Rega Ania & Fono MC Do It Again

Anticipation was high for this formidable duo and they've earned their place. Read why HiFi Choice magazine gives them the coveted Highly Recommended rating.

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Taken on their own, the Ania MC and Fono MC are formidable components. Ania is derived from the Apheta 2 cartridge, sharing its internal motor assembly and only swapping out the stylus and body. Fono MC borrows much of its design from the Aria phono preamp, with a simpler case and power supply. Put these two together and you get real musical magic. Synergy is the right word to describe the phenomenon.

Compelling in not only performance, buy them together and save $50. Ania MC is $795 and Fono MC is $495 US retail. Find a Rega Retailer near you.

Keeping reading for excerpts from the review.

The most noticeable aspect of the performance is the speed and immediacy that was so apparent with Rega’s Apheta 2 when reviewed in last month’s Group Test. Listening to Talking Heads’ Stop Making Sense, the performance of Burning Down The House is hugely energetic. The drums have enormous levels of drive and energy and the definition of the individual strikes is superb... it is unquestionably more agile.
There is also a fractionally greater warmth to the Ania over its bigger brother that – depending on what you listen to – can be very welcome. With the decidedly edgy pressing of Placebo’s Meds, the Ania makes an excellent job of Infra-Red and avoids sounding thin or harsh at any stage. Some of the fine detail that can be found by the more advanced stylus profile of the Apheta 2 is missing, but at the more terrestrial price of the Ania the performance is deeply impressive. No less important is that good recordings still demonstrate their innate quality. The Ania gets stuck into Dead Can Dance’s Rakim with aplomb, delivering a huge, effortlessly three-dimensional and entirely believable performance.
...Rega’s Fono MC is worthwhile too... it is commendably quiet at idle. The lower of the two gain settings is most effective with the Ania cartridge and this will still provide reasonable headroom in most systems. The Fono MC is able to deliver that warm yet immediate presentation that the Ania offers and it produces extremely good tonality for a relatively affordable design.
Most significantly, though, when used as a pair there is a fundamental joy to the presentation of these two devices that is extremely hard not to be very fond of. They pull you into the flow of the music in a way that even rather more expensive pairings than this can struggle to do. The duo seems unconcerned by what you choose to play, concentrating simply on delivering an accurate but consistently enjoyable performance.
Individually, these are two very strong models in their respective categories. The Ania is a tremendous moving-coil design at a great price that delivers on the speed and immediacy associated with this type of cartridge and is likely to win over many fans. The Fono MC phono stage is – if anything – even more impressive. It combines superb basic performance with unusual flexibility for a design at this price, making it a go-to design at or anywhere near the asking price.
As a pairing costing £750 ($795 and $495 individually, $1140 together here in the US, after $50 discount. -ed.), it punches well above its weight and should work convincingly with a wide variety of different systems. Component synergy has long been part of the Rega appeal, and this combo is one of its finest examples yet.