Russellc

Russellc
08-29-2012, 08:22 PM
As someone said lets see how many Regas are still running 50 years from now.

No Kidding No Rubbish here, its the truth. Some like let their mouth overload their ass. That's the rubbish....That's why people still search them out.

Russellc

Russellc
08-29-2012, 08:29 PM
And the Garrard 301 and 401 will be spinning long after many Regas get retired. I like the Rega tonearms for budget, but much prefer any SME.

True that.

Russellc

Russellc
08-29-2012, 08:35 PM
Video on Vintage vs Contemporary Tables (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R485bOCU8OA)

Very informative. Thanks.

Russellc

Russellc
08-29-2012, 08:49 PM
Video on Vintage vs Contemporary Tables (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R485bOCU8OA)

Very informative. Thanks. Just Mine (and many other informed listeners) opinion, but the suspended sub chassis tables sound far better. Rega arms can sound fine, once modded, if you dont mind the casting flash and other cheapness, but some of this is inherent in any price point item. They can definitely perform well, dont misunderstand. Price is very attractive. This notwithstanding, I would hold out for the AR.

The original arm on the older tables isnt my cup of tea, but can be made to sound good. It can be done, and has many times, but is a little bit of trouble to put a modern arm on the older ARs. The mid 80's model is a piece of cake.

Russellc

kirk57
08-29-2012, 08:58 PM
Agree there are a lot of other suspended tables such as the (Scottish!) Systemdek that are very good sounding, take a variety of arms, and can be modded.

The original AR is nice (I've had 2) but it's not the only game in town, if you are still looking...

Wes_in_VA
08-29-2012, 09:04 PM
Yep, still looking...and learning a ton from this thread.

Russellc
08-29-2012, 09:06 PM
Agree there are a lot of other suspended tables such as the (Scottish!) Systemdek that are very good sounding, take a variety of arms, and can be modded.

The original AR is nice (I've had 2) but it's not the only game in town, if you are still looking...

True that as well, Linn is another....Heybrook, Oracle, several others. Just not at the same price point. That said, I have over 2 grand in my AR and at that point the choices are legion. I still stand by my choice, as I am sure all of us do. I really like the suspended tables....just a personal choice that you seem to also share.

Russellc

jleon92f
08-29-2012, 09:12 PM
I like the AR-XA because it is in my Budget. A lot of the more expensive TT's I have not heard may sound better but, I will never know..Have fun and play some music when all is said and done that is what we are here for!.:thmbsp:

Thanks,
John.

Russellc
08-29-2012, 09:24 PM
I like the AR-XA because it is in my Budget. A lot of the more expensive TT's I have not heard my sound better but, I will never know..Have fun and play some music when all is said and done that is what we are here for!.:thmbsp:

Thanks,
John.

That's a similar road I took. Bought the table bone stock, back when all the original Merrill mods were available. It was all I could do to buy the table! When Anthony Scillia, years later teamed up with Merrill and reproduced the mods in improved fashion, I went for it, step at a time. There is tons of support and mods from mild to way wild! Stock wasnt bad at all...nice to know it can be taken way beyond that if you are inclined to do so. That said, there are a lot of Rega mods also.....I just like the suspended part, and the sound it gives. Some find it "fiddley" but I find the whole vinyl thing to be fiddley...

Russellc

mackat
08-29-2012, 09:55 PM
I doubt the Rega is made out to be, but the AR XA that's currently disassembled here is quite rock solid, just needs some work!


Ben aka MacKat

avole
08-30-2012, 06:35 AM
You might want to consider the Thorens 150/160 series, too. They're probably a class above the AR turntables and much better than the budget Regas, but note the TD150s may need to be re-armed.

There's also the British suspended turntables, if you can find them at decent prices.

KentTeffeteller
08-30-2012, 08:12 AM
I think of the modern Rega RP1 as the AR XA of today. Both tables were compromises. The AR had most of it's money spent on the actual turntable save for the arm. The Rega spent most of the money on the excellent tonearm but less on the rest of the turntable.

Dr Tinear
08-30-2012, 08:27 AM
I think of the modern Rega RP1 as the AR XA of today. Both tables were compromises. The AR had most of it's money spent on the actual turntable save for the arm. The Rega spent most of the money on the excellent tonearm but less on the rest of the turntable.

I beg to differ on the Rega RP1 being a latter-day AR XA. The biggest difference I see is that the AR arm could be made to work well without dumping much more money into it, whereas it takes quite a bit of cash to address the compromises that Rega made in the RP1's drive system and environmental isolation.

xmas111
08-30-2012, 09:19 AM
I'd go for an XA. Wonderful TT that can be made a great TT with a little elbow grease.

John

KentTeffeteller
08-30-2012, 09:20 AM
The Rega is today's equivalent in budget equivalence. The AR was the budget turntable in the 1960's and early 1970's. Today the Rega RP1 is today's hot budget turntable. That is what I was alluding to. I like the AR best as the compromises are more what I would do.

pjsjr
08-30-2012, 09:56 AM
I'd go for an XA. Wonderful TT that can be made a great TT with a little elbow grease.

John

I'll weigh in here on the AR XA side. I bought mine in 1971 and have used and enjoyed it since. I have some of marcmorin's upgrades on it and those increased it's performance by quite a bit and were not that costly.

I do have other TTs, the AR XA is right up there with the best of them with the Shure M91ED/SAS. Preston

flavio81
08-30-2012, 11:30 AM
I think of the modern Rega RP1 as the AR XA of today. Both tables were compromises. The AR had most of it's money spent on the actual turntable save for the arm. The Rega spent most of the money on the excellent tonearm but less on the rest of the turntable.

I feel you're overrating the RP1 arm, and underrating the AR XA stock tonearm.

The RP1 tonearm isn't a Rega RB300. It's unremarkable, to be honest. But it is decent.

KentTeffeteller
08-30-2012, 03:53 PM
The XA stock tonearm is great, when the wiring is not duff or the headshell knackered. Once rewired if needed, and the Technics armwand installed, it is a superb tonearm in my opinion and your headshell choices much more. And if that option had been known and my tonearm bearing and well in better condition, I would have followed this route with my own XA. And I plan on doing these steps on my next XA or XB restoration if the original arm requires any repairs. The AR arm is underrated, especially to have been fitted to a $69 new in 1973 turntable. I still love my AR XA. My AR is fitted out with a Mayware Formula IV tonearm.

Dandy
08-30-2012, 06:21 PM
You might want to consider the Thorens 150/160 series, too. They're probably a class above the AR turntables and much better than the budget Regas, but note the TD150s may need to be re-armed.

There's also the British suspended turntables, if you can find them at decent prices.

+1 on this suggestion. The TD150 especially is a great little turntable.

gkimeng
08-30-2012, 06:34 PM
The Rega is today's equivalent in budget equivalence. The AR was the budget turntable in the 1960's and early 1970's. Today the Rega RP1 is today's hot budget turntable. That is what I was alluding to. I like the AR best as the compromises are more what I would do.

The AR is a bit tough to nail down as far as a "budget" or "performance" classification goes. It represents definite cost compromises compared to professional broadcast turntables of its time, but at the time it was introduced it was one of only a very few US-built tables of broadcast quality that were specifically targeted at consumers. Prior to its introduction, US audiophiles wanting a turntable that met NAB standards commonly sourced them from the same pro audio dealers radio stations got their equipment from and had to have bases or cabinets custom-made for them because they were intended for consoles and came out of their boxes as bare chassis. Prior to 1970 most consumer turntables, including many that cost more than the AR, just didn't perform to NAB standards.

Wes_in_VA
08-30-2012, 06:43 PM
Man, you guys are making me wish I had pulled the trigger on this AR XA table 2 weeks ago...
Although there is a possible deal brewing. Just gotta find some cash.

loquatious
08-30-2012, 07:05 PM
don't sweat it. lots of AR XAs out there. anyone serious about looking for one should be able to find one. seems like at least 4 new auctions for XAs come up on ebay every week. condition is key. be patient, wait for a good one to come up, then pounce!


.

Wes_in_VA
08-30-2012, 07:29 PM
Here's a question: one thing that's been mentioned is the setup differences between something like an AR and a newer Rega. To be honest, I'm kind of intimidated by turntables not having any real experience with them, at least as far as setup goes. I've read some stuff, but still ...
I'm certainly mechanically inclined. I've just learned that I enjoy a certain amount of laziness when it comes to my audio experience.

gkimeng
08-30-2012, 07:47 PM
If an AR is in good shape (which can be a big if for something that's anywhere from 35-50 years old), it will have less to do than anything new. Perfect lateral balance designed in from the start, no anti-skating device, no strobes, no speed controls, no VTA adjustments. Most cartridges don't need any arm length adjustments fo hit the proper overhang with the stock arm length. Set VTF, plug it in and you're done.

If it's not in good shape, it can be a major restoration project.

bearchuck
08-30-2012, 10:06 PM
Just to add a little something to the tonearm discussion, I have an XA that was modded / upgraded / tweaked by AKer Big Bill (with some guidance from marcmorin). You can check it out here (http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/showthread.php?t=373795).

A few months ago I caught a case of upgrade-itus and was considering moving to one of the Rega arms or perhaps a Linn Akito. Part of the reason was because I also wanted to give moving coil carts a whirl and on the surface, the AR-XA tonearm didn't appear to be very compatible.

Fast forward another month or so and I stumbled upon a Denon DL-103D, which is a higher-compliance LOMC cartridge. I plugged in the numbers and in theory, it seemed like the cart would work with the modded AR-XA tonearm.

Long story short, I'm no longer itching to upgrade the tonearm. This thing plays like a dream and I'm pretty sure I'd have to drop a giant load of cash on a high-end turntable if I was looking to best it.

Before the Denon, I was running the XA with a Grado M1+ w/ 8MZ stylus and that sounded excellent as well. I think that my favorite thing about the AR-XA is that it's an incredibly well-balanced turntable that does everything very well, and there's so much more potential in these things than one would initially think.

Big Bill
08-30-2012, 10:39 PM
Before the Denon, I was running the XA with a Grado M1+ w/ 8MZ stylus and that sounded excellent as well.



:rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:







.

bearchuck
08-30-2012, 11:20 PM
:rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:.

Uh oh ... number one Grado fan is in the house!

marcmorin
08-31-2012, 10:06 AM
Uh oh ... number one Grado fan is in the house!

LOL, yeah............I think Bill needs to hear one of my Grados in one of my upgraded ARs played through my Magnepan 3.6Rs. Columbus is only about 8 hours away Bill :thmbsp:

Back to the arm and what carts it will take. There's a lot more to matching cart to arm than (estimated) effective arm mass. More importantly is what happens right at the moment the arm has to move in the vertical plane. That comes down to bearing location, Initial load on bearing, angles of load on bearing, and how quickly the bearing(s) go from being static to kinetic in their friction, and back. If the bearings, or their arrangement is not optimum at the moment of motion in the vertical, the (effective) mass of the arm can become almost infinite. The inverse is also true, the unbalanced loads of the arm and counter weight due to angles of load can make the arm almost infinite in mass as it tries to reurn to level. Not unlike a catapult really.

gkimeng
08-31-2012, 10:14 AM
Fortunately, as long as the bearings are in good shape or have been replaced, the design of the AR tonearm makes it a lousy catapult. :)

marcmorin
08-31-2012, 10:19 AM
Fortunately, as long as the bearings are in good shape or have been replaced, the design of the AR tonearm makes it a lousy catapult. :)

Yeah, If I was planning a siege on a castle, I wouldn't ask Ed to help me :no:

bearchuck
08-31-2012, 11:04 PM
Back to the arm and what carts it will take. There's a lot more to matching cart to arm than (estimated) effective arm mass. More importantly is what happens right at the moment the arm has to move in the vertical plane. That comes down to bearing location, Initial load on bearing, angles of load on bearing, and how quickly the bearing(s) go from being static to kinetic in their friction, and back. If the bearings, or their arrangement is not optimum at the moment of motion in the vertical, the (effective) mass of the arm can become almost infinite. The inverse is also true, the unbalanced loads of the arm and counter weight due to angles of load can make the arm almost infinite in mass as it tries to reurn to level. Not unlike a catapult really.

Can you expand on this a little more, Marc? I'm genuinely interested. Specifically, what practical knowledge can we take from this statement and how can we apply it to matching a cartridge to the AR-XA tonearm? I understand that there's more to it than effective mass, but I'm having a difficult time wrapping my head around the other factors. Is some of it just trial and error?

skandl
09-01-2012, 05:18 PM
I have three AR XA decks one stock one mod and one on its way to be mod'd. I have compared the stock one with a Music Hall MMF-2.2 and the AR stock smoked it in sound quality. I have owned vintage Pioneer decks and found myself alway playing the AR so I sold them off. If you can find one in need of a little care they are very worthy decks and will give you lots of enjoyment.

Wes_in_VA
09-02-2012, 07:31 AM
Well, I ended up going in a totally different direction. I found a used Pro-Ject P-1.2 at a price that was really appealing.
I chatted with marcmorin some about doing a AR XA with him (and thanks, Marc, for your help and input) and that may ultimately be the way I go.
Right now, I'm just not sure how much vinyl I'll listen to, so I liked the price of the Pro-Ject and just went with it.
I realize that it's a lot more similar to the Rega than the AR, but the $$ fit much more into the budget right now. That extra money can go into some of the other upgrades I'm interested in that are at the moment more important to me at the moment.

Wes_in_VA
03-12-2013, 06:47 PM
I stumbled across this old thread while looking for something else so I thought I'd add an update. This thread ended up with what I found to be a lot of good info, and it turns out that my experience has found much of it to be very true:

The Pro-Ject that I got I absolutely hated. I thought it felt cheap and the setup was a pain. Granted, It was one of the first times I had really tried to set up a table, but still. I sold it pretty quickly. I never even listened to a whole album on it.
I went turntable free for a while, but ended up with a thrift store Technics SL20 that got me thinking about spinning vinyl once again.

I chatted with marcmorin again and pulled the trigger on a modded AR XB from him set up with an AT VS 240LC cartridge body with an ATN12S stylus.
Now THAT'S what I had been looking for.

I don't have a ton of turntable experience, but plugging that table up was a "wow" moment. I had no idea music could be that sweet.
I ended up getting the table about the same time that I got my modded Eicos back so I was in seventh heaven for quite some time...and still am!
My experience with the AR was so good that I bought a Thorens TD 160 for my living room setup and I'm looking forward to trying my hand at doing to it what Marc did to that AR. I'm sure I won't be able to achieve that level of mastery, but I'm going to have fun with it. (I am, though, trying a Rega --actually a Moth MKI --arm on the Thorens.)
If you're reading this thread and debating dropping $300-$400 on a Rega, I would seriously consider chatting with Marc about an AR if I were you. No affiliation, just thrilled with the table he provided me.

beatcomber
03-12-2013, 07:02 PM
Marc and I have chatted extensively off-line, and your AR-XB has come up very often in our conversations. It seems you have one of Marc's best efforts, Wes! And that's saying something.

marcmorin
03-12-2013, 07:40 PM
Marc and I have chatted extensively off-line, and your AR-XB has come up very often in our conversations. It seems you have one of Marc's best efforts, Wes! And that's saying something.

Well it was at least comparable. It was my "test table" for a period of time to test carts due to the bayonette headshell system. It also gave people a chance to listen to what an XA/XB could do. It did make its way to an after-hours session at the local HI-FI store. The owner didn't want it there during "customer" hours. :no: :D

Br1ck
03-12-2013, 07:51 PM
I'm trying to pare down to three tables. The way things are looking, it's going to be an AR XA, a Thorens 147, and my Empire 208 /Audiomods. XAs have to be the best bang for the buck table out there.