Rega knocks it out of the park - new integrated and phono amp

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by ls35a, Oct 9, 2021.

  1. ls35a

    ls35a Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Eagle, Idaho
    Got my new IO yesterday. Was up all night listening to it. First off it's the cutest little amp I've ever laid eyes on. Rega's design is hit or miss with me - well this is a real hit. You don't have to pick it up to know it's heavy... you look at it and you say, 'that amp is heavy'. And it is. Solid. Nice switches, nice volume pot.

    I bought it for background music in the main part of the house, but of course I had to try it on the big system. First, Proac towers. 90db efficient, sounded great. Also does Proac Tablette 10's and Falcon LS3/5a's in a medium room at a reasonable volume.

    I have let's say 'several' systems in the house. But if I had nothing I could live with one of these, a decent source and a nice pair of speakers from $400 - $2000. If you want to simplify your life keep this one in mind.

    Also got the Aria MK3 phono preamp for my headphone setup.

    I'm running my MoFi Ultradeck into it (which I like more every day) and then I run the output into my Quad tube headphone amp. This setup is heavenly. Listened to all the favorites, Willie Nelson Stardust, Peter Tosh Equal Rights, Norah Jones, Mysterious Film World of Bernard Herrmann - they all sounded amazing. Did I mention it's really nice looking too? It is.

    So good for Rega. Nice to see them making some killer products.
  2. stereoguy

    stereoguy Its Gotta Be True Stereo!

    Thanks for that nice review. Very glad you like it! It's a fine amp. I have the Rega Elex-R. It's about twice the cost of the IO but it's worth every penny. I'm not using the built in phono amp, I'm using a modded Jolida J9.
    My TT is a Rega P2 with Stanton 881 cart.

    Rega makes GREAT sounding stuff!
  3. Davey

    Davey NP: Broadcast ~ The Future Crayon

    SF Bay Area, USA
    Then why not use the built-in phono preamp?


    Just kidding around, presumably you think the Jolida sounds better. The phono stages in the Rega integrated amps are generally pretty simple designs built with just a couple opamps.
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2021
    bever70 and csgreene like this.
  4. csgreene

    csgreene Forum Resident

    Idaho, USA
    You may be kidding around but it's a valid question. So many simply dismiss onboard phono stages when they work and sound just great for most people. If you're running MC or have to tune your cart's output, that's one thing but if the IO is so great, why not use its phono stage?
    bhazen likes this.
  5. stereoguy

    stereoguy Its Gotta Be True Stereo!

    Well, there's a pretty simple answer.

    My hot rodded Jolida J9 sounds really, really good and better than the Rega on board.

    Does that answer your question?
  6. james

    james Summon The Queen

    Tempted by the Brio in classifieds. Had a Brio-R I liked a lot. Would like to try an IO too
    Echoes Myron likes this.
  7. Leao

    Leao Well-Known Member

    I had a Rega IO in my system for some months last year. I think it is a really great integrated amp with a very fine phono stage built in. Very nice tone and dynamics. I would buy it again without hesitation. I sold it to partly finance the purchase of a more expensive class A amp.
    Echoes Myron likes this.
  8. IRG

    IRG Forum Resident

    Ithaca, NY
    I’d love to try the Io or Brio some time. perfect for my living room that has no room. Efficient speakers with them, and boom. Need a good streamer with a similar size form factor as well.
    cut-out and Echoes Myron like this.
  9. Pmds55889397

    Pmds55889397 Forum Resident

    I'm sure they are working on a streamer
    meanwhile you can use your phone and a bluetooth thingie
    Expect much better performance from CD or vinyl though
  10. Art K

    Art K I bite you!

    Corvallis, Oregon
    The IO is a special little amp. I’m going to build a little budget setup around mine. I just sold my Brio to a nice fella in Portland and kept the IO as a second amp.
    bhazen, jonwoody, KT88 and 1 other person like this.
  11. hifisoup

    hifisoup @hearmoremusic

    I think that it very cool that you enjoy it so much. Rega does have a well-earned reputation and this adds to it. Please post a photo when you have the time. Enjoy!
  12. ls35a

    ls35a Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Eagle, Idaho
    I'm using a Bluesound Node 2 with mine. Works great and both pieces are petite and look really good together.
    jonwoody and IRG like this.
  13. parman

    parman Brit Beat Boom

    I've heard good things about it. Isn't the IO 30 watts? I had a guy on here telling me it's way more powerful than it's rated. I said how can that be but he never replied.

    LARGERTHAN Forum Resident

    It's not unusual for many manufacturers to rate their products conservatively. Some that come to mind include Rega, Naim, Accuphase, Yamaha amongst others.

    The opposite does happen too with less scrupulous or simply ignorant manufactures, for example, speaker impedance is one often optimistically calculated metric.

    I can't speak with certainty but it's possible the IO puts out a few more watts than rated. In real world terms it's not likely to matter in this instance however.
    jonwoody likes this.
  15. mjcmt

    mjcmt Forum Resident

    NC, USA
    I'm pretty sure that Rega puts a phone stage equivalent to the value of the integrated amp in question. I have a Rega Mira3 (latest version) and my $110 Schiit Mani phono preamp outperforms the Mira3's built in phono stage by a large margin.
    bluemooze likes this.
  16. Pmds55889397

    Pmds55889397 Forum Resident

    It IS GOOD but deliver no more than 30W.
    Many believe in miracles and this amp have .. (if you use it as intended, se below)

    Not in large room
    Not with in-effective difficult speakers
    Not expecting high sound pressure level
    No fancy VU meters or lamps
    Not very transparent performance

    The positive is:, way more involving, musically coherent and dynamic than competitors, it just sounds right and not being assembled in Asia but UK.
    Rega is well known for good customer support.
    KT88 and ls35a like this.
  17. stereoguy

    stereoguy Its Gotta Be True Stereo!


    CS: Ok, I think I can make you happy: I pressed my 1960 Garrard A back into service as a second table to play not so great condition records. The Shure M95ED cart it has needs a preamp, right? I plugged it right into the Rega. Happy? :)
  18. KT88

    KT88 Forum Resident

    It's a great sounding amp. Very smooth, and with very good bass extension and weight. It is just a 30w amp though; watts are watts. Now, that doesn't mean that it doesn't sound better or more full than some other amps which claim 60, 80, or even 100wpc. It is simply limited in its output to 30w.

    To put that into perspective, when most systems are playing what would be a reasonable level, not loud, but not just background music, the wattage output is often just 1 or 2 watts. Sometimes peaks of 5w can generate very satisfying sound with reasonably efficient speakers, like 89db/w/m units. What is really exceptional about the Io sound is just how sweet it is, and yet detailed at the same time. To take advantage of that at higher volumes, you need more efficient speakers, 92db/w/m, etc. Then you'll get some dynamics and retain the warmth. The Io is the amp that I recommend to folks who have very efficient speakers, horn loaded types such as Klipsch.
    bhazen, bluemooze, Leao and 3 others like this.
  19. Mr. Bewlay

    Mr. Bewlay It Is The Business Of The Future To Be Dangerous.

    Denver CO
    How do you like it?
  20. GoldprintAudio

    GoldprintAudio Forum Resident

    Lexington, NC
    Love the little IO. It's quickly become one of my all time favorite Rega integrateds.
    Leao and Art K like this.
  21. Rattlin' Bones

    Rattlin' Bones Grumpy Old Deaf Drummer

    Louisville, KY
    You can get Brio open box from retailers at about same price as Io.
  22. csgreene

    csgreene Forum Resident

    Idaho, USA
    I'm always happy. I just wonder why so many people feel the need to buy separate phono stages when they have perfectly good ones in their receivers and integrateds. Point being, at least try using the onboard phono stage before dismissing it. Are you happy now?
  23. stereoguy

    stereoguy Its Gotta Be True Stereo!


    Well, its fine for the Garrard Type A, as the highs are somewhat muted, which is good for scratchy records. My main Rega Table, of course, is plugged into the Jolida J9.
  24. stereoguy

    stereoguy Its Gotta Be True Stereo!


    Absolutely LOVE it. I advise any Rega table owners to dig up a Stanton 881 or 681 on Ebay and put a new elliptical stylus on it. The 881 was used by the top high end of audio professionals in its day.
  25. shug4476

    shug4476 Nullius In Verba

    Not heard the IO, but owned the Brio-R and adored it. Fantastic bit of kit.
    bhazen and Rattlin' Bones like this.

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