As stereo and vinyl are making a comeback, more and more people are starting to realize that a great way to enjoy music is with a pair of speakers added to an integrated amplifier. The market today has several options for power-packed all-in-one players in different budget ranges and set of features.
One of the most popular brands in the hi-fi industry is Rega, a British manufacturer known for its high-quality offerings at affordable prices. Integrated amplifiers from the brand have been reigning for decades now, some of the most popular models revised and upgraded to meet the changing needs of users.
The Rega Elex R is a great choice for an integrated amplifier for those who want a solid option from a reputed brand. In this review, let us try to learn more about this product to understand how it performs when added to your home theatre system.
Rega Elex R Review – UPDATED 2021
Introduced as a blend of the two most popular amplifier models from the brand, the Rega Elex R falls somewhere in the middle of Brio and Elicit R with a balance of dynamics, power, and control to deliver a performance music enthusiasts desire. The award-winning integrated amplifier is built to the highest standard and designed to deliver optimum audio performance while being simple to use and setup.
Design and Construction
The Rega Elex R is a sturdier version of the Brio-R with solid build quality and functional casework. The finish is neat and it looks durable and long-lasting. The amp is built into a full-width case with excellent heat dissipation to keep it cool all the time. The front panel has a minimalistic design and you can find all the options on the remote handset. There is also a volume knob large enough to give easy access to the control.
The Swiss-made case holds a transformer that allows the amp to deliver up to 90 watts per channel into a 6-ohm load and 72.5 into 8-ohm. You can find four line inputs and a dedicated phono section along with a set of record and preamp outputs, though headphone output and digital inputs are missing. The Elex-R comes with a remote control that lets you select source, mute, adjust volume, and use Rega digital sources. Such a wide range of connectivity options means you get the flexibility and enjoy integration with other devices from the brand.
Anybody accustomed to the current amplifier range of Rega would find the Elex R sound familiar. The amp delivers a fast and agile sound with a solid grip on the bass. A blend of impressive space, timing, and dynamics mean you hear the beat as a true replica of the vocals with nothing random sounding. It delivers a sense of energy and liveliness that most competitors compromise in an attempt to achieve higher refinement. It also shows scale and authority better than what others could provide at this price.
The amp performs well across music genres from classical to hard-rock and everything in between. It manages to expose the essence of any genre fed into it. Though the power output is not big enough to shake the floors, the amplifier can deliver decent levels in most setups. The resolution is also impressive and it never overlooks subtleties for a bigger picture. The sound quality is dramatic enough to keep you hooked from the first to the last note of the piece.
Rega Elex Integrated Amplifier – A Complete Guide
Rega has put a lot of effort and time into developing the circuit and construction that utilizes the highest specification components in this integrated amplifier. The device comes equipped with some of the most useful features like preamp output to enable using the Elex in various combinations of systems. It avoids headphone socket and tone controls which can obstruct the signal path and degrade the sound quality.
Power consumption – 250W
Power output – 72W into 8-ohm, 90W into 6-ohm
Frequency – 60 or 50Hz
Preamp output impedance – 600ohm
Record output impedance – 470 ohm
Inputs – 1xphono, 4x line
Outputs – preamp, record
Dimensions – 78x 430x 323 mm
Weight – 10.8kg
The Rega Elex R fits perfectly in between others in the range as it is more defined than the Brio-R but less powerful than the Elicit R. It would best fit a system with speakers and sources that could deliver dynamics to the fullest.
Rega Elex R Problems – What You Should Know?
Though Rega Elex R has been improved from its earlier version to perfect in all respects, there are some problems users have been reporting off late. Talking about the design, the square-shaped power button on the front panel is not well-aligned and the top and bottom edges have somewhat rough surfaces. However, the finish is excellent and the build quality is superior. The volume knob has a bit insubstantial feel because it is designed to be motorized.
The Elex R is designed to exclude any additional features like wireless connectivity that could get in the way of signal. So it has no support for headphones or Bluetooth devices. This is a problem for many since most rivals offer headphone support these days. You may have to look for some solution to enjoy private music sessions. The included remote control works well but lacks the sturdiness of other brands of integrated amplifiers.
While the Rega Elex R is designed to sound great, it edges towards leanness which can be overcome by pairing it with the right speakers and sources that don’t go far towards harshness or brightness. The power output is 72 W per channel which would not shake the floors of large rooms though it performs well in most setups.
Rega Elex R Vs Roksan K3 – How They Differ?
Roksan K3 is an elegant integrated amplifier with built-in moving magnet phono input and 5 line inputs for flexibility to connect to any audio source. What makes it different from Rega Elex R is the inclusion of Bluetooth aptX technology that allows streaming music from any supported device for wireless connectivity. The Elex R has one phono input and four line inputs and no facility for wireless connection.
The two amps differ in terms of price, Roksan K3 costing more than Elex R with a look and feel one would expect at the high price. It comes with more powerful bass, more refined delivery, and a bigger soundstage as compared to Elex R But the latter has a greater solidity for stereo imaging and better transparency, making you want to listen to more music. There are more music and less smoothing.
Comparing the Rega Elex R and Roksan K3, the Rega may not sound so ‘hi-fi’ but what sets it apart is the timing and trust in performance. Another aspect where Roksan K3 wins is the remote handset and knobs which are designed to look and perform better than the Rega Elex R.
Rega Elex R Vs Arcam A19 – How They Differ?
Arcam A19 is one of the best options for an affordable integrated amplifier that comes with a MM phono stage and five analog input signals. The amp also allows turning the phono stage into another line input to cater to those who have six input sources and no turntables. Both Rega Elex R and Arcam A19 have sleek front panels with a volume knob and sturdy casework.
What sets A19 apart from the Rega is its power section that allows integrating the r-series products to make it a hub for digital connection upgrades including USB and Bluetooth devices. Both the amplifiers allow enjoying vinyl collection but the Arcam A19 employs a new circuit to deliver exceptional sound quality through headphones. The audio circuits come with an ultra-low noise power supply.
The Rega Elex R is an excellent choice for an integrated amplifier, considering the fact that it scooped an award in the same year that it was introduced as a basic model. It is a kind of product that goes to the heart of the music and conveys emotion with ease. Outstanding build quality, reasonable price, and the capability of handling a variety of music genres make it a preferred option for anybody looking for a pure stereo. Despite the increasing number of amps available at the same price points, the Rega Elex R has enough to continue shining above the peers.