We asked Rega founder Roy Gandy a few questions about the remarkable RP10 turntable.
Jason Kennedy: Does the arm have better bearings than an RB1000?
Roy Gandy: The arms have evolved continuously over the 30 plus years we have been making them. We can now get much better bearings with finer tolerances which mean that the best of those bearings has considerably less movement than earlier ones. There's no such thing as a perfect bearing, but when you consider that a 10kHz signal in the middle of a record has a peak to peak movement of 10 microns, one micron of movement in the bearing represents a 10% error. So the perfect bearing is one that doesn't move at all.
We have also lowered the mass of the arm, the lighter base of the RP8 and RP10 needs a lighter arm to avoid a stress point where the arm is fixed to the base. The arm base on the RB2000 is aluminium alloy rather than stainless steel that was used on the RB1000.
Does it have a different bearing or sub platter to RP8?
They both the same brass bearing housing but the RP10 has a larger boss in order to take the ceramic platter.
What support do you recommend?
Play with it. Ideally the support should be rigid rather than isolating. Supports with movement in them will affect the movement of the turntable itself and cause problems but they can be of use to keep out vibration caused by speakers. But the source of most vibration is airborne.
Why felt mats?
The platter must be hard and flat but records are not flat so they need a cushioning interface that provides maximum support without adding a springy effect. We use pure wool mats because they are closest to the ideal support and damp vibration in the record, this is picked up through the air rather than created by the cartridge by the way, records act like a microphone diaphragm.
So do you recommend playing with the lid down?
No, we used to but in high humidity situations you get a static build up that can lift cartridges off the record!
How do you set up anti-skate?
(Laughs) It's not critical and varies with the depth of the groove. In almost all circumstances it's not important but if you get mistracking on the right channel you need a bit more bias. Our arms have magnetic anti-skate and we provide markings on the bias adjuster to match the downforce of the cartridge.
Why have two short belts between motor and subplatter?
Two belts iron out the inconsistencies that exist with all rubber belts. We use chloroprene belts because they can be produced without the flashing that is created by moulded construction but we've been working on a neoprene belt for the Naiad because it is far more consistent than rubber, the only problem is removing mould flashing. We are working on a way to do this but finding people that know about developing such things is very difficult, we discovered a man who used to work for British tape deck manufacturer Neal, probably the only expert in this area that there is in the UK.