Originally Published March 18, 2016
Jeff Dorgay of Tone Audio listens to the new Rega DAC R
Nestled inside a slick and trim package beats the heart of a Lion. The new Rega DAC R is a brilliant device that breathes the life of analog into a cold digital world. Capable of hi rez sound through its USB, coax and optical inputs, the sound can be tailored by three unique filters to suit your taste. It has robust power supplies and a pair of high end
Excerpts from the review:
Moving faster than normal for the Rega camp (remember, these guys were the last major manufacturer to produce a high-performance CD player), the new DAC-R is here, featuring full 24-bit/192-kHz capability via the USB input. There’s no option for DSD, but this time I agree with Rega; it’s a moot format. Flame suit on.
At first listen, the Rega DAC R has a very un-digital sound, not unlike Rega’s excellent CD players, with a natural and organic, almost analog sound— not rolled off but easy to listen to for long periods of time and free of fatigue.
...it’s tough to decipher where the improvements are coming from without a direct comparison—so we do just that. Borrowing the original from a friend, we discover that the side-by-side listening reveals a significant upgrade everywhere but in the noise floor. Both DACs are super quiet and, while they share a similar overall tonality, the new model is much more refined.
With the help of the Rega DAC R’s optical input, both the Meridian MS200 (linked to a Meridian digital music server) and the Apple TV (now sporting Tidal streaming) offer performance that I would normally associate with S/PDIF, making the DAC-R an easier upgrade to justify.
Because the original model is an excellent product, buyers will ask themselves the eternal question: “Should I upgrade?” The answer in this case is an unqualified yes. Rega’s new DAC R is better in every parameter. And it’s amazing that the company only upped the price by $100. Mistakenly, I was under the assumption that the new DAC-R carried a price tag of $1,795—but when I found out that it’s only $1,195, I was quick to give it an Exceptional Value Award.