Rega io review | What Hi-Fi?

While Rega used to make a high-end DAC called ‘io’, the naming of its latest amplifier is almost undoubtedly a nod to the familial link with its large brother, the superb Rega Brio. It’s not a long way off half its value or 1/2 its efficiency – and so, somewhat slightly, it has half of its name.

The 30W-per-channel, entry-level io may also be purchased in my opinion, or as a part of Rega’s System One all-in-one proposition with the Planar 1 turntable and Kyte audio system. It borrows the power amplifier and phono level from its Award-winning elder sibling and that is going a ways to provide an explanation for the pleasurable sonic resemblance between the two.

Sound

The discrepancies between Rega's two half-width packing containers with regards to bodily dimension and decorative refinement is kind of reflected in their sonic variations.

Rega io tech specs

Power 30W according to channel

Inputs RCA x2, MM phono

Outputs 3.5mm headphone jack

Dimensions (hwd) 6.Eight x 18 x 29cm

Weight 2.9kg

The Brio (£599, $995) is a bigger-sounding component with a more polished presentation; it injects extra space between strands of track and conveys them with significantly larger element and dynamic precision. It does what it will have to to justify its further spend over the io, preserving it related in Rega’s line-up between the io and Elex-R.

But Rega’s consistency with components and their implementation makes the io instantly recognisable as a descendant of the Brio. In fact, we could repeat the exact same words we utilized in our Brio review, together with ‘improbable sense of rhythm, punchy dynamics; agility, detail and fun’.

Play Drake’s Money In The Grave feet. Rick Ross, and the io’s nature comes to the fore, its natural sense of momentum using the dominant bassline forward. The deliveries of the 2 rappers have the transparency, richness and clarity that demands they are taken notice of, whilst the amplifier’s innate musicality captures the rhythmic chimes that dangle it all in combination.

The in a similar fashion priced Marantz PM6006 UK Edition (which, because the original penning of this review, has been replaced through the clearer and punchier PM6007) gives more room across the vocals and an general adulthood to the rendition, but its smoother, extra laid-back method comes at the price of not reasonably with the ability to seize the track’s power.

Similarly, with Aparat’s violin-led 44, the Marantz (and the Brio) add a welcome dose of refinement and extra space and openness over the io. But while the io is a cruder listen, it nonetheless seizes the strings’ abrasive texture and captures the foreboding emotion, whilst tracking their dynamic motion too. It would possibly not have the sonic sophistication of its rival and big brother, but its directness and buoyancy make for a really compelling pay attention.

The io must be paired with like-minded audio system, such as the Elac Debut 2.0 B6.2 or Bowers & Wilkins 606 S2 Anniversary Edition. Note too that Rega has done smartly to stay high quality and persona constant through the headphone output.

Ultimately, with the arriving of the io, Rega’s unmistakable and no doubt entertaining signature amplifier sound is now more accessible than ever. And, as we cast our minds again to once we first realized of the Rega io’s existence, that is all we may have was hoping for.

Build and features

To pack this sort of efficiency into this price level, Rega has, as with all its amplifiers, caught with analogue-only connections here. Despite the digital friendliness of the Marantz, analogue-only is common at this end of the marketplace. The io sports two line-level inputs (two fewer than the Brio) and an MM phono input, so you can hook up a turntable in addition to a few elements comparable to a CD participant and streamer. 

A three.5mm headphone jack completes the io’s relatively modest connectivity list. It sits at the entrance panel along a quantity dial and a small plastic button that cycles during the inputs. The io’s plastic front panel offers it an attractive unremarkable aesthetic. Rega without a doubt isn’t seeking to disguise the fact that most of its efforts have long gone into the performance.

The compact, half-width aluminium chassis feels neatly built – the same is going for the satisfyingly easy remote regulate – and its low-key design should swimsuit some hi-fi traditionalists.

Verdict

What will maximum win lovers over to the Rega io, despite the fact that, is its class-leading efficiency. While it will not be the versatile, all-inclusive Marantz choice, those who are proud of a simple, no-fuss, purely analogue amplifier and who prioritise entertainment must arguably believe the io their primary choice.

SCORES

MORE:

Best stereo amplifiers 2021

Read our Rega Brio review

Read our Rega Elex-R review

Read our Marantz PM6007 review

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