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Rega RB300 - OL Upgrades Worth It?

Discussion in 'audio' started by gninnam, Sep 14, 2021.

  1. gninnam

    gninnam Is it a hobby or a disease

    Had the RB300 since '94 and stopped using it for around 5 years then put it on the JVC TT-71 and I think it still performs well with a Denon 103M cartridge.
    Is the OL upgrades, stub, counter weight and the rewire worth the change (currently £270 for the bits and for them to do it) or sell the arm and add the £270 towards another arm?
  2. Nigel

    Nigel pfm Member

    I think a better option would be to send it to Audio Origami and let Jonnie check everything, rewire and strip the paint.
    Jason P likes this.
  3. gninnam

    gninnam Is it a hobby or a disease

    Thanks Nigel.
    Does the stripping of the paint improve the sonics or just the aesthetics and does he do any mechanical changes like OL do?
  4. Nigel

    Nigel pfm Member

    Well, it seems to lose some of it's greyness and becomes more lively sounding. It's carried out for the sound improvement not for it's looks. He will check the bearings as well.

    He can provide you with an alternative counterweight if required. The guy is a recognised tonearm specialist, one of the very best.

    Mr Pig will be able to explain it better if he picks up the thread.
  5. Robert

    Robert Tapehead

    I wouldn't 'upgrade' it using those mods.
    The internal wiring is perfectly fine. The 300 uses spring applied downforce which actually ensures consistent VTF is applied as the cartridge tracks warps - it's actually better than the usual method used to apply VTF using just a counterweight.

    For the cost of a rewire and those other mods, sell the 300 and buy the 880.
    pocketkitchen and Darren like this.
  6. Darren L

    Darren L pfm Member

    Rewiring the RB300 brings an excellent upgrade in sound quality but I've always opted to use the DIY Incognito (Cardas) kits, running continuous cable from cartridge tags to RCA plugs and a proper earth.
    The Michell counterweight makes a much more attractive and easier to set counterweight, beautifully machined .
    I've never tried any of the OL upgrades or AO upgrades, but @Robert has a fair point in suggesting selling the RB300 and buying a newer Rega tonearm, there recently was new b-stock examples of their top tonearm being sold at a discounted price , I think @Mr Pig may have bought one.
  7. gninnam

    gninnam Is it a hobby or a disease

    Thanks all - so do rewire, don't rewire, keep, sell..... :D
  8. gavreid

    gavreid pfm Member

    The OL is a worthwhile upgrade in my experience but I much preferred the technoweight to the OL or to stock. A rewire is good too - I had the Incognito I think. Both of these were 20 years ago though. Regas are built to a price, they can be improved but is it worthwhile for the money...
  9. flutteringwow

    flutteringwow Platinum Ears

    Its best to take advice from people who have done the upgrade, not ones who believe wire is all the same.

    Before my SME, I had an RB300. I rewired it with the Incognito kit, and it was amazing, totally lifted. I had Jonnie rewire it later as of all the raves, and it sounded horrendous - Van Damme wiring is just not for me especially silver plated. I personally feel those that think silver cable is of a benefit are the more elderly among us due to natural hearing loss of top end frequencies which silver extenuates. I sent it back and had it put back to the Incognito kit. You can rewire it yourself its not terribly tasking.

    I didn't like the sound with the paint removed - it lost some of its buffering and sounded too artically 'sparkly' if that makes sense. I never had the foam fill either so can't comment on that, but it may be useful as the RB300 does have a slight 'ringing' tendency.

    I use the Michell Technoweight with it which really helps set your TF, and a VTA adjuster from a company on eBay. Overall it was a great arm with the Technoweight and the Incognito kit.

    I believe Rega even did an upgraded wiring kit for it as the original wire was pretty naff. They may still do, someone from Rega is on this forum from time to time.
    Mr Pig and gninnam like this.
  10. alindsay

    alindsay pfm Member

    I'd definitely have a rewire by Audio Origami. I did this and the improvement was vast imo. I'd also suggest you have a chat with Jonnie first to get to know how and why he does what he does.
    gninnam likes this.
  11. gninnam

    gninnam Is it a hobby or a disease

    Cheers both.
    More food for thought - it works really well on the JVC TT-71 as it is so was just wondering if a rewire and general tidy would lift it again (which depending on what wire is used would work).
    Looked at the instructions OL have to do the rewire and like 'flutteringwow' mentions above, it didn't look to difficult, just fiddly.
  12. pocketkitchen

    pocketkitchen Registered User

    It’s a budget arm, albeit a very good one. I’d sell it as they have strong resale values and buy one of their better arms. You’ll likely get more back for it than you paid.
  13. gninnam

    gninnam Is it a hobby or a disease

    Not sure what I paid for it as it bought (new in '95) a Gyro which came with the arm and QC PSU (was £1089 all in, traded my Syncro and got £225 for that - I paid £225 for the Syncro in '85!)
    What is the value of RB300's then?
  14. hifi-dog

    hifi-dog pfm Member

    about £175-225 looking at ebay...
  15. hi-fi132

    hi-fi132 pfm Member

    I've always had Audio Origami carry out any arm work for me. One of my decks has his upgraded RB202 with every option bar the paint strip, including the upgraded bearings, foam fill, the cheapest internal wire and the external cable with additional ground. Johnny has always done stellar work, and always been happy to offer advice, never pushing any product or service and at times recommended less expensive options in situations where he could quite easily have made significantly more. I don't think much of the mechanical alterations OL make, nor some of their other products including the 'cartridge enabler' which does exactly the opposite in my experience.
  16. Jason P

    Jason P pfm Member

    My experience of an OL-1 arm (not a rebuild but factory bought) wasn't good, mounted to my LP12. I just didn't like it - killed the musicality stone dead. I'd go down the Audio Origami route if you wanted too, or sell and buy an Audiomods.
  17. gninnam

    gninnam Is it a hobby or a disease

    Cheers all - £175 sounds good.
    Will wait for pay day then and speak to Jonnie to see what the shizzle is and whether it is something I should do.
    hifi-dog likes this.
  18. Mr Pig

    Mr Pig ^'- -'^

    Actually, I've bought three. An RB202, RB303 and RB3000. The 3000 is a cosmetic second but there ain't much to give it away. Basically looks like maybe you fitted it to a turntable and took it straight back off again? The other arms are new old stock, perfect. There are still some new/old stock RB2000s for sale at £800 and frankly, I have no idea why. These are feckin good arms for the price of a forty year old Ittok?

    I think modding Rega arms makes sense up to a point. When you've spent £400 on mods to an arm worth £200 I'm thinking maybe just buy a better arm? Is a modded RB300 going to be as good as an RB2000? I very much doubt it.

    I've taken the paint off a couple and I think it's a very good thing to do. I very much like the effect. Opens the sound out and ads sparkle and detail. If the paint was better Rega's top arms would have paint on them. As you can do it yourself for the price of a tin of paint stripper...

    Generally, I'm not a big fan of silver cable either. When I was going to get my RB300 rewired I borrowed two arms off Johnnie, one with silver and one with copper rewires. I liked the extra detail of the silver but thought it was a bit thin and bright, typical silver. The copper was fuller and nicer but not a huge leap over stock I felt. I decided to get silver internal and copper external, a risk but it seemed to work. With the rewire and the paint off there was nothing about my Ittok that I missed. Apart from the beautiful aesthetics, what a hansom arm the Ittok is.

    I've had various Rega arms apart and if you want to rewire one yourself there are a few things you should be aware of. Just using the existing internal wires to pull new ones through is not a great idea. There are rubber grommets in the arm pillar which you can easily pull out of place and the cable needs to be carefully dressed at the top of the pillar inside the boss on the arm-tube. The very least you need to do is remove the counterweight stub so that you can see how the cable sits and make sure your new cable is not going to restrict the movement of the arm. One of the main differences as you move up the Rega arm ladder is the quality and adjustment of the bearings. You can't feel that difference by hand, just as you won't necessarily feel if your new arm cable is adding drag, but if it's not right you're loosing performance. If you just pull the cable through without that slack at the back of the arm there is no way it's going to be right. You might also notice that a lot of the wire used for rewires is a lot stiffer than the internal cable that Rega use?

    I don't understand the desire to change the grounding arrangement on Rega arms. I've never had any grounding problems with a Rega arm. I've had lots with arms with a separate ground! Funny how everyone thinks Rega arms are the best performing arms in the world yet also think Rega don't know what they're doing? ;0)

    Bottom line, it's hard to go wrong with the darn things. Robust, great value, sound great stock, sound great modded, you can't lose can you? I'm just spinning 'Wish You Were Here' on my new LP12 with RB3000 and feeling the love. Just beautiful music. If a Rega arm isn't doing it for you your problem lies elsewhere.
    flutteringwow and DAVEDWACK like this.
  19. gninnam

    gninnam Is it a hobby or a disease

    Thanks Mr Pig.
    Based on what you have said above, it sounds like a fettle of the RB300 will be worth it so long as I can keep the cost down to about 200 ish, much above this then probably another arm is the way to go.
    Will speak to Jonnie and work out the options then.
  20. cobbers

    cobbers pfm Member

    Never found any upgrades to the RB250/300 that I thought was worth the effort - a great budget arm but can't really be improved on either by counterweight or wiring, always found them too 'grey'
    Did build an Audiomods later and that was a vast improvement.

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