I don’t think there is any better amplifier for beginners than the Rega Brio. There are many other choices to pick from. But when it comes to getting the most bang for your buck, you need to pick something that carries the day. It’s got all of the features that entry-level audio enthusiasts need when listening to music or looking to produce music.
My reviews on audio products are always based on facts and personal experience. I have never owned the Rega Brio but have seen and used it in real action. That is why I can give you a comprehensive review of the Rega Brio.
What is the Rega Brio?
Before we move any further and understand what makes this product unique, you may want to know a brief history of the brand and the product. First, the Rega Brio is an integrated amplifier that features in the entry-level models of the Brio range. This means it combines the features of both an amp and a preamp, enabling you to enjoy your audio output and needs with any interruption.
Rega is best known for making turntables, and they are pretty active in this field. For audiophiles who love vintage feelings, you may have come across the company before. For the 30 years, they have been at the forefront of shaping the world of audio and sound quality production.
The Brio has existed in different forms since it was first introduced to the market. The current version has remained the same in design over the past few years, featuring a half-width design and a bunch of inputs and a phono input.
If you have seen using some of the amps on the market, you already know this is a description of a pretty vintage product. Since 2017, many best stereo amplifier that come up have been focusing on modern technologies – which is good. But sometimes it feels right just to keep things simple.
You can get many amps at this price that doesn’t require you to source equipment and have several clever features. Hence, by comparison, I can say this new Brio looks a bit plain.
However, let’s think about some of the best products in any market. Experts say that building something that does one thing well is better than one that does so many things at the same time. And this is one of the reasons that would use this Rega amplifier anytime and anywhere. I’d much rather have a product with one outstanding feature than a product with only average features. Besides, this new Brio focuses on proving the most affordable solutions to audiophiles.
Even though it is pretty vintage, the Rega Brio integrated amplifier that utilizes a class A and B to generate a power output stage of 50 watts. The power can rise to a whopping 73 watts.
When you talk about the most incredible amplifiers, these are not the figures you want to work on. Hence, this amp may not beat the class D based competition that feels insane on the sound.
I believe the Rega Brio-R is, to some extent, outgunned. Some of the information given does not tell the whole story too. For instance, the figure is sustained, rather than just a marketing stunt.
Pick the speakers that come with relatively the same quality. For instance, the RX1 by Rega has just enough power to satisfy any simple setup.
Under the hood
I don’t care about the cover or outside features of this, or any other amp. What matters is the inside. And the staff under Brio’s lead are more than what the numbers tell. For instance, the pre and power sections come with their own rectification. This is not something you will get in many amps at this price range. It makes the Brio stand out as a quality product with more improved functionality. This feature ensures that there is less contamination between the two sections, which may require the power to run without dying out.
The circuitry comes bearing unusually high-quality components for an amp at such price. Rega uses the idea that buying a vast number of premium components and using them reduces the costs and helps beat the competition. Please note that there is a small amount of space under the lid, which means Brio does not have to come with a heatsink since the casing performs this function.
About the inputs
First, there are four-line inputs and record out on the Rega. Besides this, there are two more essential items you may want to factor in. There is the moving magnet phono type, which Rega has used with strong principles. Every Rega brio integrated amplifier comes with a phono stage in it, except for the Osiris, which is fairly priced to allow the owner to look for an external source. I am not even surprised about this, considering that Rega is still a strong producer of turntables. The Brio can, therefore, be considered just a box-ticking exercise. The measurements are very impressive too. Hence, if you are a vinyl user, the asking price of this Brio amplifier should be attractive enough. The second addition is the headphone amp. This is the first Brio equipped with this function; hence, it is very crucial.
Then Brio comes with impressive additions. The first thing I noticed was the front panel design that takes you back to the Brios products from 3 decades ago. Each function on the circuit and power supply comes ready to isolate and keep the main signal path as clear as desired. This leads to better sound quality than anything else at this price tag. There are two separate power supplies. One is for the larger section of the amp, whereas the other is for the phono stage and preamp.
The Brio amplifier general bears a half-width design that is quite homely. It displays a smart look and is ideal for limited spaces. The chassis has been changed to look better. It now comes with two-part fully aluminum that assists in offering heatsinking function and more reliability.
The amp weighs 5 kg, which is not very bad considering its price. It comes with a built idea for any environment. Also, the front has been curved, with a rearranged display, offering minimalistic appearance and elegance. It only has the volume control and a few buttons, with a red LED that adorns a glossy panel in the front. Then click on the power button, and the input selector is quite satisfying. They are numbered, and the icons light up according to which they chose one.
You may also want to note the Brio’s prominent feature, the new volume dial. This hollowed-out metal ring makes the amp look pretty attractive.
Amplifiers have really evolved over the past few years. However, Brio has focused on keeping things simple and vintage. Hence, this may not be the right item if you are looking for a more advanced feature. Things like the moving phono magnet designed with the company’s Planar turntables are nothing new. On the backside, you find a vintage construction carting four inputs on line-levels, including a pair of recording outputs and the phono stage. In addition, there is a single pair of speaker terminals.
Many users today want digital inputs too. Other amps at the same price range, like the Cambridge CXA60, offer these inputs. It also comes with Bluetooth streaming, but no phono stage. The Brio has been added with a headphone output. Hence, you can now use this 6.3mm connection that has been carefully integrated to eliminate any interference with the main speaker signal.
The signal still comes from the output amplifier. However, there is a separate relay switch that keeps the speakers and headphones apart while in use. The headphone port is very versatile and can accept various types of headphones. No matter the impedances, you can be sure the amp will work well. According to Rega, the Brio has been tested with headphones ranging from 24 ohms to 300 ohms. Most amps only range around the 8 ohms. This is a pretty wide covering. Which the amp should be able to drive whatever pair you have without breaking.
- A very affordable amp
- Comes from a reputable brand
- Easy to use
- Generates a lot of volume and power
- A very basic amp with few inputs and outputs
When it comes to choosing the right amp, there are certain things you must never take for granted—one of the most important considerations of your needs. What kind of power are you looking for? Starting with this question can help you pick the right product without wasting your money or killing your speakers.
Also, consider the brand. There are so many manufactures for amplifiers today that it becomes confusing to know the right once. Always choose a brand that has been on the market for a long time. Even though some of the upcoming brands are good, it takes time to establish a reputation. And this means you just don’t know if you have the right manufacturer. Then consider the features too. The technology in the sound industry has gone a notch higher. Today, there are all sorts of incredible features to make your life easier.
The inputs and outs are probably the first features you want to check for. Many people today want to use their amp with digital inputs, which means you may want to check back with your needs. The analog outputs are equally important. You need to ensure your amp is versatile enough to accommodate all your sound needs. Last but not least is the quality of sound your amp produces. You may want to check the features included by the manufacturer to enhance the sounds. In most cases, the price has everything to do with the quality of an amp. You cannot expect any issues with the high-end products because they have been produced with uttermost consideration of details.
Frequently asked questions
Is Rega really good for an integrated amplifier?
Rega is a company that has been manufacturing the turntable for a very long time. The Brio is more of just a trial. This means it may not be the best option if you are looking for more functionality in your integrated amp. Besides, Rega chose not to publish their SNR data, which many people don’t appreciate. For instance, the 2017 Brio has a hum that can be heard from proximity to the speakers.
Should I buy the Rega Brio integrated amplifier?
If you are looking for a low-end medium-quality amp, it can be a great choice. But it cannot handle a lot of loads.
I think Rega should just focus on making turntables. They are among the best manufacturers for these vintage music boxes. These new stereos make an excellent option to get premium sound without paying outrageous prices. Not to mention, you still get the customization of controlling the sound and tone quality. Nevertheless, the Rega Brio is a pretty impressive new integrated amp. It comes with all the basic functions of an entry-level amp. You will get a bittersweet experience in terms of sound production. We hope that this comprehensive review and buying guide has helped you decide the Rega Brio.