Rega Elex-R Review

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Rega Elex-R Review

The Elex-R is a sublime blend of the Brio-R design with the power circuits and advanced phono stage of the Elicit-R. Rega’s engineers have achieved the perfect balance of power, control and dynamics, delivering a performance that always puts the music first.

You will find plenty of connectivity options allowing complete flexibility and integration within the rest of the Rega range.

Winner of the WHAT HI-FI? AWARDS 2014, 2015 & 2016 for Best stereo amp.

The Elex-R sits between the the Brio-R and Elicit-R and is described as a hybrid of the two deisgns, it has a £900 price point and slightly unusual 90 Watt into six Ohm power rating. That’s the first time I’ve seen a six Ohm rating but it relates to the impedance of Rega loudspeakers, the 72 Watt output into eight Ohms is a better comparator with other amps. Output power does not increase greatly into four Ohm loads, because as with all Rega amps it’s not about power alone. Build is as ever a little short on slickness of finish in places but high on substance, it weighs more than most at this because of its solid casework and what must be a decent size mains transformer.
Inputs include a moving magnet phono stage alongside four line inputs plus record and preamp outputs, so you could add a power amp in future should Rega get round to building one. Front panel controls are as minimal as ever but a few more options can be found on the simple remote handset, actually that only extends to mute, so not many more. The volume knob has a slightly insubstantial feel, it wouldn’t go down well on Knobfeel (the YouTube channel, no kidding), but that is probably because it’s motorised and was selected for sonic rather than fondle-ability reasons.

Design Innovation

The Elex-R is built to the highest standard and designed to deliver the best possible audio performance whilst remaining simple to use and easy to setup.The Elex-R is built into the full width Rega case with increased heat dissipation, which along with a larger transformer enables the Elex-R to deliver 90 Watts per channel into 6Ω and 72.5 Watts per channel into a design centre rating of 8.

Our time, effort & money have been spent on developing the circuit and construction utilizing the highest specification of components throughout. As part of the design we have included useful features like pre-amplifier output, to enable the new Elex-R amplifier to be used in a wide combination of systems and have avoided superfluous gadgets such as tone controls or a headphone socket as they can obstruct the signal path and degrade the produced sound quality.

The Elex-R has been built to Rega’s extremely high standards of reliability and quality to ensure many years of musical enjoyment. The primary function of an amplifier is to boost and equalize the low level signal generated by a phono cartridge, DAC and CD player or other source component to a level that can drive the loudspeakers. It is vital that the amplifier achieves this whilst minimising distortion, as this would directly affect the music. The distortion level is typically 0.007%; just under the clipping of the output.

The volume control and pre-amplifier used in the Elex-R is designed to overcome the problems associated with the standard arrangement. This design uses a custom chip along with peripheral support IC’s like a microcontroller and a custom made rotary volume control.

The Elex-R uses a combined feedback and passive volume control, where the feedback and input levels are varied to set the required volume level. The level and tracking between the two channels is set by the close tolerance parts in the pre-amplifier circuit and less by the actual potentiometer itself, thus keeping the mismatch of channels due to volume control tracking irregularities to a minimum.As well as keeping tracking irregularities to a minimum, this method also reduces noise and input overload as the control will only ‘use’ the required gain to amplify the signal.This form of volume control is normally only found in professional broadcast environments where accurate low noise control of levels is required.

Power Amplifier Technology

The output amplifier used in the Elex-R, Elicit-R and Brio-R was born after extensive research by our engineers to develop a low source impedance emitter follower Class-A driver stage. This is based around a complementary pair of 150w Sanken Darlington output transistors. The technical and sonic improvement gained by the use of low impedance drivers is well known, however, it can feature high standing currents in the driver stage when using standard transistor configurations. By combining the low impedance driver with the Sanken Darlington transistors (with their imbedded thermal bias network running at a lower standing current) this combination forms a complementary emitter follower emulating Class-A conditions with good thermal stability with lower standing.

Key features

Rega custom full width case with improved heat dissipation
Combined feedback & passive volume control pre-amp
90 watts per channel into 6 Ohms / 72 watts into 8ohms
High specification integrated phono stage
New multi-lingual user manual
Enhanced power supplies for the driver stage
Hybrid of the Brio-R and Elicit-R design
Dedicated mini remote handset included
Pre-amp out / Record out / 4 line inputs
New custom transformer


Power Supply
Voltage: 230v & 115v
Frequency: 50/60Hz
Power Consumption: 250 Watts
230v Fuse: T3.15AL 20mm
115v Fuse: T5AL 20mm
Dimensions W 430mm x D 320mm x H 80mm

Output power

72.5W 8Ω both channels driven – Design centre rating
90W 6Ω both channels driven – Rega speaker impedance rating
113W 4Ω both channels driven

Phono input

Sensitivity (72.5W 8Ω1.7mV (Load 47K in parallel with 220pF)
Maximum input level: 100mV

Line input

Sensitivity (72.5W 8Ω 164mv (Load 30-50K)
Maximum input level: 10v

Tape output

Level: 164mV with rated input
Output impedance: 470

Line output

Level: 625mV with rated input
Output impedance: 600

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