New turntables from Rega, Sony and Elipson prove that our love affair with vinyl is still quite strong. By Dan George.
The continued surge in the popularity of vinyl shows no signs of abating and three new affordable models made their UK debut at the recent Bristol show. Industry veteran Rega has announced the new P3, which is a continued evolution of the original Planar 3. The new model features a high-gloss plinth, thicker bracing between the arm and the bearing, and a new RB330 tonearm that features a variety of detail improvements including a new bearing housing, wiring and counterweight. The P3 costs £550 (without cartridge) and will go on sale in late March/early April.
Meanwhile, Sony has re-entered the sector with the PS-HX500. This is a self- contained design sold with cartridge and on-board phono preamp (which can be switched out), but the main selling point of the design is its ability to rip vinyl to digital files. The PS-HX500 offers the choice of WAV encoding at various file sizes and, more unusually, the ability to rip to DSD, the high-resolution format of the moment. The pricing of the deck has been confirmed at £400 and it will be available in the spring.
Finally, French brand Elipson has announced its turntable debut with a range of models in the sector. The Alpha and Omega decks are built around the same basic architecture as one another, including a bespoke arm that has a unique and patented anti-skate system. However, the Omega uses a carbon fibre arm-tube and has other upgrades intended to offer a performance improvement. Like the Sony, some models are available with a phono preamp built-in, but unusually, the flagship model also offers the ability to transmit over Apt-X Bluetooth. The pricing of the various models will run from £200 to £500, depending on specification, with the range going on sale in the spring.