As some of you know i've recently bought an old planar 3 with an RB200 arm, I decided to get a Rega after hearing Paul's (PGarrish) Planar 2 at the NWBO and being struck by just how good these decks are.

The deck i bought was a la eBay and was in good condition, however the anti skate belt in the arm had perished and so initially i was going to change it and get the arm rewired, anyway the replacement belts are no longer available and Johnny from Audio Origami, who used to do the work no longer does, so i did a trade in and got a new RB202.


While i was waiting for the new arm to arrive, I ordered two new drive belts, i fitted one and tested the deck for speed accuracy, i found that it was running a bit fast, between 34 and 35 rpm, so i decided to service the deck itself, this was the start of the ongoing upgrade journey. The first thing that struck me about the Rega decks is their sheer simplicity, a piece of chipboard, a barring, a motor, a platter and sub platter and 3 rubber feet, very basic stuff. Then while taking the motor out i thought there must be a better way of mounting it, my deck is from the 70's so the motor is held onto a support bar by a rubber band, the support bar is screwed to the underside of the plinth, there is a hole in it where the pulley pokes through, but there wasn't any material to absorb any motor noise from traveling through the deck, the motor is held reasonably firmly by a rubber band, but its held metal on metal to the bar.

So step 1 was to try and get some sort of absorbing material between the motor and the deck itself, i decided to use 3mm sorbothane sheet cut to the foot print of the motor, i also cut 2 sorbothane washers for the bolt heads to rest against, rather than them being in direct contact with the plinth, i tightened everything up so that the motor was held but the sorbothane wasn't crushed. At this point while servicing the motor, i replaced the pulley for a twin belt type and also fitted a thrust barring to the motor. As i had some sorbothane spare i decided to cut discs to the same size of the rubber feet to further isolate the deck from noise. Next i cleaned the barring and replaced the plastic sub platter for a metal one, this combined with the twin belt arrangement speeded start up time and improved speed stability, after testing the speed is now running between 33 and 34 rpm.

Once the arm arrived i fitted it which was nice and easy basically a straight swap, all i needed to do was drill the three holes for the fixing screws, i fitted my Ortofon VMS 30 mk2


The deck sounded really nice, with the only niggle being that i could hear some noise in the background once the stylus was in contact with the record, i thought maybe motor noise, or could it be coming from the phone cables, this is a stock RB202 and like most Rega arms they incorporate the earth lead into the negative side of the phono lead, i'd heard that acrylic platters are a worth while upgrade and help isolate noise even more so as this was a cheaper option than a new arm or a rewire i decided to go for a 20mm acrylic platter, my thinking was that if it makes no difference at least it looks nice and if it sounds worse then i've still got the glass original. The new plinth arrived today and has had the overall effect of improving both high and low frequencies, the bass seems deeper and more controlled and cymbals seem more light and airy, however the noise is still there.

So what's next, well i have an SRM Audio sub plinth on order, this will decouple the motor from the main plinth completely and either sort the background noise out for good or lead me to look at the tonearm more closely, i also have a new birch ply plinth on order, i don't expect any sonic improvement from this, it has a rosewood veneer so it's more about the look of the deck and finally i've got a hankering for an audio Mods series 5 arm, but that will probably be a well deserved Christmas present to myself