A new Phono Preamplifer for Rega is always an event. Since the Fono MC was discontinued, we’ve been waiting patiently for a replacement to match it. And it’s finally arrived! The ARIA!
This RIAA preamplifier has a unique design consisting of two entirely separate phono stages, which the user can choose between using buttons on the front panel. This means that you can use two different vinyl turntables, or two different tonearms, such as one with a moving coil (MC) cartridge and another with a mono moving magnet (MM) cartridge.
The MM stage is not adjustable: it is set to a load of 47 Kohms/100 Pf, which is equivalent to 90% of moving coil cartridge characteristics. The MC stage is not fixed, which means that the gain, load resistance and capacitance can be adjusted. Although Rega designed the ARIA phono preamp with its own Elys, Exact and Apheta cartridges in mind, it also works well with a wide range of other MC cartridges.
Its architecture uses only the most top quality components. The MC input uses FETs (field-effect transistors) configured as a compound pair configuration. FET transistors block the current flowing to the coil from the cartridge, preserving its low magnetic balance. The MM input uses bipolar transistors which are also configured in pairs. Each channel is powered separately by two different power supplies. Nichicon FC electrolytic capacitors have been used in critical positions in the power supplies. ICEL and WIMA polypropylene capacitors and discrete components have been used in the signal path and equalization networks.
Unsurprisingly, playback with an MM cartridge is good delivering all the texture, dynamic range and articulation we have come to expect of REGA phono stages. We even think that the transparency and neutrality is slightly better than the Rega Fono MM.
But the MC MC input takes sound quality to a whole new level. We tested it out with our RP8/Apheta combo, and the results were out of this world. The dynamic range and transparency were both amazing. The textures were very rich, bringing authenticity to the reproduction. After listening with two other MC cartridges - and adjusting the Aria accordingly - the results were objectively and subjectively convincing. This phono preamplifier boasts high performances and indisputable musicality. The value for money is exceptional. We would recommend the Aria to anyone who owns an RP6 or RP8 turntable, as well as anyone who prizes musicality above all else. Good job Rega!
What Hi-Fi 2016 Franck
Compatibility: MM and MC
MC resistive loads: 70, 100, 150, 400 ohms
MC capacitative loads: 1000, 2000, 3200, 4200 pF
MC gain: 63, 69 dB
MM resistive loads: 47 K ohms
MM capacitative loads: 100 pF
MM gain: 41.4 dB
Frequency response: 13-70 Khz
Consumption: 10 W
Dimensions: 220 x 320 x 80mm