Rega’s Roy Gandy takes a breather to talk to us:
The Apollo-R is the third “half-size” design from Rega in the past year, after the DAC and Brio-R? Can you tell us why Rega took this path and where the company intends to go with it?
We always like to change designs, it keeps things fresh. Advances in surface mount technology also allow us to produce physically smaller products which are very much in fashion at the moment. We are aiming for a three tier range, the small half-width, a new full-width case design (Elicit-R and Saturn-R) and the reference range.
How does the Apollo-R differ from the Apollo technically? What did you retain from the older player – obviously it’s a new Wolfson DAC inside, but what about the transport section and other parts?
I have attached the Apollo-R launch flyer which details the changes in technology over the older Apollo, the laser being the only common part between the two players – new DAC, power supplies, case, lid, remote and re-written Rega software to name but a few!
Why did you retain the top-loading mechanism, which obviously makes it impossible to “stack” the player, unlike the DAC?
We have always preferred the top-loading design. Our research showed that the most unreliable part of any CD player is the powered drawer mechanism. By removing this component completely, it increases the reliability over all other drawer-loading players and removes the noisy drawer motor. We also like the practice of lifting the lid and placing the disc in place, which reminds us of putting on a piece of vinyl ! We are also fairly sure most people use a rack, as is recommended, instead of stacking the products.
How did you keep the price competitive?
As stated above, using surface mount technology allows us to use a smaller case, which in turn allows us to use half the material required for the case. Rega’s philosophy is always to make a product sound the best it possibly can for the price. Any unnecessary frills are left out to concentrate on the important parts of the design, such as DAC and power supplies and build quality.
Will there be a new Saturn coming out soon?
We are working on it now, we have great hopes for it to be available in the last quarter of 2012. It will be in a full-width case to match the new Elicit R amplifier. No more news available on these products at this time.
Many in the industry seem to think that the lifespan for CD is limited – do you agree?
There is a chance that the Saturn-R will be the last CD player Rega ever makes; however, we were told 15 years ago that we would not be making turntables anymore and now produce more than 1,500 units per month! A high-end crystal ball is required to answer this one!
You have a Rega DAC with USB; will the next step be a network player?
Rega has no current plans to make a network player or streaming device.