Rega isn’t known for launching newfangled products at every opportunity, so when they do, there’s usually a reason for it.
The integrated Elex-R we tested back in 2016, and for the price it did a lot of things right. It mimicked high-end audio with great conviction, and the only things we could point to were the absence of digital inputs, the sad little remote control, and that the volume knob on the test sample was rather wobbly.
Now the heir apparent has arrived, and the Elex MK4 at least addresses one of the complaints. The others remain to be seen.
The Elex MK4 has an elegant look, with the sound sources listed horizontally along the front instead of vertically to the left of the volume knob as before. But there’s still no doubt that this is a Rega Elex amplifier.
Where its predecessor totally lacked digital inputs, the Elex MK4 has two; one coaxial and one optical.
The digital conversion is done with Rega’s own DAC circuitry, built around a Wolfson DAC chip and Rega’s own output amplifier at the end. Rega assures us that “the analogue part of the circuit is not affected at all by the digital inputs”.
Rega is perhaps best known for their turntables, and it’s great that they’ve addressed that heritage with a turntable input on the Elex MK4. This is of the MM type, which means you’ll need a turntable with high voltage from the pickup. Relax, the vast majority of pickups are of this type.
The power is exactly the same, 2 x 72 watts into 8 ohms and Darlington transistors from Sanken. In short, two bipolar transistors are connected so that the current amplified by the first transistor is further amplified by the next. This creates a more efficient amplification than if the two transistors were to work separately from each other.
The digital and analogue power supplies are galvanically isolated from each other so as not to interfere with each other. A lower noise floor should be the result.
Rega itself believes that the Elex MK4 will deliver the “purest musical performance” in its class, something we plan to test in the near future.
Rega Elex MK4: Price and availability
The Rega Elex MK4 is expected to be in stock in January, and the price is set at £1,200.
More information: rega.co.uk