Rega’s new reference stereo amplifier, the Aethos, has been announced for an Australian launch in mid-December. It takes concepts from the company’s multi-award-winning Elex-R and Elicit-R amps to the next level in this dual-mono design with features such as fully discrete FET-based line amplifier, polypropylene capacitors throughout the signal path, K-Power reservoir capacitors, and a high current output stage comprising four 160W 16A Sanken output transistors per channel.

The output is quoted at 125W into eight ohms (0.007% THD+N @ 1kHz, 22Hz to 30kHz) or 156W into 6 ohms.

The Aethos uses a custom wound toroidal transformer and regulated supplies for the sensitive amplification and driver stages, and makes use of the combined feedback and passive volume control plus line amplifier originally developed for the Elex-R but with improvements through the use of discrete FET input operational amplifiers using the Linear Systems LSK389 FET and the well-respected RK27 ‘Blue Velvet’ potentiometer. This ultra low noise type of volume control is normally only found in professional broadcast equipment.

The headphone socket has also been integrated such that the speaker switching is performed by the output mute relay as so not to obstruct the signal path and degrade the sound quality.

The power amplifier also builds on the performance of the Elicit-R and Elex-R with extensive research by Rega engineers to develop a low impedance driver with Sanken Darlington transistors (with their embedded thermal bias network running at a lower standing current than usual low impedance drivers), this combination forming a complementary emitter follower emulating Class-A conditions with good thermal stability and lower standing currents in the driver stage, says Rega.

This further allows two complete output stages to run in parallel, including the output transistors, bias network and pre-driver transistor, instead of paralleling just the output transistors as normally found. This ensures the 125 watt output is achieved with complete ease.

A switchable direct input and preamplifier output enable the new amplifier to be used in a wide combination of system arrangements.  

The Aethos measures 433mm x 95 mm x 360mm (whd) and weighs 17.5kg. It will retail in Australia at $5999, making it second in Rega’s amplifier rankings below only the flagship Orisis.

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