The Apollo CD player and Brio 3 amplifier have wider applications, of course. The amp should be perfectly at home driving any reasonably sensitive loudspeaker (89dB or better), and its input array will accommodate the typical assortment of sources owned by most music fans. The inclusion of a real phonostage—not just a line-level input labeled “phono” requiring an outboard device—is a nice touch. The CD player is one that should be considered by any music fan valuing high performance at an accessible price.
Even so, both pieces have a shortcoming considering probable usage situations. That’s the lack of a headphone jack. It’s not much of a problem for the Apollo, but I can’t imagine why it was excluded from the Brio 3. Including it wouldn’t add more than a few dollars to the amp’s retail price, but would contribute substantially to its versatility.
The Rega Apollo/Brio 3/R3 system is worthy of consideration if you want an unobtrusive system for a small space. The Apollo CD player is clearly the system’s crowning jewel, and is highly recommended. The Brio 3 is a good-sounding, well-built little amplifier at a reasonable price. The R3 loudspeakers can perform very well within certain spatial and dynamic parameters. I’d rate them excellent, very good, and good, respectively. Music fans with studio apartments and a budget in this niche should give them a serious audition. TAS