I thought it was high time that I got round to writing a long overdue review of the highly acclaimed Rega Elex Mk4 amplifier. Since its launch in late December 2022, the newest version of the Elex has picked up a multitude of awards.
When the Elex was first launched, it was designed to bridge the gap between the brilliant Rega Brio and the much more expensive but equally superb Rega Elicit. The recipe has not changed: the Elex borrows the new digital inputs from the Elicit whilst not offering quite as much power, but it is a suitable step up over the current Brio.
As of writing this review, the Elex Mk4 is £1,199 which puts it firmly in the territory of some other great amplifiers like the Arcam SA20, Primare I15 or the new Audiolab 7000A. If there is one thing to be sure of, the Rega Elex comfortably complements this field of performers with its musicality and grip over loudspeakers.
Since its launch, we have sold the Elex with a variety of different loudspeakers from different manufacturers, showing its versatility into different people's systems and requirements. It's also very nice to see the whole Rega amplifier family together on one rack.
For the purposes of this test I will begin by using the Fyne Audio F500SP loudspeakers and then move on to see how the Elex Mk4 fares driving the much more expensive F1-5s. For source material I will be using our new Innuos ZENmini Mk3 with stored content and streamed music from Qobuz alongside a Rega Planar 6 turntable feeding into the phono stage onboard the Elex Mk4.
I have been rediscovering all sorts of music from my CD collection since beginning the process of ripping all of my music onto our new ZENmini so you might have to forgive some of my slightly odd music choices!
Starting first with John Denver's Rocky Mounting High, which until recently I had no idea was such a well produced track. The guitar sounds clean and lifelike while the vocals float over the top of the track, and when the bass kicks in it has a lovely fluid sound and depth to it. Off to a very good start.
Then using the title track from Queen's final studio album, Made in Heaven, the bass notes at the start of the track have tremendous impact and a punch demonstrating the control of the amp, and Freddie's voice even this late in his career still moves me with the emotion this amp is capable of delivering.
Moving onto Leona Lewis's A Moment Like This, the track with which she won the third series of the X Factor (please don't judge me!). This track can get a bit edgy on the wrong system, but the Elex with the Fynes has it well under control and when the song hits the key change it's not too hard to visualise the fireworks raining down on her in the final performance in the show. I do love a system that can take you back to specific memories.
Finally, switching to the F1-5s, the Elex unleashes a new level of detail and emotional involvement. Listening to No Moon At All, one of my favourite tracks from Diana Krall's album Turn Up The Quiet, it springs out of the speakers with an effortlessness that is astonishing for a system of this value. The bass line has extension and depth and a real lifelike sound to it. When Diana starts to sing, the level of detail in the close mic recording is truly staggering.
In conclusion, I think for the money the Rega Elex Mk4 is a brilliant amplifier and an excellent replacement to its predecessor, which was already pretty great! As a note to our recent interaction with IsoAcoustics, putting four OREA Bronze isolation feet underneath the Elex brings even more performance with either of the speakers. Certainly a worthwhile £200 upgrade if ever there was one.
Watch our unboxing video of the Rega Elex Mk4 here: