The Rega P9: Long Term

We reviewed the Rega P9 back in issue 11 and it was a fantastic turntable. Fantastic enough that I purchased the review sample for our reference system. Fantastic enough that two of my staffers that have borrowed my P9 for an extended listen wouldn’t give it back, forcing me to buy another and another. So while it might seem we are a little biased towards the brand here, it’s really the outstanding value to performance ratio that keeps us intrigued.

We’ll be posting the full review here from issue 11 issue shortly, but suffice to say that the P9 is probably one of the best values in a high end turntable today. While it’s modest looks don’t distinguish it all that much from it’s lower priced cousins (looking a lot like a somewhat upscale P25 on a lot of levels), that understatement is precisely what keeps the P9 from costing twice as much. Park a P9 next to the latest LP-12 with a $20k pricetag and $4,995 is downright inexpensive – you could buy a very nice system with the $15k left. Or maybe a nice used MV Agusta F4, but I digress.

Getting back to business, the P9 goes about its business quietly and efficiently. I can’t think of a table that’s easier to set up and if you use one of Regas cartridges, with their three point mounting system, you’ll be spinning records in ten minutes flat. Part of being an analogaholic is to be all about the tweaks, but honestly what makes the P9 one of my favorite tables is that there really is nothing to tweek. With it’s ceramic composite platter and machined subplatter, there’s nothing to upgrade there. Perhaps a pair of the somewhat controversial “white belts” (but they work brilliantly) and that’s it. Ok, I admit it, I have picked up the excellent Auditorium 23 mat from Whetstone Audio on their suggestion to good effect and I do use a Furutech Monza clamp, but that’s it.

The P9 is all about playing records, not fussing with records. While the full review will go into depth on the intricacies of the table, it has been compared to some of the world’s finest in its tenure here and it still comes up sounding great. Over the last four years I’ve had the opportunity to listen to all of the other tables in the Rega lineup, and what distinguishes the P9 from the rest of the flock is its uncanny bass weight along with the ability to unravel complex musical passages with ease. There’s a lot of low level detail on tap here which confirms the design decisions made. The large, external power supply contributes significantly to the low noise floor of the P9, as well as the speed stability. The days of moving the belt from the top of the drive pulley to the bottom are long gone.

Complaints and caveats? You’d think after such a long relationship there would be some unrest, but the only issue with using the P9 as a mainstay in my reference system is the connectors used at the end of the tonearm to connect the cartridge: they could stand an upgrade to something more robust. If you’re the kind of customer that only changes phono cartridges when they wear out (keeping with the no fuss ethos of the P9), you’ll never have a problem, but if you swap cartridges often, you will break the clamps. Be careful, as the tonearm leads go all the way through the arm, so you don’t want to botch this more than once.

Other than that, the Rega P9 is a great turntable to consider for a long term relationship.

-Jeff Dorgay