Do yourself a big favor and don't listen to anything Stereophile has to say. Roll it up and swat flies. That's all it's good for.
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I'm a Rega dealer and think the Brio-R is a killer option for the money.
But, I did trade for an Exposure 2012 a few months back. I have to say that I was pretty impressed with the sound quality of the unit. I had never heard one before, but did play around with it for a week or so before I sold it. Quite a nice piece.
I think you would probably be very happy with either. But the Brio-R and RP1 combo is a good one.
I own both. I recently replaced a Creek EVO with a Rega Brio-R that I bought here for use as a desktop amp. The Exposure 2012s2 is my primary amplifier, and I've owned it for going on a year. There is not much comparison between the two amps. I enjoy the Rega immensely but the Exposure is in a different league. More detail, finer resolution, more power and ultimately, more character. That's not a knock against the Rega; it's a testament to the Exposure. If I were limited to < 1000 dollars the Rega Brio-R would be at the top of the list.