Rega brio – 890 Euro
Rega… A brand we all know, we estimate. The Planet CD player, Planar turntable… and the countless amplifiers. Rega almost always scores high among enthusiasts. Also the Brio with authors Wouter and Geoffrey. Let’s see how it performs in this mass test.
This Rega Brio offers six analog, single ended inputs, including a Phono input. Not very surprising if we look at the roots of Rega. All inputs are under some sort of ‘canopy’. There is one thing that is less convenient for people with thick power-cords: it gets very tight with the speaker cables, we noticed. If the plug is not too big, it will be fine. But keep it in mind.
With a traditional Class A/B setup and 50 watts into 8 Ohms, the Rega comes across as very average on paper. These are specs that are almost equal to all participants in this field. However, specifications do not say much and it’s more about tuning and quality of components.
Well, the Rega also gets its power on our test bench. Both in 8 Ohm and 4 Ohm it comes very close to what they say on paper. Also, the power almost doubles (we measure 92 watts at 0.1% THD ), which makes a good impression. And not all amplifiers do make the promised power, as you will read.
The Rega sounds surprisingly “present”. Voices come out strong compared to the Cyrus and certainly the Audiolab. It gives the Rega a lively character and an ideal partner with somewhat calmer speakers. Think of certain models from Dynaudio. We would be careful with fresh sounding speakers though, as you can go over the edge pretty quickly.
The Cyrus ONE HD is a bit calmer and a bit rounder on that front. Surprising? Yes… we thought so too. Class D often has a reputation for sounding sterile and bare…. well, no. Not this time…
Imaging is good. Focus is tight and a little more forward than backward. That makes sense, given the tonal balance. In that respect it is very similar to the Roksan Attessa which also plays a bit more forward. However, that one is a bit rounder in the bass and midbass.
The Rega gives the impression that little feedback was used. There are “quieter” amplifiers in this test. That doesn’t say a whole lot about the quality, more about the design choice. However, the distortion is a bit higher than other models in this test. Also, the frequency response is less straight than we would like to see, especially in the bass region it goes down. However, there are more amplifiers that show this. Think of the Leak Stereo 130. In terms of power, the Rega practically measures spot on. We even see a little more in 4 Ohms. Very nicely done.