At eighteen years Roy built his first pair of loudspeakers in perfectly sealed cabinets. Not the first Rega product, but Roy was on his way. His interest in hi-fi evolved from a passion for music. 'Bliss' in those days was a live concert, a folk club, or any kind of record player.
Then a flat mate demonstrated his hi-fi system: Garrard SP25 turntable, Sonotone 9TA cartridge, Rogers HG88 amplifier and Wharfedale speakers. Roy realised his record player had room for improvement.
first Rega - A star is born
Roy was now able to leave Ford; he collected a redundancy check and promptly blew it on a factory in Rochford. Soon after the partner with Tony Relph split, Roy swapping his share of Rega. Terry Davies joined as Rega's financial administrator.
In 1975 the Planar 2 was developed and quickly took its place in the market as the finest budget turntable. In June 1977 HI-FI News and Record Review announced the Planar 3 saying 'The complete unit is worth a look'! Rega's usual blaze of non-publicity.
By 1980 Rega employed thirteen staff, exported to twelve countries, had twenty UK dealers, and there were those dreaded 'waiting lists', mainly by eager customers shop-hopping!
In 1980 Roy found an old mill (Park Street) in a residential area in Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex. The building had been deserted for twenty years and judging by the rot seemed to have a millstream still running through it! Rega snapped it up for £30,000 and turned it into a compact but highly functional hi-fi factory, liberally painted bright green.
In 1983 after five years of dabbling, and two years of intensive development, the RB300 and RB250 Tonearms were produced. For ten years Rega had used Japanese and Danish manufactured arms on the turntables but after some searching Roy found a casting company prepared to work with him to develop an entirely new production method enabling the one-piece tube to be cast.
Rega won an international award for the RB300 casting, presented by Modern Metals 'awarded in open competition for excellence in the field of Aluminium Die Casting'. In their accompanying letter they wrote: 'we are still trying to figure out how you produce such a long cored hole so accurately'. This made up for never winning any prizes breeding budgies!
For five years Rega sold a cartridge, the R100, made to specification in Japan. This was followed by the RB100, which was designed and developed by Rega. However, the cartridge had inevitable design limitations as it was being manufactured by an outside company.
In March 1988 the Bias and Elys cartridges went into production in house, and sales exceeded 1000 in the first month, five times more than anticipated! The cartridges were a vital step on the way to a complete Rega system.
In 1991, a period of dramatic expansion was heralded with the move into the world of electronics and the launch of two amplifiers, the Elex and the Elicit. The reason for producing these two amplifiers was simple; Rega was presented with a design it could not resist! Most importantly, the amplifiers fit into the company policy - which is to manufacture high quality, specialist hi-fi components that are reliable, consistent and sensibly priced. This development completed the Rega system.
A new factory was built in 1992 on the Temple Farm Industrial Estate in Southend-on-Sea under Roy's design and guidance to house the production of loudspeakers and amplifiers and to ensure room for further developments.
Since this time, Rega has introduced a whole new electronic equipment range together with an exciting new range of loudspeakers. It has been very difficult to improve on products like the original Planet CD player and Ela loudspeaker but we feel we have achieved this. You can find elsewhere on this website all the information you require on these exciting new products, many of which are already receiving critical acclaim in the worlds hi-fi press. A plethora of other new products are imminent or well into the design and development stage, including more loudspeakers and electronic products. The company now employs fifty-five people and continues to grow.
Roy continues to supply the direction for the company, specifically as a member of the design and development department and in the selection of new export markets.Quicklinks
© Rega Research Limited 2004