Introducing the Rega Io, their new entry-level amplifier. Although at Grahams we are best known for offering high performance and sometimes high-cost systems, we take great joy in stocking affordable equipment and helping our customers take their first steps into better quality sound. Rega’s most recent addition to their amplifier line-up now allows us to do this to a greater audience with the Io.
This diminutive amplifier is even more compact than their multi-award-winning Brio amplifier, which has been their least expensive model up until now. Rega have been very clever and produced an amplifier that focuses on the best performance they can squeeze out of an amp at this price point and have considered what features they can afford to add after this. The Io has 3 analogue inputs of which the first is, of course, a moving magnet phono input. This is obviously to give an extremely capable and cost-effective partner to the Planar 1 and 2 turntables. Although it only has a plastic front and buttons, it certainly feels reassuringly weighty, well-built and pleasant to use. Rega have even managed to fit in a headphone socket and provide a small, but capable, remote control.
The sound from this 30w, class A/B amplifier is surprisingly punchy and gives good subtlety. You can hear the trademark Rega sweetness at the top end, good musicality, and a deftness that you would not expect here. We have had great success in pairing it with the B&W 607 S2 Anniversary Edition in our studio, and it makes for an extremely fun and exciting system to start off with!
The Io costs £379 and is now on demonstration.
This one is a belter. With their standard rubber belt, Rega identified that in the manufacturing process there was a great variance in the final product and have been researching means of making a more consistent and superior product. Instead of going for any old rubber, they have developed a top-secret blend of polymer materials that undergo a curing process that not only produces a consistent end product but also yields a superior grip. The belts can now be manufactured to a much higher tolerance (only a couple of microns!) and yield far better control and accuracy for our analogue listening experience. As an extra bonus, due to the curing process, the belts should last up to 50% longer without becoming fatigued. This is now standard on all Rega turntables that were manufactured after March 2021.
The EBLT belt will be available to purchase as an upgrade to existing Rega turntables, in the near future, at a cost of £15.
Planar 1/Planar 1+ matt finish
The Planar 1 and Planar 1+ turntables have had a facelift. Black and white of course remain, but instead of the gloss finish they now come with a suave matt finish plinth. We have been assured there is no measurable sound difference in this change of finish, although, of course, they are now fitted with the new EBLT belt.
The Planar 1 now costs £275 and the Planar 1+, which has the phono stage built-in, costs £345. Both models come with the Carbon cartridge fitted, as before.
Due to unforeseen circumstances, the ever-popular Elys 2 cartridge, which is usually fitted to the Planar 3, is no longer available due to a shortage of parts. We do not know when the Elys 2 will return, so we are looking at alternative cartridges. However, the Planar 3 is still available to purchase without a cartridge for the price of £599.