Rega’s long-running Brio has always been a fine budget amplifier, but this latest version is arguably the best one yet. It’s built into a half-width casing, similar to the one used for the company’s excellent DAC, and feels immensely solid. The feature list covers the basics: four line-level inputs, a moving-magnet phono stage and a remote control. Most rivals add at least a headphone output and switchable speaker to that list, but Rega has chosen to keep things simple in the pursuit of better sound. And one listen to the Brio-R is enough to convince us that the company has achieved that commendable aim.Agile, musical and rhythmicThe Brio-R is an immensely musical amplifier. It sounds agile and detailed, and sniffs out a rhythm track brilliantly. More after the break Despite a relatively modest output of 50 watts per channel, the Brio-R can get decent volume levels out of most speakers and deliver large-scale dynamic sweeps such as those from Holst’s Jupiter with ease. More than that, though, it’s the way this amplifier ties together musical strands that really impresses us. It’s the kind of product that puts the music, be it Eminem and Rihanna on Love the Way You Lie or The xx’s debut set, centre stage. Start listening, and it’s the music itself that always grabs your attention, rather than any particular hi-fi virtue. And that, of course, is exactly the way it should be. Excellent phono stageThe phono stage delivers a great performance too. It’s impressively transparent, and consistent in character to the line stages. And that means that it’s vastly better than what we usually hear – or expect – at this price point. This Rega is a clear level better than the best of the budget amplifiers, and
Rega Brio-R Integrated Amplifier Rega Brio-R Integrated Amplifier Features Built-In Phonostage and High-End Components: Product of the Year Award-Winning Design Plays Music With Stellar Sound Quality Rega combines its traditional audio design expertise with excellent engineering in the half-width Brio-R integrated amplifier. With expensive upgrades made to the already excellent audiophile-grade parts, Brio-R offers astounding sonics. We've never heard a compact integrated amp sound quite this good. Add in 50 watts per channel, a spectacular onboard phonostage, sizable toroidal transformer, and substantial power-supply components, and it's no wonder Brio-R scored a Product of the Year Award from TONEAudio as well as critical acclaim from practically every hi-fi press outlet on the planet. 100% Music Direct Guaranteed. "The Rega Brio-R sets the benchmark and then some. While it's easy for those that regularly hear the world's best (and often most expensive) gear to get excited about great sound, it's truly thrilling to hear this level of sound quality from an amplifier with this price tag." – Jeff Dorgay, ToneAUDIO, Product of the Year Award Rega's Brio-R is loaded with a substantial toroidal transformer, generous power-supply components, and a rugged output stage. Film capacitors are placed in the signal path and at all critical positions within the phonostage. Based around a pair of 150w Sanken Darlington output transistors, this combination forms a complementary emitter follower emulating Class A conditions with thermal stability and lower standing currents in the driver stage. Featuring its own dedicated power supply and separated from the audio circuit, the included remote control doesn't compromise the sonic design of the amplifier. Improved low- and high-current power supplies, coupling, and bypass capacitors also factor into the amazing performance. In addition, the built-in phonostage boasts increased input sensitivity. "No integrated amplifier that I have heard for under $1,000 has a finer built-in phonostage."– Sam Tellig,
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