While there might be something slightly unsatisfactory about a turntable whose platter isn't quite as wide as the LP it's supporting, this is but a small gripe, and the Rega Planar 1 is a regular award winner (it picked up a What Hi-Fi? Award earlier this year).
You'd expect that, because Rega have something of a reputation to protect when it comes to the best budget turntables. This one the little brother of the Rega Planar III, a design classic that's been in manufacture in various guises for over 40 years.
But don't take our word for it. Our What HiFi? brethren have road-tested the Rega Planar 1 so that we don't have to. What did they say? Well, you're just about to find out.
The RP1 was first unleashed onto a feverish public back in 2010, but it's been refined and refined again since then. The latest has a new RB110 tone arm, with precision bearings and automatic bias adjustment, and this is combined with a tracking weight whose ideal position is already marked for you. Now that's helpful, and it means you can set the turntable up in less time than it takes for a Brexit minister to resign.
So you're all set up, and a copy of The Tallest Man On Earth’s Dark Bird Is Home is on the deck, but what does this bad boy actually sound like?
"This is not an entry-level amount of detail," say What HiFi?, which is good considering you've just paid an entry-level price. "The roomy-sounding acoustic guitar is complimented by the reverb in Kristian Matsson’s first vocal line; the distinction in treatment of each part is clearly audible, setting the vocal apart like a bird gliding low but parallel to the ground.
"This combination of accuracy and a skill for knitting together the different strands is even better displayed a few minutes later as a group vocal lusciously shrouds the closing phrases."
Well. A bird flying close to the ground. Doesn't that sound nice?