Rega RP3 Turntable


Setup of the Rega RP3 Turntable

This is one of the quickest and easiest turntables to set up. Ever. If you get yours with a factory-installed cartridge, then all you need to do is unpack the system, install the platter and felt pad, plug in the power and signal cables, set the dustcover on top, set the tracking force and anti-skate control, remove the stylus guard and start playing records. That's it. No ground wire is also a big plus when it is time to get everything plugged in.

Due to logistical reasons, I received the cartridge after getting the turntable in. So I installed the Elys 2 cartridge myself and the operation was a breeze. Rega's cartridges have a third screw in the middle of the cartridge. Once I got this middle screw installed, the cartridge landed right on the money lengthwise as measured with the included Horizontal Tracking Angle (HTA) template. All I needed to do then was to adjust the HTA using the template and then lock the cartridge in place with the other two screws. There is no need to adjust the Vertical Tracking Angle as the system was designed for an Elys cartridge.

Later on in the review period, I switched to my Blackbird cartridge and found it was heavier and taller than the Elys 2. It still worked OK but I plan to get some shims one day soon as the Blackbird does respond significantly to tweaks in the VTA. I did need an Allen wrench to raise the lift mechanism so it would work with the BB cartridge. The adjustment screw is a rather small and atypical size, but this was no big deal for me as I happen to have the precise size of Allen key amongst my tools.

The tracking force adjustment is set through a graduated knob that uses a clockwork style spring to push the arm up. You start by setting the knob to zero, balance the arm assembly and then dial in the tracking force. This is ingenious but I still used a stylus force gauge to set the tracking force. I strongly recommend you use a stylus force gauge when setting up any tonearm to verify that the setting is in the specified range. Rega suggests setting the force to the top of the range as recommended by the cartridge manufacturer. I generally agree with this.

I placed the TT PSU on a shelf below my turntable stand. The TT PSU has a wall wart that feeds the speed box unit. There is a multi-conductor umbilical cord that sends power to the table. The cables are generous lengths and I doubt anybody will need an extension except in the most unusual circumstances. The TT PSU has a power toggle on the left and a speed toggle on the right. It is a bit of a lightweight unit but it nevertheless serves its intended function with a stately confidence.