Rega Brio Integrated Amplifiers

Brio

The Brio is a simple, high performance, integrated amplifier. The design and cost has been concentrated on the highest possible sound quality rather than gadgets, buttons and unnecessary frills often found at this price range.

  • 38w RMS per channel into 8 ohms
  • 5 inputs: Phono, CD, Tuner, Line1 & Tape
  • Rega Planar IC phono input
  • Rega custom built extruded aluminium case

  • User Reviews (18)

    Showing 1-10 of 18  
    LeRoy   AudioPhile [May 25, 2009]

    This is a review for the Rega Brio 3 which I think was released into the audio market in 2007? The bottom line is this a one overachieving musical amp and would heartily recommend this amp with only 3 caveats.

    The rated 49 watts is still too much power for small speakers. I had in my collection a number of different budget bookshelf speaker and tried them all. I must be clear here in stating that even though the small bookshelf speakers could sound musical they each reached their limits pretty quickly. The woofers of the Usher S-520's and Wharfedale Diamond 9.1 could not handle that volume setting of 11:00 or 12:00 with bass heavy music. However, the Usher's could handle music that was not bass heavy to about 2:00-3:00 on the volume setting and still sound very dynamic and musical. The Wharfedale's are not a good match to Brio as the tweeter became to brighter and brighter as I turned up the volume and listener fatigue set in very quickly with the Wharfedales. I also had a pair of Energy Connoisseur C-1's and these speakers with the Brio 3 could handle the bass heavy music till about 1:00 before crying uncle. These Energy speakers could handle Brio 3's bass output the best of the three but the bass from Energy's is no where near a defined as that of the Usher's. Of the three speakers I listed above, far and away the best match and most musical from top to bottom was with the Usher-S520's!

    However, in my collection I also have a pair of Nola Mini's. The Mini's are a large bookshelf speaker and quite easily handles all that the Brio 3 can do. High end detail without being bright or fatiguing, the excellent midrange of the Brio 3 only enhances the beautiful midrange of the Mini's, and the bottom end is weighty and more complete even at 03:00 on the volume setting.

    The Brio 3 allows the source to display it's own character. I initially was using an NAD 521 CD player and enjoyed it but wanted to see if I might be able to extract a better musical presentation with Cambridge Audio 640C V2. I did not like the C.A. at all as I found the pace much too slow and not enough upper end detail. However the midrange and separation of instruments was certainly a level above that if the NAD. I have listened to the Rega Apollo on three separate occasions and am yet to be impressed by it. So, I went ahead and purchased an NAD 545 BEE CD player and this player is a great match to the Brio 3.

    For interconnects I am using Chord Cobra 3 with Chord Carnival Speaker wire.

    So, to summarize, choose your speakers very carefully when matching up with the Brio. I would definitely recommend large bookshelf or floor standing speakers as the Brio 3 does not have any subwoofer outputs or tone controls. Pay close attention to PRAT when choosing a CD player as the Brio 3 already alters the pace of the music on it's own ( I don't think this is a bad thing...just an fyi). Lastly, if you can get this amp gently used then do it. I don't think I would be as satisfied as I am if I had paid full retail for this amp.

    Here is my final system config and pricing:
    Rega Brio 3 $453.04 (gently used)
    NAD 545 BEE $540.00 (new)
    Chord Cobra 3 interconnects and Chord Carnival Speaker wire 8 ft/pr $285.78
    Nola Mini bookshelf speakers $695.00 (gently used purchased directly from mfg in 2007)
    Total system cost: $1,973.82

    OVERALL
    RATING
    4
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    David   Audio Enthusiast [Feb 02, 2009]

    I purchased this amp (Rega Brio 3) to work with my Rega Planet CD player and Revolver RW16 loudspeakers and I can whole heartedly recommend it to anyone who enjoys listening to music. It presents the music in a wonderfully warm, open, fluid, pure and natural way. The sound stage is wide and deep and each individual instrument and voice is placed with pinpoint accuracy. Detail levels are excellent for an amp at this price point and would perhaps compare favorably with amplifiers costing far more. High frequency sounds are very extended and airy but are not pushed forward. Mid frequencies are beautifully natural and open. Lower frequency sounds are not only weighty but also have texture and definition. Dynamics are quite astounding and this amp has enough drive to keep even the most demanding music going without sounding as though it's running out of steam, providing of course that your living room isn't as big as the Albert Hall and the dial isn't turned up to 11. It seems to me that given a fixed budget, you can spend your money on a piece of kit with remote control and a lot of blue LED's all over the place and you'll get a product where the recourses have been used on the 'extras' as well as the sound or for that same budget you can buy this Brio amp and you'll know and hear that the design is all about the sound.

    OVERALL
    RATING
    5
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    lamcam   Audio Enthusiast [Feb 01, 2008]
    Strength:

    Warm sound, very musical.

    Weakness:

    simple design

    Very nice Integrated amp! Look simple, but who cares? I just want good music, and it delivers the music to me. I can listen to it hours without get tired.

    Similar Products Used: Onkyo, H/K, NAD, Marantz, Mcintosh.
    OVERALL
    RATING
    5
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    bill   Audio Enthusiast [Dec 05, 2007]
    Strength:

    Makes beautiful music. An exc. built-in mm phono stage. Simply to use and compact. Quality construction.

    Weakness:

    Considering the price, nothing really of major concern. If I had to mention one, the spk. binding posts could be of better quality.

    This review is for the newest version, the Brio 3. Plain and simply this int. amp makes music. I've owned numerous seperates and int. amps over the years in this crazy hobbie and nothing has given me so much musical enjoyment as this int. amp! Nothing gets in the way of the signal. I can best describe the sound as warm, full bodied, w/exc. detail. Very smooth and relaxed Beautiful sounding from top to bottom. Don't let the rated power deter you, will drive most spks. w/ease. I still listen to records and the built-in phono stage is big plus. I very highly recommend you audition the Brio 3 and decide for yourshelf. Spend the little extra money and buy this product. I believe you will be very pleased you did. (Also, replace the stock power cord w/ something better. You can make a very decent power cord using Beldon shielded 14/3 wire w/Marinco or Wattgate ends for under $50. Or buy a cord. Either way, do replace the stock PC and the Brio 3 will sound even better!)

    Similar Products Used: Arcam, Bryston, Marantz, Denon, Sansui, Cambridge and Sony.
    OVERALL
    RATING
    5
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    Joel   Audio Enthusiast [Sep 29, 2007]
    Strength:

    Power, imaging, clarity, quality of sound, detail

    Weakness:

    No remote control, not the best quality control knobs and RCA connects. Don't let that deter you though.

    I wanted to replace my older Pioneer Elite surround system with separates because several people told me that it is a much better way to hear a more accurate reproduction of music. So, I went to a store that sells, Cambridge Audio, Rega, and Naim systems to see what they recommended. I ended up saving a little money and buying the Cambridge Audio Azur 540 V.2 instead of spending more and buying the Rega Brio 3. After listening to the Cambridge Audio Azur 540 for a solid month, I could not tell that much difference between the quality of sound of it and my Pioneer Elite receiver that was seven years old. I then decided to go back and get something of higher quality, but a little bit more money, so I ended up with the Rega Brio 3 thankfully! I am very impressed with the Brio 3 after only having it two weeks. In comparison with the Cambridge Audio, listening to the Brio 3 is like I turned the "ON" switch on to music in my front room. Whereas the Cambridge Audio sounded good and had great sound, it did not do anything that impressed me more than my older Pioneer Elite receiver. With the Rega on the other hand, it is a much more accurate reproduction of all music, I can hear clarity, detail, imaging, and accuracy that is head and shoulders above the Cambridge Audio.

    Customer Service

    No issues yet.

    Similar Products Used: Older Pioneer Elite receiver, 2007 Cambridge Audio 540 Azur V.2
    OVERALL
    RATING
    5
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    arc80   Audio Enthusiast [Aug 26, 2004]
    Strength:

    Take a listen and see for yourself.

    Weakness:

    Not in the sound. No remote and pre-amp outs are pretty much it. Exterior design construction could be better, but not for $550.

    This is a follow-up to my review posted below. After a few more weeks of listening and a change to a better interconnect (Nordost Solar Wind replaced with Transparent MusicLink Plus) the Brio's bass has changed NOTICEABLY! It has become much much tighter with better slam and extension. The sound this $550 integrated pumps out is truly remarkable. B/C of this I have changed my overall value rating as the sound is now truly great.

    Similar Products Used: Added a Rega Planet 2000 to the mix. System synergy is awesome! Also replaced the Nordost Solar Wind interconnect with a Transparent MusicLink Plus cable.
    OVERALL
    RATING
    5
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    arc80   Audio Enthusiast [Aug 13, 2004]
    Strength:

    Outstanding music playback. Dynamic swings, midrange and treble clarity, soundstaging, imaging, and mid-to-upper bass are all fantastic. Pace and timing invoke images of Naim equipment. Outstanding buy for the money. Also has a particularly nice sounding phono stage (not a suprise since it's a Rega).

    Weakness:

    No remote or preamp output, cheap RCA plugs, plastic faceplate. Lower bass could be more defined and tight.

    Like the Brio's layout and design features I will keep this review short and to the point. This particular Rega has excellent engineering and a terrific sound that doesn't immediatley leap out at you. The frequency spectrum is reproduced in its entirety, although the bass can be a tad fat, lacking the lowest level slam. It is entirely rythmic and musical though. The upper frequencies are not at all harsh or bright sounding and as far as I can tell sound completely natural without a glossed over sheen. This amplifier has plenty of current and reproduces the most complex of musical passages with ease. Dynamic rock is a strong point as this amplifier has great pace and timing. Soundstaging is very nice too, and the midrange might be slightly forward (although this is something that I personally like). For sound quality I heartily recommend this amp and give it 5 stars. The external build quality is good not great. The faceplate is a plastic material and while clean and neat certainly does not convey robustness or the like. The RCA jacks are average at best. This amp comes with no remote so be prepared to get up to change the volume and change the input selections. There are also no preamp outputs, so you can not use this as a preamp in the future. It is obvious that the design team at Rega chose to stick their money in the heart of the machine. Three stars for build quality and features. But ultimately, at least for me, it comes down to sound quality. Step up to a better source component and this amp will keep sounding better. I give this amp an overall rating of 5 stars because its sound quality easily trumps similarly priced designs.

    Similar Products Used: I have used the Brio extensively with a Naim CD5i and Sony DVP-NC685V CD/SACD player, Rega P3 turntable, and Polk Audio LSi-7's, 15's, Acoustic Energy Aegis 2's, and MB Quarts speakers. Interconnects used are Nordost Solar Wind. Speake cable is Rega's own Quattro model. I have also heard the Brio used on an extensively broken in system comprising the Rega Planet 2000 cd player and a pair of ATC SCM12 speakers. The Rega has been compared against a NAD 321BEE, Arcam A65+, Parasound Halo equipment, Acurus A100, Denon AVR-2802, and Naim's Nait 5i. The Rega outperformed all but the Naim. Then again the Naim is 2 1/2 times the money.
    OVERALL
    RATING
    5
    VALUE
    RATING
    4
    Jwamyung Kim   Audio Enthusiast [Aug 06, 2003]
    Strength:

    Musicallity Price Compactness

    Weakness:

    Design

    I have used this small qute amp less than a week. But I like it immediately so much I had to write this!!! The music comes to me very personally and beautifully. I never expected this kind of beauty at this price level.. Of course other powerful amp such as Mcintosh etc can impress me more...but not continuoslly like this.. So much fun and beauty in music.. Thanks Rega...beautifully done.. System.. Cd player: Arcam 62t Spraker: Mission 780

    Similar Products Used: Synthesis Nemisis
    OVERALL
    RATING
    4
    VALUE
    RATING
    4
    manum3   Audio Enthusiast [May 23, 2003]
    Strength:

    built just for musicality no remote control : I mean just concentrate on music, don't play with set up

    Weakness:

    design (especially front face : I would prefer aluminium instead of plastic)

    Sorry for the english, I'm french ! It's my first hifi amp (I used an 'all in box' Panasonic amp+dvd) and there is a big difference even for a rookie. It's clear, bright and powerful enough in a 15-20 m² room. I like the dynamic in classical music and the 'swing' for jazz. I listened to it during 5 hours and no headach just pleasure. Exposure CD 2010 (Wireworld Solstice III) Rega Brio 2003 (Chord cable) Rega Ara (to be changed for better !)

    OVERALL
    RATING
    5
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    cal   Audio Enthusiast [Nov 17, 1999]

    I bought the Brio used. Wasn't sure what I was getting into. I read as much as I could find on the Rega line of amplifiers and always found good if mild approbation of the product. When I turned it on I found all reviews to have been honest. The Brio performs much the way it looks--clean lines, minimalist design, attention to what is sensually important. It's only drawback is a slight lack of power in the phono stage (but for 35 watts what should you expect)? The sound is right--there's no other way to describe it; it reproduces sound in a way least sounding like it is reproducing sound. As you will gather from the other reviews here, you're not going to find a lot of descriptive audiophile argot bouncing off this amplifier, and with good reason. It's not the sort of sound you either need or want to analyze--at first you will, because that's what you do, but then you'll just listen. I use it with a NAD 512, MMF2 Music Hall, NHT 1.3's and though I'm missing octaves down low I'm still hearing the music and the detail, my imagination can fill in the rest. I also have a life. For what I paid it rates 5 stars. You can pay more, and much more, and you can thereby deepen the illusion that your're listening to something that doesn't actually exist anymore, but why would you want to do that? In some human societies they might even go so far as to kill you for such inexplicable behavior. . .

    OVERALL
    RATING
    4
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    Showing 1-10 of 18  

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