Review: Rega Apollo CD Player

Category: Digital

I lost my power today, Ice storm on MLK Day here in Michigan. I had just purchased a Musical Fidelity A5 CDR and was looking forward to relaxing and enjoying it for the day. Without power, I thought the only thing I was going to hear was my, and the neighbors, generators running. Decided to get out of the house and ventured into Ann Arbor to Overture Audio, the grooviest stereo shop I know of in the area. Explained my power issue with them and they were kind enough to let me sit in their smaller room and play with a Rega Apollo CDP connected to a Arcam A80 (or A90, I didn't have my glasses) and Linn Ninka Speakers.

First let me say that Rega is on to something here, the Apollo seems to have the ability to strip away the digital glare or haze that you don't really notice unless you compare digital to analog. The player really lets the rhythm instruments come up in the mix. I heard instruments I had never heard before while listening to Dave Alvin's 'Blackjack' CD, I heard piano I had never noticed before in Diana Krall's 'Girl In The Other Room', same with the Tom Waits CD, I had never enjoyed 'Get Behind the Mule' more than this afternoon. It was a magnificently enjoyable hour or ninety minutes with someone else's stereo!

Unfortunately I also noticed that the Rega Apollo also seems to accentuate the "S" in female vocals. I believe it may be called silibence. The "S" sound was so exaggerated that it sounded like the sound was stuck between the tweeters for an extended period as compared to the other sounds. I compared several songs using a Arcam CD73 and the Apollo. The extended S noise was defiantly in the Apollo CDR and not in the CD73..

Has anyone else noticed this? As much as I enjoyed the Apollo's PRAT I couldn't get around the silibence in the S's. I also noticed the cymbal's ringing more than I believe is normal.

As much as I liked being able to experience a new CDP, I was somewhat disappointed in this aspect of the sound reproduction.

Thanks to Overture in Ann Arbor for being the kind of store that lets a unwashed, smelly (no power no water) potential customer play with their stereo's without any inkling of a hard sell. I love that store!

Associated gear
Linn Ninka speakers, Arcam A80 Intergated, Arcam Cd73 CDP.
I had a Rega Apollo, I didn't like it in my system, I think I must have a weird system, as I didn't like the Linn Ikemi either ! (I currently use a Pioneer PD-S505)
Anyhow the real point of this, is that the Apollo did seem a little bright, and the reason could be that emphasis might be permanently on. I noticed the emphasis light light up on my Muse 2 DAC, when I attached it to the Apollo. I tried a few discs, as apparently CD's with emphasis are rare, but do exist.
Maybe the Muse DAC was misbehaving, I would be interested if anybody else who has a DAC that has an emphasis indicator, has tried connecting it to a Rega Apollo.
The Stereophile review measurements said if anything there was slight rolloff at the top. That said, I have heard it on maybe 3 or 4 CDs out of my large collection. 10cc is one. In these cases on my system (Krell and Apollo) it's clearly the mastering of the CD. Though with my system at least the old cliche' holds - unforgiving to poorly mastered CDs. But yeah, I've heard it very occasionally. Still love the player although I'm trying to get to a music-server based system either with a Transporter or a DAC1 Pre. (The Squeezebox DAC is inferior to the Apollo's.)

regards, David
Forgot to mention, the Arcam would bring that out more IMO. I've listened to Arcam several times and the detail was right on up there - to a fault actually. Intellectually my engineer brain said this it great but the Arcam left the rest cold. No warmth. My Krell has that kind of detail but with more body, warmth and realism. My point is I think the Arcam would exacerbate any tendency to sibilance the Apollo has.
regards, David
I had one and eventually sold it; liked the less expensive Onkyo DX-7555 much better.
I don't hear the sibilence. My only gripe is the "play" button sticks. I have to use the remote.

Heard from a well respected source that the top of the line NAD is terrific and could be an alternative at 300 dollars less.

Iam assuming that the repaired Rega will be my last player I ever buy.

Imaging and clarity are terrific.