No…. you read it right, we’re not talking about the Rega Brio today but about his little brother: The Rega io! Rega Research from the United Kingdom brings its most budget-friendly amplifier on the market. One that targets the novice audiophile who is looking for an affordable solution to connect a few fine monitors and a (Rega) turntable. Simplicity. So we were very happy that Joenit provided a test sample. Rega is a fine company that performs as stable as the ticking of the Big Ben so to speak.
We tested the Brio and Aethos before and really liked them. The name io was strangely enough used for a seperate dac and is now being picked up again for the slimmed down version of the Brio. Somewhere logical considering the letter combination of both. No idea what the letters io stand for (Input/output?) but we did understand that the io belongs to the new ‘Kyte’ bookhelfs. Still, this amplifier is good enough to stand on its own two feet. Let’s check it out!
Construction and appearance
The io is a fully analogue, integrated amplifier with two times 30 watts (class A/B) on board. The box itself is inconspicuous and has no a ‘wow’ factor at all. Rega resolutely opts for sobriety in order to reduce the price of this amplifier. Still, a lot of attention was paid to making the casing, witness the separate poduction line in the factory in Essex (Southend-On-Sea) to produce this chassis quickly and cost-efficiently. Many products, such as the Rega Aria (phono), now use this housing.
The Rega io weighs 2.9kg and has the following dimensions: W18xD29xH7cm. So it’s small but very well put together. Ideal to place somewhere discretely on a piece of furniture or to put away in a cupboard. But know that it is a Rega and that the thing gets warm!
At the front the typical red logo lights up when we couple the amplifier to the power grid. The selected input is also marked with the same red logo. On the right we see the Alps volume knob (which has a nice resistance when turning) and in the middle the inputs. On the left there is another 3.5mm headphone output and the on/off knob and that’s it for the front of this Rega amp. Tight, clear and above all very sober.
At the back there are three single-ended inputs, one for a turntable (MM phono). Two pairs of loudspeaker clamps and the connection for the power cord and with that we also had the rear…
Then let’s squeak inside because that’s where most of the attention seems to have gone. We see a nice linear power supply, a pair of Sanken transistors and further a neatly put together whole.
Ashton Wagner, chief engineer at Rega, supervised the construction of the modest io and did an excellent job for us. To achieve such a result within this limited budget, you have to be a good designer. Incidentally, everything Rega makes is manufactured entirely in the United Kingdom and that’s really something to be proud of in these globalising times.
The remote control, somehow a focus of your editor, is a great piece of work. Just enough buttons, not too big, not too small and above all intuitive. As far as we are concerned, a solid remote control enhances the experience when listening to music. It’s a pity that adjusting the volume itself, just like with the Brio and Aethos, goes up with relatively large steps so that very correct adjustment, especially in the evening, is not obvious.