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Rega Elex-R - Mild Distortion/Whine when using Pre-Amp Out

Uncle Rusty

New member
Jan 6, 2017
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Hello fellow hobbyists,

I've always been an audiophile at heart but not until recently was it that I upgraded to a "real" HiFi setup, coming from various mid-range priced consumer headphones and PC speakers, so I'm relatively new to some of the nuances of balancing this type of equipment but have done a ton of research to try and get up to speed on this hobby. So, I finally bit the bullet and put together my first setup consisting of a Rega Elex-R and Elac UF5s which I've really enjoyed listening to so far compared to my old Logitech Z-5500 speakers for music.

I decided on adding a sub so I actually just picked up an Elac S12EQ to compliment the system, but the only option for connecting I could come up with was using either the pre-amp or the record output on the Rega since it doesn't have a true LFE output. This actually is working fine since the subwoofer does have a built in adjustable crossover which is tweakable via the iphone/android app for it.

The one thing that I have noticed that is slightly strange with the Rega however, is that when the subwoofer is powered on and connected to the pre-amp output, that it increases the base-level of static from the UF5 speakers which normally you'd only hear when you put your ear right up to the speaker with the amp powered on with no sound playing, which I know is normal. However, when the sub is powered on I can audibly hear a higher-pitched static coming from the tweeter which is actually audible from my normal listening position around 7 feet away, and it sounds kind of like a mild high-pitched static whine.

My question is if this is normal behavior of Rega and is perhaps due to the way it's internal circuitry is passing the signal to the pre-amp output, or if it could be a minor defect of the amplifier. I've tried switching inputs and using different cables but it doesn't seem to make a difference, and my concern is that this may be causing mild high-frequency distortion while I'm listening to music.

I'm just wondering if anyone has ran into anything like this before, and if there are any potential workarounds. I did start looking into alternate ways of supplying a seperate signal to the subwoofer not from the Rega, but it doesn't seem like any PC sound cards or DACs out there actually support outputting two identical stereo signals, or alternatively having a dedicated LFE output for a sub. Just for fun I did try using an RCA splitter from my stereo source going to the sub and the Rega and the issue did go away, however I instantly noticed a reduction in volume and overall sound quality which I suppose is expected.

Just wanted to see what thoughts those of you had who have had a lot more experience with audiophile gear than myself. Thanks!
 

jonathanRD

Well-known member
Jan 27, 2011
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Have you tried asking the dealer who supplied your Elex-r?

If you can't fix this, can you return the sub and get your money back? You could then purchase a sub that has high level connections that will connect to the speaker output posts on your amp. For example, BK subs have this feature.

I'm not an electronics expert, so maybe someone else may offer some insight into what maybe happening or another alternative.

As I'm sure you've seen, your sub manual says to 'connect the subwoofer to an AV receiver or pre-amp with a dedicated subwoofer or LFE output'.

Sorry, I might be stating the obvious, but maybe bumping your thread might prompt some further replies *smile*

Edit - actually if you can adjust the crossover, could you use a similar 'high level' connection to one of the BK sub methods - ie 3 bare wires connected to 3 of the 4 speaker output posts? That's what BK supplied to me to connect the XXLS400 to my Rega Brio amp.
 

Uncle Rusty

New member
Jan 6, 2017
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jonathanRD said:
Have you tried asking the dealer who supplied your Elex-r?

If you can't fix this, can you return the sub and get your money back? You could then purchase a sub that has high level connections that will connect to the speaker output posts on your amp. For example, BK subs have this feature.

I'm not an electronics expert, so maybe someone else may offer some insight into what maybe happening or another alternative.

As I'm sure you've seen, your sub manual says to 'connect the subwoofer to an AV receiver or pre-amp with a dedicated subwoofer or LFE output'.

Sorry, I might be stating the obvious, but maybe bumping your thread might prompt some further replies *smile*

Edit - actually if you can adjust the crossover, could you use a similar 'high level' connection to one of the BK sub methods - ie 3 bare wires connected to 3 of the 4 speaker output posts? That's what BK supplied to me to connect the XXLS400 to my Rega Brio amp.
Thanks for the reply! So, I will mention that I did pick up the Rega Amp used on Audiodogon, but from what the seller indicated it's less than a year old and he was upgrading to the the Elecit-R. I live in the United States and there are very few Rega dealers here at all aside from a handful of online ones and the closest physical dealer I could find was on the other side of the country. I haven't had any other issues with the amp so far, but you are correct that the Elac Sub does indicate it's supposed to be connected via a dedicated LFE output.

I am able to return the sub and am actually considering at this point, as I'm actually honestly not overtly impressed with it thus far for the price. My past experience has been entirely with ported subs, and the sealed Elac doesn't seem to really shake the room with bass that you can feel as much as I expected, to the point where when I was positioning it in the corner of the room about 12 feet away and the bass response dropped off almost completely after 4 or so feet and I barely noticed it's added effect to the sound. I ended up placing it behind my listening position only a few feet away which was a lot better, but it's really not adding a whole lot to the listening experience as it has a sound very similar to the woofers which are already part of the UF5 speakers... it does add a little bit of extra punch and produces tight and accurate bass, but doesn't seem capable of producing the rolling type boomy bass which I am used to listening to at this point.

I did do an extensive listening test last night however, with the subwoofer plugged in and set to it's mute function versus having it not plugged in at all, and aside from the base-level noise with no sound playing, while playing the same piece of music at volume I could not tell a difference in sound quality coming from the UF5 speakers at all.

I'm not familiar with using the speaker output posts for the source, would that not be a concern since those are powered outputs going into an active subwoofer? I will take a look at those BK subs but was also previously considering one of the SVS series such as the PB-2000 or the SB-2000. Those models do actually have an RCA output so I could potentially have my source going directly into the sub and then the use the outputs to connect to the Rega for the sound input.

I am using a higher-end PC sound card for my source, and I know that lot of people have claimed that this isn't the best due to electrical interference from the PC circuitry, but in my opinion I think it sounds just fine with no background noise as most of the newer sound cards have a lot of technology designed to isolate the DACs from the electrical interference from the PC components and power supply. One option I've been playing around with was using software that's capable of mirroring the stereo output to another output on the sound card such as the Bass/Center channel, so I'm going to keep playing around with that to see if I can get it working as a dedicated second stereo output for the subwoofer.
 

jonathanRD

Well-known member
Jan 27, 2011
175
50
18,670
I had the Rega Elex-r on home demo when I was looking to upgrade last year, and I did like it. I'm not familiar with the Elac speakers but a quick look says they have a sensitivity of 85 dB so the Elex-r should be able to drive them, but I suspect a more powerful amplifier might give you more solid bass. But as you seem to like the boomy bass you describe, rather than a tight, solid, accurate bass, then maybe a ported sub is for you. It's tough though if you cannot demo products at home.

The BK subs have both low and high level connections. The high level can be connected in two ways (you choose which cable you need), a single RCA connection where the amp has a dedicated sub pre-out, or you connect three bare wires to three of the four speaker output posts on the amp. This worked fine with my Rega Brio amp, as I just wrapped the wires around the posts and tightened the screws, it did not affect the speaker cables as they were connected using banana plugs. I'm no electronics expert but this is how BK design it, and I've never heard anyone have a problem with it. Of course other manufacturers have other methods as you have mentioned.

I don't use a PC as a source so cannot comment, but good luck with your experiments*smile*
 

Uncle Rusty

New member
Jan 6, 2017
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Thanks for the information again. I think I am going to end up returning the sub and either going sub-less or going with one of the ported models to get the type of bass I want. Honestly for listening to 95% of the music which I like, the UF5s provide plenty of tight bass which is why I think the Elac sub isn't really adding much to the experience. I'm going to do a bit more research and decide which route I want to go, but your insight has definitely been helpful!
 

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