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Cartridge upgrade Rega P1

Discussion in 'audio' started by Countryman, Apr 11, 2021.

  1. Countryman

    Countryman pfm Member

    Evening all. Enjoying getting into vinyl with the P1 but am aware the cartridge it came with is pretty basic. Sound us good but can be rather boxy and one dimensional. Can anybody suggest a good cartridge upgrade to open up the music. Budget up to £100. Many Thanks.
     
  2. linnfomaniac83

    linnfomaniac83 I bet you can’t wheelie a unicycle!

    The Elys 2 worked very well on a Planar 1 for me. The Elys 2 is about £125 retail but you might be able to get it cheaper.

    Another surprisingly good option, I fitted an AT95E to my P5 ready for sale earlier and it was remarkably smooth, clean and open. It WAY exceeded my expectations, I’m sure the new owner will be delighted with it.
     
  3. Amber Audio

    Amber Audio This is the Day

    Similar here, needed a cheap cart temporarily and took a punt on the VM95E, much better than you would expect to hear for £40, the 95ML at £130 with the discounted deals that are around is fab, you could get the E then upgrade the stylus later.
     
    linnfomaniac83 likes this.
  4. linnfomaniac83

    linnfomaniac83 I bet you can’t wheelie a unicycle!

    Good idea, the interchangeable styli make upgrades super easy and cost effective. The 95e punched well above its weight on the P5/Neo. I’ve previously used much more expensive cartridges on it with the minimum being an Ortofon 2M blue, the AT gives very little away to the Ortofon given the price difference. I fitted the AT so as the deck would at least be ready to use for a new owner, I’d had a Quintet Blue fitted but I’ve transferred that to my LP12... the AT95 is good enough to stay on the P5... a more expensive cartridge like the Quintet blue is a definite step up... but it’s about £280 after trading in your worn out cartridge when the time comes, and it does come... £30 for a new AT stylus.
     
    Amber Audio likes this.
  5. Countryman

    Countryman pfm Member

    Thanks both. AT seems the way forward as it seems to be a pretty hassle free swap in terms of set up. Cheers
     
    Amber Audio likes this.
  6. Amber Audio

    Amber Audio This is the Day

    I was swapping arms around on a PT and trying various things, didn’t want to risk the OC9 I had ready for it so bought a new 95E, it was so good when I read about the ML I bought one. Using it on a Techy to spin through a bunch of 12” from my youth, then it’ll simply be a stylus swap onto the Mrs’s PT and the OC9 will stay under its’plastic dome. Whoever bought your P5 will be getting a great start with that 95, it’s good to use/hear something so popular, get a benchmark and compare your opinion with other forum folk and pro reviewers.
     
  7. PerF

    PerF Scandinavian Member

    The VM95E is probably the best bet for new cheap alternative, ML or SH stylus could be fitted later, easy click-on.

    BUT you already have a Carbon (which is a rebranded AT 3600L)
    An elliptical stylus for these could be a snap upgrade for even less than a VM95E.
     
    narabdela likes this.
  8. Countryman

    Countryman pfm Member

    So you’d advocate a stylus upgrade, rather than the whole cartridge?
     
  9. PerF

    PerF Scandinavian Member

    That would be the easiest and probably cheapest..
    I have not compared a pimped Carbon vs VM95E admittedly.
    They are both undoubtedly excellent VFM.

    I have used both cartridges albeit in various decks and setups, I feel VM95 is the better solution, I like the insert threads and SH/ML stylus option, have just fitted a Shibata to my own VM95.

    You might even be able to sell on the Carbon to finance partly another cartridge, many believe a Rega Carbon is their own design and ready to pay.
     
  10. Hungry Halibut

    Hungry Halibut pfm Member

    I had a P1 - the plus version with the phono stage. I added the ‘performance pack’ - the Bias 2 cartridge, felt mat and upgrade belt - and it was a very significant improvement. It’s no longer officially sold as a pack but a dealer should be happy to put it together for you. It cost £100, so a saving on the bits separately. The Bias is less tall than the Carbon, and the thicker felt may makes up the difference.
     
  11. PerF

    PerF Scandinavian Member

    Rega Bias is now discontinued or at least removed from their website.
     
  12. Countryman

    Countryman pfm Member

    Curiously, I was going to upgrade the mat, but might go for an acrylic platter. Can’t find the performance pack available anywhere, nor the Bias. Nice package, though.
    The AT cartridge seems like a good first step, with future upgrading possible, too.
     
  13. Hungry Halibut

    Hungry Halibut pfm Member

    Sorry, I’ve just checked an the Bias is discontinued. I’d be wary of changing platters and perhaps other stuff. The P1 is good, but it’s still basic - the arm, bearing and sub platter will always be a limit. A better cartridge is a good idea, and the mat and belt but I wouldn’t go too far. You’re better saving the money for a better deck.
     
  14. linnfomaniac83

    linnfomaniac83 I bet you can’t wheelie a unicycle!

    Agreed!
     
  15. hifi-dog

    hifi-dog pfm Member

    I put a glass platter from an old p2 on mine.. way better than the laminate platter.. and am at95e too.
     
  16. Mr Pig

    Mr Pig ^'- -'^

    I would get a VM95e, 2M Red or something along those lines which will give you a bit more than the Carbon without getting silly. Because spending much more on a cartridge for a P1 is getting silly. It's a fantastic deck for the money but if you have a chunk of money to spent you'd be better investing it in a better deck. The rewards will be bigger.

    You could 'boy racer' the deck but I don't think that's wise either. You know, kid wants a Focus RS but can only afford a Fiesta Ecoboom. So he buys the cheap car then goes to Halfords and buys whatever he can afford that week. Spends a lot of money in dribs and drabs but still doesn't end up with the RS.

    If you want a better deck, save the pennies and buy a better deck. The P1 makes good music just as it is so enjoy it until then.
     
  17. Countryman

    Countryman pfm Member

    Having looked at a few options and having had a think, this strikes me as the best course of action. A new AT VM95E should be a little boost but, on the basis I’ve seen second hand planar twos which have been serviced with new belts, platters and cartridges for the cost of a new P1, it makes more sense to upgrade properly.
     
    Mr Pig and linnfomaniac83 like this.
  18. Mr Pig

    Mr Pig ^'- -'^

    Yes. The P2 gets you a glass platter, which isn't that much better to be honest, and a better arm.

    If you're buying a used deck don't pay over the odds for one with a better cartridge. Consider the cart of no value, because it might be, and if it has any life left that's a bonus.
     
  19. Craig B

    Craig B Re:trophile

    Should vinyl records be (or become) a primary source then many would suggest bigger turntable upgrade steps than the next model up. New P3 vs. used P6 (or perhaps an RP6), for example.

    Personally, I'd at least want to have a go with a DIY performance pack of AT-VM95E, used Planar 2 glass, and fresh Rega wool mat before parting with a P1. Should come in at well under budget.
     
    hifi-dog likes this.
  20. Mr Pig

    Mr Pig ^'- -'^

    The glass platter is such a small upgrade over the plastic one I wouldn't bother. The mat on the P1 and P2 are the same. Basically, the only thing there going to make much difference is the 95e.

    I agree that I'd be looking to leapfrog the P2 and go for the P3. Or you could buy a nice used Systemdeck or something like that.
     

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