Rega P5 vs RP6 purchasing dilemma

Ok, I’ve never posted on this forum before but I'm rather interested to hear what some of you have to say about this. Basically, I've decided to buy a Rega turntable and am torn between purchasing a new RP6 and a (slightly) used P5 being sold online by an authorized Rega dealer. The P5 can be had for $850 or $1,100 including the power supply unit upgrade. The turntable already has upgraded interconnects, Cardas solid core OFC I'm told. A brand new RP6 would be $1495, also including the PSU. If anyone wants to know my current setup (hoping to upgrade in the somewhat near future) is a Rotel RQ-9708BX phono stage, a Harman Kardon HK 3480 stereo receiver and a pair of Kef Coda 9.2 loudspeakers, or alternately a Little Dot i+ headphone amp with Philips ECG 6028 tubes and some Grado SR225i headphones. Also, I'm planning on putting a Dynavector 10x5 on the new turntable.

I've been considering a wide variety of factors in making this decision. The first, and the one that led me to start considering a second hand P5 as an alternative in the first place, is the tonearm. The thing that first attracted me to Regas was the quality of their tonearms, so this is of great concern to me. I understand the P5 comes with the RB700 while the RP6 comes with the new RB303. It seems people have generally been impressed with the performance of the RB303, as it’s already been used on the recent RP3. I can believe that it’s an improvement of the RB301, but it’s a bit harder to believe that it could match the performance of the RB700, especially considering that the RB700 alone sells for the price of a complete RP3. I suppose it’s possible Rega pulled off an incredible feat of engineering and managed to produce an arm the sounds as good as the RB700 for something like half the manufacturing cost but this seems somewhat unlikely. My guess is that the new RB303 narrows the gap between the 300 and 700 series considerably but that the RB700 still has a bit of an edge over it. If that’s the case, it would seem the primary advantage the RP6 has over the P5 is the platter and subplatter and possibly the new “double brace”, but who knows if this really does what Rega says it does. As for the platter and subplatter, this brings me to my next point which is upgrade potential. In reading discussion forums the past few days I’ve become very intrigued by the idea of adding Groovetracer upgrades to the P5, particularly the subplatter one. Now, even if it’s true that a stock RP6 outperforms a stock P5, I’d have to imagine that a P5 with several of these Groovetracer upgrades would beat the stock RP6, and I could put together the upgraded P5 for about the same cost as a new RP6, so that’s very tempting. I also wonder about the upgrade potential of the RP6. Would the same upgrades also work on that turntable? Would it require a different subplatter of a different size or thickness? If so, would Groovetracer be likely to produce a replacement subplatter for the new ‘table? I have no idea about any of this but I sure am curious. But mostly, I just wonder if the RP6 really is a step forward from the P5 or whether I would be better off just grabbing a P5 while I have the chance to get a good deal on one. If the only significant advantage of the RP6 over the P5 is the platter and subplatter, that can be easily remedied and that’s a whole lot more practical than replacing the tonearm on the RP6. Furthermore, it seems the RP6 may not be as accommodating of upgrades as the P5 and that would be a significant disadvantage, but again, I don’t really know if this is the case. Another consideration is that I’d really like to buy from a local dealer and have an excellent neighborhood audio store I’d love to support but could, of course, only buy there if I went with the RP6. So, um, would anybody like to weigh in on this?
Holy cow, you've got a lot of questions in your head. Granted, they make some sense (but don't agonize). I owned a 5, but have no experience with the new 6. If you're the kind of guy who needs the "latest", get the 6. If not, you'll love the 5.
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I used a Dynavector 10x5 on my P5 with GT subplatter, dual white belts, and TTPSU. I didn't like the table at all. VERY cheap feeling (seems like a toy) and harsh sounding to me. Terrible build quality for something in that price range. Why not look at Music Hall or Pro-Ject? I had tables from each of those and were better than Rega.
Hi - P5 owner here. As Elizabeth noted, we can't really comment on the new table and arm, as they have just been released. The RB-700 arm is significantly better than the RB301, however.

I would strongly disagree with Vortrex. Rega's sound quite a bit better than the Music Hall's and the Pro-ject's. Better soundstaging in particular, and also better resolution of instrumental and vocal timbres. It is not a harsh sounding table at all. Both the Music Hall and Project tables are brighter in comparison. I would rate the Music Hall's above the Project's, but the Rega's quite a bit above both, especially set up the way the Rega intended, which it sounds like Vortex didn't do. Rega's are designed very carefully with regards to the weight of each part and how they interact. Alot of people screw with them and then wonder why it doesn't sound good anymore.

If you do buy the new one, it would be interesting to compare them.
The table was definitely setup properly. Even so, you cannot deny the terrible build quality and cheap materials used in the P5.
Vortex, I don't own a P5, but I do own a P7 and have had both a P25 and a Plannar 3, and I can say without hesitation that Rega's products are well made; cheap is not a word I would use to describe Rega's turntables.
I agree Nanbil - Regas are very well designed and built. I have never had even a hint of an issue with my P5. Too many audiophiles think that cost=performance. Me, I judge by what I hear, not by what I see. Rega's design works very well.

Vortrex, the reason I commented on the set-up issue is that I believe that the subplatter you mentioned adding is significantly heavier than the stock one, and you say you use two belts. Rega's carefully balanced design is not intended to have that extra weight. Sometimes an "upgrade" isn't one really.
There is an unbelievably good and varied aftermarket for Regas that enables you to upgrade as budget allows: Rega TTPSU and upgrade belt, Funk F-XFR II (old pillar) and Inspire X100 (new pillar) tonearms, Groovetracer platter, subplatter, counterweight, etc. Hint: think about the more solid, better looking, probably better sounding plinth on RP3 & RP6.
I've enjoyed the Rega tables I have owned (P3-24, P5), have not enjoyed the Music Hall turntables I have owned (MMF-5, MMF-7.1), and simply love the table that has been the center of my system for the last 3 years, a Pro-Ject RPM-9.1.

So, I guess to each his own!
Learsfool - the subplatter was definitely an upgrade, you should try one. still, not the performance I would expect from a table of that price.
Hi Vortrex - I guess another thing I was trying to say is that I personally wouldn't spend time and money "upgrading" a product. While I realize a great many people in this hobby like to do it, I am not a tweaker; I prefer to buy something that already sounds good that I don't have to mess with. Unless you like to tinker with stuff, I really don't see the point of buying something that requires it, like for instance all these people who buy a table like the Technics 1200 and then proceed to modify the heck out of it, in many cases spending more than the table retails for to do it. I did alot of research and listening to tables in that price range before I chose the P5. It sounds great as is, because it is a great design. It still sounds as good and works as well as when I bought it four years ago now, and I take good care of it. I'm sure I will eventually need to replace the belt and the cartridge, but that will be the extent of it for me. It's not really about the gear itself for me, it's about the music. The gear is just a means to that end, and the sound of it, rather than the design, is my top priority. As has been discussed on a couple of other threads here recently, I think too many audiophiles lose the forest for the trees.
It's difficult to hear similarly priced Rega, Music Hall and Pro-Ject turntables side by side with the same cartridge and system. How many shops do this?

I fortunately have heard this. The Regas esaily sound the best IMO. The Music Halls look like they're better built, but according to that dealer, they're easily the worst. They dropped the line because they had too many come back to them. Replaced it with Pro-Ject, and haven't had any issues. Seeing as how Music Hall and Pro-Ject are made in the same factory and share a lot of parts, I deduce that the Music Hall stuff have design flaws.

Just what I've seen/heard.
Hi Clayton, Well we've seem to have had the same questions 1 year apart. A year ago in December I ordered the P6 from my local shop 7 weeks later I gave up and canceled as they were delayed and I was tired of waiting. So luckily I found a brand new P5 with ttpsu for 1200. I am a tweaker so since then have added the sub platter, counterbalance and dual belt pulley. To this point I love my table and doubt a plastic cross brace on a P6 could touch it. For me I would grab the deal play with it and have some fun. Oh and the savings could be used on a great cartridge. What ever you do it will be the right choice for now and go and enjoy some amazing music.