Rega IO integrated: any good?

see_for_miles

Active member
Jun 3, 2021
7
1
25
Hi!

Thinking of putting together a small, affordable but musically satisfying setup in my small room (4x3m).

Sources will be 95% digital, playing files (redbook, Hi-Res downloads, needledrops) stored on my hard drives, plus some streaming. I listen to all kinds of music: 60-80s classic rock, jazz, blues, pop, indie/alternative, classical, singer-songwriters, you name it.

I haven't chosen the speakers yet, I think I'll be picking them in combination with the amp, based on my room size and placement (will need speakers that work well relatively close to the front wall, 20-30 cm to back of speaker).

But this thread is strictly about the REGA IO amp, which I've been a little intrigued by, because it seems to check all my boxes: small footprint, minimalistic simplicity, "musicality" (whatever that means). Looks like a good bargain, with plenty of positive feedback. But if you look at the ASR review, you'd think it's a total disaster, go figure.

So what I'm asking is, does anyone here have real life experience with it? What are your impressions? Is it a bad design as some say, or the measurements don't show the full picture here? How does it compare to other integrateds around that price point? Does it make sense to go Rega if I predominantly listen to digital sources? Should I look elsewhere instead?

Don't take this necessarily as a help/advice thread (although that'd be helpful for a hi-fi newbie like myself), I'm just interested in opinions and sharing of insight/experience.
Cheers!
 
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Hi!

Thinking of putting together a small, affordable but musically satisfying setup in my small room (4x3m).

Sources will be 95% digital, playing files (redbook, Hi-Res downloads, needledrops) stored on my hard drives, plus some streaming. I listen to all kinds of music: 60-80s classic rock, jazz, blues, pop, indie/alternative, classical, singer-songwriters, you name it.

I haven't chosen the speakers yet, I think I'll be picking them in combination with the amp, based on my room size and placement (will need speakers that work well relatively close to the front wall, 20-30 cm to back of speaker).

But this thread is strictly about the REGA IO amp, which I've been a little intrigued by, because it seems to check all my boxes: small footprint, minimalistic simplicity, "musicality" (whatever that means). Looks like a good bargain, with plenty of positive feedback. But if you look at the ASR review, you'd think it's a total disaster, go figure.

So what I'm asking is, does anyone here have real life experience with it? What are your impressions? Is it a bad design as some say, or the measurements don't show the full picture here? How does it compare to other integrateds around that price point? Does it make sense to go Rega if I predominantly listen to digital sources? Should I look elsewhere instead?

Don't take this necessarily as a help/advice thread (although that'd be helpful for a hi-fi newbie like myself), I'm just interested in opinions and sharing of insight/experience.
Cheers!
I don't see the economic sense in paying for an internal phono stage, that the Rega has, if you are using It for digital only.
That said, for the money, it's a very good amp.
There are some good package deals with this amp and various speakers so might make sense to buy a package of you do decide to go with it.
Most other well known small footprint amps, like the Cyrus One, Quad Vena or Teac AX range, are going to be more expensive than the Io although you could look at the second hand market
As always though, it's better to audition yourself
 
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see_for_miles

Active member
Jun 3, 2021
7
1
25
^Thanks! I will try to audition if I can.

Really interested in what actual real life users have to say. If anyone did any comparisons and can recommend the IO (or maybe something else), please share. I might stretch the budget if it's worth it.
 

robdmarsh

Well-known member
Jun 28, 2015
388
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11,070
I think he means owners rather than people who've heard it or just seen it. I've heard it and thought it sounded pretty good. It was with the Rega turntable and speakers that they're flogging as a set. It looks pretty awful though imo, even worse than the Brio and that's saying something!
 
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That's what I thought. Not sure I know of any members that actually own it, based purely on their signatures, however as always what they feel about has always got to be taken into consideration but always better to go audition yourself.
 

SteveH72

Well-known member
Feb 25, 2020
98
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1,620
I’ve previously owned the Io. For a small amplifier, it is the most musical amp available at that price point. By musical, I mean you just listen and enjoy the music and forget about what “kit” you’re listening to. It has excellent rhythm and dynamics. Personally, I couldn’t give a flying toss what ASR say about anything. Many people enjoy that sort of thing and that’s fine but there are too many variables involved in real world listening: speakers, environment and the least quantifiable aspect of all: our brains. All that matters is that you enjoy the music and just want to keep listening. That’s what Rega products do so well.
Nevertheless, the Io isn’t perfect. It’s only 30W so hasn’t got the oomph of others but plenty for most bookshelf speakers. It’s very limited on the input front as it’s designed primarily as an amp for vinyl users. Sound wise, I’d recommend it to anybody. Facility wise, only you can decide if it does what you need it to do.
I enjoyed it so much, I now own a Rega Elex-R. Couldn’t give a hoot what ASR think of that, either.
 
I’ve previously owned the Io. For a small amplifier, it is the most musical amp available at that price point. By musical, I mean you just listen and enjoy the music and forget about what “kit” you’re listening to. It has excellent rhythm and dynamics. Personally, I couldn’t give a flying toss what ASR say about anything. Many people enjoy that sort of thing and that’s fine but there are too many variables involved in real world listening: speakers, environment and the least quantifiable aspect of all: our brains. All that matters is that you enjoy the music and just want to keep listening. That’s what Rega products do so well.
Nevertheless, the Io isn’t perfect. It’s only 30W so hasn’t got the oomph of others but plenty for most bookshelf speakers. It’s very limited on the input front as it’s designed primarily as an amp for vinyl users. Sound wise, I’d recommend it to anybody. Facility wise, only you can decide if it does what you need it to do.
I enjoyed it so much, I now own a Rega Elex-R. Couldn’t give a hoot what ASR think of that, either.
well said....
 

rainsoothe

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2012
813
372
19,270
I’ve previously owned the Io. For a small amplifier, it is the most musical amp available at that price point. By musical, I mean you just listen and enjoy the music and forget about what “kit” you’re listening to. It has excellent rhythm and dynamics. Personally, I couldn’t give a flying toss what ASR say about anything. Many people enjoy that sort of thing and that’s fine but there are too many variables involved in real world listening: speakers, environment and the least quantifiable aspect of all: our brains. All that matters is that you enjoy the music and just want to keep listening. That’s what Rega products do so well.
Nevertheless, the Io isn’t perfect. It’s only 30W so hasn’t got the oomph of others but plenty for most bookshelf speakers. It’s very limited on the input front as it’s designed primarily as an amp for vinyl users. Sound wise, I’d recommend it to anybody. Facility wise, only you can decide if it does what you need it to do.
I enjoyed it so much, I now own a Rega Elex-R. Couldn’t give a hoot what ASR think of that, either.
God, thank you! I actually think ASR is worse than most subjective review, since it presents all these "facts" that faill to take a lot of things into account, more importantly one's brain as you say, or HEARING! Yes, the measuring equipment is right. But most of all, the measurements are largely irrelevant for one's musical enjoyment.
 
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James83

Well-known member
Apr 2, 2015
167
45
10,620
I’ve previously owned the Io. For a small amplifier, it is the most musical amp available at that price point. By musical, I mean you just listen and enjoy the music and forget about what “kit” you’re listening to. It has excellent rhythm and dynamics. Personally, I couldn’t give a flying toss what ASR say about anything. Many people enjoy that sort of thing and that’s fine but there are too many variables involved in real world listening: speakers, environment and the least quantifiable aspect of all: our brains. All that matters is that you enjoy the music and just want to keep listening. That’s what Rega products do so well.
Nevertheless, the Io isn’t perfect. It’s only 30W so hasn’t got the oomph of others but plenty for most bookshelf speakers. It’s very limited on the input front as it’s designed primarily as an amp for vinyl users. Sound wise, I’d recommend it to anybody. Facility wise, only you can decide if it does what you need it to do.
I enjoyed it so much, I now own a Rega Elex-R. Couldn’t give a hoot what ASR think of that, either.
The io isn't really hampered by that 30W.
As long as it is used as it is designed.
Ie it isn't going to run the Royal Albert Hall!

My parents have the io and it controls the Kytes very well.
It's not going to show as much detail as more expensive amps, but it is very good for its size and price.
It's main benefit is how it just controls the music in a fun way, and even when you turn the volume up, it doesn't get flustered.

It's attractive in a nice minimalist way. There isn't any unnecessary gharish design to it.
It's also as flexible as you'd need from such an amp, without any unnecessary stuff.
1 Phono input covers your LP player if needed.
2 line inputs covers a CD player and DAC (Which covers streaming needs).
Also have headphone output as well.
What more do you need from the amp?
I have an amp with more holes on the back than you can count.
All looks very good, but I only use 2 or 3 line level inputs.
 

Edbostan

Well-known member
Aug 5, 2021
138
65
170
God, thank you! I actually think ASR is worse than most subjective review, since it presents all these "facts" that faill to take a lot of things into account, more importantly one's brain as you say, or HEARING! Yes, the measuring equipment is right. But most of all, the measurements are largely irrelevant for one's musical enjoyment.
It has fulfilled your brief and purpose so that is it. Can't ask for anything else.
 

Unn0

Member
Jan 1, 2022
3
0
20
I own a Rega Io for a month now, it's connected to Q Acoustics 3050i bought with it and now playing some nice 80s italian progressive rock coming from Spotify on chromecast audio to the cheapest smsl sanskrit dac. I mostly use my stereo this way, low levels evening listening and I was surprised the Io doesn't need more than a quarter its power to drive the big Qs to uncomfortable to my ears levels.

It's a faulty little hot brick, right channel has noise, barely audible putting your ear on speakers, it doesn't like going under 4 ohms and just today I discovered by chance switching to input 1, which is phono and empty, is bleeding sound from input 2. It's almost hilarious how this thing is not engineered properly compared to competitors, so don't buy it without listening to it before, play it safe with a cheaper Cambridge ax35, Rotel, NAD, Audiolab, Marantz, etc. they will probably sound objectively better than the Rega. That said I love how it sounds, it's warm, never tiring, effortless at every volume and if I decide to sell it I bet it can turn out a small effort and loss. I wasn't interested in record players before getting this little thing but now I'm very curious about a full analogue experience with it.

Like someone said before this is a listen to this music, not listen to this amplifier thing with Rega.
 

Gray

Well-known member
I discovered by chance switching to input 1, which is phono and empty, is bleeding sound from input 2.
Quite a few people discover that particular issue, but don't let it concern you, it's not a fault.
Under the circumstances you've described, other amps would give the same breakthrough.
If ever you use the phono input, best to just ensure no other input source is active - and if you don't ever use it then put some short-circuit RCA plugs in the phono input (solder a bit of wire between signal and ground in a couple of cheap plugs).
 

Unn0

Member
Jan 1, 2022
3
0
20
I feel reassured my unit isn't probably really faulty, I am still going through one album after another with it. Thanks for the info.
 

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