After having listened to my Rega Jupiter and IO for ten years i was forced to buy another CD player because the Jupiter and IO seemed to have lost its great ability to bring along music right. The powerful, spacious, rythmic, detailed and easy on the ear sound seemed to have lost quality on all areas.
I bought a new Saturn and at first i was enthousiastic for the sound it brings. The first issue started after a few weeks. At some point i felt like the sound didnt quite excite me as i remember the old Jupiter and IO did in the years i owned it. I decided to look out for a better cable and then again i was enthousiastic at first. But again this enthousiasm was temporary. I broke my head with thoughts of what could be the issue.
After six months of owning it i decided to listen to another CD player at a store, directly comparing it with the Saturn. It showed me clearly that the Saturn has qualities, showing them right away. Qualities like a big stage, spacious sound. But it also shows to me the Saturn sounds a bit technical. I was stunned to be hearing this, since Rega has a history of bringing music to your ears. It is actually quite shocking to hear this sound from Rega. The guy with the expert ears that was with me also said the Saturn has been cut in the highs. He says your brain needs to compensate this which doesnt make listening to come natural. All together these things make the Saturn less exciting in the long run. When directly comparing it to the other CD player i heard this was pretty obvious.
I can completely agree with the other people here who owned the old Rega gear and dont find the new Rega gear to sound as musical. This is because it simply isnt as musical. And certainly not what to expect from Rega. Since i am a very big Rega fan i say again i find this shocking.
Resuming the Rega is a fine player but isnt as musical as the old series. If you are sensitive about these things you realy must avoid buying the Saturn. All people who loved the old series of Rega by heart, simply wont find the musical "walhalla" with this new series Saturn. You need to look out for something else (Unison Research, Jadis for example).
This is really a great player, but it need some breaking in time after my opinion. I know have used it for over 3 months, and the first month it sounded to hard after my taste. I found it very harsh an hard in the beginning. My dealer say that it has a break in time of 2-3 weeks, but i think is more. But now iv`e had it for 4 months and i really think it sounding better an better. Very analog like, smooth treble, not too high, not too low, just where you want it. The midrange is fine and iv`e never heard such deep and fast end. If you wonna tweak it, you should contact Boston Audio. They have a hold kit set for the Rega Players, with feets and a cd-stabilisator, and iv´e have purchased them all, but one at the time, and finding the player at its best now. Better soundstage, and deeper and tighter bass. If you`re in for rock you wouldn`t fine a better player, the bass and drums is just cut out, but is also great with classic and jazz. Heavy metal is always very difficult to get to be good at any system, but i find that the Saturn does a pretty good job.
I hooked it up with my Lavardin IT Intg. amplifier, and was using a Acoustic zen, Matrix cable. loudspeakers was Jean Marie Reynaud, model: Orfeo!
Overall this is a very decent machine but after two years of listening to it I have come to the conlusion that it is not as musical as the previous Rega Planet I owned which was less than half the price. The Saturn certainly has many qualities and "objective" improvements over the Planet (I never listened or owned the Jupiter so I cannot compare it to that one). It has a much deeper soundstage, wider frequency with much better top and bottom end , and a cleaner treble. It is also much more adept at playing classical music as it is more detailed and posesses much better dynamics. Despite all this, it fails to take hold of me in a way that the more humble Planet did. The Planet has some serious shortcomings (although none really considering its price) such as shortened frequency, sloppy bass, and imprecise treble, but you always felt it played music whereas too often the Saturn feels like it is retrieveing information. Yes, on some occasions the Saturn makes you rediscover your CDs and provides insight in a way that the Planet couldn't. This is certainly the case where dynamics are important. But overall, I consider the number one priority of a player/amp/speakers to be playing music which is why I still prefer the Planet over the Saturn. Perhaps this is due to its slowness or poor timing. I also think that the soundstage is very deep but perhaps not wide enough. All in all this is a player that lacks a bit of balance to make me enthuse about it. It is unfortunate as it does posess some real strengths. I agree with the reveiw preceding mine and would tend to disagree with those emphasising its musicality.
I have owned a few Rega cd players, the Apollo, the Jupiter, the Saturn. I have also owned Arcam. I think The older Regas were warmer sounding but not quite as detailed. To me the new Rega players sound more like an Arcam than the older Regas. Some will find this clearer more detailed sound welcome. Having owned both Apollo and Saturn I have to say that unless you want to pay a whole lot more for a slight improvement, the Apollo is a better value, whereas the Saturn is now 2600 dollars and there are a number of superb cd players at that price level. The two machines are pretty similar, the Saturn just a little more refined detailed and tighter bass. You might even beat the Saturn for less money by using an Apollo as transport and a good external DAC. People often say it and I'd have to agree that differences in digital playback are relatively small, particularly once you get beyond a certain price level. Hence I'd argue that no cd player beyond that level (about a grand) is a good value because the improvements are so small and the price so high. Contrary to the findings of some others the new Regas sound less "analogue" to me than the old Regas. Some may feel the older Regas were too warm, and for them the Saturn should be much more to their liking. What the new Saturn does have in comparison to the Jupiter is a) more detail b) better soundstage c) tighter bass and a treble that is very free of the usual digital hash and grain. The treble is so clean it is what immediately distinguishes these new Regas from other machines including Regas own. There is also a distinct seperation of each musical thread, other players homogenize things a bit more in comparison. On the other hand the Rega Jupiter has a better midrange than the Saturn IMHO. The Saturn may have tighter bass and cleaner treble but the midrange is where alot of the music resides and where the Jupiter is more realistic to my ears. Not say the Saturn does not have a good midrange. Despite all the Saturns high performance attributes I somehow perceived it as retrieveing information rather than playing music. To put it in a nutshell, the Saturn sounds more "hi-fi" whereas the older Regas sond more enjoyable. This is a totally subjective thing but somehow I didnt find the Saturn to be "musically involving" as the reviewers like to say.
Initially the sound of the Saturn was more impressive, but I found it did'nt hold up as well over time as the Jupiter. The Saturn was a little less forgiving of older recordings than either the Apollo or Jupiter. The Saturn is excellent with classical since it can seperate all the threads, with Jazz the Jupiter gives a sweeter sound on Trumpet and Sax which I find preferable. The Saturn has more get up and go which serves rock better. It will depend on your listening tastes and preferences. Finally I had some operational issues (this with full knowledge of how to operate the machine) the Saturn failed to stop on a few occaisions, requiring the machine to be turned off in order to change a disc. Track access via the remote was spotty, and sometimes discs did not initilaize, or it would initialize some but not all of the tracks on a cd (store bought, not cdr's). The Saturn is certainly a very good cd player and worthy of an audition. Ultimately it was not my cup of tea, though others here seem to love it, I am certainly not going to say they are wrong and I am right, only YOUR own ears can decide that.
I found myself nodding all through the excellent review by JW. The Saturn is really something special and I can say I recognize most - maybe all - the characteristics he has mentioned.
Before I bought mine I had been looking for a CD player with an analogue-like sound signature. Having heard Johnny Cash come to life through an insanely expensive record player and ditto other components my goal was to find a CD player capable of emulating SOME of that without having me sell my apartment to get it. What a goal...! I really don't believe any CD player is capable of doing that 100%, but maybe some can come close? I have heard some renowned and quite expensive ones, and even if a CD player can deliver punch and overall detail in a way a record player probably cannot, I must say I prefer the organic vinyl feel. So what does this have to do with the Saturn? Well, first let me say that I still don't believe any CD player successfully can emulate the organic vinyl feel, but I have found that the Saturn delivers MUSIC in a way I've only heard from vinyl. Also the Saturn also delivers rhythmical punch like no other CD player I have heard.
I guess it's safe to say that Rega is well known for their musical approach to developing their components. And thus the Rega company may well have had the intention to emulate the organic feel of an record player pairing it with the deep-frequency punch from a CD player. If this is the case the result is IMO close to outstanding! The feel of the Saturn isn't quite "vinyl" I must admit. But it is something about delivering the whole sound picture in detail and still let the music be the prevailing aspect. I don't know what is the key factor to this achievement. Maybe they have pulled back some of the treble a little bit, I don't know, or maybe it is the way they’ve made the bass and drums sounds so damn real. With some CD players you sometimes feel like "not seeing the forest because of the trees" - you get hung up in the details and don't know what's really there right in front of you. That is exactly what the Saturn doesn’t. With the Saturn you see all the trees but more than that you get the feeling of being out there in the forest itself.
If there could be any complaint about the sound from the Saturn I guess it would be that some listeners prefers a somewhat more upfront and spacious or "magic" treble. Some CD-players offers that quality in a spectacular way. But still, to me that quality more than often represents a show-off-factor which does not relate so much to the music itself - and sometimes that well of details only wears out your ears and makes your listening sessions shorter and shorter. With the Saturn there is no such thing. All the details are there and under normal circumstances you will have no listening fatigue whatsoever.
To me the way bass and drums is delivered by this machine is the big show-off thing. The sound picture is detailed, wide and deep - OK - but what really creates a smile on my face is how the rhythmical attributes of the music is recreated, especially when it comes to bass and drums. Being a drummer and bass-player myself, I am overwhelmed by the Saturn's ability to make you feel you are there together with the band - experiencing the dynamics, the tensions and flow of the live music. It really makes you sense the interaction between the musicians playing. This is magic!
And finally something that makes my heart happy: There is something about the Saturn's way of reproducing and interpreting my old CDs that is really lovable. Even my old U2-CDs sound really nice, and many other CDs that were analyzed to death by my old CD player are now spinning with great joy and comfort.
The Saturn is definitely a must-hear in this price range, and probably if you are to spend even more, too. This CD player offers something unique when it comes to conveying music to the listener.