Early in 2020, Rega announced their all-in-one sound system: the Rega System One. Like most things from just before the pandemic, delays soon followed. But, while the package deal was put on pause, Rega was still able to release the io Integrated Amplifier and new Kyte Speakers, albeit with delays. Finally, Rega Research shared some good news late in 2021 letting us know the System One would finally be shipping in 2022. Now, Rega's System One is available for purchase and the first reviews are coming in!
What Hi-Fi? was amongst the first to have the opportunity to try out the Rega System One. After a quick philosophical review and brief history of Rega's System One, What Hi-Fi begins to dig down into the out-of-the-box system. First they touch on the overall aesthetics of the system: the included Planar 1 turntable is only available in matt black (a white turntable is available as a standalone unit, but not in the System One), and the Kyte speakers are a stark departure from most traditional speakers. While What Hi-Fi wasn't a fan of the Kyte speakers, stating they looked "functional at best", we encourage you to watch this video where we discuss the purpose of the unique shape and material used in the Kyte Speakers. Once all the pieces are arranged, actual set-up is a breeze, as the Planar 1 boasts an extremely easy plug-and-play design.
Of course, the most important part of any review is the sound quality portion. The testing begins with a pop album a la Michael Jackson, and the reviewer notes "the treble sparkles happily and without any added brightness or harsh edges" while the backing vocals resonate to show off the spectacular timing and cohesion of the all-in-one system. Moving on to Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds brand of rock, the System One excels at pumping the bass and opening up the soundstage for the listener. During a test with orchestral music, the review found that the System One is perhaps not as magnificent as a pricier system may be, but it still continues to be very engaging and energetic (especially at this price point). The reviewer also tested the Kyte speakers head-to-head with similar priced Dali Oberon 1s:
"When comparing the Kytes directly to the cheaper Dali Oberon 1s in this particular system, Mary J Blige’s Family Affair sounds meatier, fuller and more zealous through the Rega product. Detail levels are similar, but while the Dalis might just edge it for dynamic sensitivity, their slightly more forward-focused presentation means that they come off just a tad congested within this system. Especially during heavier tracks, but also across the course of our testing proper, we find the extra ounce of snap and space through the low end sees us handing it to Rega again and again. Although there’s no shortage of quality competition for the Kytes when judged in isolation, in this system they really work well."
Noting that the Kyte speakers and io Integrated Amplifier might not be for everyone's aesthetic taste, the reviewer praised Rega's System One for it's zealous musical presentation, ease of set-up, and compact system size. With a 4 in build quality, and top marks in bother Features and Sound Quality, What Hi-FI Gives the System One by Rega a full 5 Stars.