We all kinda lost our shit when the new Planar 3 came through. Even from an aesthetic position it was a major improvement on the previous iterations of the model, with gloss black/white acrylic laminate finishes on the plinth and a highly polished “Optiwhite” edge on the glass platter. But it was the techie upgrades that really had us spinning. A redesigned arm tube and new bearing housing for the RB330 tonearm have improved rigidity, reduced resonance and further controlled friction. In addition to this they’ve coupled the centre bearing and tone arm, both top and bottom, with phenolic braces to increase plinth rigidity. They’ve also upgraded the feet, output cables and connectors. But what’s most impressive is the optional upgrade TT-PSU external power supply and speed control. It’s long been a standard for the Rega 6, but the option to incorporate this with your Planar 3 has a huge effect when you’re climbing into the range of really serious cartridges. It’s a big ass makeover from top to bottom, further refining what has long been a class leader of a turntable.
So, we’ve got your analogue music well sorted but what about your electronic streaming hardware? Sure, we could’ve incorporated a class A/B amplifier and thrown a streaming unit in on top, but that would’ve included additional components and unnecessary dollars when all you need is a Sonos Connect Amplifier to do the lot. It’s a little 55W per channel monster, well equipped to belt the Bowers & Wilkins 686’s we’ve paired them with. It’s a killer combo.
There’s very little question that Sonos is leading the charge with wireless home audio. They practically invented the market. What makes Sonos most impressive is it’s intuitive ease of use, placing the user in the pilot seat by seamlessly incorporating your own smart devices (phones and tablets). They take what can often be an intricate and confusing process and simplify the lot. From the integration of streaming sources like Spotify and Apple Music as well as incorporating music stored on your home hard drives, from linking multiple speakers throughout the home or playing alternate songs in separate rooms, from fixed volume settings for the kiddies to EQ settings that optimise sound quality from any chosen position in the room, these guys thought of it all. There are a tonne of feature, all easily accessed and just as easy to use. It’s just so simple.
And, finally, your B&W 686s. Coming in black ash or white, and set against a stunning yellow 130mm Kevlar midd/bass driver, these speakers are a focal point for any home audio setup. But what’s under the hood? Oh, just a 25mm aluminium done tweeter with reinforced metal ring. It makes the tweeter housing stronger and better damped, which in turn keeps things clearer and more detailed in the upper ranges. But the bass gets much love too. The front bass ports are dimpled like golf balls to better regulate airflow, offering great bass response without the risk of rattle. It means that while their competitors often sound more refined and subtle, the beaming B&Ws get up and boogie. But it’s their massive scale, their range and dynamics, their deep deep bass that makes them a first class choice for this setup.
Included in package:
- Rega: Planar 3 Turntable inc. Rega Elys 2 cartridge
- ProJect: Phono Box USB V Phono Preamplifier
- Sonos: Connect:Amp Amplifier & Streamer
- B&W: 686 S2 Bookshelf Speakers (Pair)
- AM: Record Cleaner Box Set
- Cambridge: Audio 100 series 2RCA-2RCA cable (1m)
- White Lightning speaker cable 1.5m pair ($45 value)