Rega have replaced their flagship phono preamp, the Ios, with Aura. Ostensibly similar in appearance Aura differs under the skin by virtue of changes made to the front end or input stage. Where Ios used step-up transformers to provide the extra gain required with moving coil cartridges Aura has an active gain stage. This has come about because when Ios was developed engineer Terry Bateman incorporated a symmetrical input circuit but at the time there were no symmetrical FETs available. Recently however Terry managed to find a new manufacturer of these devices and this sparked the idea of revising Ios.
Other changes include a removal of the tunable filters provided for Rega’s original MC the Apheta, this cartridges successor the Apheta 2 doesn’t need any filtering so this means that the circuit is that much simpler and thus more transparent. The gain stage and RIAA stage have also been updated with SMD (surface mount) devices that allow for a shorter signal path.
Aura has the same input loading options for both capacitance and impedance as Ios and includes both a mono switch and a gain switch that adds an extra 6dB for particularly low output MCs. Priced at £3,999 the Rega Aura is shipping now.