Rega Elex R v Naim Nait 5si

Ben198r3

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Nov 13, 2020
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Current set up.

Rega P3 Ortofon 2m Bronze, origin Live internal and external rewire and structural modification. Rega Neo TT psu. Rega Fono MM Mk3. Yamaha As501 ( too bright, can't play complicated music, falls to pieces a biy) wharfedale Evo 4.2 . Chord clearway interconnections and speaker cable. I can get rega elex r for £950 new or Naim Nait 5si for £799 second hand. Which would be best for my setup i like a nice dynamic / neutral sound. Not warm and not bright. Found yamaha too fatiguing and like to listen to music 3-5 hours a day .
 
Welcome to the forum.
Nice setup and out of the two amps you have selected I would pick the Nait 5si, however, your idea as to warm and bright might be quite different to mine so you really need to audition. The two have some differences in presentation and whilst both should drive your speakers well you might find the Rega sounds better with the Wharfedales and would allow you to sell on your Rega Phono Mk3 if you wished to do so.
Can you actually audition these amplifiers? Will the Rega dealer allow a home demo?
 
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matthewpiano

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Nov 23, 2007
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This is a tough call, as both are hugely capable amplifiers. I've heard both extensively and would still struggle to choose between them. Even the play-off between new and second hand doesn't help because both are extremely rugged and should be free of reliability issues for many years ahead.

Normally, unless you are listening at high volumes, I would suggest considering the Rega Brio alongside the Elex-R. Out of the two I have a slight preference for the Brio. It's a gutsy little amplifier which walks an enjoyable line between warmth and clarity. It can drive most speakers without breaking into a sweat and it would probably do so quite comfortably with yours, but Wharfedales can be surprisingly tricky and the additional power of the Elex-R would give you greater flexibility. It is, however, the slightly more analytical of the two and I found it needed to be turned up a bit more than the Brio to come alive.

On balance, out of the Elex-R and Nait 5i, I would most likely lean towards the Naim. I've heard it on numerous occasions in a number of different set-ups and it never fails to engage.

Ideally you would be able to audition but, failing that, I don't think you could go wrong with either. For me, they are the two best amplifiers around the £1k price point, and there are slightly more expensive amplifiers, such as the Roksan K3, that don't come close as all-rounders.
 

Ben198r3

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Nov 13, 2020
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Sorry I forgot to add that I have them both on home demo and really torn which to choose. I think the Rega Elex R has a more detailed, analytical sound. Where as the naim is more subdued and smooth in presentation. .my concern with the elex r is if the high top end will come fatiguing over time
 

Ris101

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May 16, 2020
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Hi. I have the elex r and use it with a set of b&w 7 series speakers. The sound is warm and detailed, I love this amp and always sounds so good. Prior to this I used cyrus, appreciate the quality and detailed sound, but was far too bright for my liking . I also demoed the brio, great fun but struggled to keep it all together, especially the bass. Good luck!!
 

nopiano

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I’d be wondering if the speakers might be more responsible for what you’re describing. I really can’t see why a Yamaha amp would be fatiguing unless something else in the chain was amiss. From what you say, and the price, the Naim looks like a better choice for you though I’ve never thought of them as the most relaxing listen.
Do tone controls offer any benefit to your ears? Might something generally perceived as smoother, like an Arcam, be more suitable?
 
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Sorry I forgot to add that I have them both on home demo and really torn which to choose. I think the Rega Elex R has a more detailed, analytical sound. Where as the naim is more subdued and smooth in presentation. .my concern with the elex r is if the high top end will come fatiguing over time
As previously stated it is perhaps the speakers that are not gelling with the Naim.
If you see yourself keeping the Wharfedales for a good while then the Rega becomes the obvious choice.
If you go for the Naim you will need to keep your phono preamp
As you actually have them both for auditioning I cannot see how we can help you make a decision.
 

Ben198r3

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Nov 13, 2020
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I’d be wondering if the speakers might be more responsible for what you’re describing. I really can’t see why a Yamaha amp would be fatiguing unless something else in the chain was amiss. From what you say, and the price, the Naim looks like a better choice for you though I’ve never thought of them as the most relaxing listen.
Do tone controls offer any benefit to your ears? Might something generally perceived as smoother, like an Arcam, be more suitable?
The yamaha loses it when the music gets complicated, like the music becomes one big blur. These 2 amps do not do that.
 

Ben198r3

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Nov 13, 2020
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As previously stated it is perhaps the speakers that are not gelling with the Naim.
If you see yourself keeping the Wharfedales for a good while then the Rega becomes the obvious choice.
If you go for the Naim you will need to keep your phono preamp
As you actually have them both for auditioning I cannot see how we can help you make a decision.
Yes I will be keeping the wharfedale for sometime, and I will be getting one of these amps I'm just questioning which one is generally better, with my speakers. I would say the rega is a cleaner sound but then harmonicas and cymbals have a piercing sound, the naim seems more laid back and smooth. I will be keeping this amp and set up for 1 year before I move to a Rega p8 with MC phono stage etc. I listen to music for 3-4 hours a day
 

matthewpiano

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Nov 23, 2007
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The yamaha loses it when the music gets complicated, like the music becomes one big blur. These 2 amps do not do that.
The Yamaha's abilities are often over-stated. It's a decent enough budget integrated but it doesn't have the natural quality or control I would normally associated with Yamaha amps. A move up to the A-S701 brings a surprising amount more of this but still the Naim and Rega are on another level altogether.

If you are enjoying the Naim more, and already feel uncomfortable with the way in which the Rega handles certain instruments, this tells you a lot.
 
Fair enough. Complex music is certainly a good way to hear what a system really copes with. Not surprising that so many demos are simple sounds!
True, most of my 'test' tracks are simply piano and / or female voice but do like to throw in a complex track or two as well, however if a speaker cannot do piano well then I don't normally get as far as the complex tracks......
 

nopiano

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True, most of my 'test' tracks are simply piano and / or female voice but do like to throw in a complex track or two as well, however if a speaker cannot do piano well then I don't normally get as far as the complex tracks......
Absolutely, and I realise it may have looked to some as though my using ‘simple’ implied something less important. Most of us can reference a piano or voice, for example, a lot easier than a Wagner opera!
 

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