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Rega DAC-R DAC Review

Rate this DAC:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 241 72.4%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

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

    Votes: 11 3.3%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 10 3.0%

  • Total voters
    333

rocksteady

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American equipment was dismissed as 'Voiced for American rooms/tastes'.

Japanese was what people who didn't really 'know' about hi-fi bought.

European brands were viewed much like the French cars of the time - quirky and not for everyone.

That went on until the 1990s.
Yes, and a major turning point would have been the launch of the Pioneer A-400. Ironically, good as it may have been, this was essentially a stripped down A-445, slapped with a higher price tag to boot. Japanese gear in its heyday was simply unbeatable, not only in terms of value but also ultimate performance. The A-445, its predecessors and successors, were insanely good for what they cost. Not to mention stuff by Technics, Yamaha, Marantz, Rotel, among others...
 
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rocksteady

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Giving a lot of credit to the consumer and the manufacturers with these takes.

This assumes:
1. People can repeatably identify the 'sound' between these different pieces of gear, unsighted
2. Two different formats and potentially different masters can magically produce a similar output. Could Rega and PS Audio be building their storied analog sound into their DACs? I'm impressed.
3. Clinical is a sound, and Chinese DACs possess this sound (???)

But maybe:
1. People identify with brands due to their marketing and/or cost/industrial design/region of manufacture

Preferences are based on multiple factors, sound only being one of them and from what I've learned from this forum and others, it's likely not even the most influential
"But maybe:
1. People identify with brands due to their marketing and/or cost/industrial design/region of manufacture."

Mostly this, truly...
 

rocksteady

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This type of absurd extremism is what drives many moderate users away from ASR.
This is a passion, many users also on ASR love and use vinyl, what they don't do is come up with absurd arguments about how vinyl is even better, but this doesn't mean they can't get pleasure from it, just like tube amplifiers.
"This type of absurd extremism is what drives many moderate users away from ASR."
+1. I consider myself an Hi-Fi enthusiast leaning on the Objective camp, and I utterly reject such blank, ignorant statements. I would bet that such objectivity extremists have never listened to high quality Vinyl reproduction on a top quality Speaker system...
 

Ken1951

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"This type of absurd extremism is what drives many moderate users away from ASR."
+1. I consider myself an Hi-Fi enthusiast leaning on the Objective camp, and I utterly reject such blank, ignorant statements. I would bet that such objectivity extremists have never listened to high quality Vinyl reproduction on a top quality Speaker system...
Aaaaannnnnndddddd - you'd be way wrong.
 

rocksteady

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Yes, but audio journos in the UK used to do proper measurements. Some still do, but then somehow seem to ignore them when it comes to judging VFM and giving recommendations. I still don't know if that's just because they want to support the industry and know that beyond a certain point, measurements really don't matter.

BTW I see that one of the few mags that did measurements, Hi-Fi World, is no longer around.
Hi-Fi News also did regular gear measurement, especially in their (best) Paul Miller era...
 

rocksteady

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Heh at least Samsung pivoted and prospered. Microsoft and Blackberry bet on the dinosaurs instead of the asteroid.
You're forgetting the biggest of them all, Nokia. Quite tragic and precipitous downfall...
 

rocksteady

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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:
Wow! That's a very impressive piece of gear indeed. I had never read about it. Japanese engineering at its finest, no doubt!
 
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D

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"But maybe:
1. People identify with brands due to their marketing and/or cost/industrial design/region of manufacture."

Mostly this, truly...
It’s really is about the emotional appeal and the resultant projections back onto the gear, influencing sound perceptions.

Manufacturers know this.

Although some of this stuff does sound different, either through intention or incompetence.

Might I be both projecting unconscious expectations *and* biased in my view of why it sounds different / better? Mental Meyhem!!

When really I’m just listening to a sludgy distortion box, per the Rega DAC. lol @ the selectable filters nobody will ever discern through that sonic mess.
 
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AdamG

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Let’s get back on Topic and go start a new thread or find one better suited to your conversation. This is a Review Thread and we need to stay focused on the product reviewed and the test results please.

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.
 

dan3952

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I voted not terrible as all its flaws are inaudible under allmost all conditions. Just go for the feature set.
Thank you!
Alan Lofft know what he's doing. THD has to be 3% before it can be detected by the listener at 1.8 kHz. Look at all the graphs on here complaining about something that had measured over -100 db below the level of the source.

The idea that, "Lower distortion equals better sound, so we must strive to keep it as low as possible" doesn't apply, due to its poor relation to real world instruments and voices which have harmonics and aren't test tones. Most recordings I have, probably don't have over a 50 db dynamic range.

Would most musicians who made the music even care about their work being played on a system that has the lowest measured distortion? I feel like Topping and SMSL are in some pointless race to be able to claim their product provides THD that measures as low as in the fourth decimal place, betting most of their customers aren't knowledgeable enough to know how inconsequential those numbers when seated in the listener's chair (and not in a lab looking at a computer).

I don't understand all of those posts about how bad this number or that number is on this DAC, so we're not recommending it (complete with a multicolored chart to show how that IMD or SINAD "problem" stacks up against its peers). What do those numbers amount to, compared to what my speakers and room are doing to the sound? Or the distortion that's in the recording? Not very much.
 
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rocksteady

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Thank you!
Alan Lofft know what he's doing. THD has to be 3% before it can be detected by the listener at 1.8 kHz. Look at all the graphs on here complaining about something that had measured over -100 db below the level of the source.

The idea that, "Lower distortion equals better sound, so we must strive to keep it as low as possible" doesn't apply, due to its poor relation to real world instruments and voices which have harmonics and aren't test tones. Most recordings I have, probably don't have over a 50 db dynamic range.

Would most musicians who made the music even care about their work being played on a system that has the lowest measured distortion? I feel like Topping and SMSL are in some pointless race to be able to claim their product provides THD that measures as low as in the fourth decimal place, betting most of their customers aren't knowledgeable enough to know how inconsequential those numbers when seated in the listener's chair (and not in a lab looking at a computer).

I don't understand all of those posts about how bad this number or that number is on this DAC, so we're not recommending it (complete with a multicolored chart to show how that IMD or SINAD "problem" stacks up against its peers). What do those numbers amount to, compared to what my speakers and room are doing to the sound? Or the distortion that's in the recording? Not very much.
I have also voted not terrible, but given the choice, and assuming a similar feature set, I would choose a competitively priced and high performance modern DAC such as Topping 9/10 times. Alas, I have got neither. I run both an Audiolab M-DAC Plus and a Benchmark DAC2 HGC in my admittedly large and complex system...
 

Mart68

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I don't understand all of those posts about how bad this number or that number is on this DAC, so we're not recommending it (complete with a multicolored chart to show how that IMD or SINAD "problem" stacks up against its peers). What do those numbers amount to, compared to what my speakers and room are doing to the sound? Or the distortion that's in the recording? Not very much.
The vote is a verdict on the quality of the engineering, not the sound quality which everyone accepts will be indistinguishable from a Topping or SMSL or pretty much any other DAC.

This is ASR not What Hi*Fi. The SINAD chart is not the equivalent of their star ranking system.
 

dan3952

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The vote is a verdict on the quality of the engineering, not the sound quality which everyone accepts will be indistinguishable from a Topping or SMSL or pretty much any other DAC.

This is ASR not What Hi*Fi. The SINAD chart is not the equivalent of their star ranking system.
Lower distortion doesn't equal quality of the engineering as it relates to real world music. It's not a game where whomever gets the best SINAD ratings wins. I'm out.
 

YouAreBiased

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More on the 'charm' of British gear would be an interesting examination through the lens of ASR 'objectivity'. Separate thread of course :rolleyes:
 

slacki

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@dan3952
I had those thingens. I can tell you, its the worst i ever had. There was also a professional opinion that was created by an engineer (because all that went to court). There were so many problems, not only the buzz/hiss. I bought the complete Rega "set" with DAC, CD Player and Amp. The CD Player crashed a couple of times :D I never had such behaviour before with other brands. For me: never again Rega. Way too expensive for what it is. Btw. i was proved right in court.
 

AudioSceptic

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@dan3952
I had those thingens. I can tell you, its the worst i ever had. There was also a professional opinion that was created by an engineer (because all that went to court). There were so many problems, not only the buzz/hiss. I bought the complete Rega "set" with DAC, CD Player and Amp. The CD Player crashed a couple of times :D I never had such behaviour before with other brands. For me: never again Rega. Way too expensive for what it is. Btw. i was proved right in court.
It went to court? Please tell us more. :)
 

slacki

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yes, it went to court. i complaint against the dealer because i had a lot of trouble with the devices and he refused to take them back. i live in the EU so we have a thing called "gewährleistung" which protects the customers for 2 years on newly bought things. so i contacted my law insurance, they proceeded to take legal actions against the dealer and the court requested an expertise. that was created and i was proven right in court. unfortunately, the dealer went insolvency. lucky me, the law insurance paid all that (including the expertise which was about 600 EUR or so).
 

DSJR

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yes, it went to court. i complaint against the dealer because i had a lot of trouble with the devices and he refused to take them back. i live in the EU so we have a thing called "gewährleistung" which protects the customers for 2 years on newly bought things. so i contacted my law insurance, they proceeded to take legal actions against the dealer and the court requested an expertise. that was created and i was proven right in court. unfortunately, the dealer went insolvency. lucky me, the law insurance paid all that (including the expertise which was about 600 EUR or so).
That's awful! Here in the UK, Rega would have stepped right in if the dealer was incompetent or didn't look after you properly. Usually here, you go to the dealer who only has to phone the factory for a satisfactory conclusion and even in the EU, the factory isn't far away FFS!
 
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Mrpinortiner

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Measures pretty bad, I currently run one and it sounds OK to my ears. Would there be an audible difference between the Rega and something like the SMSL SU1?
 
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