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Rega DAC-R DAC Review

Rate this DAC:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 243 72.1%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 71 21.1%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 13 3.9%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 10 3.0%

  • Total voters
    337

audio_tony

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Actually, it is a ghetto blaster/portable mech. Super cheap.
@restorer-john your reply put me in mind of the 'shigaclone' thread started by Peter Daniel on DIY Audio some years back.

People were buying up cheap boom boxes and stripping the (Sanyo I think) CD mech and making DIY CD players.

I thought that the entire project was somewhat amusing at the time.
 

DanielT

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Still it's one of the best sounding and best looking!, (Eye of the beholder and all that) CD players out there, classy but not overdone in it's styling, and pretty well built (around 10Kg).
It was the last very well built Philips machine, after that everything turned to cheap plastic, not just Philips in that regard btw.
The looks, appearance is, of course, a matter of taste.:)

But the sound. Provided the Philips CD 960 doesn't color the sound and any CD/DVD/Blu-Ray player doesn't either, if used as a transport to an external good modern DAC the sound is the same.

It's damned difficult, in my case impossible, to hear a difference between different players in a blind test and then I haven't even plugged in an external new modern DAC:

 

AdrianusG

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The looks, appearance is, of course, a matter of taste.:)

But the sound. Provided the Philips CD 960 doesn't color the sound and any CD/DVD/Blu-Ray player doesn't either, if used as a transport to an external good modern DAC the sound is the same.

It's damned difficult, in my case impossible, to hear a difference between different players in a blind test and then I haven't even plugged in an external new modern DAC:

that is correct,

i'm using my CD player as as transport too, plugged into my new DAC (Eversolo Z8) by coax cable, it's also still connected the analogue way to my pre-amp, if level matched (as good as possible) there is no audible difference, at least not to my 58 year old ears;)
 

DSJR

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Here's my CD player -

CDM-2 2007.JPG


Philips/Marantz made three versions I think of the same heavy duty cast chassis (TDA1541 dac chipset with matching filter). The Marantz CD94 took one version (my Micro Seiki CD-M2 is a button-less version but with same green-blob type caps around the dac and then added a transformer coupled balanced output to the standard RCA sockets - no idea how much distortion these trannies add). There was a transport version as well I seem to remember and the third was more 'Philips' orientated for the CD960 - @AdrianusG

Really nice donor chassis this. Mine, which I believe from the marks on the rosewood was Ab Sounds' demo sample which I borrowed very early in its life in 1988 or so, had a Trichord Clock fitted by our engineer which I thought (subjectively) cleaned the sound ever so slightly and I also thought the Martin Colloms reviewed Sicomin platform 'sounded' similarly slightly better. the bloody machine is so heavy I ain't removing said platform now as the two are basically married together.

I'd not say it's really any better today than a basic machine by Denon or whatever, but in 1988 it was wonderful in comparison with a Sony 555ES and the (to me) ghastly contrived Naim CD-S thing.
 

DSJR

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The first device taken in photo above in DSJR's message is of the first iteration of the Planet CD Player.

I owned one. It was my very first CD Player that I bought with hard earned money obtained tanks to my first summer job when I was at the university. At that time, at the end of the 1990s', the Rega Planet was marketed as a refined audiophile player by the French Hi-fi press and abroad and it wasn't cheap, by any standard. I was young and still very much under the influence of the Hi-fi press. The discourse of the salesman in a high-end Hi-fi store was the nail in the coffin which led me to purchase this CD player.

I got frustrated of this player in less than six months. Then, I tried a cheap-ass whatever-name flimsy Chinese-made DVD-player that my little sister had bought in a supermarket for peanuts. I was shocked to hear a much wider bandwidth sound coming out of the DVD-Player compared to my expensive and appraised Planet.

Then, I loose faith, began to learn electronic (as a hobby) and opened the Planet. I got my second shock when I saw for myself the very low standard of construction, componentry and overall electronic design inside that thing.

By the way, it was written in a French Hi-fi review that I had also read at that time that the output stage chip was designed for portable audio devices.
There is one thing about all Rega Planet/Apollo CD players which really will be terminal here and I suspect perhaps one reason why you became dissatisfied with it so quickly -

ALL these bottom model Rega machines need to work into a 50k load (it used to be said on the manufacturer's product website.

How many amps out there only offer 10k or so? No idea but it's one possible suggestion. The dac doesn't suffer so by the way...

I don't know why I've got so frustrated with this thread. I'm never going to own one and am well out of the industry now (I still grieve over that fact for some reason). Everything changes and old farts like me just get left behind in the rush to the new bestest thing... :(
 

AdrianusG

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Here's my CD player -

View attachment 321351

Philips/Marantz made three versions I think of the same heavy duty cast chassis (TDA1541 dac chipset with matching filter). The Marantz CD94 took one version (my Micro Seiki CD-M2 is a button-less version but with same green-blob type caps around the dac and then added a transformer coupled balanced output to the standard RCA sockets - no idea how much distortion these trannies add). There was a transport version as well I seem to remember and the third was more 'Philips' orientated for the CD960 - @AdrianusG

Really nice donor chassis this. Mine, which I believe from the marks on the rosewood was Ab Sounds' demo sample which I borrowed very early in its life in 1988 or so, had a Trichord Clock fitted by our engineer which I thought (subjectively) cleaned the sound ever so slightly and I also thought the Martin Colloms reviewed Sicomin platform 'sounded' similarly slightly better. the bloody machine is so heavy I ain't removing said platform now as the two are basically married together.

I'd not say it's really any better today than a basic machine by Denon or whatever, but in 1988 it was wonderful in comparison with a Sony 555ES and the (to me) ghastly contrived Naim CD-S thing.
I have this one now (>24 years) and it's gonna stay till it falls apart (not very likely the way it's built!) or gets to be unrepairable.
like i said, no distinguishable difference analogue out or digitally connected to my new DAC
iu
 

Grotti

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I could add a picture of my old Philips CD 100. Or we could go back on topic. Just saying...;)
 

Scytales

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There is one thing about all Rega Planet/Apollo CD players which really will be terminal here and I suspect perhaps one reason why you became dissatisfied with it so quickly -

ALL these bottom model Rega machines need to work into a 50k load (it used to be said on the manufacturer's product website.

How many amps out there only offer 10k or so? No idea but it's one possible suggestion.

At the time I have the Rega Planet, I use to use a Rega Elex (1st gen.) integrated amp I bought with the CD player, before I switched the amp for a much better Rega Elicit (1st gen.). I hope Rega did designed its firts CD player to be paired flawlessly with their own contemporary integrated amps !
 

Doodski

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I reckon it'd be good to start a dedicated old-skool CD player thread rather than pollute this D/A converter review thread any more.
Perhaps a CDP-X777ES teardown with lots of images and Sony service manual tidbits too? DrOOL! :D
 

dtaylo1066

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Hard for me to comprehend spending more than $1,200 on a DAC these days (I'm thinking RME) and many would argue a far lower price than that for SOTA. This Rega DAC could make a good door stop in a windy office room, as it has some heft. Other than that, a $200 Topping would suffice.
 

Doodski

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Hard for me to comprehend spending more than $1,200 on a DAC these days (I'm thinking RME) and many would argue a far lower price than that for SOTA. This Rega DAC could make a good door stop in a windy office room, as it has some heft. Other than that, a $200 Topping would suffice.
A JDS Labs ATOM DAC+ or a Schiit MODI+ or any other ~$100 decent DAC would do the job very well.
 

NHL99

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I wonder which Brit brands would pass ASR scrutiny? The only one I could think of is Cyrus, for electronics. After reading an endless amount of reviews for Arcam, Naim, Rega, etc, the sound in many cases, when auditioning, triggers 'Really?'

The latest audition was the stack of new Naim Classics with the Neat Ultimatum XLS speakers. Held by a Chord representative, to demonstrate the difference in sound between interconnects. In summary, the sound was harsh.
 

NHL99

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Cyrus is the one brand I would expect not to pass ASR scrutiny.

I had an ACA7 preamp for a while and the performance was lacking. Build quality was poor too.
In which sense was it lacking? I've only listened to the Cyrus Classic amps.

Is there any brand left then, to claim ASR fame?
 

Billy Budapest

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In which sense was it lacking? I've only listened to the Cyrus Classic amps.

Is there any brand left then, to claim ASR fame?
In the realm of speakers, KEF are among the best measuring and highest regarded at ASR.

Cambridge Audio phono amps also hold some of the top measurement spots.
 

audio_tony

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In which sense was it lacking? I've only listened to the Cyrus Classic amps.

Is there any brand left then, to claim ASR fame?
It was noisy and quite dull sounding (no detail).

With the exception of Cambridge Audio products (which I think are made in China anyway lol), the only other British made product that might make the grade here would be Quad.

EDIT: Even Quad is made in China now - oh well...

The rest of the old English brands are mostly Chinese brands now anyway.

I'm talking about electronics only - not speakers.
 
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Mart68

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It was noisy and quite dull sounding (no detail).

With the exception of Cambridge Audio products (which I think are made in China anyway lol), the only other British made product that might make the grade here would be Quad.

EDIT: Even Quad is made in China now - oh well...

The rest of the old English brands are mostly Chinese brands now anyway.

I'm talking about electronics only - not speakers.
Musical Fidelity? Although now owned by Project, I don't know if still UK made.

LDA - https://www.longdogaudio.com/

NVA - https://nvahifi.co.uk/

Both still made in UK. Don't know how they would fare on the SINAD scoreboard though. I suspect good enough.
 

audio_tony

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Musical Fidelity

“Musical Fidelity will continue, in a manufacturing sense, in China and the Far East and from the R&D and development perspective, that’s now slowly moving over to Austria, to Vienna. Musical Fidelity will remain as a separate entity in terms of the brand, history and legacy.”


NVA is indeed still made in the UK, however spec wise I'm not sure their gear will measure that well. The older stuff also had a habit of self destructing...
 

NHL99

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Forgot Exposure and Leema, both design and manufacture the electronics in the UK? Still to hear an Exposure, they're supposed to sound good.
 
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