This is the casting that is integral to the Rega Planar Turntable. It is the part of the tonearm that is made in a single piece and is partly responsible for the design being at the heart of so many brands of turntable from many manufacturers who buy the component from Rega.

Holding it reminds me of holding a piece of the alloy girder from the Hindenberg at the Zeppelin Museum in Fredericshaven or a titanium piece of an SR71 in the Imperial War Museum at Duxford. You are immediately struck just by how light and how strong these pieces of human construction are. They give you that strange feeling of being from another world where the normal laws of materials don’t quite apply, like finding a piece of a UFO in your back yard. The Rega tonearm is that different from other normal pieces of audio engineering.

Roy Gandy drafted the design for the tonearm in the early eighties after being frustrated by the prevailing standards of S Shaped tonearms with detacheable headshell.

The RB300 tube represented his wishlist for a design that eliminated joints and flexibility in the critical tonearm .

His ideal was a one piece tube nine inches long with a taper that varied over its length and a wall thickness that tapered from 2mm at the bearing end to 0.7mm at the headshell end. Everything in this ideal tonearm was to be made as a single casting ...

At the time there was no way to cast such a design. The first prototype was made by a milling machine at enormous time and expense and was very unsatisfactory. The casting industry refused the design saying it was not possible to produce with the technology available.

That was when Roy was introduced to a chap by the name of Ken Palmer, a toolmaker who had just been made redundant by the Lesneys company who had ben making the Matchbox range of metal motor car models.

Ken was a highly trained draughtsman who redid the original design properly and was able to present a milled prototype from solid aluminium that was a perfect match for Roy Gandy’s intent.

Now they had to find a company that could cast it ... after being declined by major companies in the UK and USA they found a local company called Morris Ashby Castings who made cylinder heads and such and who were up for the challenge.

Eventually the requisite casting process that Morris Ashby and Rega devised involved a vacuum casting tactic with absolutely time critical core removal to produce the internal tube of the required taper and accuracy.

The core would have to be removed from the injected molten aluminium casting in the space of a few milliseconds at exactly the right moment in the casting process as the metal solidified.

The persistence required to develop this unique casting method was very expensive in time and money ... after two years Rega was able to put the RB250 and RB300 tonearms into production. In 1985 the RB300 tonearm was awarded the winner of the “open competition for excellence in the field of Aluminium diecasting” ...

 During the long dark years of digital from the eighties through to the noughties while nearly every other record player either went to the wall or fell into a state of fiscal hibernation, Rega sales never declined.

This is a company quite independent of the conventional marketplace forces. It has never borrowed money. It has never advertised. It has never given free samples to Hi Fi reveiwers.

They have been immune to the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune that see "normal" companies wiped off the map in an overnight corporate takeover or product reposition. With the new millenium rise of the Vinyl format the company has gone from strength to strength, not only because of their record players but also because of their excellent amplifiers and CD Players. 

We are fearfully proud of our local market position with Rega. All their products demonstrate the same type of ethical innovation that the RB300 tonearm has and we love the brand to death. Carlton Audio Visual has been the main dealer in Rega in Australia for over a decade now.

Australia is actually the number three in worldwide sales for Rega after the UK and the US, so we are a very significant player for Mr Gandy's operation ... that must explain my free T shirt ...