I’ve gone through a number of turntables over the years. From the inexpensive Christmas presents I received as a child, to the low-end turntables I purchased as an adult, all the way up to my current hardware, the Rega Planar 8.
The Planar 8 was inspired by the Rega Naiad, which was a carbon fiber wonder that would most certainly break the bank of most consumers. When the Naiad first went on sale, the cost was just under $40,000. That limited edition turntable eventually evolved into the Naia, which was slightly more affordable at under $15,000.
What Rega had created would continue to inspire more cost-effective offerings, which finally came into focus as the Planar 8 and 10. I purchased my Planar 8 about 3 years ago and it’s still just as brilliant as it was the first day I switched it on.
To date, the Planar 8 still sells strong and is often considered a stepping stone to truly high-end turntables. The Planar 8 can be purchased at many online retailers, such as Audio Advice for around $3,500.00. I fitted my P8 with a Rega Aphetta 3 cartridge and it is pure vinyl bliss.
Rega Planar 8
A modernized turntable engineered to deliver true-sounding vinyl playback.
The Rega Planar 8 specs
If you’re serious about your vinyl, you’re most certainly interested in the specs for the Rega Planar 8, which look something like this:
- RB880 precision tonearm
- Super flywheel effect triple-layer glass platter
- Double brace technology
- Tancast 8 foam core plinth
- Custom-matched Neo PSU (power supply)
- Reference EBLT drive belt
- Available in two matt finishes, Polaris grey and white
- Dimensions (WDH): 16.5″ x 12.4″ x 4.9″
- Weight: 9.3 lbs
The first thing people say when they lay eyes on my P8 is to comment on how different it looks. This isn’t your traditional turntable. The plinth (the base of the turntable) is a cut-out foam core skeleton that not only keeps things in place but dramatically dampens vibration.
On top of the turntable is a cover that is just as unique. Instead of being the typical boxy hinge lid, the P8 cover is a removable piece that is curved to perfectly fit the turntable. The lid serves as a means to keep dust from the mat and the cartridge and it does a fine job with that task.
It doesn’t, however, do a great job of protecting the needle. One time, after having the first Aphetta 3 cartridge, I was cleaning around the turntable, when the terrycloth towel caught the needle and bent it to about 45 degrees. That was a painful (and costly) lesson to learn. Since then, I’ve become meticulous about how I clean around the turntable.
Needless to say, the P8 lid is more form than function. Even so, I still use it to keep dust down.
Lid notwithstanding, the P8 is a gorgeous (albeit minimalist) turntable.
No matter how beautiful and artistic a turntable looks, the real judgment lies in the sound. Of all the turntables I’ve owned or heard, I’ve yet to hear anything to beat the sound that pours out from my turntable.
One of my favorite things to do is to play Rush’s Tom Sawyer for someone first from Spotify and then play the remastered vinyl edition on my Planar 8. The reaction never ceases to delight me as the unsuspecting listener hears things in that song they’ve never heard.
The Planar 8/Aphetta 3 combination digs out so much detail that you could close your eyes and believe the performers are standing right in front of you. You hear every instrument with a clarity you’ve probably never experienced.
Of course, the depth of sound you will hear does also depend on the rest of your setup. I’m using a Rega Aria MK3 MM/MC integrated amplifier, which is perfectly matched for the turntable. That combination offers a clean sound that includes just the right amount of warmth you’d want for vinyl.
Who is this for?
I wouldn’t recommend the P8 to someone just getting into vinyl. If that’s you, look more toward the Crosley Cruiser Plus turntable.
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For most people, I would recommend making your way up to the Rega P8. Start with something like the Crosley and then move up to the Rega Planar 3, then to the 8. Yes, the price jump is considerable, but the deeper you dive into the world of vinyl, the more you will inevitably spend.
Don’t be fooled, vinyl is an expensive hobby. So, if you’re not willing (or able) to spend the money, you’d do well to avoid getting into this hobby in the first place…because you will spend money (mostly on actual records). If you’re a music lover, however, think of it as an investment in joy — and the Rega Planar 8 will take that joy to previously unheard levels.