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Our Brits don't likewise entrust their preamp stage to bipolar transistors but there run FETs, reportedly exceptionally quiet operators at that. To minimize the number of coupling capacitors whose sonic contributions are mistrusted, the field-effect transistors run a servo bias. The few remaining signal-path caps are super-fine polypropylene issue says Rega. The Elicit maintains dual-mono architecture also with its power supply once past the single donut power transformer. The latter's nine secondaries support channel separation and discrete pre, power and digital circuitry. On the latter, volume control is analog but a Wolfson chip switches the required resistors digitally to eliminate a motor-driven pot. On remote, the motto is functionality, not poseur.

Clichés in general distort focus to undermine individuality. Even so, BritFi sympathizers who associate a sonorous organic midrange rather than extreme top extension and resolution will gravitate to the Rega. You might well find its upper octaves somewhat rounded off. Clearly Rega's bruiser isn't particularly airy, crispy or lit up. This of course also eliminates risks to turn sterile, nervous or coolly analytical. Whether the treble softness is more asset or liability depends on the listener's ear. Long-term friendliness is guaranteed but an electrically charged crackling sonic experience is not. Anyone overstressing the cliché by arguing that all Brits likewise shortchange the foundation hasn't met the Rega. When called upon, the bass gets outright violent and pushy yet remains subtle and balanced. Is that a floozy contradiction in terms? [Lower right, my original Rega brick.]
Where power and emphasis are needed, the Elicit reaches out and down low. This was ably documented with various ElectroRock albums that dig deep towards where the Rega reigned supreme. Attenuation here is utter nonsense. Rather, the Rega straightens out the response. Precisely because it remains so decisive into the chasm, the Elicit offers a bass that's also generally better differentiated than common integrateds in this class. It maintains cleanliness down low and way low and applies less upper-bass centrism to coin new lingo. Electrocompaniet's recently reviewed Prelude PI-2 for example couldn't keep up and even Naim's Nait XS (clearly no babe in the bass woods) did not equal the Rega's verve into the lowermost octaves. Pure brawn alone of course should be far too muscle-bound.

That's where the above subtlety enters. It clearly tracks subdued bass notes with all their decaying vibrations, be it a background e-bass accompaniment that becomes more articulate and intelligible or massive fistfuls of piano rumbles that get parked in the room only to expire quite endlessly. Here the Rega is quite simply high class, particularly so because its bass avoids both the bone dry and the pudgy. It stays clear of extremes to walk the dryness scale's center note without a misstep. It connects power and impact with the necessary definition. Things bounce and swing, are full but not fat, articulate but not brittle. I really loved that, feeling occasionally reminded of the Octave V80's bass chops. Between tropical mugginess and steely asceticism for its own sake, Rega's Elicit walked just the right balance.

Onto balance and continuation into the mid/treble ranges. The tendency here is for the slightly fulsome rather than slim and bright. Timbre differentiation isn't impacted -- nobody dies of heat stroke -- but this amp favors more meatiness and sonority than textbook theory. With musically interesting but overly forward and thin albums, this becomes a serious blessing. Shredding e-guitars fill out and diminish pure steeliness, vocals believably gain flesh away from hollow flats and thanks to first-rate bass qualities, the whole sonic apparatus couples solidly to the ground on two strong legs. Without question, more than one pop production gained noticeably. No question either that cymbal work by Jazz drummers captured on audiophile labels elicit greater sheen and brilliance elsewhere, sharp pizz violin more sharpness. Needless to say, on such a high and essentially balanced plateau, these are mere tendencies, not worlds apart. And it's tendencies after all which shape our hobby.