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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

DSJR

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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.
The now ancient 1 and 2 amps within their power limits had very good if not excellent measurements according to the HiFi Choice (Colloms) reviews I have, the only thing to censure here on ASR being the sub 100Hz RIAA eq which deliberately rolls off. The late 90's models also seemed to perform well but I lost touch after with the brand, so no idea now.
 

Ajax

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Apologies for maintaining the "off topic" discussion on English hifi, however, I felt the need to share this.

A long establish hifi store in Sydney recently put out a newsletter highlighting their latest offers, which included:

1. Naim Nu-Vista Pre AUS $40,000 = US$25,000
2. Naim Nu-Vista Pass AUS $43,000 = US$27,000

Exchange rate is 0.63.

This would include transport costs, customs duty of 5% plus GST (our VAT) of 10%, however, we are still well over US$40,000 for a pre-power amp combination.

Compare this with the excellent RME DAC (or second hand Benchmark or minidsp flex) for around US$1,200 ($500 for the flex) plus the recently reviewed Apollon MCx500ST power amplifier (245W into 8ohms) for whom 90% of us gave a golfing panther rating, also about $1200.

Add a streamer and you are looking at only US$2500 for SOTA technology, about 6% of the price of the Naim combination.

Audio jewellery is a reality.
 

Mart68

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Apologies for maintaining the "off topic" discussion on English hifi, however, I felt the need to share this.

A long establish hifi store in Sydney recently put out a newsletter highlighting their latest offers, which included:

1. Naim Nu-Vista Pre AUS $40,000 = US$25,000
2. Naim Nu-Vista Pass AUS $43,000 = US$27,000

Exchange rate is 0.63.

This would include transport costs, customs duty of 5% plus GST (our VAT) of 10%, however, we are still well over US$40,000 for a pre-power amp combination.

Compare this with the excellent RME DAC (or second hand Benchmark or minidsp flex) for around US$1,200 ($500 for the flex) plus the recently reviewed Apollon MCx500ST power amplifier (245W into 8ohms) for whom 90% of us gave a golfing panther rating, also about $1200.

Add a streamer and you are looking at only US$2500 for SOTA technology, about 6% of the price of the Naim combination.

Audio jewellery is a reality.
Musical Fidelity not Naim I think?
 

Nifkin

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You name it: REGA is a marketing based manufacturer and people "like the REGA sound" because they are told by stereophile, Darko etc.
Quite remarkable when you consider that Rega don't actually do any marketing of their products.
 

Purité Audio

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restorer-john

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D

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So Rega, who are one of the best analogue manufacturers around, also some lovely amps, made a dodgy DAC almost a decade ago when everyone was making standalone DACs. They sensibly stopped and these can now be bought for $300.
Big deal, but enjoy bashing Rega.
 

Purité Audio

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‘Best analogue manufacturers’?
They make belt drive turntables.
Keith
 

oceansize

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So Rega, who are one of the best analogue manufacturers around, also some lovely amps, made a dodgy DAC almost a decade ago when everyone was making standalone DACs. They sensibly stopped and these can now be bought for $300.
Big deal, but enjoy bashing Rega.
Let's hope that they've got better at implementing DACs in their current amps and CD players. Maybe their marketing guy will see fit to ship one of their current models to Amir for testing?
 

Ken Tajalli

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‘Best analogue manufacturers’?
They make belt drive turntables.
Keith
Yes, Rega may have some good turntables under their belts!
But mechanical engineers don't design electronics.
Rega is beloved here in UK, so it maybe hard for some of us to swallow these results.
I audition their DAC, among many other well respected DACs about 10 years ago.
I do recall, my shortlist was just Benchmark DAC 1 and a Leema.
All others were audibly inferior.
Yes Rega was one of them! at bottom of the pile, despite rave reviews .
 
D

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I am very happy to see a review for the DAC that turned me off to Rega and it’s brand “charm”

I owned the first version of this that didn’t include a remote and offered 5 filter options. In fact, I was among the first owners in the U.S. having pre-ordered it from a Rega dealer. I was so excited! When was this…. 2010 or so.

I remember the reviews. Jeff Dorgay of Tone Magazine said it was a “bass monster!” Oooh I do love that bass!

Hooked it up and was prepared to be amazed. And yes, in fact, it was a bass monster. Quite a lot of bass, in fact. Too much. Slow, plodding bass that ruined anything with, well, a lot of bass.

I sold it off pretty quickly while it was still current, in-demand, and hard to come by - still at a loss, though. Last time I ever bought new.

I wrote of my experience on the Hoffman forums and was uniformly pummeled by the dissenters, and my post was removed pretty quickly. That’s when I realized shtv was a shill forum and its denizens a flock of sheep.

But lo and behold, Stereophile published a review also mentioning the excessive bass, and noting power supply noise at mains frequency. How about that. Bass monster? Or distortion box? Definitely vindication of my own experience.


“Paul Miller has written, in the English magazine Hi-Fi News & Record Review, that he has found that the presence of low-frequency sidebands in other processors correlates with the perception that a product's bass is larger than life, even a touch ponderous. Although my measurements show that the Rega DAC's frequency response is flat to below 20Hz, both Jon and Sam described the Rega's low frequencies as being exaggerated, which might correlate with this measured problem. Otherwise, it remains a puzzle.”

Reviewers heard it, I heard it, the measurements didn’t show it. But ponderous and bloated is exactly what I heard, too.

Side note: around that time I sold my Saturn CD player on EBay to none other than Ben Folds. I wrote him asking what he thought of it and he replied with a fairly detailed review (wish I still had it). He liked the midrange but also remarked it sounded “suspicious”. Around that time a studio owning friend of mine was on a tour of Nashville studios and saw that very Saturn paired with a McIntosh MA6200 in his “listening area”.

This was the beginning of my realization that high end was a sham! Currently I’m quite happy with a $100 Topping DAC into a NAD 1700 with a miniDSP through the tape loop. Cheap and awesome. The C298 is nice, too.

And yes I still love some fancy audio gear. Purists might be aghast at my mixing vintage and “chi-fi” with “Klimax” LP12 but whatever. Source first and all.

I still have a Rega Jupiter 2000 and it was probably two years ago I offered to send it in for a review but, and this review reminds me that I forgot all about it! Or maybe a review of my EAD 7000 mk1 (gold!) is in order (also not in use in favor of Topping… the clarity!)

Still open to shipping to Amirm if that’s of interest as I never use it having full converted to Roon. Bet it measures like sh^t and we can confirm Ben Folds suspicions!
 
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DSJR

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I am very happy to see a review for the DAC that turned me off to Rega and it’s brand “charm”

I owned the first version of this that didn’t include a remote and offered 5 filter options. In fact, I was among the first owners in the U.S. having pre-ordered it from a Rega dealer. I was so excited! When was this…. 2010 or so.

I remember the reviews. Jeff Dorgay of Tone Magazine said it was a “bass monster!” Oooh I do love that bass!

Hooked it up and was prepared to be amazed. And yes, in fact, it was a bass monster. Quite a lot of bass, in fact. Too much. Slow, plodding bass that ruined anything with, well, a lot of bass.

I sold it off pretty quickly while it was still current, in-demand, and hard to come by - still at a loss, though. Last time I ever bought new.

I wrote of my experience on the Hoffman forums and was uniformly pummeled by the dissenters, and my post was removed pretty quickly. That’s when I realized shtv was a shill forum and its denizens a flock of sheep.

But lo and behold, Stereophile published a review also mentioning the excessive bass, and noting power supply noise at mains frequency. How about that. Bass monster? Or distortion box? Definitely vindication of my own experience.


“Paul Miller has written, in the English magazine Hi-Fi News & Record Review, that he has found that the presence of low-frequency sidebands in other processors correlates with the perception that a product's bass is larger than life, even a touch ponderous. Although my measurements show that the Rega DAC's frequency response is flat to below 20Hz, both Jon and Sam described the Rega's low frequencies as being exaggerated, which might correlate with this measured problem. Otherwise, it remains a puzzle.”

Reviewers heard it, I heard it, the measurements didn’t show it. But ponderous and bloated is exactly what I heard, too.

Side note: around that time I sold my Saturn CD player on EBay to none other than Ben Folds. I wrote him asking what he thought of it and he replied with a fairly detailed review (wish I still had it). He liked the midrange but also remarked it sounded “suspicious”. Around that time a studio owning friend of mine was on a tour of Nashville studios and saw that very Saturn paired with a McIntosh MA6200 in his “listening area”.

This was the beginning of my realization that high end was a sham! Currently I’m quite happy with a $100 Topping DAC into a NAD 1700 with a miniDSP through the tape loop. Cheap and awesome. The C298 is nice, too.

And yes I still love some fancy audio gear. Purists might be aghast at my mixing vintage and “chi-fi” with “Klimax” LP12 but whatever. Source first and all.

I still have a Rega Jupiter 2000 and it was probably two years ago I offered to send it in for a review but, and this review reminds me that I forgot all about it! Or maybe a review of my EAD 7000 mk1 (gold!) is in order (also not in use in favor of Topping… the clarity!)

Still open to shipping to Amirm if that’s of interest as I never use it having full converted to Roon. Bet it measures like sh^t and we can confirm Ben Folds suspicions!
Now and apologies for stereotyping here, which is meant with respect, love and some humour... US speakers have in the past tended to be larger with greater bass of various qualities than that 'allowed' in the UK, where small squeaky boxes proliferate all too much. Into my model of speakers, the Rega dac had a 'vinyl analogue' kind of approach with 'organic' musical tones which is not at all unpleasant, at least to me (I'm talking about the original issue dac here. I can well imagine this 'organic' bass quality becoming a muddy stodge all too easily though.

Get used to that bass *quality* and believe me and as with vinyl lovers generally, hearing stark 'reality' is a huge step to take as all that organic bass seems to disappear, especially with small speakers without artificial bass extension!

Fortunately, I hope I've returned from the dark side as regards digital and I also hope that the new Rega Aya speakers will continue the more refined tweeter frequencies as they did in the to me endearing RX3 (I liked the Linn Ninka though and look how badly they perform...) and with better managed bass than their earlier models.

Oh and @Mart68, do the Planar 8, 10 and over have bad performance with their twin-belt drives? Even the Planar 3 main bearing can manage noises in the -80dB region and the 8 upwards claims to have better bearings again as well as precision metallic hubs rather than the moulded ones the lower models use..
 
D

Deleted member 5641

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Oh and @Mart68, do the Planar 8, 10 and over have bad performance with their twin-belt drives? Even the Planar 3 main bearing can manage noises in the -80dB region and the 8 upwards claims to have better bearings again as well as precision metallic hubs rather than the moulded ones the lower models use..

I owned an RP8 and had the opportunity to test the dual belt system. I used RPM and no longer have the measurements but from memory:
- the additional belt added wow and flutter, it measured better with just one belt

- each belt measured differently, but each better alone than together

- also tested a famed at the time “blue belt” which was worse than the Rega belts

- belt location impacted wow and flutter, one location was worse than the other in single belt mode

- speed was slightly fast and at time didn’t come with the speed adjustable power supply
 
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DSJR

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I owned an RP8 and had the opportunity to test the dual belt system. I used RPM and no longer have the measurements but from memory:
- the additional belt added wow and flutter, it measured better with just one belt

- each belt measured differently, but each better alone than together

- also tested a famed at the time “blue belt” which was worse than the Rega belts

- belt location impacted wow and flutter, one location was worse than the other in single belt mode

- speed was slightly fast and at time didn’t come with the speed adjustable power supply
The 8 I briefly used seemed stable enough, but no proper testing. ALL Regas with very few exceptions I remember and without the speed-adjustable supplies, run 0.3% fast, clearly audible with a speed-correct source with which to compare (my old 300Hz Linn strobe shows the excess terribly).

All I could suggest from practical experience with this brand would have been to run the belts for some hours to see if they eventually evened themselves out. It would have been interesting to see what Rega's response would have been as they wouldn't have tooled up for twin belts if it wasn't to improve the performance. The only criticisms I've heard from friends and other forum peeps was motor noise, which also quietens down with running.

OkOk peeps, buy a bloody Technics and avoid all these 'quirks :D
 
D

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Dual belt drive can certainly stimulate expectations and imagined benefits, but according to the RPM app, it offered no real improvement and even showed worse measured performance. Interestingly, my best belt-driven measurements have been with a Minos power supply in my home-assembled LP12, which seems to match up to the Klimax Radikal. But the Klimax is way way way sexier on the rack.

The industry’s ‘big secret’ seems to revolve around positioning voiced gear as inherently ‘better,’ while ‘trust your ears’ often feels like an invitation to embrace confirmation bias. Interestingly, few will openly admit when a product is voiced, as it might shatter the illusion.

EG - Rega’s empty performance claims as cited earlier in thread.
 

Mart68

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Oh and @Mart68, do the Planar 8, 10 and over have bad performance with their twin-belt drives? Even the Planar 3 main bearing can manage noises in the -80dB region and the 8 upwards claims to have better bearings again as well as precision metallic hubs rather than the moulded ones the lower models use..
Their website is remarkably free of useful information like wow/flutter measurement so doesn't inspire my confidence. Technics' site gives that spec for all their decks.
 
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