Originally Published February 1, 2017
The junior amp from Rega has always been a winner and the latest edition 2017 Brio isn't changing that with 5 Stars from What HiFi? magazine.
The Rega Brio might be shoe boxed sized but it really knows how to get up and dance. Like every Rega amp before it, it punches above its weight class and is the perfect heart to any HiFi system. With vastly improved power supplies and casework, the new Brio improves on its predecessor's performance while adding a handy new (and spectacular sounding) headphone output. As per usual, and great turntable input is included. This is a Rega, after all!
Keep reading for a few choice quotes from the review, or
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“Everything we loved about the Brio-R is here: its incredible sense of rhythm, the punchy dynamics; the agility, detail, and fun.
The new Rega Brio takes all of those prime qualities and hones them even more finely. As a result, the sound it produces is clearer, more detailed and more muscular.”
“....you only have to crank up A Perfect Circle's Pet to feel the sheer force of wailing guitars and thunderous drums from the second you hit play.
It ducks and weaves its way around tricky compositions, tying all musical strands together in a way that's authoritative and skillful without ever losing its sense of fun.
It goes loud. And it's thrilling.”
“You can lose yourself in the way the Rega handles whatever song you throw at it, regardless of the source.
It's not so analytical that it comes over like a clinical lecture in how music should sound, but it is revealing enough to expose the differences in recordings and the atmospheres of songs.”
“Listen to the same songs through the Brio's new headphone socket and you'll find the same presentation: it's a terrifically musical amp.
Thanks to its newly acquired sonic weight, the Brio is evenly balanced across the frequencies. The top end sparkles and yet there's a sweetness to it, while basslines enjoy depth and rumbling textures.”
“The new Brio has been revamped throughout, from an updated circuit board layout to the swooped front-panel design that's reminiscent of early '90s Brios.
Every tweak to the circuits and power supply has been made to help isolation and keep the main signal path as clear as possible, leading to better overall sound quality.
There are now two separate power supplies in the Brio: the bigger for the power amplifier section, the smaller for the phono stage and preamplifier.”
“The half-width design's return is welcome – it looks smart and is ideal for those with limited space. But there's more going on than simple cosmetics.
The chassis has been redesigned: it's now made of a two-part fully aluminum case that helps its heat-sinking and reliability. This 5kg amp is so reassuringly robust you almost get your money's worth in heft alone.”
“It's an upgrade in every way, from its redesigned features to its immensely engaging, precise and subtle sound.
It's the kind of amplifier we want to leave on and play our entire music collection through. Again and again.
And isn't that what all good hi-fi is meant to do?”