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.