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This review first appeared in the September 2013 issue of hi-end hifi magazine of Germany. You can also read this review of the
Rega RP8 in its original German version. We publish its English translation in a mutual syndication arrangement with the publishers. As is customary for our own reviews, the writer's signature at review's end shows an e-mail address should you have questions or wish to send feedback. All images contained in this review are the property of fairaudio or Rega - Ed.

Reviewer: Ralph Werner
Sources: VPI Scout II with VPI JMW 9T arm; Denon DL-103, Ortofon MC Rondo Bronce, Shelter 201 and Zu Audio DL-103 cartridges; SAC Gamma Sym phonostage; Luxman D-05 SACD player; Logitech Touch, Readynas Duo NAS server, HP Notebook, M2Tech Hiface, Benchmark DAC1 USB
Amplification: Octave HP300 with MC phono, Electrocompaniet AW180, Denon PMA-2010AE
Loudspeakers: Dynamikks Monitor 8.12, Thiel SCS4
Other: Creaktiv Trend 3 rack, fis Audio power delivery, cables from Ascendo tri-wire, Dynamikks Speakerlink, Ecosse ES 2.3, Zu Audio Libtec, Ecosse, Vovox, Mundorf and others
Review component retail: €2.500

Unlike some of their digital and amplification decks, Rega turntables tend to the straight-lined boxy, coming across plain enough to double as Egyptian pictographs for the breed. For the new RP8 that's true only when surrounded by the four-cornered frame which applies the Brits' typical board-plinth look. Lift the chassis skeleton out of its frame and very different visual associations apply. Those tie directly to Rega's low-mass philosophy. One thinks race track reductionism and general cool. It's the polar opposite to the high-mass excesses which resemble off-shore oil-drilling rigs. But perhaps after 40 years in the field our Englishmen finally got bored with their own understatement, suffered a bout of temporary insanity and had a sharp keyhole saw on hand.

No matter the inspiration, the Rega RP8 exudes an aura of no-compromise logic stripped back of all frills and flourishes. This apparently appeals to not just me. Shortly after introduction production couldn't keep pace with orders. Our domestic importer TAD Audio claims that availability has once again caught up with demand. €2.500 buys you a turntable with arm and external power supply but no cartridge. Add the firm's top Alpheta pickup and fork over €4.000 – no chopped liver by any stretch but $100 less than the sum total of individual tags (the Alpheta MC cart wants €1.600 by its lonesome).

The frame's receivers for the inner plinth's three footers use rubber strings for decoupling. The power supply signifies rotational speeds with red or green logo backlighting.

Taking a closer gander, the most unusual element here clearly is the inner plinth not just because it cuts out whatever Rega boss Roy Gandy viewed as unessential in his quest to build a maximally stiff but light base. The material mix too is unusual. It's a sandwich of outer phenolic skins around a foamed polyolefin center. The latter's precise composition took three years of R&D. Added to this are magnesium braces between tone arm and bearing which glue to the resin/foam mass top and bottom.

What gives with this material recipe? One immediately suspects different resonant behavior of dissimilar materials whose tight bonding acts subtractive in combination for what's technically called constrained-layer damping. That one would start off with lightweight stuff is typical for Rega. The core argument in brief is that vibrational energies can't ever be avoided entirely. Given that, a low-mass structure will store less energy over shorter intervals than a high mass equivalent. Voilà. The counter argument that high mass enjoys greater inertia is just as true of course. Hence the perennial competition and disagreement between both schools of thought.