TDL RTL 3 / Rega Brio combination?

SaladFunky

Novice Member
Hello, I have 2 beloved TDL RTL 3 floor standers (bought in the 90s) and am looking at a replacement for my faulty NAD 306(also bought in the 90s). I am wondering if the Rega Brio will power these ok??
The sound I got from the TDL/ NAD combination was right up my street, rich and warm with plenty of gorgeous bass. I love reggae, soul, funk, as well as jazz. The combination worked with all the above for my ears in a 4x4m living room at all volumes. I normally listen at medium to low volumes (to be considerate most of the time) but sometimes I go a bit louder to "feel the bass" . The combination here worked great at very low volumes too, So I was very happy. My NAD died and I got the dried joints re-soldered 15 years ago, but it developed the same problem cutting out at low volumes. I was given a Yamaha A 420 which has kept the me going for a few years but it is not as nice as the NAD and also has it's own problems with random pops spoiling things! It is time to fix things!!
I need a decent amp for my TDLs. I am old school and so need a phono stage, also I run a tape deck so need in/out to allow me to occasionally play and record with cassette. I have a CD player and radio (fm currently) plus a bluetooth receiver for playing from the MacBook or phone that I connect to the aux currently. Looking around at amps it is finding tape in/out connections that is the challenge?
I looked around and so far there's not many that tick these old school boxes, but the Rega Brio does. BUT, will it do the TDL RTL3's justice with the bass?
Thanks in advance
Chris
 

dogfonos

Well-known Member
I looked around and so far there's not many that tick these old school boxes

I can appreciate that, although I have to say that now may be a good time to incorporate some modern elements into your setup, such as an amp with digital inputs. If you're CD is 10+ years old (and possibly even it it isn't), it may well benefit from more modern DAC's incorporated into many current amps.

With large speakers in a moderate sized room, the sound you enjoy is likely to be on the bass-heavy, warmer side of neutral. IME, quite bass heavy. Nothing wrong with that, it's all about personal preferences. In terms of audio quality, I think the most important factor, with your equipment and musical tastes, is to ensure bass remains well controlled. For me, that means amplification with sufficient power, a robust power supply and high damping factor. Yamaha have a very long and distinguished history of amplifier production, initially for the professional market. They may not be the trendiest manufacturer with glowing populist hifi magazine reviews but their products are sometimes exceptional.

I have no personal experience of any of the gear we're talking about but I'd take a close look at the Yamaha A-S801 integrated amplifier to see if the inputs match your requirements. This amp is in a similar price range to the Rega but has approx. double the power and a really strong power supply to keep that deep bass from the TDL's under control. It has excellent DAC's in-built too, according to reviews I've seen.

I have nothing against the Rega Brio or other British-designed contenders such as the Audiolab 6000A and Cambridge CXA61 but I just don't think they offer the same bang-per-buck as the Yamaha. Have to add though that any of these amplifiers would drive the TDL's nicely, it's just that the bass would benefit from the extra grunt and, I suspect, control of the Yamaha (even if you don't play the speakers very loud).

When possible, you should obtain a shop demo or, better still, a home demo - but that's easier said than done these days.
 

Northernbeats

Novice Member
I had the RTL2 mk2 for years, absolutely loved the sound, controlled bass and an easy going non fatiging sound, always regretted selling them.
I think the RTL3's were very similar just with 2 mid-bass drivers? I used a Pioneer A400 integrated, which, although not massively powerful never seemed to lack power, and sounded good for both quiet listening and for really cranking it up. A side point, i remember bi-wiring them made a decent improvement.
 

SaladFunky

Novice Member
I have no personal experience of any of the gear we're talking about but I'd take a close look at the Yamaha A-S801 integrated amplifier to see if the inputs match your requirements.
Thanks dogfonos, that's really interesting. The Yamaha I'd have thought too powerful until now! One review of the Rega Brio showed that when it was tested on a larger floor standing speaker the bass was not as controlled as it could be, so they tried a stand mounted smaller speaker and then it shone! This prompted me to ask the question on this forum as it made me suspicious of it's ability to cope with the TDLs big low end. The Yamaha A-S801 ticks all the connectivity boxes too so I will look into it further. Connecting via USB is a new concept for me, not sure how that works, I usually use a bluetooth receiver connected to a line in.
Thanks again
Chris
 

SaladFunky

Novice Member
I had the RTL2 mk2 for years, absolutely loved the sound, controlled bass and an easy going non fatiging sound, always regretted selling them.

Hi Northernbeats. .looking on the net It seems anyone who owned TDL RTL speakers loved them! They might not be as perfect sounding ,according to the "experts", as some more expensive floor standers but I just loved the sound preferring them to any more expensive speakers. You can still get them on eBay I see! It is a shame the company went bust as they seemed to be doing so well!
 

gibbsy

Moderator
The Yamaha I'd have thought too powerful until now!
No such thing as too powerful. The more watts you have available then the more headroom the amp has. The Brio may very well clip at higher volumes when driving big speakers in a big room as it doesn't have the puff to fill that room. The higher end Regas such as the 105 watt into 8 ohm Elicit will not suffer from such problems. It's the user that's in control of that power.
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
Are you open to second hand. If so for around the £500 you can probably get something like -

Marantz PM17, this should be on the warmer side of neutral, similar to your NAD. Phono input, tape out but no dac built in. Higher end of the marantz range.


Arcam A29, phono stage plus record out for tape, no dac. Reviews suggest a big sound that is reasonable laid back, again sound like it would be similar to the NAD.


If you can find an Arcam A32 with optional phono input card installed for £400ish then that would be the one to go for.

there are plenty of Amps in this range from Cyrus, Audiolab and Rotel but I think these would be a little neutral to bright for your tastes.
 
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SaladFunky

Novice Member
Are you open to second hand. If so for around the £500 you can probably get something like -

Marantz PM17, this should be on the warmer side of neutral, similar to your NAD. Phono input, tape out but no dac built in. Higher end of the marantz range.


Arcam A29, phono stage plus record out for tape, no dac. Reviews suggest a big sound that is reasonable laid back, again sound like it would be similar to the NAD.


If you can find an Arcam A32 with optional phono input card installed for £400ish then that would be the one to go for.

there are plenty of Amps in this range from Cyrus, Audiolab and Rotel but I think these would be a little neutral to bright for your tastes.

Thanks Ugg10 for those suggestions. I will have a look at them. You seem to know a bit about amps so what are your thoughts on the Yamaha A s801 as suggested earlier in this thread. Do you know anything about how it sounds? Seems good value for money and power!
cheers
Chris
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
Not heard the Yamaha but going on review consensus it is a fine amp and fairly neutral in sound. I suggested the Marantz and that particular arcam as they were reported to be an the warmer side and therefore similar to your nad.
 

dogfonos

Well-known Member
Connecting via USB is a new concept for me, not sure how that works, I usually use a bluetooth receiver connected to a line in.
Thanks again

One cannot assume that every USB socket featured on an amplifier is a usable input but the Yamaha's USB socket is a genuine input. From the Yamaha website:

USB DAC Function Supports 2.8MHz/5.6MHz DSD Native Resolution and PCM384kHz/32*bit Reproduction
99A5D6447E7D406FBE415E80E7F1BCC8_12074_740x85_fc30bbbcb81f8c8d09581306251b4f2e.jpg

USB DAC function supports 2.8MHz/5.6MHz DSD native resolution and PCM 384kHz/32-bit* reproduction
A built-in USB DAC function allows direct connection to a PC and reproduction of today's popular high resolution sound sources. The Yamaha-developed USB device controller IC has its own master clock that eliminates PC jitter for high resolution signal transmission. The ASIO2.3 Yamaha Steinberg USB driver achieves lower delay and higher throughput. Offering compatibility with 5.6MHz DSD native reproduction and PCM 384kHz/32-bit PCM reproduction, you can enjoy a wide range of high resolution sound sources for high quality sound. In addition, an indicator on the front panel displays easily understandable DSD and PCM playback formats and sampling frequencies.
* Windows support. Mac support is 24-bit.


Agree with @Ugg10 in that NAD amps are usually considered to be slightly on the warm side of neutral whereas the Yamaha is probably very close to neutral.

Whilst I appreciate you enjoyed the sound of the NAD/TDL combination, these are big speakers for a small-to-medium sized listening room which nearly always results in an overly warm, bassy sound. Whilst excessive bass suits some, it comes with a downside: loss of bass and lower-midrange clarity. Factor in the slightly warm-sounding NAD amp and, I think, the tonal balance will be overly warm. I admit I can't resist nudging the system, only marginally mind, towards a more neutral sound but one with greater precision and punch in the all important bass and lower-midrange.

Let's not forget, it's the speakers and room that have by far the largest impact on sound quality (though cartridges have a sizeable influence too) so even a lean-sounding amp is unlikely to bring your setup back to a neutral sound, IMO.
 

SaladFunky

Novice Member
Thanks all for the comments. . . OK, Recently I have spoken to an "expert" who recommended the Pioneer A70 DA for the TDL RTL3s. A lot further up the price range but I might be moving my goal posts with this one as I'd really like to get the best out of these speakers. Has anyone any knowledge of the pioneer a70 da?? I've seen one for £1000.
cheers
Chris
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
If you have upped your budget then this bings you a load more options -

I would want to audition the Nad C388 seeing as you like the NAD sound. However you will need to investigate whether you can use the Pre-outs fro tape loop.


And the Musical Fidelity M3si, less bells and whistles but a well reviewed amp.


and the rega elex-r


I am sure others will have more suggestions.
 

dogfonos

Well-known Member
The Yamaha A-S801 ticks all the connectivity boxes too so I will look into it further. Connecting via USB is a new concept for me, not sure how that works, I usually use a bluetooth receiver connected to a line in.

You can still connect using your Bluetooth receiver if you wish - wireless is convenient - however, for optimum audio quality, connect your Macbook directly to the Yamaha amp via a USB cable. IME, a USB connection method allows the best audio quality for playing computer files (assuming the computer files are of high quality to begin with).

If you have upped your budget then this bings you a load more options -

Such as:


This has some serious power behind it. Class D so should be great at controlling bass too. Use with:


The Nord amp doesn't have a tape loop but it has pre-outs? Will that do?
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
Remember the Nord prices are excluding vat so you need to add 20%.
 

GingerRocky

Active Member
I had the brio with trl3s and it was awesome, the brio didn't pump massive bass out which complimented the bass heavy tdls. Really miss my tdls, one I wish I'd never sold
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
TDL RTL3 Autopsy (what's inside), just for info.


74913048_751807768669357_4732481376626933760_o.jpg
 

SaladFunky

Novice Member
I had the brio with trl3s and it was awesome, the brio didn't pump massive bass out which complimented the bass heavy tdls. Really miss my tdls, one I wish I'd never sold
Thats interesting, glad you liked your brio. . It all comes down to taste in the end. . As I like plenty of rich bass I decided to look around. My NAD306 was lovely but I have had to move on now it is faulty. I now have the pioneer A70DA which was recommended by a guy from AudioEmotion who knows the TDLs well. So far I'm glad I took his advice as it sounds amazing with the tdls, although I've not yet fully tested it with reggae to see if the windows will shake. But the bass is powerful and sounds more controlled and taught, which is great. My love affair with my TDLs continues :)
cheers
Chris
 

GingerRocky

Active Member
i was told by many that the brio wouldn't power them but it sounded good. the yamaha av amp i eventually replaced it with sounded massive and to bass heavy unless turned right down. i have recently purchased a new seperates and have a marantz 6006 uk edition amp and i reckon it would sound great with them.
 

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