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Equipment Upgrade Service Review

Monday, 26th June 2023


Paul Rigby (theaudiophileman) recently carried out a YouTube review which was a little bit out of the ordinary. Rather than a straightforward product review, this time he looked at the whole process of our Equipment Upgrade Service.

Russ Andrews Upgraded Rega Planet CD Player


Paul points out that the remit of the service is wide, as we can upgrade pretty well any Hi-Fi component; where the specific model is not one we have upgraded before, he notes that we are happy for you to send it to us for a free assessment - we will then give you a price for the modification (there is no ‘premium’ for this service; the price is based on exactly the same formula as for the existing upgrades we offer).
 
 
"I loved the whole concept, I loved the service, I loved the entire modding experience: thumbs up all round”
 


Having remembered being impressed by the player when it came out in the 1990s, Paul was especially keen to assess our upgrade on the Rega Planet CD Player. But more than that, he also wanted to experience the service itself; the whole process and principles behind it.

So, he examines the type of upgrades we can offer and then moves on to compare the specific upgraded Rega Planet CD player to the original model, and then to a modern ‘higher-end’ CD player from Leema Acoustics (from the Elements range).


Rega Planet Upgrades

Why upgrade?

There are a number of reasons why you may want to upgrade the performance of an existing component, as Paul points out, including keeping more electrical goods out of landfill. Although this may be a valid reason, we’re not trying to play the environmental card here; the main reason we recommend these modifications is that they can bring big improvements to your kit without changing the overall character of the presentation.

Paul confirms that the service is “not designed to change the inherent design of your box - these mods are there to enhance the performance, so the basic sound signature should not be changed”.

The second point he raises is that this is strictly an upgrade service rather than for repairs. Repairing and fault-finding is another ballpark and one that ideally needs to be carried out by the original manufacturer.


Rega Planet CD Player

So, onto the comparison: how does the upgrade fair, first against the original model and then against the Leema?

The original 'un-modified' Rega Planet.

He starts by noting that the original version of the Rega “always tracks upper frequencies very well – indeed, symbol taps were easily discerned by the ear and subtle acoustic guitar strums featured good textural detail”. However, the presentation was far from perfect: “upper mids and treble were emphasised a tad and the presentation was rather hard… Despite the wealth of information on show here, the sound was a little tough, slightly disorderly and lacking in some subtlety and finesse”.

The Russ Andrews 'modded' version

In comparison, the upgraded version sounded “better; a lot better”.

One area in particular that affects the overall performance of the original spinner is the bass, which Paul describes as “not great but it's perfectly fine”.

Post upgrade, this is far from the case and the Planet now boasts “a controlled yet enhanced bass boost, which helps to enhance its tonal balance - that is, you keep the excellent treble performance, plus the delicacy around the upper mids and even the focus, but now you have more grunt around the lower frequencies with drums sounding more naturalistic”.

In addition, all that hardness around the treble was now gone, which brought major improvements, both “in terms of listening enjoyment” and by a clear reduction in “listening fatigue”.


Leema Elements CD PlayerLeema Elements comparison

Moving on to the comparison with the Leema Acoustics Elements CD player, Paul was clearly impressed with the way in which certain areas of the Leema’s performance trumped the modded Rega. Nevertheless, he admits that the “Russ Andrews Planet upgrade was an awful lot closer to the Leema than the original vanilla model… bass was largely on par… as was the tonal balance… it was not embarrassed by the Leema Elements at all; not by a long chalk”.

Summing up, Paul suggests that, although the faults of the standard Planet would get under his skin after a while, he could “easily live with the Russ Andrews Planet CD player upgrade”.

The Upgrade Service itself is “well worth the effort and it's well worth the money”.

Pros:
  • Low noise – “there's quite a lot of tech built into this mod to lower that noise floor and it works”
  • Bass – “I loved the enhanced Bass from the planets it shows you just what this CD player can do”
  • Soundstage – “compared to the original vanilla I liked the expanded soundstage”
  • Power Socket – “I thought that was a great addition it means you can upgrade your Mains cable and yes that does matter and yes that will enhance sound quality”
Cons:
  • None – “absolutely nothing at all  - I can't find anything wrong with this in any way. I loved the whole concept, I loved the service, I loved the entire modding experience: thumbs up all round”

theaudiophileman logoOnline magazine: theaudiphileman (video - also on his YouTube channel)
Publication date: 18th June 2023
Verdict: Groovy




 

Click here to watch the full review on YouTube
 

Click here for more about the Equipment Upgrade Scheme
 

Click here for details of the Rega Planet upgrade
 


N.B. this is an upgrade service only and does not include the CD player



 

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Comments


reviewed by Gregory Small
29 Dec 2023
"Rega Planet"
Can you please advise of costs to upgrade
Customer Service Reply Certainly: if you click on the link at the bottom of the article - 'Click here for details of the Rega Planet upgrade' - this will take you to details and prices of the upgrade.

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