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With Already Drowning one encounters the occasional noise element even if not in Baker's dedicated drone doom excess, for example halfway into "Tout Juste Sous La Surface, Je Guette". And when such a wall of sound piles up, it's good when it happens epically, i.e. size matters. The same goes for soundscape-type electronica or massed orchestral if one wishes for a full-immersion bath. But with handmade Pop/Rock, a small Jazz combo or singer/songwriter fare, things turn. And that's where the Rega played its trump cards. Here the musicians appear in high-definition bodies on the imaginary stage with cleanly allocated positioning. In a certain way individual songs felt more energetic as though delivered in concentrated form to juxtapose the more diffusive translucent camp. Very solid, nearly densified. Such high physicality in true 3D merely supported the very high joy of play which the Rega exhibits to such a profound degree. The illusion that the musicians are there directly in front of us comes off wonderfully. True class.

Conclusion. Rega's new RP8 is a consistent design developed from the ground up. Without a spare gram on its ribs, it is reduced to the essentials with great cunning and fabrication from the power supply to the triple-layer glass platter, tone arm and captive RCA cable. These Brits view a record player as an interdependent mechanical system which relies on a completely holistic approach to take full control of all parameters by design. Such thinking pays off sonically. In this price class I've not come across a competitor that would convey music with more liveliness, drive or propulsion. The skinny skeleton mobiles your inner dancing geek. But other sonic virtues aren't left behind. Tonally the Rega feels even if slightly leaning into the sonorous. Staging is ultra precise but on scale more compact than opulent. The base platform's potential is high enough to show off exotic pickups but even a good-ol' Denon DL-103 already takes off. It goes without saying that such a low-mass spinner appreciates an inert support. The ultimate such solution could be a wall-hanging shelf.

Demerits? Not really. Fit'n'finish are fine but not on a level where one brags about it. Career swappers who make a sport of weekly cartridge changes will quickly lose their taste for it. Particularly the VTA adjustment is a minor pain.

Psych profile for the Rega RP8...
Key strengths are highly infectious joy with in-the-pocket timing and great liveliness. The Rega acts as an injector of vitality. Dynamics and timing are spot on. Super.
Tonally the RP8 is mostly linear and retains excellent bite into the low bass. The treble veers into the soft to have the midband telegraph as more fulsome than lit up.
The bass is taut, energetic and wiry quick but not merely 'fast'. It is also well differentiated on tone colors. That's a true forté even if, mostly for an upcharge, more ultimate infrasonic power remains achievable.
Above average resolving power rules to the upper mids. Above that things get merely good or typical for the price. As such the Rega plays it safe to avoid getting hard or maximally explicit.
Very high accuracy of imaging with pleasingly dimensional sculpting. Overall stage dimensions are realistic to lightly compact rather than oceanic.

Belt-drive turntable
Trim: High-gloss black
33.3 and 45RMP
Weight & dimensions:
44 x 10 x 36cm WxHxD incl. dust cover, 5kg
Other: Decoupled frame, dust cover, felt mat and external power supply
Warranty: 10 years
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