The turntable has a major impact on the sound quality of your music records, so it’s always essential that you pay extra attention while buying one.
If you have a spare budget to upgrade your turntable or you’re planning to opt for a high quality option from the get-go, your choice will usually come across one of two popular picks on the market, which are Project or Rega.
To help you pick the ideal one for your needs, here’s a quick guide that puts Project X1 vs Rega Planar 3 in a simple yet conclusive comparison. So without further ado, let’s dive right in!
The Project X1 is ideal if you’re planning to upgrade the cartridge in the future because it’s compatible with a wider variety of cartridges while the Planar 3 is only designed to fit Elys cartridges.
Project also has a better speed control system along with a more stable platter while Rega Planar 3 has an overall better and more sophisticated tonearm and cartridge system.
What Is Project X1?
Project is a renowned analog audio equipment manufacturer that has been around since 1991.
The Austrian company was established by Heinz Lichtenegger with a goal to build high-quality hi-fi systems and turntables with a wide variety of features to suit different budgets and requirements.
The company has various turntable lines, but Project X1 is among the most popular options on the market.
This one features a simple turntable that is remarkably sleek all the while being sturdy and stable to provide you with a unique audio fidelity.
The turntable is designed with a sleek MDF walnut base that is both aesthetically pleasing while being surprisingly durable and adding stability to the system.
The Project X1 also features a remarkable 3 speed system that allows you to switch between 33, 45, and 78 rounds per minute (RPM) electronically.
This means that you don’t need to switch pulleys between different speeds, although you still need to use a low motor pulley for the 78 RPM.
The turntable is belt-driven and supported by metal feet, which is ideal for a clear audio experience because it reduces vibrations while rotating, and therefore emits almost zero noise from the rotation motor.
The system is also equipped with an 8.6 inch RB330 tonearm that is assembled by hand for extra precision by minimizing resonance.
The system is also equipped with a 20 mm thick acrylic platter that weighs 1.5 kg to absorb vibrations while playing.
The tonearm is also coupled with an S2 MM cartridge from Ortofon, which provides excellent audio quality for audiophiles.
The setup of this turntable is quite simple and the cartridge is easy to install and replace if you’re planning to upgrade.
Project X1 is compatible with a huge range of cartridges, which is another customization bonus, although the factory-fitted cartridge sounds great anyway!
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Rega is another big name in the turntable industry. The company is based in the United Kingdom and has been making quality products since 1973.
This means that Rega has around 50 years of experience under its belt, which is why many of its products won several awards over the years.
The Rega Planar 3 offers a surprisingly fine quality, which is why it’s one of the best-selling models on the market, despite being relatively pricey.
The turntable features an impressive bel-driven mechanism, which helps in reducing resonance and flutter while playing records.
Although the Rega Planar base is made of hard polymers, it’s quite sturdy and lasts a lifetime. It also helps in keeping the Planar 3 lightweight. The system weighs around 6 which is great for portability.
Of course, lighter weight means less stability while playing records. However, this one is fitted with a 12 mm glass thick platter to keep the system stable and reduce resonance while keeping the system slick.
The glass also has polished edges so that it doesn’t damage the records or hurt your hands while switching records. This helps in improving sound quality and reducing unnecessary resonance.
The turntable also features a sleek RB303 tonearm that is highly sophisticated and made from aluminum and carbon to keep it lightweight and sensitive.
Like most Rega turntables, this one is equipped with Rega’s own Elys cartridge. Those cartridges are usually of higher quality than most factory-fitted options out there.
However, the catch here is that Rega turntables are usually only compatible with them, which limits your options while upgrading.
The overall sound quality of the Rega Planar 3 is quite phenomenal, especially when it comes to sound fluidity and bass strength.
Although the two turntables are fierce competitors, they have various differences when it comes to specifications and features.
The main differences between the two lie in their speed control systems as well as the cartridges installed.
Upgradability is also another aspect where the Planar and the X1 are set apart, as the Project turntable is compatible with a wide variety of cartridge models while Rega turntables are usually exclusively designed for certain cartridges.
The two tonearms installed in these systems are different, but they’re very close to each other in terms of performance.
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Both the Project X1 and the Rega Planar 3 are excellent choices if you’re looking for a high-quality turntable, whether it’s a simple upgrade from your old rig or your first turntable ever.
The two turntables share a few features that are characteristic of their price ranges, as they’re both rated within the same price category, although Project X1’s price is more variable when compared to the Rega Planar 3.
For example, the two systems are nearly identical when it comes to build quality and dimensions.
The two turntables have different theoretical power consumption ratings. However, it doesn’t have much of an impact on sound quality and audio fidelity in general.
Both Project X1 and Rega Planar 3 are equipped with a belt drive system that is ideal for minimizing vibrations and internal resonance while playing records.
The Project X1 is a nicely balanced turntable that offers amazing sound quality that is quite comparable to the Rega Planar 3.
However, you can easily notice how stable Project X1 is in comparison, thanks to the thicker platter that is made of acrylic, allowing it to absorb vibrations and resonance more efficiently than the Rega Planar 3.
Another advantage that the Project turntable has is cartridge compatibility. This allows you to switch it for a higher quality one and save the cost of a new turntable.
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The Rega Planar 3 is quite close to the Project X1 in terms of general audio quality. Yet, it has its advantages and disadvantages against the X1.
For example, while the Rega Planar has a relatively thinner platter, it’s made of smooth glass to add extra weight to the base. This improves the stability of the records playing and maintains consistent quality.
Additionally, the Rega Planar 3 might have limited options when it comes to upgrading your turntable cartridge.
With that being said, the turntable uses a superior cartridge that offers an outstanding level of sensitivity and produces immaculate sound straight out of the box, so you may not need to upgrade it in the long run.
Although the difference between the two systems isn’t big in terms of price, the Planar 3 is slightly more affordable than the Project X1.
The Project X1 is an excellent option for anyone who’s serious about the analog audio experience and wants a relatively durable and practical turntable without compromising audio quality or performance.
Besides durability, anyone who is planning to upgrade their gear in the long run and doesn’t want to be limited to certain options should consider the Project X1.
The Planar 3 is one of the best options if you’re not planning to upgrade your cartridge in the near future.
This is because most of Rega’s turntables, including this one, are only compatible with their proprietary cartridges.
Additionally, this turntable is an excellent choice for anyone who is looking for a durable and sleek system that looks good and offers the maximum level of stability to handle vibrations and audio distortion.
|Spec/Feature – Turntable||Project X1||Rega Planar 3|
|Principle||three-speed belt-drive turntable||Two-speed belt-drive turntable|
|Tonearm||Hand assembled precision RB330 tonearm||8.6 inches carbon/aluminum sandwich RB303 tonearm|
|Turntable Speed||33 – 45 – 78 RPM||33 – 45 RPM|
|Dimensions||16.3 x 4.9 x 13.1 inches||17.5 x 4.5 x 14.1 inches|
|Net / Overall Weight||15.4 lbs / 20.9 lbs||13.2 lbs / 18.7 lbs|
|Factory Cartridge Fitted||Ortofon S2 MM||Rega Elys 2 cartridge|
|Wow and Flutter||33: 0.15% – 45: 0.13%||Unspecified|
|Platter||20 mm thick, 1.5 kg heavy acrylic||12 mm glass polished edge|
|Power Consumption||5.0 watts max||7.2 watts max|