Originally Published April 28, 2017
Completely redesigned for 2017, the Rega Brio amplifier is a powerhouse. Don't let its small size put you off, this little guy really lights it up. HiFi Choice Magazine agrees.
With a robust, and conservatively rated 50 watts per channel, the new Rega Brio has lots of drive for a half sized amp. Teamed up with an excellent headphone amp and onboard phonostage, this integrated amplifier will deliver smiles for life. Team it up with a pair of Rega RX3 or your favorite pair of speakers, and a Rega Planar 3 turntable, and get cookin'. We totally agree with the conclusion of this review- this amp is a real cracker. $995 US retail.
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Keep reading for excerpts from HiFi Choice review.
“The designer, Terry Bateman, con rms that Rega's mission was to maximise analogue sound at a sensible price. And while this may suggest a focus on internal qualities, the build and nish of the bodywork is better than ever, made from reassuringly thick, silky aluminium castings with no unsightly xings. This amp is clearly built to last...”
“Playing Keb Mo's cover of For What It's Worth on CD is an ideal way to showcase the Brio's virtues. The opening organ, bass and drum groove is effortless and infectious. My feet are tapping within seconds and making notes will have to wait. This is a highly musical little amp. Everything is where it should be; rim shots crack and high hats shimmer with metallic zing, Keb's vocals are warm and rounded, but dripping with rich detail and the bass line is particularly phat and luscious. The soundstage has good width and depth, but it's the totally joined up, transparent, but above all musical communication of the whole performance that really stands out. A Hammond organ gently ripples in the background as punchy stabs of brass cut through the lush, rhythmic wall of sound. This track may have started as a peace song, but this combo of Keb and Brio is as sultry as it gets.”
“...the little Brio is never wrong footed, able to tease out each performer, but never losing that sense of a single, joined-up piece of music. Treble is sweet and unfatiguing, the midband is lush but highly transparent and the bass has a glow and free- owing, unforced quality. Equally, the amp exhibits valve-like qualities around the sonic picture it paints. The music feels like one performance, rather than a series of spotlit performers, yet you are able to follow any instrument in isolation.”
“I had wondered whether the Brio's obvious air for a tune and bassline was less suited to classical music, but far from it. If anything, its ability to portray big pictures and deliver lifelike, voluptuous and flowing bass is a revelation for classical music, doing a better job than many amps around this price (and above). The textures of the solo cello are superb. Tiny details from the drawn bow on strings are clear, yet the notes bloom and sustain their rich tone in a very realistic manner.”
“Some amplifiers tell you what music should sound like. The Brio helpsyou know what music should feel like. There are amp designs that are more forensic, transcribing greater detail from recordings, but few at this price will make as much musical sense with what they communicate. Equally some competitors may present more clinical sonic vignettes, but the Brio gets the big picture spot on. And don't pigeon hole it as a party animal that makes a bee line for a funky bassline. The Brio would be good value for its line-level amplification alone, but add in an excellent phono stage and headphone driving abilities and it becomes a stunning value. Sensibly priced integrated amps are back in vogue, and this one is a cracker.”