I have no experience here but I'll make a suggestion since you like the Rega house sound. I have come close to purchasing the Rega Dac several times. It has received excellent feedback both from reviewers and users. You could try using the Apollo as a transport with the Rega Dac. A good coaxial cable can be had relatively inexpensive. The upside is that you can purchase the Rega Dac and return it for a refund if you don't hear an upgrade in sound from your Apollo; you'd only be out the cost of shipping and the coaxial cable.
I added a Audio Research DAC7 and there was a significant improvement pertining to seperation of instruments, soundstage, and detail. Eventually I will upgrade to a different transport.
I started with a Planet 2000 which was good and moved up to a Saturn which was very good (and worthwhile for my tastes). I would expect you could pick up a used one on Agon for just under a grand.
I like my Apollo, but I know alot of others who have upgraded to the Saturn and like it. I have also heard good things about the DAC. If you do try one of those, let us know what you think!
Sell the Apollo and have money in hand. Submit the question again and we will tell you what is the next move based upon your budget that you will disclose at that time.
It may take several days or weeks to move the Apollo and I think listings may be down at the moment because the "beta" AudiogoN has been a PITA.
I agree with Foster, get the Rega DAC. I had one and it was very good; only sold it to buy a more expensive NOS dac. It would considerably outperform the Saturn from my experience and British reviews I have read.
Thanks to all who responded so far. The comments will be helpful. My other option would be the new Rega ApolloR which I was told uses the same DAC as the $1000 outboard unit. I DON'T KNOW HOW RELIABLE THIS INFO IS. This poses a bit of problem: One, it makes NO sense if it is 100% true, considering the retail price of the ApolloR will be $1095.00. Second, taking into account the Saturn came into being with better parts and power supplies, and possibly transport etc., than the Apollo, how much will the ApolloR close the gap in performance to the Saturn. It may be marginal, OR just average enough to go with the new Apollo. I guess that will not be known until one of major mags does an in-depth review of the ApolloR, or a member of AG takes the trouble to bring a Saturn and Apollo home and performs a an A/B comparison with the original Apollo Sorry, my energy level is not up to that.
"IF" (I say if) the ApolloR is only marginally better than its older Apollo, then the decision is simpler. That I can arrange locally, but it would be with a unit not completely burned in. One dealer claimed that there will be only a few available at first. The other option would be sell the Apollo because its market value will continue to diminish, and upgrade to a better, different player than the Saturn which could be expensive, despite the money I get from the sale the Apollo. I am not sure WHAT qualifies as "better" than the Saturn and....HOW MUCH WILL IT COST. Some members suggested the Cambridge 840R....which is being discontinued, Though, I have never heard a Cambridge component that impressed me. I always saw them as another NAD
My goal is simply to eke out the most and best sound from the Acoustic Zen Adagios which are excellent speakers. At this point the two weak links in the system are the Apollo, and Red Dragon digital M-500 monoblocks which are good. but I think there is a better amp out there for AZ speakers.
I have another thread going on this very issue and recommendations have varied from the Bel Canto REF 500MKII, NuForce V-3SE, an upgraded Odyssey Stratos, a McCormack DNA 125Deluxe, or an upgraded DNA-1 deluxe( even SMc modest upgrades are expensive) The BC's are not inexpensive even used, and I wonder if the "previous" REF-500MkI are close in sound to the MKII, and also far superior to the Red Dragon blocks
BTW, I have the Bel Canto Pre-3 line stage/pre-amp which is very good to excellent; that is a given now in the system. I would like to get out of AZ Hologram 2 speaker cable which is too thick for my living room floor....the new Nordost Purple Flair sounds very impressive and can be run under the a rug.
Realistically, I don;t know much more performance I can get out of the Adagios at this point which might just be marginal....smoother on top and more musical would be great, but how much more do I invest to reach its peak performance (and Nirvana?!?).... Again, many thanks, Jim
Rega is being a bit contradictory about the Apollo R's performance IMO. From their website...
"...an ideal CD format front-end for the Rega DAC."
So does that mean that the DAC will imporve the sound of the Apollo R? Sound to me like that's the case.
But later they say...
"The DAC and the output amplifier of the Apollo-R have been enhanced using the Wolfson WM8742 digital to analogue converter, the same integrated circuit found in the Rega DAC."
Does that mean the Apollo R and DAC sound the same? I'd imagine their would be less jitter in a dedicated CDP than a transport to DAC, if all things are equal. So do they mean the Apollo is at least as good as the DAC?
Maybe it's salesmanship - let people who think the Apollo R and DAC combo will sound better buy that, and let people who think the Apollo R and DAC sound the same buy the Apollo R.
The only answer will be a demo.
Also, the Apollo R may narrow the gap between the Apollo and Saturn, as Paul Darwin of Rega has said the Mira and Saturn will be updated in the future. They'll be full sized boxed. I'm assuming the the hierarchy in sound quality will be Apollo R, DAC, and new Saturn. They'd be stupid not to have it that way IMO - start out with an Apollo, add the DAC for better sound, then buy a Saturn for even better sound.
And for the record, I think Apollo R is a stupid designation. The R designation made sense on the Brio, as it was the first one to use a remote (I think that's what they said/implied the R is for). The Apollo has always had a remote. But I have no training in component naming, so take my thoughts with a grain of salt. I'm sure the minds at Rega considered this.
When the new Saturn comes out, I'm sure the current Saturn's price will drop a good amount. Kind of like the Apollo's new price has dropped - it's currently $699 at Music Direct.
The downside to waiting for the new Saturn is no one has any idea when it'll happen. I'dsay a bit later than sooner, but you never know. Rega's been on an update roll lately, which could mean it'll be soon, or could mean that they've been working on everything else and haven't gotten to it yet.
KB, you make some excellent points. It has been a few days since I eyeballed the info on the ApolloR on their website Maybe they should just have called the new Apollo, the Apollo MKII...says enough.
Not knowing when the "new" Saturn will appear will be less an issue, I think, than the RETAIL PRICE of Saturn MKII. They have dropped the price on the old Saturn to $1895. I think the new Saturn price "could" cut two ways: it will possibly be $2095 to $2195....a cool $1000 plus over the ApolloR If so, it will be a head nod to a strugging, but recovering world economy. $1000 easily covers the expense of retooling the old Saturn with their outboarded DAC without any further ungrades. I know,... call me "cynical"
However Rega fans might ask why is the price lower on the so-called much improved Saturn from the original model..... "Look in the back....see if it is made in China". Really cynical!!
If that's the case, then will the DAC in new ApolloR be just a stepdown or lesser version of the outboarded DAC which will be placed in the SaturnMK II???
Considering how the ApolloR compliments the BrioR in size, Rega Central might have decided: "Let's sell the crap out of ApolloR, either by itself, or even better as a package with the BrioR."...And, an $1890 retail for both units looks very tasty to many buyers....especially, when you may get 15% off of that from sales starved brick and mortar shops.
The BrioR does sound very very good, but it is somewhat underpowered. Not having a pre-amp out is its Achilles heal, or just dumb, in anticipation of those wanting more power. Geez, I could easily envision a BrioPA of 125-150RMS on the drawing boards at Rega Central
I think that the difference between the Rega DAC and Rega Apollo-R is the number of Wolfson WM8742 chips in them. I believe that the new Apollo-R uses one chip and the outboard DAC uses 2 Chips in differential mode (like the Saturn uses).
I would say add the Rega DAC to your Apollo. This should improve the sound.
I am pretty sure you will NOT see made in China on the back of the new Saturn, when that time comes.
I think the suggestions that a few others made of adding the Rega Dac to your current Apollo is a great option for you.
**** Rega Dealer Disclaimer ****
As long as Roy Gandy is calling the shots, Rega will always be made in England.
I think it makes a lot of sense why Rega didn't include pre-outs on the Brio R - it's a compact component. Adding a power amp negates that. I think Rega is probably thinking people who want a small and unobtrusive system will buy a Brio R, and those who want a full sized system with numerous boxes will buy the Mira.
I could be wrong, but I think they're discontinuing the Cursa, Maia, and Exons. I'm pretty sure I heard the Exons were going to be dropped, but don't hold me to any of that. I'm a huge fan of the Cursa and Exons. If I had the money and the space, I'd be all over them. I'm more of an integrated amp guy though; keeps things simple.
From what I understand it's likely that the Rega DAC will improve the Apollo R but I would not expect a mind-blowing difference. As with most good DACs and CDPs we're talking about subtle changes that can often amount to something sounding different instead of better in any absolute manner.
I have the Rega DAC currently paired with a Mac Mini and Oppo DVD player.