Rega Elicit-R Integrated Amplifier Review

Rega Elicit-R Integrated Amplifier Review


This is the Rega Elicit-R, a Class A integrated amplifier with a British Bulldog of a bark; it is an analogue no frills classic.  This really is a fine piece of heavyweight engineering that offers a huge amount of flexibility yet it is competing in one of the toughest categories around, the £1,000+ integrated amplifier category, where everything, particularly quality is competed for.

Design

The Rega Elicit-R is a standard integrated amplifier , it is Class A, meaning , to me, it is a simple ‘in, amplify, out’ configuration that is a very effective, low distortion way of improving an incoming sinusouidal signal (although it may not be the most efficient, hence the large heat sinks either side of the chassis).    The Rega Elicit-R is not very pretty, like the K3 is/was recently but it packs a mighty punch (just think Ricky Hatton), delivering 105W/channel to 8ohms and over 160W into 4ohms.

InputsRega Elicit-R

The Rega Elicit-R is in fact a very well thought out piece of equipment. It has a large number of very flexible inputs that include those long since forgotten, such as record out and input.  Also the amp itself has probably the best MM phono input I have heard and has at a stroke relegated my phono stage to the lower drawer.  Line input 1 is the MM input or a straight line in (phono staged) input from a turntable.  There is a button to switch between the two choices.  I read that a Moving Coil High Output cartridge could be used in the MM input.  What is cute is that you could have two turntables rigged up, one directly connected and the other in Line 1 MM and you could use the button at the back to switch between them.

There are four other Line In inputs for CDs, streamers or DACs and such like.  As well as this there is the old fashioned record/tape in/record/tape out loop (uses the input selected) and there is also a Direct Line in input which I have been mucking around with using the Pioneer XDP-100R DAP (portable Digital Audio Player).  You’ll need to be careful with this because blowing your tweeters across the room is a distinct possibility because the Direct Line in goes straight to the power amp section of the amplifier; obviously, being semi-pro, I didn’t do this, and I read the instructions first!

OutputsDSC_0012

There are the usual speaker outputs and a RCA pre amplifier output.  There is no headphone output (jack) however the Record Output Link at the back can be used to drive ancillary equipment, such as a headphone amplifier.

All in all the Elicit-R is precisely designed.  Less is more with the the front facia.  Control is via the volume knob at the front which doubles as the input selector.  There a few buttons at the front to choose direct line input alternatively, or to choose recording.  There is also a mute button but no LEDs to ruin the sound signal, or light up your living room.  The Rega Solaris remote control is supplied for volume and input control.

Rega Elicit-R

The Rega Elicit-R  weighs in at just 13 kg, it feels a fraction wider than most boxes, there are heating vents on the two sides.  The box is w43.2cm x h8.2 x d34.0.

Quality

The Elicit-R for me oozes quality with the heavy weight black box style presentation.  I was delighted with the look.  Where others are pretty, with all respect to Rega this feels as if it is getting on with the job of amplifying noise.  There are no screens, no gimmicks, just on/off and go.  The only indicators are on the front for the input source and the scale of the volume is highlighted around the solid volume knob.

Remote Control

The Rega Solaris remote is one of the nicest I have encountered recently and is instantly responsive.

Performance

Overall impressions are of just power being delivered as quickly as possible.  There is no doubting your source or volume level and there is plenty of power to spare.  I’m using a T+A DAC8 as a digital source into the Elicit-R and there is nothing being left behind.

Input 1 – MM Input from RP3

First thing to do of course is to rig up my Rega RP3 (the old one, not the new Planar 3, which is coming tomorrow) to the MM Input.  My first impressions are immediate, with tons of bounce and energy the vinyl sings like crazy, it is brilliant.  Sometimes matching components is a bit tricky but being from the same stable these two belong together.  I am fortunate to have the Pro-Ject VC-S record cleaner on review so this was an ideal opportunity to play with the two together.  With a clean piece of vinyl, this set-up is absolutely superb, the Elys2 cartridge pulling the all the detail and lower frequencies from the base of the groove, great sound and one of the best combinations I’ve heard.  I have heard plenty of detail but the combination is warm and relaxing, you can listen for a while to be honest.

Input 2 – Yamaha CD – DAC8

Next was to feed my ageing Yamaha CD player through into Input 2 and the power and dynamics from the amplifier came to the fore.  Listening to the lower frequencies as I prefer to with ‘The Blower’s Daughter’ the bass was well presented and rounded but the soundstage is clear and warm.

When I put the Yamaha into the T+A DAC 8, again the bass was particularly well controlled and I preferred the pianos delivered from the DAC8.  But I think control, and particularly bass control comes out of this set-up.  I also think the mid ranges are particularly well delivered here too, I have enjoyed the detail from this set-up and again warmth and control come to the centre of my thoughts.  Dynamically, there is bags of power here for ‘Dark Side of The Moon’ requirements, indeed if you listen to ‘Dub Side of the Moon’ you will hear the bass control and dynamic range in one sitting!

I’ve had no heating issues from prolonged usage of this amplifier, I’m generally half full volume, .

Direct Line In – Pioneer XDP-100R

I wanted to try the direct feed input that goes straight to the power section of the amplifier.  In this case control volume is all on the DAP as it is simply powered up.  The result was absolutely brilliant with lots of fun mucking around with different music files in their various formats, WAV, FLAC, DSD and other hi-resolution sources.   The detail passed through was quite remarkable .

Verdict

This amplifier is a lot of fun, it is very well thought out and delivered and I have enjoyed it a lot.  It is probably not  an entry level amplifier but it is certainly your next stage long term type purchase.  I think it could happily form the base of a significant audiophile system.  With all the power you need and and a warm controlled presentation this is a must listen if you are in this price range.  If you do have a Rega Turntable it is great match, if you have two get stuck in.

Love

Input flexibility and thought

Dynamic range

Class A power

Like

Detail, clarity

Warmth

Less is more

Remote

Wish

They did a power amplifier

 

8 Comments

Add yours
  1. 3
    Simon Wilce

    I’ve not heard your speakers but they do sound pretty special. Sounds to me that you do need more power, the CM7s I usually use are a bit more ‘everyday’ and were well suited to the Elicit-R. A power amplifier might help, the Elicit-R had really good connectivity. Once again it is all about your budget!

  2. 5
    Simon Wilce

    Hi, apologies for the delay. If you get the chance the Russel K Red 100s are a must consider. I heard them a while back with Moon Electronics at a demo and they made me look/listen twice? They’re about £1500 i think. I imagine the Elicit-R would go nicely though I have not heard this combination. Always listen before you buy if you can. Good retailers will always facilitate.

  3. 8
    Hamish Fyfe

    Using the Elicit R driving a pair Monitor Audio Platinum 300 speakers and with Linn200 cables and Kimber 8TC jumper connects giving excellent results. Sound stage balance is first class with plenty depth and transparency.

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