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Rega Fono MC vs. Aria Mk3 vs. Schiit Mani

Discussion in 'audio' started by Bob Edwards, Jun 6, 2021.

  1. Bob Edwards

    Bob Edwards pfm Member

    All -

    Forgive me if I clutter the forum with turntable/phono questions. I've been out of it for a while!

    I bit the bullet and dove back into vinyl, and am glad I did - there's just something to it that I don't hear digital do until you get to what I'd describe as silly money - with apologies to those of you with dCS and the like.

    I bought a Schiit Mani as a phono stage, in part because it does MM and MC, and offers 3 levels of gain. I said in a different thread that it's . . . OK, and that it's a miracle it works at all given that it costs $129 brand new in the US.

    With a Rega P6/Ania, the Mani is the obvious weak link. I saw a used Rega Fono MC for sale, and there is a Rega Aria Mk3 open box for $1000 USD with warranty nearby. I expect either of the Regas would show a clean pair of heels to the Mani, and so the question is if the Aria Mk3 is three times as good as the Fono MC (or, more precisely, is the Aria Mk3 worth 3 times the money of the Fono MC)?

    I should also note that I'm thinking about making an offer on an LP12 (as if I need another TT, with the P6 and a Revolver in house already!).

    Thanks all in advance!
  2. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Amp design and repairs.

    The Arkless GTi can be exported to the USA (assuming MC cart). Check out the reviews on pfm....
    I have a standard MM/MC one under construction to go to USA right now as it happens.
    Obviously customs and postage will make it more expensive than for a UK customer but still more than competitive I reckon:)
    joe9407 and unit like this.
  3. ppaul

    ppaul pfm Member

    Firstly, the Aria is really two phono pre in one box, if you stick with Rega carts it’s all you’ll need, but if you get a third party cart there could be a mismatch with the gain 63/69 dB is too hot for some, I personally stick with Rega carts and the Aria/Apheta3/Exact works for me, good luck on your quest for sonic nivarna
    gx502 likes this.
  4. gx502

    gx502 pfm Member

    Can you get a home demo of the Aria, or get a refund in case you don't like it? I would expect it to be a synergistic match for your P6/Ania.

    Edit: also since it is really two stages in one box, could come in handy if you put a MM cartridge on your new LP12 :)
  5. Miss Ariel

    Miss Ariel pfm Member

    Bob I have a Aria 3 and was using a Fono MM before.

    The Fono I really liked but the Aria 3 even from cold just walked all over it on MM.I got the Aria as getting a Hana MC cartridge soon so it was really brought for the Hana.

    The Arias got this very relaxing warm sound about it.Very smooth but detailed,with superb musical cohesion about it.
    Superb from Rega.Looks understatedely stylish and sounds sublime.
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2021
    Bob Edwards and Howdy like this.
  6. Elephantears

    Elephantears Trunkated Aesthete

    I think the Aria is a classic at its price point. Very well balanced, exceptional tonal fidelity, especially for a solid state design.
    Bob Edwards likes this.
  7. Mr Pig

    Mr Pig ^'- -'^

    As far as I am aware, all of the Aria incarnations are the same inside. They just changed the case to make them match the other boxes in the range. So you could buy a Mk1 for less money and it will sound the same.

    I have an Aria and I would describe the sound as neutral. It doesn't have a sound of its own but is very transparent.
    Bob Edwards likes this.
  8. Tiernoise

    Tiernoise Member

    I think later days Mk1 Aria were improved on the early days Mk1, so the only way to make sure you get the better one might be to at least buy a Mk2.
    (hear Roy Gandi here around 24 minutes into the video:
  9. Luceo non uro

    Luceo non uro pfm Member

    I had both the Fono MM Mk2 and the Aria Mk2. Is the Aria three times better? No. Is it noticeably better? Yes. So, how much that is worth to you is not something I can advise on, but personally I was happy with the performance upgrade so didn't grudge the extra cost.
    jamesd, Miss Ariel and Bob Edwards like this.
  10. Elephantears

    Elephantears Trunkated Aesthete

    No, they are not. Terry Bateman did a tweak at some point which, from what I understand, had a subtle but worthwhile effect. I did correspond with Rega about this when I was borrowing an Aria for a short time, but I can't just remember the exact details of when they made the modifications, I'm afraid.
  11. Mr Pig

    Mr Pig ^'- -'^

    Yeah, but Rega do that all the time. There were 'tweaks' on the DAC too but jiggered if I can hear any difference.

    Maybe the Mk3 sounds slightly better but I doubt it's anything you'd notice or miss. It still basically the same product.
  12. Bob Edwards

    Bob Edwards pfm Member

    Thank you - I was somewhat tongue-in-cheek asking if it is three times better. "Noticeably better" is exactly what I was looking for.

    And to all - seems as if the Aria is something of a no-brainer significant step forward from the Fono, which is itself a significant step forward from the Mani. So I'll go for it . . .

    Thanks to all!
    Mr Pig, Miss Ariel and Luceo non uro like this.
  13. Mr Pig

    Mr Pig ^'- -'^

    If you buy it at a good price you can just sell it again if you don't feel it's worth it.
    Bob Edwards likes this.
  14. Bob Edwards

    Bob Edwards pfm Member

    It's for $1060 USD; regular retail is $1495 USD. It's an open box Mk3, with warranty. Makes it easy - I don't think the Mani is letting the P6/Ania strut its stuff or show its best, and, knowing myself, if I got a Fono I'd be thinking I should have gotten the Aria . . .
  15. Miss Ariel

    Miss Ariel pfm Member

  16. Bob Edwards

    Bob Edwards pfm Member

    Thank you! I hadn't read it until now.

    Just paid for it, and for the LP12 I referenced in the Moth RB301 thread.

    Now, off to another record store!

    Mr Pig and jamesd like this.
  17. Luceo non uro

    Luceo non uro pfm Member

    Happy listening! And not that it matters (kinda does though), but the Mk3 version is by far the best looking model.
    Mr Pig and Miss Ariel like this.
  18. Mr Pig

    Mr Pig ^'- -'^

    I was about to say the same thing. I've got the Mk1, which I think looks ok. The Mk2 looks crap! The Mk3 fascia is still plastic but it looks a lot less like a cheap bit of plastic. They've lost the screws on the top of the case too, which I always thought were a mistake. It's much tidier.

    I hope they stick with this style for a while as it works. Metal facias would be nice though and not totally unwarranted at this level.
    Luceo non uro likes this.
  19. MaxiMe

    MaxiMe Member

    I had the Fono MC for a while and didn't think it was that good. My old Trichord Dino Mk 1 was better.
    Never got to listen to the Aria but went for a Trichord Diablo and NCPSU that was ex-dem for a price I couldn't resist. Very happy with how it works with my P8/Apheta3
  20. Conster

    Conster pfm Member

    I have the Aria MK1. I like it I don’t love it. I think if you are sticking with rega cartridges it’s a safe choice but I would say if not shop around as there are many they will give it a good run for the money for much less. I am quite impressed with Musical Surroundings. I have a Nova phenomenon and it wipes the floor with the Aria especially with a Hana SlL cartridge. Haven’t tried the MM stage of the Aria but I have to admit that when I had the P6 Ania I much preferred the sound of the fono Mc over the Aria. I found the Aria had more detailed but was also brighter and did not sound as good with older or less than audiophile quality records.
    Mr Pig likes this.

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