Rega P6 Turntable, RB330 Tonearm, Neo PSU, and Ania Moving-Coil Cartridge
Given our seemingly endless era of coronavirus—little to no travel, live concerts, or restaurant visits—what can any self-respecting audiophile better do with all that unspent cash than buy more records? And as we know, there’s never a shortage of choices to trigger one’s salivary glands.
The first thing I noticed immediately about the sound of the P6/Ania, and that proved to be a hallmark of this combo’s sonic signature, was a degree of bass depth, weight, and overall tonal richness I’d previously realized only from Rega’s upper-end models. This, without trading off Rega’s classic strength of musical agility.
For example, on Ella, The Lost Berlin Tapes, the piano’s lush, forward-rolling staccato intro to “Good Morning Heartache” is followed by Ella’s uncommonly intelligent phrasing that then weaves into and out of that piano phrase. Here you get it all: The necessary musical ebb and flow that casts a kind of magic spell, along with a fleshed-out tonal range and dynamic expressiveness that bring feeling to the lyrics (“Stop haunting me now, can’t shake you anyhow”). The P6/Ania’s combination of pace, speed stability, and tonal naturalness brought this rediscovered concert vividly to life.
Or take the five-LP Bob Ludwig remastered edition of Wilco’s Summerteeth. “Can’t Stand It” rips from the start with a freshness and clarity that seemingly connect much more directly with the original tapes. Chiming guitars, chugging bass, thumping drums, the almost alarming sense that Jeff Tweedy’s vocal cords are about to stretch just a bit too far; all are presented with a newfound sense of unbridled energy in the remastered vinyl edition, which is beautifully rendered by this Rega rig. Likewise, the harmonic layering on “She’s a Jar,” the depth and power of the bass, and the overall dynamic freedom proved revelations at the P6’s price point.
Likewise, on the wonderful Tom Petty set Wildflowers & All the Rest, the immediacy as well as relaxed naturalness of the performances were wonderfully rendered by the Rega gear. Acoustic guitars shimmered like a dreamy mirage; Petty’s sweet tenor was pure, upfront, and uncluttered; the fundamentalist drumming, akin to the ultimate garage band, seemed to have the time of its life.
Another recent record that beautifully illustrates what the P6/Ania is capable of is the Berlin Philharmonic’s superb direct-to-disc recording of Bruckner’s Wagnerian Symphony No. 7. The last BPO performance conducted by the then 90-year-old Bernard Haitink, this magnificent recording is not of the sonic spectacular variety, but is instead one of those recordings that is so natural it comes about as close to the real thing as is possible from vinyl. An LP playback system must be accurate to properly render the deep silences, dynamic subtleties, harmonic layering, depth of field, and sweep of this music.
By Wayne Garcia
Although I’ve been a wine merchant for the past decade, my career in audio was triggered at age 12 when I heard the Stones’ Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out! blasting from my future brother-in-law’s giant home-built horn speakers. The sound certainly wasn’t sophisticated, but, man, it sure was exciting.More articles from this editor