[Purchase Advice] Bluenote or Rega

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by dastinger, Jul 25, 2019.

  1. dastinger

    dastinger Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Portugal
    Hey guys,

    I'm thinking about finally upgrading my P1 and need to study my options. I was inclined to Regas because I love the look and sound of them. But I found a pretty sweet deal on a Bluenote Villa Bellavista (Borromeo arm). Now, I had never heard about Bluenote before, but the deck looks lovely and it retailed for a pretty steep price.

    I can get a used Rega P5, a new Planar 3 or the Bluenote for around the same price. Which one would you go with and why?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Optimize

    Optimize Forum Resident

    Location:
    EU
    Why upgrade sideways?
    With sideways I mean that you get a tone arm with the same features. But if it has more adjustment that will benefit you and your adjustment of your cartridge to get more/better performance out if your cartridg.

    That will give you better performance gain than "just" a better/pricier tone arm that have the same adjustments that your old had..

    If you invest in a for example a Stogi S 12 VTA then you can add a adjustment for VTA on the fly. And you will optimize your cartridge investment to the full.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. dastinger

    dastinger Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Portugal
    @Optimize

    Thanks for your help!

    I understand what you mean, but I wouldn't consider jumping from a P1 to either of the other 3 tables a sideways jump. It is definitely an upgrade in many aspects.

    And there's really not that much info about the Bluenote, but I'm almost sure it has VTA adjustment either on the arm or the platter.
     
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  4. russk

    russk Forum Resident

    Location:
    Syracuse NY
    Going from a p1 to a p3 is definitely a substantial upgrade. Several years ago when I was looking at a second table to go along with my SL1200 I tried an RP1 and really didn’t care for it. It’s speed instability just made it too difficult to listen to and it was a noisy table. Heard an RP3 and found it to be pretty nice and almost a match for the 1200. Then actually ended up getting an RP6 which I think was a step up from the 1200.

    The new P3 is a very nice table. You’ll notice a substantial improvement across the board. The P6 is great. If you could wait a few more months and get a P6 you’d really enjoy it. Might never need to upgrade.

    As far as VTA goes I wouldn’t even worry about with these tables and get a Rega Exact. Perfect match for the arm and great sounding cartridge. The slight difference in VTA caused by changes in vinyl weight won’t make much, if any, of a difference. Either way it won’t come anywhere near the difference in sound you’ll get by getting the much better table and better arm.
     
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  5. dastinger

    dastinger Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Portugal
    Hey, thank you so much for your help!

    Yeh, I'm absolutely sure that the P3 will be a substantial upgrade in a lot of aspects and I really dig Regas. I don't think the P3 can be beaten in the same price range. I'm just not sure about which one to get, the P3 or the P5 (aesthetically, I love the P5 and the RB700 is considered to be one of the best Rega's arms ever). And then there's the Bluenote which I had never heard of before but seems to be a great piece of equipment. And if original retail price means anything, it should be better than the P3. But there's a lack of information and I'm not sure if it's actually worth it over the P3 or not.
     
  6. Ontheone

    Ontheone Poorly Understood Member

    Location:
    Indianapolis
    I completely agree. Doing these $500 "upgrades" for very nominal performance increases creates a vicious cycle of perpetual disposable turntables for years to come. I would be far more interested in getting into a better table (possibly used Kuzma or VPI which both have way more upgradability bandwidth) and stop wasting money. Unless you have an amazingly resolving rig (which wouldn't make sense if you're using a P1 as your source), you will not hear much difference between tables at this price point. The biggest "upgrade" in getting into the P3 is probably more attributable to the RB330 tonearm and not the table itself. You will later learn to despise the RB330 as you venture further down the analog rabbit hole because it's so difficult to make adjustments to VTA and azimuth.
     
  7. dastinger

    dastinger Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Portugal
    The thing is, my rig is pretty basic. Yes, I know I'll want to upgrade in the future and, in fact, I'm probably gonna get my uncle's setup for a very very VERY good price (B&W 804s Matrix, Forte Audio Model 4 and a PS Audio pre), so I also need to think about how much is going into that.

    I mean, I totally understand where you're coming from, but you're telling me "Hey, don't spend €700 on this Rega, spend €2.500/3k on this Kuzma or VPI". It's not that straightforward.
     
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  8. Optimize

    Optimize Forum Resident

    Location:
    EU
    Well said. Exactly what I meant.

    Not to snow in on VTA but a ordernary tone arm adjustment and vs adjusting while you play the record and get instant feedback.

    Is like a analogy to the old 35 mm film on a analog camera vs a digital camera there you get feedback instantly.

    When you hit exactly the sweet spot that you more or less never is at with ordernary tone arms. You have the ball in the arena but not in the soccer field.
    You can quickly adjust it for different albums with various thickness.
    You can get the VTA on the soccer field and leave it there but you know it is in play and good enough. And certainly better than somewhere on the spectator stands. :agree:
     
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  9. Optimize

    Optimize Forum Resident

    Location:
    EU
    Ahh, the 804 Matrix is great! Love that speaker. :love:
     
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  10. russk

    russk Forum Resident

    Location:
    Syracuse NY
    Talking about VTA on the fly for a table with poor speed stability is kind of ridiculous. Worrying about dialing in the last 5% when your missing the first 95% is a bit backwards
     
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  11. Dhreview16

    Dhreview16 Forum Resident

    Location:
    London UK
    You won’t go wrong with a new Planar 3, particularly if you can stretch a bit and get a deal on an Exact rather than Elys cart.
     
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  12. Ontheone

    Ontheone Poorly Understood Member

    Location:
    Indianapolis
    Agreed, but while the Rega P3 doesn't justify VTA on the fly capability, it's use of VTA adjustments only through use of spacers is ridiculous in my view. Something in between those solutions is probably the goldilocks answer.
     
  13. russk

    russk Forum Resident

    Location:
    Syracuse NY
    The op has a Rega P1. Putting a nice tonearm on it is just crazy. The sweet-spot with Rega is to use there own cartridges. The Exact on a P3 or P6 is a solid combo and no spacer is needed and you can usually get a pretty good deal on the package. Rega is about plug and play and taking user error out of the turntable equation. The do a pretty good job at it. Super easy setup and very enjoyable sound. More about listening to vinyl then fussing with equipment.

    If you don’t want to use there cartridges and especially if you’re looking to use exotic stylus profiles then you’re much better off getting something like the Technics SL1200GR.
     
  14. Optimize

    Optimize Forum Resident

    Location:
    EU
    Hmm no that is all out of proportion. :)

    For example a old belted Thoréns from the 80-ties. Had a speed stability ~ ±0.35% that I measured couple of days ago.

    [​IMG]

    So with your funny logic than VTA is kind of ridiculous important when it is counting for the remaining whopping 99,65%.. :angel: (just joking, like I hope you did with taking things out of proportion)

    It is always better to have numbers than those Rega that doesn't state any specifications that I can find on their home page.
    That just leave out a lot of opinions that clouding the waters. And nobody knows anything. And we only have a lot of opinions and statements that has little to do with the reality.
    Please point me to were the specifications are on those Rega TT?
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2019
  15. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Buying another iffy QC'd rubber band table after having problems with one strikes me as masochistic or a case of misplaced priorities.
     
  16. russk

    russk Forum Resident

    Location:
    Syracuse NY
    Rega doesn’t give wow and flutter specs because there tables are notoriously bad. You can find them in other reviews of their tables if you google them. I guarantee you the old thrones table you measured has much better speed stability then an Rp1 or 2. The vinyl nirvana restored Thornes table I’ve heard a couple of times is a bit better overall than my RP6. I’m stating that I by no means have perfect pitch. In fact, Rega tables wouldn’t be on my list of decent turntables till you hit the new P3 or RP6 level because their pitch instability issues and platter wobble and noise problems make a lot of their older models and their current entry level tables almost unlistenable. That and the RP1 is just plain loud as in makes too much mechanical noise.

    What I was trying to say in my earlier post is that the Rega 1 and 2 tables have audible pitch instability that is a bigger problem with the sound then getting that last quarter of a degree of SRA right with non Rega cartridges. If the OP could swing it I would always recommend a Technics table or even a Vinyl Nirvana Thornes table if he wants to use non Rega cartridges.
     
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  17. james

    james Forum Resident

    Location:
    Annapolis
    An old P5 vs the current Planar 3? I think the latter, no question.
     
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  18. dastinger

    dastinger Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Portugal
    But that's the thing... The P3, mainly with a PSU, does not have speed instability issues. What would you recommend I buy for €650/700 that is better than the P3, has otf VTA adjustment, better speed stability etc.? Please be aware that I'm in Europe.

    I'd love a Vinyl Nirvana Thorens, but I'm in Europe. Buying directly from them is not an option unless I wanted to spend a ton of money in shipping and taxes.

    And no, I'm not gonna stick with Rega carts so if you think there are better options for the same price, please let me know.
     
  19. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Does the P3 come with the Neo PSU in Europe? Over here it doesn't. A P3 with no cart is $945 and the TTPSU is another $395. Add that up and we're at $1,340.

    How much is a 1200 mk7 or 1200 GR in Europe?

    Also keep in mind that once you get the Neo PSU it doesn't mean your speed issues magically vanish. You will need to calibrate the speed using the adjustment screw and a strobe disc when you receive it. You also will need to monitor the speed periodically and make sure it doesn't drift when the belt stretches or if the cheapo motor acts up.
     
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  20. Randoms

    Randoms Aerie Faerie Nonsense

    Location:
    UK
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2019
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  21. Helom

    Helom I'll take the monkey coffins

    Location:
    U.S.
    The following review includes a fairly deep analysis (oddly so) of the Bellavista vs some older Regas, with the former alleged to have much better speed accuracy. Its claimed specs are impressive for a terrible "rubber band" turntable, and its sound (which is what matters) will certainly outperform any mass produced, mid-tier direct-drive, of that I have zero doubt.

    bellavista

    The Bluenote retailed for $2K (with tonearm) in 2003, which means a similar setup would likely sell for $2750 in today's market. Assuming it's in good condition, your choice is easy, get the Bluenote.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2019
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  22. dastinger

    dastinger Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Portugal
    A P3 with no cartridge here costs €690. The Neo costs €269. So we're looking at a total cost of around €950. And that's assuming the dealer doesn't throw a 10% discount or something like he usually does.

    A SL-1200GREG-S costs €1500.

    And does the speed check would need to be done that many times, really?

    Thank you!! I'll read it thoroughly.

    And I can tell you I can get that Bluenote Bellavista (normal one, not signature) for a lot less than €2k. Less than €1k even.
     
  23. russk

    russk Forum Resident

    Location:
    Syracuse NY
    The price you can get Rega tables over there makes them hard to be beat. I’m not a fan of Project tables because all of the ones that I’ve seen in the US are noisy, have issues with hum and pretty poor quality control. What does the new Technics 1500c run their? The Pioneer PLX1000 would also be a table to consider if you aren’t going to be using Rega cartridges.

    If you can get a good deal on a Dynavector 10x5 or a Nagaoka MP200 or MP300 those would work equally well on the Rega P3, 1500c, or the PLX1000. The Rega would just need a 2mm or 3mm shim to get the SRA pretty close to ideal and would sound great. The other tables would definitely let you dial the sound in a little better and be a bit more resistant to footfalls and give you more mat and record clamp options.
     
  24. englishbob

    englishbob Its a s*** business

    Location:
    Kent, England
    Get a Technics

    VTA adjust - standard
    Pitch stability - standard
     
  25. Helom

    Helom I'll take the monkey coffins

    Location:
    U.S.
    I suspect you'd really have to get a table like the Rega P6 or Technics GR to match the Bellavista.

    Contrary to what many want to believe, turntable technology peaked, probably, sometime around the late 90s for belt-drives, and earlier for other types. What we find now are just different combinations and qualities of materials. Of course, with the more expensive models having lower noise floors, better tracking, greater speed stability, etc. This is basically what my local VPI/Rega/SME/Pro-Ject dealer admitted to me. Just about all turntable manufacturers know how to make a great sounding table, they just have to make compromises based on their target market. No single company is producing a product line that is superior to everything else at a given price point. Pro-Ject often gets a bad rap for their entry-level products (deservedly so), however, my local dealer loves the RPM-10 Carbon and claims it competes with far pricier models from others.

    If one were to compare Rega's TOTL turntable from 10 years ago to today's RP10, I wouldn't be surprised if they'd conclude it a wash, with each having a different set of strengths. This isn't to say their new P3 isn't better than the RP3, only that they've long known how to make a table that sounds much better than a P3. My point is that the Bellavista shouldn't be discounted due to age, it's probably every bit as good as today's $2700 offerings.
     
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