Reference EBLT Upgrade Drive Belt
Custom made premium Reference EBLT drive belt. Fitted as standard to all Planar 8 and Planar 10 turntable models from March 8th 2021.
The Rega Reference EBLT drive belt is the culmination of many years of R&D and advanced tooling trials. The most accurate drive belt we have ever produced, the Reference EBLT is now fitted as standard to all Planar 8 and Planar 10 turntable models as standard. The Reference belt is suitable for all Rega turntables but highly recommended for the Planar 6 and any Planar 3 using the Rega Neo TT PSU.
Each belt is moulded on our highly accurate custom tooling using a unique secret blend. Once moulded, the belts are cryogenically frozen and barrelled to remove any excess flash in order to create perfect cross sectional roundness which is critical for accurate speed and stability. In normal use and conditions, the lifespan of the EBLT drive belt is 50% longer than the previous model. All Reference belts go through a unique curing process which guarantees the highest achievable level of accuracy.
Below you can see a direct comparison taken from our custom test software. You can compare the old belt (top) versus the latest EBLT reference belt (bottom). We have used the same Planar 1 turntable. The only part that has changed is the drive belt. You can clearly see a notable reduction in weighted peak Wow / Flutter measurements produced by the increased accuracy and cross sectional roundness of the EBLT belt. The standard belt measures 0.253% / the Advanced EBLT measures 0.162% and the Reference EBLT measures 0.075%
When is an ‘O’ ring not an ‘O’ ring?
The history of Rega drive belt design and development.
Rega has alwayschampionedthe use ofacircular drive belt and a ‘V’ shaped pulley asthe
optimum method ofdeliveringenergy from the turntable motor. However, achieving the
accuracy required to transform this motor energy into accurate and stable rotational speed
is not as straightforward as onemight think.
In the 1970’s the British standard tolerance for a rubber ‘o’ringwas a variation of 0.15mm
in the cross-sectional diameter. Rega required more than ten times this level ofaccuracy, (ie
a variation of 0.0125mm) a tolerance unachievable with a standard moulded ‘o’ ring.
In usual Rega style we searched for and founda specialist company that would supply us
extruded rubber. This gave us much smaller variations across the diameter and was
considerably more suitable for use on a turntable. The downside was that each drive belt
had to be cut at 45 degrees and carefully glued together by hand to make a working drive belt,
this was a difficult process, produced many rejects and could be time consuming. In the early days
this was a relatively small problem as Rega was only producing one hundred turntablesper month.
However, by the second year of trading monthly production had tripled and making this many hand-
made drive belts became an onerous task. (A task that would often result in the operative requiring
urgent assistance to prisetheir fingers apartthanks to the exceptionally fast curing time of
cyanoacrylate adhesives)!It wasclearlytime to find a better solution to Rega’s drivebeltsupply
Our first contact was with Dunlop, then British owned, and fortunately for us they employed an
intrigued salesmancalled Tony Anthony. Tonywas happy to work with Rega to push the boundaries
of what was currently possible in regard to improving drive belt accuracy.
Their first attempt at a moulded belt wasslightly less accurate than the extruded handmade version
however,production demand meant that they had to be used(adecision Roy Gandy was very
uncomfortable making)and this discomfort motivated him to work even harder.After a couple of
yearsand many trialswe madeexperimental tools in batches of fourand then selectedthe bestone
ortwo. Atthis time,we could only mould 1000 belts at a time from a single tool before wear made it
After a few years,Dunlop management became concerned thatTony Anthony was spending too
much time on Rega (for what was a relatively small production)and ordered him to stop supplying
us. Roy wrote a (rare) pleading letter outlining that Regacould source better drive belts from a
company in Japan who specialisedin highly accurate drive belts for cassette players but stressed he
really wanted to continue working with a skilled UK supplier.This letter got a surprising response!
Roy was informed that some shop floor workers at Dunlop had been held inJapaneseprisoner of
war camps and did not like the idea of this job heading to Japan. The management changed their
minds and continued to work and develop with us for some years until ironically,they were
eventually bought out by a Japanese company.The new ownersimmediately stopped production of
the Rega drive belt!
Rega then found an English company with a technical director who had experiencedmakingdrive
belts for the small UK cassette industry and a whole new set of developments began. At this time higher quality tool steel became available and Rega discovered the cryogenic grinding process to
remove flash. This yieldedbetter quality belts and inmuchhigherquantities, at least ten thousand
belts could now be produced froma single tool before it began to wear.
Meanwhile, British engineering expertise was increasing dramatically. Partly due to the increase in
foreign investment inUK car manufacturing, medical technologyand the demands of theEuropean
aerospace industry. Rega benefited andfound two new companies that had seen our exacting
requirements as a challenge to improve their overall quality and ability.
Originally,these developments wereintendedforuse only onmodels such as the Planar 8 and
Planar 10 as the complexity and accuracy required for the tool making was so criticaland expensive.
However,thenew manufacturers and a huge investment in tooling fromRega has allowed us to fit
this latest belt technology to all models. (We recently worked out that Rega has spent more than
£250,000 on drive belt toolingand developmentover a 45 year period)!
Over the past five years we have been experimenting with an innovativetooling company using CNC
technologyto make tools that have finally given us drive belts with an accuracy measured in just 1 or
2 microns. The use of advanced polymer materials (our top-secretblend)allows exceptional and
‘even’elasticity over the entire length of thenew EBLTand Referencedrive belt.The resultis clear,
looking at the speed irregularity measurement figure of our entry level Planar 1 turntable
(commonly known as wow and flutter) with the latest drive belt fitted this figure isinstantlyhalved
by simply fitting the new belt.
An unexpected development from all of this (something that often happens when you put maximum
effort into any project) is that one of the three suppliers has developed their ownadvancedpolymer
curing process andhave combined thiswith our most accurate selected tools. This has created a
new reference beltthat will be fitted as standard to all Planar 8 and Planar 10 models.
Rega willalways push the boundaries in all aspects ofengineering and we will continue to develop
new tools and materials in the pursuit of greatermusicalaccuracy.
Nothing can ever be perfect butimproving even micron accuracy and elasticity variations will always
deliver a better musical experience from the humble drive belt.
So, when is an ‘O’ ring not an ‘O’ ring? When it is an advanced Rega turntable drive belt!
- Rega Drive Belt
- Advanced EBLT monomer
- Diameter / cross sectional roundness
- Improved stability / Speed accuracy
- 50% longer lifespan than a polychloroprene belt