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Rega IO Review (stereo amplifier)

Rate this amplifier:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 262 88.2%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 20 6.7%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 3 1.0%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 12 4.0%

  • Total voters
    297

MacCali

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There, everything fell into place regarding Rega IO and its rather lousy performance.Thanks for the post.:)
I’ve never heard an engineer say something so stupid, if he even really was an engineer. Basically I’m a rega engineer too, and you as well.
 

DanielT

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I’ve never heard an engineer say something so stupid, if he even really was an engineer. Basically I’m a rega engineer too, and you as well.
Stupid so the clock stops.
(Swedish proverb, meaning that it will not be stupider than that)

DSJR you as an experienced salesperson within Hifi what do you say about it? If you had still been active in selling Rega and heard what Rega said? They, Rega, do not seem to care about what the market, potential customers have questions about. In my ears, there is no sign of anything particularly good. Had I been a salesman, working in the marketing department at Rega I would have been nervous by such a statement.
It gives no good signals, just bad vibrations.

Edit:
There are also people who are not a bit interested in the technology itself but are still interested in whether a product has good performance. For example, my mother bought a washing machine last year. She wondered if any (independent) tests had been carried out on the machine she was interested in. It regarding reliability, performance and so on.Rega should think about that , I think in any case.
(ok she did not buy any esoteric gadget, just a washing machine that would work well in practice but still)
 
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OP
amirm

amirm

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He said,
“At rega we don’t post any measurements, we don’t believe that influences sound. We listen to our products and they are in the, higher tiers/more expensive, excellent products that outperform the competition.”
I will happily throw away my measurement gear if he could prove what he says is true. Every manufacturer of audio equipment says the same thing (their stuff sounds better). So there is no value to giving someone that line. They need to demonstrate it to be true in a controlled test.

Until then, we measure. :)
 

tonycollinet

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I’ve never heard an engineer say something so stupid, if he even really was an engineer. Basically I’m a rega engineer too, and you as well.
It wasn't an engineer. No engineer would say that. Most likely he was a marketing wonk or similar pretending, just to get rid of the "annoying caller".

I've read and seen some interviews with the boss of Rega, Roy Gandy. He is a really interesting guy. Background in mechanical engineering - he started building a turntable as a student because he couldn't afford to buy it. He describes himself as

"unwilling capitalist, unwilling boss, unwillingly running a company that I'm very very proud of"

He is very very much not interested in the money side. He seems to see the business side of Rega as a necessary evil to support the people who work for him, and to allow him to continue to develop kit that he loves. His main motivation seems to be listening to music in a format that pleases him (paraphrasing here, because I can't find the exact quote) "in my (our?) world, somthing about the recording and playback of music on vinyl brings something that people prefer the sound of"

One such interview is here:
 
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Phorize

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It wasn't an engineer. No engineer would say that. Most likely he was a marketing wonk or similar pretending, just to get rid of the "annoying caller".
The performance of the phono stage as measured by @amirm suggests some attention to measurements, if not pursuit of SOTA.
 

Mart68

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I'm British and knew little of other markets to be fair. Rega shunned the press for years here -
Rega may have shunned the press but they press never shunned them. Okay so they don't advertise but they just let their dealers advertise instead. In the UK in the 1980s the turntable to have was a Linn Sondek, and if you couldn't afford that it was a Rega Planer 3, and if that was still too much it was a Planar 2.

Nothing else was seriously considered, especially not Jap direct drive even though they were cheaper, far better built and, unlike the Linn and Regas they rotated at the correct speed. That was the power of marketing at work.

Rega were always overpriced for what they were and sold on the strength of the brand name alone that was built solely on the back of the UK press.

And their CD players are dreadful, fuzzy sounding things that are worse than the turntables.
 

DSJR

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I hope and pray that as we get older and more 'experienced' in our respective fields, that we can learn and grow in life as people and in our skills - it's damned hard, but I think it's possible. Sadly, our ears don't grow better with age and I suspect our brains make up the increasing shortfall and my hearing and perceptions are not as good now as I once thought they were forty years ago when I felt I could hear 'everything.' I think I can still hear bandwidth limiting, but not THD it seems, but old male ears do seem more sensitive to harshness than when young though, although I can't link to papers studying this aspect of hearing as we age. High end systems I've heard often baffle me how bad they are, but the keen eared sit and reverently listen, lapping up the spiel and of course there are numerous Youtube experts with instant opinions to take over from old hands such as I.

From my own past persective, I remember that response from Rega is commonplace - "We don't listen to test tones!" is a universal remark - and for a while it was one I (tribally) shared too, although I did have friends in the pro industry trying to keep me as grounded as they could over the years and my early 70's initiation into the industry via prosumer brands came back to 'save me' after a while. I was lucky, I had various pro dems in the late 80's and 90's which changed my outlook back to 'common sense' and subsequent reading cemented my views as they are now (I haven't quite reached the stage of saying 'Eff it' and walking away from it all, but it's getting closer as subjectivist opinions in forums are becoming more tribal and entrenched and my strong views seen as a personal challenge).

Most dealers actually know very little I think and too much knowledge can be a dangerous thing in many ways (maybe they DO know but commercial decisions and survival rule). Perhaps if more sites and online reviewers push harder for better technical abilities and point out fairly where things in existing products could possible be improved, then things will start to change. I mean, I've known about neutral speaker responses on axis for half a century (starting with Hi Fi Sound tech tests of the time) but not fully understood until recently how the *off axis* performance can influence more if anything, depending on the room used to listen in.
 
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DSJR

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Rega may have shunned the press but they press never shunned them. Okay so they don't advertise but they just let their dealers advertise instead. In the UK in the 1980s the turntable to have was a Linn Sondek, and if you couldn't afford that it was a Rega Planer 3, and if that was still too much it was a Planar 2.

Nothing else was seriously considered, especially not Jap direct drive even though they were cheaper, far better built and, unlike the Linn and Regas they rotated at the correct speed. That was the power of marketing at work.

Rega were always overpriced for what they were and sold on the strength of the brand name alone that was built solely on the back of the UK press.

And their CD players are dreadful, fuzzy sounding things that are worse than the turntables.
Apologies for my off topic essays...

Martin, the LP12 from the very late 70's onwards DID rotate at the correct speed if set to do so with a decent external strobe. Current Regas from the 6 upwards have an external supply box (the Neo) which allows fine speed tuning at last and they even market a simpler strobe with battery operated lamp which can be used to sort the speed out precisely.

It wasn't really until the mid 80's when people owning Technics and other top direct drive decks started coming in for stylus changes or cartridge upgrades, giving us a chance to 'hear them' again. Setting said deck up on a dedicated support sans hinged lid rather than a counter-top with lid up transformed the 'sound quality' of these machines and this was one thing that started the doubts in my mind.

Rega CD players are actually very good to the ears I'd say and I've known most of them since their introduction. Planet and Apollo players need 50k loading though - http://www.acoustica.org.uk/t/rega/rega_planet.html

The clamshell Jupiter/Io dac was always very good and so was the Jupiter 2000 was too. Current Saturn R is also fine and offers digital inputs too (I hear one regularly). Sure, a £120 Topping would out perform it on the bench, but I'd suggest that's beside the point.
 

MacCali

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I will happily throw away my measurement gear if he could prove what he says is true. Every manufacturer of audio equipment says the same thing (their stuff sounds better). So there is no value to giving someone that line. They need to demonstrate it to be true in a controlled test.

Until then, we measure. :)
That’s what I’m saying that was so scary.. a big company like Rega isn’t measuring the equipment to fish out any possible flaws on a prototype. That’s crazy
 

MacCali

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It wasn't an engineer. No engineer would say that. Most likely he was a marketing wonk or similar pretending, just to get rid of the "annoying caller".

I've read and seen some interviews with the boss of Rega, Roy Gandy. He is a really interesting guy. Background in mechanical engineering - he started building a turntable as a student because he couldn't afford to buy it. He describes himself as

"unwilling capitalist, unwilling boss, unwillingly running a company that I'm very very proud of"

He is very very much not interested in the money side. He seems to see the business side of Rega as a necessary evil to support the people who work for him, and to allow him to continue to develop kit that he loves. His main motivation seems to be listening to music in a format that pleases him (paraphrasing here, because I can't find the exact quote) "in my (our?) world, somthing about the recording and playback of music on vinyl brings something that people prefer the sound of"

One such interview is here:
I don’t doubt that for a second, but none of their products or manuals have anything. I don’t think anything is included. Even on their highest end amplifier.

My only interest in Rega was the lifetime warranty and the previous person the phone told me that only applies to sales in the UK/Europe. Not USA purchases and that’s pretty nuts in itself. They said because their repair shops over in the UK that only provide it. I said so if something goes wrong can I ship it there and they said no, it has to be purchased from the area. And none of the rega dealers over there are allowed to ship outside the zone. Like policies many manufacturers hold with authorized retailers.

Ironically I got a family member in the UK, but after this we don’t publish measurements it’s a fairly confusing statement. So you do measure, but don’t publish and that’s scary or you don’t measure at all which for a company of that caliber makes no sense.

I’m not trashing all of their products. But you can’t tell me measurements aren’t everything. I love Amir and everything he does, but I mean if you product is functioning poorly that’s generally not a good sign but sounds good is quite odd.

This amp we can clearly understand it’s 7-800 dollars. But even if it measure somewhat below average for the price I would of bought it. But leaving me in the dark can’t risk investing a 1000+ with my eyes closed.
 

sarumbear

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I recently saw last year a rega Elicit I believe it was on sale as an open box for nearly 700 dollars off.

I contacted rega because there’s no measurements of anything. I spoke to the company direct who turned me over to one of their engineers.

He said,
“At rega we don’t post any measurements, we don’t believe that influences sound. We listen to our products and they are in the, higher tiers/more expensive, excellent products that outperform the competition.”

Immediately hung up after that, and did not buy the unit.
Their arrogance beggars belief!
 

MacCali

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Their arrogance beggars belief!
Man it’s not even that, they are probably aware that the product doesn’t measure well and many people will judge on that which is honestly realistic.

Read post #231, makes it far more ridiculous.

Musical Fidelity did the same bs, but they post measurements. I messaged them 3 times to provide more detailed info and they did not respond to me. Look at the measurements on there units that we have on here and it makes sense.
 

Haskil

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La Rega a-être évitée la presse, mais la presse ne l'a peut-être jamais évitée. D'accord, ils ne font pas de publicité, mais ils laissent simplement leurs revendeurs faire de la publicité à la place. Au Royaume-Uni dans les années 1980, la platine à avoir était une Linn Sondek, et si vous ne pouviez pas vous le permettre, c'était une Rega Planer 3, et si c'était encore trop, c'était une Planar 2 .

Rien d'autre n'a été envisagé, surtout pas l'entraînement direct

Rega était toujours hors de prix pour ce qu'elle était et vendue sur la seule force de la marque qui a été construite uniquement sur le dos de la presse britannique.

Et leurs lecteurs de CD sont des choses épouvantables au son flou qui sont pires que les platines.
On ne saurait mieux dire ! Et en France, il y avait de la publicité bien évidemment et de la Rega : celle sur leur premier lecteur CD était pratiquement une insulte à l'intelligence ! Ils disaient avoir attendu que la technologie soit mure pour sortir un lecteur qui respecte la musique... A la vérité, ils avaient attendu qu'une solution OEM mobile, genre Walkman, d'un grand constructeur japonais soient peu couteuse. Le lecteur en question n'avait aucune qualité particulière, sauf sa robustesse et sa simplicité mécanique vu qu'il n'avait pas de tiroir.
Leurs amplis étaient faiblards, ne tenaient pas bien les graves. Et il semble bien que l'un d'eux n'était que la mise en oeuvre basique des recommandations du fabricant des transistors de l'étage de sortie ...
Pour moi, Rega et quelques autres sont des marques qui ont entraîné le déclin de la haute fidélité sincère pour entraîner le public vers les rivages de la "musicalité" qui a permis à des poètes et des mélomanes de devenir des critiques de matériels dont on peut lire les élucubrations dans la presse hifi...et aux constructeurs de vendre plus cher des appareils en raison même du fait qu'ils avaient retiré tous les réglages dont on a besoin...
 
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chelgrian

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Rega may have shunned the press but they press never shunned them. Okay so they don't advertise but they just let their dealers advertise instead. In the UK in the 1980s the turntable to have was a Linn Sondek, and if you couldn't afford that it was a Rega Planer 3, and if that was still too much it was a Planar 2.

Nothing else was seriously considered, especially not Jap direct drive even though they were cheaper, far better built and, unlike the Linn and Regas they rotated at the correct speed. That was the power of marketing at work.

Rega were always overpriced for what they were and sold on the strength of the brand name alone that was built solely on the back of the UK press.

And their CD players are dreadful, fuzzy sounding things that are worse than the turntables.
That was only true for 'hifi' the DJs who knew which side their bread was buttered always used Technics usually SL1210.
 

arpinnurmela

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A few months back I contacted Rega about the IO regarding whether they felt the amp could properly handle a 4 Ohm load. They said no, it doesn't, and recommended 8 Ohm speakers for optimal performance. My brother has the IO and runs a pair of Elac Debut 2.0 F5.2 quite well, and they are 6 Ohm speakers. Looking over the graphs, this isn't a surprise.
 
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A few months back I contacted Rega about the IO regarding whether they felt the amp could properly handle a 4 Ohm load. They said no, it doesn't, and recommended 8 Ohm speakers for optimal performance. My brother has the IO and runs a pair of Elac Debut 2.0 F5.2 quite well, and they are 6 Ohm speakers. Looking over the graphs, this isn't a surprise.
Has he encountered any actual reliability issues with it? Hum or buzz through one of the channels, maybe?
Thanks!
 

Andrew678

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I recently saw last year a rega Elicit I believe it was on sale as an open box for nearly 700 dollars off.

I contacted rega because there’s no measurements of anything. I spoke to the company direct who turned me over to one of their engineers.

He said,
“At rega we don’t post any measurements, we don’t believe that influences sound. We listen to our products and they are in the, higher tiers/more expensive, excellent products that outperform the competition.”

Immediately hung up after that, and did not buy the unit.
For Elicit-R measurements were done here https://www.salonav.com/arch/2014/07/066_rega.htm (In Russian but plots are readable as well as the text via Google). Reasonable measurements as far as I see but distortion free power is less than advertised.
 
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