Rega Brio-R Break-in time.

I just bought the new Rega Brio-R integrated amp. This is the third day I am using it now. I have been trying to burn it in but only have about 20 hours on it so far. I have mixed feelings with it so far. Everything sounds great except for one part. The upper midrange and lower treble sounds shrill, bright, and thin. It is unnatural. I wince when the T's and S's come on with singers. And with any instrument in that range it also sounds unnaturally bright. I'll give it another 100 hours or so. I really hope it changes with break in because the amp does so many other things right. My fingers are crossed.
Anyone else have any experience with Rega gear during break in?
I am currently breaking in a Rega Elicit and have had similar experiences to yours. In searching the archives I found several threads that said my amp needs 100-150 hours of break in time, so I am leaving mine on with a CD playing on repeat and the mute button set. Based on other folk's experiences I believe that this will smooth the sound out.
Good luck with yours.
Curious as to what speakers you are using with the Brio-R?

I have a little over 200 hours on my demo Brio-R and have not found it harsh at all.
I am using Proac Signature 2000's and a Cambridge Audio 840c CD player with Audioquest cables. None of these components are what I would consider to be bright sounding. They are transparent and if anything a bit on the warm side.

Not sure why you would be having that issue.

I would put at least 200 hours on it and see how the break in improves what you are hearing.
I will give it 200 hours like you suggested. I love the Brio otherwise, but if that brightness does not change it might be a deal breaker for me. Everyone hears different. Maybe I am just sensitive to that brightness more than others? I re-connected my older Arcam A70 that I was hoping to replace with the Brio R. Just to get an idea. The voice S and T sounds were still there but they were less sharp and more rounded than the Brio is. It was something I could live with. So far with the Brio it is not. Thanks for your help. I will give you an update in the next week or so after further break in.
Sounds good.

Good luck!

Goldprint Audio
has it gotten any better? I am getting the Brio-R and the Apollo this week and using them with my B&W 685's...I have heard the break in takes a while hope your systems finally leveled off
Sorry, I noticed I never responded back on this thread. I actually sold the Brio-R after about 5 weeks of use. I liked almost everything it did. But in my system at least, it was still a little too bright for me if I am honest. Maybe I needed a longer break in time? Most people like the Brio-R and for good reason. So I really can not knock it because it did most things as good as any under $2000 integrated I have heard. For me those S and T sounds need to be really smooth otherwise they bother me. Like I said before everyone hears a little bit different so I would recommend to anyone looking in this price range to give the Brio-R a try. My guess is that most people will love it. Besides, Rega is a great audio company.
Unfortunately, I think my ears agree with Mezzanine. I just replaced my hk3490 with Brio-R today. The sound has improved measurably across the board. Finally, my Vienna Acoustic Bach 6ohm speakers have come alive! There's more detail, more composure, more control, and the bass has gone from bloated mush to firm and taut; EXCEPT --and I really hate to say it --- I can't listen to this damn thing! I keep turning the volume down, the brightness just gives me a headache...

I listened to some vinyl, which calmed things a little. Then I spun Getz Au Go Go and I realized it -- the coupe de grace for me -- somehow the magic had gone mostly missing from the sax of Stan Getz and the voice of Astrud Gilberto. Honestly, they sounded a little dry, boring, and absent the smoothness/sweetness I'm use to hearing.

I plan on running the Brio-R all week to see if either my ears adjust or it breaks in; if not. I'm pretty sure I have a 30 day return policy to make use of.

So.. recommendations for an integrated for $500-1000 with a smooth/lush-neutral character anyone?
The Bach's are really nice speakers. I personally don't think the Rega is a good match up for Vienna speakers. For $500-1000. That's a tough one. You want something powerful, yet smooth and clear for the Vienna's. If you can find a used Primare I21 I would go for that. Heard it together one time and sounded good. NAD might work well. Arcam is smoother than Rega. Oh I know, this is just a hunch but there is on sale right now on Audio Advisor website a Vincent Audio integrated amp. 100 watts and a tube preamp stage with 4 tubes! I bet anything you will like it. If not they have a 30 day return policy. Regularly $1500 on sale for $1000 right now. It will give you the current that the Viennas need and the warmth you are looking for. Let me know what you decided. Good luck!
Thanks for the suggestions, Mezzanine. I've read about the Primare I21 + Vienna combination quite a few times, so it must be pretty good. I saw one on ebay, but I wanted a built in a phono stage and the reassurance of a warranty so I opted for the Rega Brio-R instead. I didn't see the Vincent you mentioned on audioadvisor, but they do seem like nice products -- would love to try tubes with the VAs! I have considered the peachtree products (as integrated or preamp/dac) and also the Primaluna prologue one (the only primaluna I could afford and the one that never comes up used).

Anyway, back on topic, I called the folks at today to return the Brio-R, but the fellow on the phone (extremely helpful and friendly customer service btw) assured me that the store's Brio-R sounded "brutal" out of the box and suggested that I break it in for a good 50-100 hours. I've already put about 35+ hours in, so I'm going to give it a shot before I decide what to do.

Funnily enough, I stumbled upon the Stereophile review of the Brio-R last night; I believe the reviewer described the amp as "smooth and non fatiguing" which mirrors some of the comments I've seen on this forum. I guess we'll see...
That is interesting. Not sure if people are just hearing differently or perhaps I didn't let it in burn in long enough? I played it a few hours everyday for about 5 weeks. So I don't know. I ended up selling mine on here. One thing that did help was that I swapped out my Audioquest Diamondback interconnect cables for Cardas Quadlink 5-C. That smoothed out the sound somewhat.
I also bought my Brio-R at the Needle Doctor. Those guys are very helpful. The Vincent Audio SV-226 MK2 I saw in a recent Audio Advisor catalogue that they sent me. It was in the clearance section. Maybe it's already sold out. I didn't see it on their webpage either.
On a side note, I have to be honest, I have to say that the Rega might need more break-in time or not but I have owned over 15 integrated amps in my life and there was only one that sounded brighter to me ears in the upper midrange and lower treble and that was an Audiolab 8000. Makes no sense because a lot of the Rega's frequency range sounds really smooth except in certain areas. If you decide to keep it I look forward to knowing if it got a lot better after a long break-in time or not. Let me know if that brightness ever calmed down.
Just an update: I returned the Brio-R after putting around 150 hours on it (can't say I noticed any real change past the 60-70 hour mark); it was still too bright for me to live with. Upon return, my dealer confirmed that my unit sounded fine to him...well, everyone hears differently.
I just got the Brio-R in for a demo and want to chime in here. This is unusual amp, and the comments about a certain part of the frequency range being annoying are right on the mark.

I would not say it is bright.... but there is an unatural coloration, almost a fuziness on certain parts of the frequency range.

It is a shame, because this amp, for it's price, has some amazing qualities. It has a propulsive PRAT to the rhythm, it's 50 watts drive harder than other integrated amps with twice the rated power, and it can seperate the layers of congestion very well. It has a musical presence and very different sound to all the other integrated amps i have had.

I was hoping with break in, the coloration would clear up, but it seems this is not the case.

The amplifier output stage in the Brio-R is apparently new and never used before in the industry, let alone in a Rega amp, so perhaps this is just a first try and they will sort this issue out in another model.
Ok, you last two posters, please provide two things-- what speakers and what cabling were you using?
My speakers are Vapor Audio Cirrus, which use RAAL's best ribbon tweeter. It has been very revealing of any cable and equipment changes downstream. Speaker cables are Tellurium Q Black, interconnects are an assortment.

It is possible there was only a few hours on it, as this was a dealer demo unit. If I had it for more time I would put it in the burn in system for 200 hours, with my Isotek burn in cd on repeat.

So I am open to the possiblity that with break in it could open up, but judging by some posts here this was not the case, so I did not end up buying one and risk making an immediate loss selling it on.

It sounds colored and not very neutral to my ears, but has fantastic bass control, it really locks onto the beat, and the midrange has this almost tube like presence.

It soounds a bit negative, but I think the Brio-R is better than the Marantz PM7003 and vastly better than the Cyrus 8xp I had in.
Ok, good, since you answered first....I know nothing of your speakers. What do some/many use to drive them? Perhaps the Brio-r is just not the right amp?
And the Tellurium cables, which are designed by a guy who supposedly helped on the Naim do you know they work with Rega? Did you try any other cables? etc? I'm not trying to be argumentative in the least....just to ask why you thought the Brio might work in your situation. Nor do I really feel the need to defend it. I've heard it in some great sounding systems. The above posts also confuse me entirely....I think they're doing what you have done and inserted it into systems it wasn't meant for. Perhaps.....
About the Tellerium Q cables, they have nothing to do with the NACA5, its just that many Naim people are using them, simply because they are British based and getting some press over there. The Tellurium Black has a consistant sound across 3 different amplifiers I have played with recently, and they are not tone controls thats for sure.

The Cirrus speaker is ultra resolving and revealing of equipment, cables and power related issues. I do not think the Brio-R has trouble driving this speaker. Quite the opposite, I think the Brio-R can drive much harder and easier than 3 other amps at 70 watts and another at 100 watts.

But this is what I hear, voices are a bit colored and not neutral, strings on guitar do not sound real and there is a lack of ambient detail, but it all sounds great, like there is an additive effect of tonality.
Maybe it all opens up with some break-in, I will perhaps just buy one to really see.
JMTCW. I've compared the Rega Brio R with Brio 3, its immediate predecessor, side by side, over an extended period, say 50 hours. I am very familiar with the Rega family sound (having spent over 30 years in audio). The Brio R sonic character is vastly different from the Brio 3. I concur with mezzanine and others who are concerned with the Brio R displaying metallic harshness in the upper-mids and treble. I also feel its overall presentation is sterile, distant, spatially-constrained and lacking air/bloom in comparison to my references (Canary tube pre-amp, Atoll FET power amp, fed by Oppo 93 and custom DAC, powering Merlin TSM monitors, Huffman ICs and Clear Day speaker cables). In examining the Brio R's pre-amp section Rega appear to have installed an ancient TI TL072 opamp on line-level duties with what appear to be cheap Arcotronics(?) polyester 2.2uf input coupling caps. These components differ from the Brio 3 which appears to use a JRC opamp and Evox MMK input caps. These two aspects are likely to shape both amps' sonic characters significantly. I do hope Rega designers at least consider modifying the Brio R's front end for enhanced musicality. To be fair the Brio R's power amp section does a great job of delivering dynamics, grip, extension and PRaT. But this prowess cannot entirely compensate for that other perceived sonic shortcoming. Unfortunately it makes the Brio R tiresome to listen to, and does not quite fullfill its undoubted potential. YMMV. Enjoy the music!
I'm considering the Rega Brio-R for my Vienna Acoustics Mozarts (90db, 4ohm), would it be a good match?
IMHO Vienna Acoustics Mozart Grand's are highly musical speakers that are finely balanced. Electrically the Brio R would suit, given its claimed load stability down to 1.7 ohms. The rest of your system's synergy is important, including source components and cabling. See my earlier comments as to Brio R sonic character.
Thanks Affinity. Would you suggest opamp and input caps modifications for the Rega Brio-R?
We have the Rega Brio R hooked up to a pair of Vandersteen 1CIs with Kimber Kable 8TC or 12 TC a Cary Exciter Dack
Peoples heads aree spinning when they hear this system.
If you hook it up with nuetral gear you wont miss the boat on what its all about.
JohnnyR Rega Dealer
Do you really want to void a Rega warranty? Caps are relatively simple to replace, but opamps are surface-mount. A real challenge. Maybe you could await a Rega factory mod (if it should arise)? Or select a different amp?
I suspected the issue with the Brio-R sound was due to the preamp stage and not the power amp. Thanks for that info Affinity.
I just picked up a brio-r and I'm having the same issue. It has a hard metallic edge compared to my old 2000 series brio. The 2000 brio is never bright or edgy sounding, the brio-r is tough to listen to on some material.

I do agree with Affinity, it definitely has the sound of polyester coupling caps.

I built a few phono preamps using polyester caps and those had the same characteristics.

I do love everything else about the R, it drives my Acoustat 2+2's to satisfying levels.
btw, there is also more hiss... don't know if it's the phono section or the amp. The 2000 Brio is very quiet.
It's a shame regarding this slight issue with what could be a killer amp. Perhaps it's unwise to lump all polyester caps together as sonic grunge. Remember earlier Brio's featured Evox MMK polyester box caps, and their interaction with warmer-sounding JRC op-amps obviously produces something more pleasant than the current Brio R pre-amp component choice. In time I hope Rega listen and learn.