Rega Tonearms or Jelco – A Comparison

Rega tonearms are often considered for tonearm replacement. However the Jelco tonearms provide far superior performance, installation, and ease of use.

Rega Tonearms Jelco Tonearms
Rega RB-303 Jelco SA-750D

Rega Tonearms vs Jelco Tonearms

The following table provides a head-to-head comparison between the RB-303┬áRega Tonearm and the 9″ SA-750D/SA-750DB Jelco Tonearms.

Feature Rega Tonearms Jelco Tonearms
Bearing Quality Good Better
Jewel Ichikawa has extensive expertise in making precision bearings. In addition to tonearm bearings they manufacture jewel bearings for; watches; needle pointers of measuring instruments; and electric power meters.
Tonearm height/VTA adjustability. Poor
Coarse adjustment in 2mm increments using (separately sold) spacers. The tonearm/cable must be completely removed when new spacers are added.
Armtube height is adjusted using a set screw allowing very fine adjustment. No need to remove the tonearm to adjust height.
Quality of internal tonearm wiring Fair
The Rega tonearms are well known for their substandard wiring. To get the best performance, tonearm rewiring is necessary and a cottage industry has developed of rewiring kits and people offering rewiring services.
The Jelco tonearms use high quality Litz insulated OFC internal tonearm wire. The need/demand to rewire Jelco tonearms is almost non-existent.
External tonearm cable quality Fair
The Rega tonearms have an inexpensive captive (non-detachable) tonearm cable with plastic molded RCA connectors.
Jelco tonearms use an industry DIN connector to allow the very best tonearm cables to be used.
Turntable compatibility Fair
The Rega tonearms have an effective length of 237mm (9.33″) making them slightly longer than the standard 9″ length
of many turntables.
.Jelco tonearms have an effective length of 229mm (9.02″).
Azimuth adjustment None
Azimuth adjustment allows the cartridge cantilever to be set perpendicular to the record surface (when viewing the cartridge from the front). This ensures that the left and right channel signals are properly balanced.
The Jelco HS-25 headshell provides azimuth adjustment using a supplied allen key.
Ability to change cartridges None
The cartridge is mounted directly to the armtube.
Jelco tonearms uses\ a universal headshell allowing quick headshell/cartridge replacement.
Cartridge mass range Fair
The Rega tonearm can accommodate low and medium mass phono cartridges.
Jelco tonearms can accommodate low to high mass cartridges. A separate heavy counterweight is used with high mass cartridges (up to 24g).
Tonearm length selection None
Rega tonearms are only available in 9.33″ length.
Jelco tonearms are available in 9″, 10″, and 12″ lengths.

Many of our customers upgrade their Rega turntables with Jelco SA-750D tonearms. The following document provides mounting information for the 9″ jelco tonearm on a Rega plinth.
Mounting a Jelco tonearm on a Rega turntable.