As the signals portfolio becomes ever more conservative . . . we now present Rega.
This might not be the 'next big thing' but if ever there was a product range that is appealing on its own terms, has long-term worth and will dovetail with our bedrock brand of Naim Audio, then this is it.
Just like Naim, Rega understand the joined-up nature of audio systems by building exactly that : systems. They actually go even further by manufacturing every part of the chain. From cartridge to loudspeaker, and all the bits in-between. The fact that they make their phono cartridges in Essex (nope, not out-sourced to China) amazes us. Even with the loudspeakers, only the tweeters and cabinets are bought-in (and the veneered cabinets are manufactured locally).
There can surely be no other audio manufacturer who takes control of their products to quite this level. Maybe it's just me, but I find it impossible not to like a company that puts messages on their packaging such as the one shown below from the underside of a Fono Mini carton. Incidentally the Fono Mini is a £55 phono stage (yes, British made) and it sounds lovely.
The Rega turntables have been the mainstay of sensible analogue for so long that it is easy to forget that they are actually rather good too. Rega make the tone-arms that everyone else uses, so this part is really familliar. Mind you, they have just had a re-vamp, with changes in all areas, including cable. The tweaking industry might have to re-group! The amplifiers all have high quality phono stages within them, so there is always the opportunity for a neat, affordable record-playing system.
We have been impressed by both the Brio and Mira amplifiers. The Mira 3 costs just under twice as much as the Brio and is roughly twice as good. The £598 Apollo CD player is excellent and the Saturn is a lot better at roughly twice the price. Signs are that they know what they are making!
So far we have the R3 and R5 loudspeakers and these are proving to be very fine products. Superbly designed (in my opinion) both visually and sonically, they offer proper clean extended bass, excellent imaging, overall clarity, coherence and timing. We have been listening through them, particularly the R5s, over the past couple of weeks and it just dawned that we simply did not consider the speakers, once the initial running-in period had passed. We played with changes downstream of them but their ability to communicate was never in doubt. They do not draw attention to themselves and are certainly very valid with Naim electronics too (as are the CD players and turntables). Even the finishes are good with good quality veneers and the option of a fantastic high gloss black lacquer at modest extra cost.
We have tried the Rega interconnect. It’s good, but the kit can justify better. In fact we started our experiments with Nordost Heimdall between the CD and amplifier. At £400+, this interconnect was perhaps a little OTT for a sub £600 amp, so we stepped back a little. The Nordost Blue Heaven and Red Dawn work nearly as well and is only a little bit expensive. Both dovetail magnificently with Flatline Gold loudspeaker cables, which are of the right price range. The inexpensive and discreet Rega bi-wire speaker cable is still better with the Nordost interconnects.
We've been playing with some of the more expensive offerings from Chord Co too, and with excellent results. The Power Chord mains cables suit the CD players (but not the amps) and the Wireworld mains leads are potentially better still.
See the Rega range here.
Signals hi-fi for grown-ups. suppliers and installers of music hi-fi audio stereo system, systems and a/v av products to all areas of Suffolk,North Essex, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire 01473 655171