Rega Brio
Rega Brio
Rega Brio

Rega Brio: Reliable integrated amplifier redesigned

The well-known English manufacturer Rega continues to develop a line of “half” format components. The popular integrated amplifier Brio-R has been replaced by a redesigned version – Rega Brio. In essence, this is a completely new amplifier, although the main external features have been preserved.

The updated Brio is made in an elegant aluminum case, consisting of massive metal sides (also cooling radiators), which are connected by bottom and top covers. The front panel, made of piano black plastic, contains a power button, a headphone jack, an input switch button and a volume control knob. The output stage and power supply are obviously optimized for eight-ohm acoustics. Therefore, 8 Ohms is optimal, 6 Ohms is normal, 4 Ohms is a compromise with limiting the maximum power.

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The founder of Rega and at the same time its permanent chief engineer, Roy Gandhi, uses complex and expensive circuit solutions only in cases where they simply cannot be avoided, paying special attention to the careful selection of components and a proven installation topology.

Thus, the input switch is implemented on electromagnetic relays, the volume control is a classic potentiometer with a motor drive. The new Brio features completely new power and signal wiring, a separate headphone amplifier, and new operational amplifiers in the line and phono circuits.

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The amplifier’s circuit diagram has also undergone significant changes compared to the previous model. A completely new motherboard was developed for it. After pre-amplification, the signal goes to a driver stage with a current output operating in class A, and then to Sanken composite transistors, for which optimal temperature conditions are ensured. To improve the decoupling of low-signal and high-current cascades, separate power supplies are used. The remote control signal receiver, input switch and volume control drive also have their own power supply. Needless to say, all capacitors in the signal circuits are film capacitors.

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The amplifier is equipped with an input for a vinyl player, four line inputs and a recorder output. The built-in RIAA corrector is designed to work with MM type heads; for MC heads you will need an external matching transformer. Acoustic terminals are universal, they accept “bananas”, “spatulas” and bare wire. On the “belly” there is a connector for grounding the device and/or for connecting the “ground” wire from the vinyl player. The player comes with a remote control.

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The new product sounds soft and refined, the middle register is reminiscent of the sound of tube amplifiers – rich and transparent, without losing any important musical details. The highs are clear and clean, no transistor notes appear. The lower case is well done. The tonal balance is generally almost perfect, both from the line inputs and through the corrector. Vinyl recordings sound lively and natural, most likely due to the natural deficiency of the lowest frequencies. Therefore, the power supply is not overloaded, and the dynamics do not suffer.

The stage is great, especially at low to medium volume levels. The scale is respected, the separation in height and depth is conveyed without simplification. The features of the recording are clearly audible, right down to the placement of the microphones. The most comfortable zone is the position of the volume control knob “from ten to twelve”. Up to these limits, the sound character is constant; with a further increase in volume, the scene somewhat loses depth, and the tonal pattern becomes a little simpler.

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Summary: the amplifier combines in sound all the family characteristics of Rega – reliable, but at the same time delicate and rich presentation in a wide range, true stage, confident dynamics. No wonder it has already received prestigious awards in 2017: Hi Fi Choice awarded it “Editor’s Choice”, EAR named it a Best Buy, and What Hi-Fi? I just gave it five stars out of five.

Characteristics of Rega Brio

Power 2 x 50 W (8 Ohms), 2 x 73 W (4 Ohms)
Frequency range (-3 dB) 15 Hz – 40 kHz
Input sensitivity 100 mV (Phono), 210 mV (Input 2 – 5)
Outputs Record (RCA)
Gain 27 dB
Input impedance 47 kOhm
Load impedance of the MM phono section 47 kOhm
Power consumption 195 W
Dimensions 216 x 78 x 345 mm
Weight, kg 5.1

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