Question Help, Rega brio vs Rega IO, is the IO powerful enough?

andrewpw

Standard Member
I have the Rega IO driving QA 3030i Standmounts. Listen mostly to Tidal off my MacBook via a Topping E30 DAC. To my relatively inexperienced ears the sound is exactly what I wanted. I used to run NAD for many years into Tannoy Mercury floorstanders and then swapped to a Sony surround sound amp. The IO / QA combo is very reminiscent of the NAD setup, very neutral and engaging with all types of music. I have recently wired in my old Tannoy FX 5.1 sub running at barely audible volume and it just lifts the whole bottom and mid range to another level. You wont go wrong with an IO, and you will be supporting British industry.
 

hifisurfer

Standard Member
I've had the Rega Io for a few weeks. I too was worried about the minimal 30 wpc. But so far, it has done a fantastic job running my Wharfedale 225s and (surprisingly) my ELAC UB5s! In the the Rega Io manual it says

"The io is capable of driving all normal hi- fi loudspeakers. Rega recommends using loudspeakers with a nominal impedance of 6-8 Ω. It is possible to run speakers as low as 4 Ω, however, such units may cause the case to exceed 40 °C above the ambient temperature."

My experience. With the Wharfedale 225s I get a solid sound that brings out a warm experience. I could listen at extremely loud volumes with clarity and strong, warm response. (But I don't listen too loud because I want I enjoy having my 5 sense intact). No question that the 225s is a good pairing.

With the ELAC UB5s, I actually like my music even more. It is a step up in sound quality, and I absolutely love what I hear. I prefer the pairing of the IO and the UB5. At normal listening levels, the music is exceptional. I love it. However, I did put the IO to the test while consecutively listening to David Guetta's song 'Titanium' and Royal & the Serpent's 'Overwhelmed'. I listened at ear-splitting levels (dial was turned up to 55%), and the music sounded great! No noticeable distortion, powerful bass, and great clarity in the mids and highs. BUT... while 'Overwhelmed' was finishing, I put my hand near the bottom rear of the amp. The amp was definitely hot. Not hot to the touch, but definitely hotter than I'd prefer. There was no clipping and the IO did not implement its safety cutoff feature, but it was hot. Considering how demanding these songs are and how loud I was playing the music, the heat was not surprising. But this amp will have limitations while playing power-hungry 4 ohm speakers.

Will that bother me? Nope. Because I don't enjoy ear-splitting music. But, its worth noting.

Overall, I'm extremely happy with the power and the sound that the Rega Io puts through both of my speakers. If you choose the IO, you'll be happy too.
 

conus

Novice Member
The Io is likely to have sufficient current, as is Rega’s practice
Specific issue with AE500 speakers. I thought the AUDIOPHONICS MPA-S125NC RCA would suit them, as it matched perfectly to the Elas 243, but the lower mids in the AE500 are noticeably boomy and stifled. A little equalized with a software equalizer, but this is not a solution to the problem! I believe they need the relatively high current you are talking about in order for this range to play properly. Is the ampere value in IO and Brio known specifically? Or maybe they need Elex-R, where, perhaps, the current is higher? .. I listen at a moderate volume and would prefer the first two, but if the current in Elex-R is noticeably higher, then you will have to lose weight because of its price...
 

Brennan Peyton

Standard Member
I have the Rega iO running 3050’s via Roon to a Zen DAC and it sounds great and plenty loud enough. I wasn’t happy with my SONY AV amp for stereo but also didn’t want 2 sets of speakers so bought a Beresford switch which works well and allows me to easily switch. One unusual advantage of the switch is that as it only does the 2 main front channels is that you can use these for Stereo and still use the AV AMP centre channel - if you use Zwift (on line bike riding) via an Apple TV it means you can have great music and still hear the Zwift bit in the background and the Screen can show the Apple TV. If you use the new ROON Apple TV app you can also use this to control the music thats coming out of the Rega.
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Brennan Peyton

Standard Member
@Brennan Peyton - That is one quality Mancave !!!
Thanks, with lockdown I have a desk so its being used a lot. Best Buy was the air con / heat pump and the bike. My eldest son (in the pic) is a keen cyclist so it gets used a lot for training in the winter. Unfortunately the Apple TV has Sky/BT so it also gets used for football. I have a ROON Core on a Mac in the kitchen so it works for the various rooms and I put and Ethernet cable out to the shed.

The other thing that made a big difference is the concrete slabs under the speakers as the bass was a bit woolly/boomy before. £10 well spent makes a huge difference
 
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Baobr

Active Member
I’ve had both so can give you my opinion. The Io is a brilliant little amplifier, sounding much bigger than its modest 30W suggests. It has that Rega knack of drawing you into the music so that you forget about equipment and just enjoy the music. It’s dynamic and clear but with an analogue warmth. It’s so good that it will make you look higher up the Rega chain. Which is what I did and got a Brio. The Brio, to my ears, adds greater finesse and control, and a more “live” sound; which you’d expect for an extra 20W and an extra couple of hundred pounds. Improvements as you move up models is something Rega do very well. Both are excellent amplifiers; the Brio is an improvement. It also has a couple of extra inputs, if that matters, but neither amp has any pre or sub outs. That suits me fine. The phono stage in both is excellent.
I think it’s a question of budget. You can’t go wrong with either amp. Both turned me to being a massive Rega fan.
Hi Costello, I have the io on dem atm in my system at home,very impressed but as you know one is always looking for better,funds allowing! So I have no need for extra inputs(one is enough for me) and no need for the phono stage) the extra few quid for the brio shouldn't be a problem.BUT,as you've had both should I go for the brio, my speakers are very sensitive so even the extra power isn't a necessity. Thanks
 
D

Deleted member 824153

Guest
Hi Costello, I have the io on dem atm in my system at home,very impressed but as you know one is always looking for better,funds allowing! So I have no need for extra inputs(one is enough for me) and no need for the phono stage) the extra few quid for the brio shouldn't be a problem.BUT,as you've had both should I go for the brio, my speakers are very sensitive so even the extra power isn't a necessity. Thanks
Hello, I found the Brio amp to be an improvement. It just sounds a little more refined and in control. However, I got mine for the price of a new Io so it was a no-brainier. So, yes, the Brio is, in my opinion, a better amp. Is it - priced new - £220 better? Only you and your funds can decide that. What speakers are you using, out of curiousity?
 

Baobr

Active Member
Thanks.....I'm using Audio note j's....I may well have to get rid of them(home improvements!!) but I love them..I have a valve amp driving them but although its glorious with some music I feel I just need a tighter sound (maybe my ageing ears),then at least if I sell the speakers on my choice will open up. Got to admit heard a few others appx.1k.....not even close.....
 

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