Roy Gandy started Rega Research more than 40 years ago. Since then, the company has grown to become one of the most important specialist turntable manufacturers in the world, and has expanded to encompass the full gamut of audio equipment. But the turntable is still at the core of Rega.
Recently, we spoke with Roy Gandy as a part of our Titans of Turntable & Tonearm Technology series within our Hi-Fi+ Guide to Analogue Audio, which can be downloaded here.
Hi-Fi+: What drew you to the field of analogue audio in the first place and what do you regard as your specialties within that field?
RG: Music drew me to the field. As a student I could not afford equipment to listen to music and so I had to make it. My specialities would be turntable, arm, and cartridge design along with an understanding of the turntables function and 40 + years of research and development into the subject.
Hi-Fi+: Many in our industry say that analogue audio presently is enjoying a renaissance. Would you agree with this viewpoint and, if so, what do you think is driving that renaissance?
Yes: The renaissance is a very large growth in a very small niche market. I hope the growth is due to the possibilities of better sound quality but there are many other factors such as the difficulties with downloading, streaming, and the poor sound quality of any current digital format, particularly MP3, phones, and tablets.
Hi-Fi+: How have engineering practices changed since you built your first turntable? Have the changes influenced subsequent designs?
At Rega we have seen huge R & D investment and changes to almost everything we make. However, elsewhere little has changed except that the increase in interest has seen a growth in massive, heavy acrylic sculptures.
The market success of our unique and controversial designs, which are based purely on demonstrable sound quality, has influenced all our turntable designs and we currently produce five models instead of the two which we produced for most of the company’s life.
Most of our changes have come from new lighter and stiffer materials along with the increased accuracy available from CNC machines at a lower cost. We are also very proud of the hundreds of new design ideas that our research has allowed us to produce. Most of these are insignificant in marketing terms but hundreds of small improvements in shapes and materials have increased the ability of our turntables to accurately measure the micron levels of the record groove.