Australian Hi-Fi

Rega Elex goes digital


Rega has finally unveiled the next generation of its legendary Elex stereo amplifier. The Elex Mk4 — a direct replacemen­t for the excellent Elex-R — evolves its predecesso­r with a sleeker design, improved circuitry and, for the first time in this model, an integrated DAC.

This move to digital-friendly connectivi­ty was expected following Rega's recent updating of its higher-ranging Elicit model with these same digital connection­s. So here, in addition to four line-level inputs, are two digital inputs: optical and coaxial.

The internal DAC that feeds them is based on Rega’s own DAC-R circuit, while a Wolfson DAC and Rega-designed discrete line-driver circuit are used in the output stage. Rega claims “the analogue side of the circuit is not affected in any way by the introducti­on of digital inputs”.

As before, Rega has carefully integrated a good quality MM phono stage — one that should be talented enough to make the most of a turntable such as Rega’s own Planar 1 or Planar 3. And there is now a handy 6.3mm headphone output on the front panel too.

Rega’s class A/B power amplifier circuit delivers 72 watts per channel into 8 ohms or 90 watts into 6 ohms — more than enough oomph for most systems. Power is provided by a “quiet, multi-stage linear supply”, and digital and analogue supply rails have been “galvanical­ly isolated” to nix any signal interferen­ce and help the amplifier extract the maximum amount of detail from a connected source.

As a result of these upgrades, Rega reckons that its Elex Mk4 delivers the “purest musical performanc­e” for the money. Bearing in mind past and present successes, I wouldn’t bet against that.

Packaged in a “custom case” that matches Rega’s recent hits, such as the high-end Aethos integrated, the Rega Elex Mk4 is due to land Down Under in April, priced $2,499.

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