Let's get the price out of the way first. The Rega Naia Turntable is £12,000 and you may not think it when comparing it to the best turntables, but that's cheap. That's because the turntable it's based on, the Rega Naiad, was £29,999.
Clearly, this turntable wasn't made for a cheapskate like me. But if you're serious about sound and have the budget for the very best, this is very much made for you. It's intended to take everything that was great about the Naiad and deliver it in a comparatively affordable package – and that's exactly what it delivers.
The Naiad was an extremely ambitious project that took 14 years to complete and began as an experiment. Rega wanted to demonstrate that its way of making turntables was superior to other ways of making turntables. The goal was to create the ultimate turntable, and in order to do that Rega threw every rule and restriction out of the window.
Its bearing came from MOD suppliers. Its chassis came from Formula 1 steering and gearbox specialists. Its aluminium oxide is one of the hardest materials ever made. And according to Rega co-founder Roy Gandy, speaking to our friends at What Hi-Fi, it cost the firm "half a mil to a million pounds" – and that was just for one. So in that context, the Naia is a bit of a bargain.
What kind of turntable costs £12K?
A really, really good one.
Let's start with the plinth. It's a Graphene impregnated carbon fibre skeletal plinth with Tancast 8 foam core, strengthened by two ceramic aluminium oxide braces. The same oxide is used in the resonance-controlled ceramic platter.
The central bearing is ZTA Zirconium toughened alumina (ceramic) and there's a tungsten balance weight shaft and weight. The tone arm is made from a one-piece titanium vertical bearing and titanium spindle assembly. The feet are low mass skeletal aluminium, there's an advanced and fully adjustable power supply, there are triple Reference drive belts for improved stability and the whole thing is backed by a lifetime warranty. Your Jive Bunny LPs have never sounded so good.
Terrible music jokes aside, I love everything about this and if you're into audio kit the promo video embedded above is a must-watch. The engineering here is exquisite and while I'll never be in the market for such a high-end device I'm as delighted that it exists as I am jealous of the lucky people who'll get to own one.
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Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall (Twitter) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR.