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Rega IO Amplifier Teardown

Doodski

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While I enjoy reading reviews here, this one is heart breaking. Even more so these days when not wanting to buy chinese brands.
I was slightly a child racist towards Asian peeps and other races and then in the mid 1980's I worked for a Chinese chef and dated a boat person and hung out with (We called them that in Canada as they escaped on their boats...) all the staff and I ate lunch and dinner with them for near 3 years. They work hard, have aspirations and dreams and will help a person too. Don't fear them they are decent people and they fear you too. From the other side of earth makes them different but the same at the same time.
 

Bruce Morgen

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So does this mean that PS Audio's Sprout 100 is the best small integrated amplifier tested to date?
That depends on what passes muster as "small" and "integrated" in ones world. The Sprout 100 is a triumph of packaging and has a fucktonne of features -- but, at $700, as pure amplification it's no better than the sub-$100 combination of an Aiyima A07 and a hefty-enough 48VDC SMPS. Add a $100-200 DAC you're still spending less than half the cost of a Sprout 100 -- but, I must admit, that PS Audio packaging is pretty attractive, and how much that's worth is entirely subjective.
 

restorer-john

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What does a thermal shot of the bottom show? If the current photo is from the top, then the heat that is showing in the middle is likely coming through the circuit board from the bottom metal of the case. Which would mean it is much hotter than what shows.



Could be they had a lot of them already :)

Whenever people do DIY amps they twist any wires that have AC to reduce the magnetic field. Yet it doesn't seem to be a common practice in a lot of manufactured amps. It seems like it would be even more critical with things crammed in a small space like this. I'm a much bigger fan of the spread out and separated by a wall design like the Akitika. Where only DC crosses the 'wall'. But then it isn't a cute little desktop amp.
GT102AssembledC.jpg



It would be disheartening having marketing tell you what to build, how big to build it, how much to spend and what features it has to have.

Winding an output inductor around a filter cap can went out of fashion in the 1960s.
 

Doodski

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Winding an output inductor around a filter cap can went out of fashion in the 1960s.
Now that you pointed it out I see it. Dare I ask what those are supposed to do? What's the thing there?
 

Bruce Morgen

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Now that you pointed it out I see it. Dare I ask what those are supposed to do? What's the thing there?

They're "supposed" to save money and chassis real estate over using a proper coil form.
 

restorer-john

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It is a bit odd. I hadn't looked closely at the preamp as I haven't built one of those. Does less current and lower voltage reduce the magnetic field? It is at least a few inches from the tone/volume board and decently separated from the switching board. And all the AC wires are twisted. I could see where swapping the selector buttons/display board position with the volume/tone/balance board might not be bad. The left side is open for the phono preamp option.

I guess I should start a gofundme page and build one and send it in for testing :)

That toroid looks like it says "made in SriLanka".
 

paulio_uno

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I was slightly a child racist towards Asian peeps and other races and then in the mid 1980's I worked for a Chinese chef and dated a boat person and hung out with (We called them that in Canada as they escaped on their boats...) all the staff and I ate lunch and dinner with them for near 3 years. They work hard, have aspirations and dreams and will help a person too. Don't fear them they are decent people and they fear you too. From the other side of earth makes them different but the same at the same time.
Thanks. It is the regime I fear, not the people. I have an smsl ad 18 in one room, looking to replace it, the IO was on the shortlist.
 
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Calleberg

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It would be disheartening having marketing tell you what to build, how big to build it, how much to spend and what features it has to have.
Wut?

That IS what the marketing department SHOULD do...

(but add the word "exactly" in between you & what, to make it "tell you exactly what to build...etc" as I suspect is what you really meant it makes much more sense).

Anyhow I will carry on as I suspect this is not something everyone realizes:

It is THEIR JOB to know what the customers want. How it should look, feel, sound and smell :), How powerful the customer thinks it needs to be and at what price it will sell. and so on and so forth

Then it is up to the engineers to take on the impossible challenge of making it happen :) That is the true skill in engineering and if you are a good engineer also the fun part.
Making a "cost no object" type of deal is relatively simple.
Making something perform just good enough to beat all the competition without braking the budget more than marketing expected is HARD

Its a painful fact, but without marketing, there will eventually not be any need for engineers either...

I have a similar rant about "Quality" too... but will save that for later :)
 

Willem

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My personal small form factor amplifier favourite would be the Sonos AMP, since it is class D and hence runs cool enough to be hidden in a cabinet.
 

ta240

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I was slightly a child racist towards Asian peeps and other races and then in the mid 1980's I worked for a Chinese chef and dated a boat person and hung out with (We called them that in Canada as they escaped on their boats...) all the staff and I ate lunch and dinner with them for near 3 years. They work hard, have aspirations and dreams and will help a person too. Don't fear them they are decent people and they fear you too. From the other side of earth makes them different but the same at the same time.

For me it isn't a fear of the people, but a fear/dislike of the government that owns stakes in the companies and is thus being financed with the purchases. I have a lot of respect for the people and even many of the actions of the government dealing with trade are clearly in the best interest of their people and their country and I can't fault that. But that doesn't mean I agree with all of their actions and enjoy supporting them financially.
 
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DSJR

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"Assembled" in England... parts from worldwide one would imagine. ;)



JSmith
In past years, the boards were locally stuffed as well (I saw the boards being stuffed somewhere in Southend-on-Sea, but it was a long time ago now), the Rega factory personnel basically wiring it all up and assembling into the cases.
 
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ta240

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All for the grand price of $895.00 in Canada. Very cheesy design at a price that one expects much more.

The wildly varied prices in different markets really make it harder to swallow as less expensive option.


.......

Edit:
Then this What Hifi reviewing. Damn you have to take blood pressure medication if you read WHAT Hifi. Also applies to things other than Rega IO that they can waffle about. If it's not cables, it is, ... God knows what. Sorry for the OT. Just needed to get it out of my system.

Regarding Rega IO, it should be Whats NOT Hifi, by the way.

In their defense, in amongst the raves; they do say " smoother, more laid-back approach comes at the cost of not quite being able to capture the track’s energy." "Signature Rega sound" " the io is a cruder listen"
It is also only 379 there, which helps over the North American Pricing.

I am really curious if there are people that just prefer the slightly muted sound of a noisy amp (Vista spark?). What we need is to put this amp in an identical case to a class D amp (weight them the same and add heat generators to the class D one), make the cases tamper proof and give them to different people to allow them to compare the amps in their own systems for longer periods of time and then select when they are done which one they like the best. As great as quick A/B testing may be; I often find what I like immediately isn't what I like hours later.
 

DanielT

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The wildly varied prices in different markets really make it harder to swallow as less expensive option.




In their defense, in amongst the raves; they do say " smoother, more laid-back approach comes at the cost of not quite being able to capture the track’s energy." "Signature Rega sound" " the io is a cruder listen"
It is also only 379 there, which helps over the North American Pricing.

I am really curious if there are people that just prefer the slightly muted sound of a noisy amp (Vista spark?). What we need is to put this amp in an identical case to a class D amp (weight them the same and add heat generators to the class D one), make the cases tamper proof and give them to different people to allow them to compare the amps in their own systems for longer periods of time and then select when they are done which one they like the best. As great as quick A/B testing may be; I often find what I like immediately isn't what I like hours later.
In fact, if I understand it all right, Rega does not promise anything with IO that is not fulfilled. That seen with Amir's review of IO. Correct me if I may be wrong on that point.

With that said IO and price vs performance is pretty lousy.

What Hifi. Well I just overreacted. Take them with a pinch of salt only. Check out some pictures of nice Hifi that they publish. Some reports they do can be fun to read.:)
 
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amirm

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In fact, if I understand it all right, Rega does not promise anything with IO that is not fulfilled.
You mean by not specifying any distortion, noise, or really anything other than wattage?
 
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