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Rega Planar PL1 review: the best cheap turntable you can get

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Nov 21,2022


The Rega Planar PL1 is the latest version of an entry-level record player first introduced in 2005 – and this may be the best version yet, which is saying something. For very nearly 50 years now, Rega has been setting turntable standards – and at all price-points.

The Rega Planar PL1 is not a very luxurious item, no – paying out for this doesn't buy you something that looks deluxe. But everything about the Planar PL1 is fit for purpose, and where the real essentials are concerned, it’s worth every penny. The motor, bearings, tonearm and cartridge are all carefully designed and engineered, and the attention to detail here is apparent in the sound quality. 

In almost every way, the Rega explains what it is people love about the best turntables as a way to enjoy music and, by extension, why vinyl has dodged the coffin all these years. It presents music as a unified, integrated whole, as a tangible performance rather than as a collection of individual strands or events. It does great work making rhythms and tempos feel natural, it extracts an awful lot of fine detail without getting uptight about it, and it has the sort of dynamic heft that can make your hair stand on end.

Not every turntable brand considers this sort of money to be ‘entry level’, it’s true. But if you want to know why vinyl is still a preoccupation for so many music-lovers, and if you perhaps want to be lured into a lifetime of tonearm adjustment, cartridge upgrades and vinyl subscription services, well… you know what to do.  

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