Turning to a favorite solo piano recording, Ivan Moravic playing Debussy’s Children’s Corner (Connoisseur Society), I was wowed by the RP10’s gorgeous articulation of arpeggios during the opening movement, fluid, and with a beguiling creaminess of tone, as well as by its dynamic expressiveness—roller-coaster swings ending with a powerful clang at the final chord. This, combined with rich and beautifully layered harmonic overtones, as well as the exquisite delicacy of air around the notes, allowed the poet Moravic’s mastery to fully express itself. Moreover, the cohesion of reproduction as a whole, from the deepest, rumbling bass keys to the most ethereal treble regions, draws the listener in—nay, compel us, as listeners, to sit back and forget time—in a way that is most welcome given our all-too hurried lives. Like a fine Chablis, the effect here is both richly textured yet precisely defined.
“Goodbye Pork Pie Hat,” from Mingus Ah Um (Columbia), awoke like an autumn morning’s light on a dense cityscape, with a notable beauty of warmth and texture to the sound. Again, words such as fluid and articulate, cohesive and harmonious pepper my listening notes, which frankly kind of peter out after a bit because I found myself so intently absorbed by the music.
Turning to a few outstanding double 45rpm reissues from ORG, Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream (original London with Peter Maag and the LSO) offered a wonderfully rich, highly detailed palette of tone colors possessing a great sense of movement, dynamic energy, air, and musical aplomb, while, as is consistently the case with this Rega combo, doing so with a feeling that everything simply sounds “right.” Even to the point where you sense that the recording is a bit opaque but nonetheless alive and joyful.
Or, as a wonderful surprise, the day a copy of Jeff Buckley’s one and only official LP, Grace, arrived via post—a welcome if sad reminder of just how serious a loss his all-too early death was. The unusually wide dynamic extremes of Buckley’s music, so well captured here, as was his sweet, multi-octave vocal range and brilliant guitar playing, were handsomely served by the RP10/ Apheta duo. As with the Beatles LPs, here I felt as if I were hearing music at once familiar but oh-so fresh, as if anew. The music all but leapt from my Magnepans with an extraordinary presence, and, yes, I’m repeating myself (as I warned in my opening), a sense of there-ness and life, of flesh-and-blood energy, that makes listening to music with the RP10 as engaging as I’ve ever known.
I’m sorry to say that I mostly failed to add much to my sonic vocabulary here. And yet the hope is that I did succeed in conveying how, once again, Rega has raised its own bar, and why anyone in the market for a ’table at this level needs to hear the RP10/Apheta before making a final decision. It’s not for tweakers but music lovers, and I’ll tell you this: One danger potential buyers of the RP10 must consider is that, in a world where our time and energies and attention spans are challenged by all manner of social media and other e-distractions, Rega’s brilliant RP10 brings the music home in a way that shuts the door on that cluttered world. A balm? Why, yes.
SPECS & PRICING
Type: Belt drive, unsuspended turntable
Speeds: 33.3, 45
Dimensions: 17.5" x 14.5" x 5.5" (with dustcover)
Weight: 16 lbs.
Price: $6495 with Apheta moving-coil cartridge, $5495 without
THE SOUND ORGANISATION
159 Leslie Street
Dallas, Texas 75207
Sumiko Palos Santos Presentation MC cartridge; Sutherland Engineering N1 and VTL TL5.5II preamps; Primare A34.2 and VTL ST -150 power amplifiers; Magnepan MG 1.7 loudspeakers; Tara Labs Zero interconnects, Omega speaker cables, The One power cords, and BP-10 Power Screen; Finite Elemente Spider equipment racks