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Rega DAC-R DAC Review

Rate this DAC:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 241 72.2%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 71 21.3%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 12 3.6%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 10 3.0%

  • Total voters
    334

DSJR

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The RX3 speakers were quite pleasant, neutral enough I think and not as 'sparkly' as the previous RS3 was. Larger models could almost 'shout' a bit, but I have limited experience and this was before my ears caved in...
 

AudioSceptic

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HiFi World had their favourites which could do no wrong even if the measurements suggested otherwise. Valve amps with hideous distortions and high output impedances were loved quite often - just use them with Tannoys or similar ;) They were amazed how 'nice' a Quad 909 was in a power amp group test (I suspect this is also way off the beam today, but I still rate that basic design and it was the first domestic Quyad amp that happily drove a four ohm load with out current limiting getting in the way...

Sure I'm upset that UK-cheap companies like Rega are seemingly still so insular as regards what's really going on out there, but it's a smaller world now I have to admit...
My impression was that Noel Keywood wanted to be more "objective" but realised that subjective reviews seemed to sell better.
 

Mart68

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My impression was that Noel Keywood wanted to be more "objective" but realised that subjective reviews seemed to sell better.
his loudspeaker reviews were pretty objective but he's also an 'analogue purity' advocate, and he thinks valves have some magic, so I think what we got with his magazine was exactly what he intended.
 

nygafre

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The RX3 speakers were quite pleasant, neutral enough I think and not as 'sparkly' as the previous RS3 was. Larger models could almost 'shout' a bit, but I have limited experience and this was before my ears caved in...
I have to disagree somewhat on the neutrality (but agree on the ‘shouting’). But that is coming from owning the RX5, so there might be a difference between the two :)

The RX line is probably quite rolled off. I’ve never experienced anything shrill or sharp (nor particularly sparkly) from the ZRR tweeter. They also present themselves as very clear, but with a lightness to vocals that would never quite agree with me.

Ofc most would be evident from some measurements, which I unfortunately never did with them. On a more positive note, they did sound very nice with some types of music, especially jazz.
 

DSJR

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I have to disagree somewhat on the neutrality (but agree on the ‘shouting’). But that is coming from owning the RX5, so there might be a difference between the two :)

The RX line is probably quite rolled off. I’ve never experienced anything shrill or sharp (nor particularly sparkly) from the ZRR tweeter. They also present themselves as very clear, but with a lightness to vocals that would never quite agree with me.

Ofc most would be evident from some measurements, which I unfortunately never did with them. On a more positive note, they did sound very nice with some types of music, especially jazz.
I did directly compare the RX3 (and previously, the RS3) to the Harbeth SHL5+ and the main subjective difference was possibly in the bass. The mids on the RX and RS3 were actually very good subjectively (no measurements ever to my knowledge) and the RX3 highs were very much nicer to me in the few different roms I've heard them in. It'll be a while before I can hear the new Aya though...
 

nygafre

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I did directly compare the RX3 (and previously, the RS3) to the Harbeth SHL5+ and the main subjective difference was possibly in the bass. The mids on the RX and RS3 were actually very good subjectively (no measurements ever to my knowledge) and the RX3 highs were very much nicer to me in the few different roms I've heard them in. It'll be a while before I can hear the new Aya though...
Understood. Yeah, the tweeter is actually rather good imo. But I do believe they deviate too much from neutral, at least speaking for my self :). On the other hand they could be the right speaker for someone that likes the sound. Perhaps the RX3 is the better speaker in the RX line. The build quality and wood veneer finish is truly impeccable too. Real quality there.

The pictures/design of the Aya makes me rather sad in comparison :’). The Aya has he same woofer and tweeter as the RX5. Slight difference with the MX-125 mid/bass (Aya/Kyte) vs the DX-125 (RX-line). They needed to get the costs lower with the Aya.
 

EJ3

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I kind-of knew this day would come :mad:

Rega prices are obscenely high away from the UK market and visuals aside @Mart68, you'd need to sit down and properly evaluate a Technics modern vinyl deck with a Rega 3, let alone a 6 which may not have as good a drive, but the RB330 arm is in a different world - and does actually measure close to the very best in terms of friction and resonances which the Technics tonearms never will! My RB330 is far better finished too than its predecessors which I know only too well ;) I agree their home made MM's are awful (a leftover from the early 80's) but their MC's are good if you can afford them (I'm more an AT OC9 these days bit still).

R.I.P...
I'll put my Technics SL-M3 ([from 1984-88, around $500 USD], at the time, likely the second best Technics TT built) & specifically the tone arm (which is limited to T4P cartridges, so the supply is limited [but I have many, at least enough to last my lifetime]) against any TT & TONE ARM Rega has ever sold on the open market.
Technics SL-M3 specifications:
Audio Database


SL-M3

  • Technics SL-M3​

  • ¥ 99,800 (around 1986)

Commentary​


A full-auto player with linear tracking system.

It is equipped with a unique linear tracking arm that can make tracking error, which causes distortion during playback, and inside force, which causes channel imbalance, close to 0.
The tracking error angle is within ± 0.05 ° by detecting the arm deflection angle with an optical sensor and obtaining a high-precision detection signal.

The tone arm uses a unique dynamic balance system, and the arm bearing uses a 4-point support system gimbal suspension system.
In addition, the arm has a low mass design with an effective mass of 13g including the cartridge.

Diameter 32.5 cm, Weight 2.5 kg, Inertial Mass 427 kg / cm2Large and heavy aluminum die-cast turntable has been adopted.

Continuously variable pitch adjustment within ± 6% is possible.

Equipped with an electronically controlled full auto mechanism.

Equipped with plug-in connector system MM type cartridge.

TNRC and high-density particle board are used for the cabinet.

  • Gimbal suspension bearing structure

Model Rating​

TypeQuartz DD full auto player system
<Turntable portion>
Drive systemDirect drive
Control systemQuartz control
Number of revolutions33 1/3, 45 rpm
Wow flutter0.022%W.R.M.S(JIS C5521)
0.008% W. R. M. S (Rotating Part Only)
Signal-to-noise ratio82 dB (DIN-B, IEC98A weighted)
Cartridge Section
TypePlug-in connector MM type stereo cartridge
Exchange needleEPS-P205ED4(¥15,000)
<General>
Pwer100 VAC, 50Hz/60Hz
Power consumption22W
External dimensionsWidth 526x Height 202x Depth 426 mm
Weight13.5kg


While this one is not mine & is in the shop for repairs, that allows a very good look at it in this video:
 

DSJR

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Major measurement issue apparently - the T-4P mount which *can* mess with the lower midrange and put response glitches in the cartridge used - If not, blame Martin Colloms who reviewed and measured a lot of these decks... I don't think we ever saw this Technics deck though, but I'd not expect it to be as cheap as a Rega 3 or even a 6. My parallel tracking poison was a Beogram 4000/MMC20CL, but I no longer have it now.

You see, decks like the Planar 8 upwards just don't have any eye candy - I don't like the visuals of these much 'cos there ain't any!!! The internal engineering where it's not seen though, is a different matter as in the main bearing, the apparently expensive ceramic platters of the upper models, the light but supposedly stiff skeletal plinth compared to a fancy often hollow box structure and efforts to keep W&F, dynamic wow and overall noise in the drive to a hopeful minimum with little to no energy storage in the structure, hence the stiff but light skeletal plinth. The Rega arm bearings are or should be exceptionally good and the races are hand matched to the spindles they run on (fascinating to have a go myself at matching during one visit). The RB330 I have here has a much posher looking exit cable (yes, I said looking) and better finish than before.

I'll tell you one thing whatever you think of the brand - the Planar 8 with Apheta upwards helps 'vinyl' to sound closer to 'digital' than one could imagine... Not saying that's the only vinyl setup that does this (I'm a fan of and once owned Notts Analogue models), but the usual 'vinyl' colourations are minimised if not inaudible I feel.
 
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restorer-john

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I agree with a lot of that, but this came out in 2015, was hardly cheap, even in the UK, where it was about £600, and couldn't even reach CD standards.

This product seems to be an attempt to jump on the multi-input D/A converter train when they realized Rega would be left behind, pigeon-holed as a totally analog/turntable company and become irrelevant if they didn't.

Probably counted on the fact nobody in the UK HiFi press at the time would objectively test it properly and anyone outside the UK would give it a reasonable enough review. Sure it should have performed better than it did, but Rega's hardly the only company to put a great D/A (for the time) in a box and mess up the performance when compared to the potential of the chipset.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but what's next? Shall we roast the world's first CD player, the Sony CDP-101 because it 'only' achieved 0.0006% THD @1kHz in 1982?

Whoever bought one back in 2015, probably is/was blissfully unaware, perfectly happy with and continues to use to this day the product. I'll bet it is still working 20 years from now, when most of the 'leader-board' D/As are long buried under 200ft of landfill.
 

restorer-john

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Where do you put your powersupply?

There's power supplies all over both boards. Blame is not attributed to the placement of a transformer or an SMPS. Layout is way more important and a pretty looking symmetrical layout is not necessarily better. Better for selling to audiophiles who are drawn naturally to perfect symmetry...
 
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JaccoW

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I had a Rega Elex-R, no 1 in numerous group tests, but couldn't find any improvement in the sound from the Denon low-end DAB, that it replaced. Snake oil amplifier.
I kind of liked mine with a pair of Harbeth Compact 7es-3 speakers when I still had those. I went to a shop to try the Rega Brio with a pair of Elac Debut B5.2 I think. Horrible speakers even though they were well reviewed. Hooked them up to the Elex-R, not great but better. Talked to the guy at the shop, listened to a bunch of speakers up to the Harbeth Super hl5 plus and ended up buying the amp and thrifting a pair of speakers while I hunted for a second-hand pair of the Harbeths.

Shame the entire setup (minus the Akai reel-to-reel) left the house together with my ex. I would have liked to hear it with the Topping E50 I have now.

(Yes, the speakers were put on suitable stands after this picture was taken)

Kind of curious how they would sound with a proper DAC. We didn't know any better and had it hooked up to an Asus Xonar U3 DAC. Which wasn't all that bad for a $40 DAC.
 

mmuetst

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There's power supplies all over both boards. Blame is not attributed to the placement of a transformer or an SMPS. Layout is way more important and a pretty looking symmetrical layout is not necessarily better. Better for selling to audiophiles who are drawn naturally to perfect symmetry...
@amirm shows in his measurement that a 60Hz component is visible. If the power supply is placed strategically, you can prevent this. That's what I mean by the placement of the power supply. So the power supply is not bad, the placement of the power supply is. By design, the mains voltage must run through the entire housing (from right to left in the photo).
With the Eversolo, they have chosen to keep the mains voltage as short as possible by placing the power supply in a strategic location.
 

restorer-john

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My impression was that Noel Keywood wanted to be more "objective" but realised that subjective reviews seemed to sell better.

He was selling valve (tube) amplifiers at the time, was he not? HiFi World era was about as bad as it got to my way of thinking.
 

audio_tony

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He was selling valve (tube) amplifiers at the time, was he not? HiFi World era was about as bad as it got to my way of thinking.
He was indeed. And I agree with your "bad as it got" sentiment.

They had numerous reviews of USB cables etc. and I even wrote in to the magazine to criticise one of the USB cable reviews - needless to say, Noel refuted my arguments and stood by the review.
 

Ajax

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I guess I'm not in the right club, since I enjoy playing my records sometimes.

No need to be quite so...whatever you call that.
I think the word your looking for is "judgemental".

Unfortunately this attitude is becoming more and more prevalent in our lives. We are being told everyday that if you don't think this, or believe that, then you are somehow a bad person.
 

AudioSceptic

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This product seems to be an attempt to jump on the multi-input D/A converter train when they realized Rega would be left behind, pigeon-holed as a totally analog/turntable company and become irrelevant if they didn't.

Probably counted on the fact nobody in the UK HiFi press at the time would objectively test it properly and anyone outside the UK would give it a reasonable enough review. Sure it should have performed better than it did, but Rega's hardly the only company to put a great D/A (for the time) in a box and mess up the performance when compared to the potential of the chipset.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but what's next? Shall we roast the world's first CD player, the Sony CDP-101 because it 'only' achieved 0.0006% THD @1kHz in 1982?

Whoever bought one back in 2015, probably is/was blissfully unaware, perfectly happy with and continues to use to this day the product. I'll bet it is still working 20 years from now, when most of the 'leader-board' D/As are long buried under 200ft of landfill.
Probably all true, but was it really good enough for the money? What would be useful is a timeline of DACs that advanced the SOTA. Were they all expensive, such as the Benchmark, until very recently? I use a Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 Digital. It wasn't SOTA when it came out in 2017 but it was half the price of the Rega in the UK, has more functionality, and easily outperforms it, as far as I can tell.
 

Mart68

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I think the word your looking for is "judgemental".

Unfortunately this attitude is becoming more and more prevalent in our lives. We are being told everyday that if you don't think this, or believe that, then you are somehow a bad person.
The trick is to embrace being a bad person. That winds them up even more.
 

Ra1zel

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It's always so amusing to see on ASR how quickly people will abandon logic to rationalize the poorly performing gear that they own.

Yes dear the Rega you happen to have sounds really good its the rest of their equipment that's crap. Sure. Sure. (Let's forget that this is a DAC and will "sound" no different from almost any other DACs).
 
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