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 Post subject: snakebit on Rega Apollos
PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2018 5:55 am 
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as anyone who's seen my other recent posts can tell, I'm a bit of a Rega fan and during my last big gear upgrade, I ended up with a system of a Brio-R, P3-24 turntable, and Apollo (mk1) CD player, all purchased used via CAM.

And while the amp and turntable have served me well, the CD player(s) have driven me up the wall. The original full-size Apollo started freaking out after a few months - too long to blame on non-disclosure of issues from the seller - starting with random skipping and eventually settling into an inability to read any discs. So I took it into Bay Bloor Radio in Toronto - Rega dealers - for repair and some $400 for a new laser assembly later, it was back and humming along. Until it started doing it again. Rather than repair it again at the same price, I opted for a used Apollo-R off CAM because it would presumably perform better and also match the Brio-R. Which it did, for better part of a year. Then guess what - same thing. Random skipping, then eventually crapping out entirely. Again, back for repair and a new laser assembly at $400, and back in my system. And a couple years later... once again. Same thing. So rather than pay once again for the same repair, I swapped it out for a Marantz CD6004 picked up reasonably cheap from Best Buy and that has been doing a solid job for digital duties in my main system.

and yet the Apollo-R haunts me, both physically because it's sitting there in my closet and intellectually because I can't understand how these things keep failing on me. I haven't found anything online about particular reliability issues around these, and there's a part of me that's wondering if I should just get it repaired one more time and get my pretty Rega mini-stack back because what are the odds of this happening AGAIN?

tl;dr - what should one do with this paperweight?


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2018 6:37 am 
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chromewaves wrote:
as anyone who's seen my other recent posts can tell, I'm a bit of a Rega fan and during my last big gear upgrade, I ended up with a system of a Brio-R, P3-24 turntable, and Apollo (mk1) CD player, all purchased used via CAM.

And while the amp and turntable have served me well, the CD player(s) have driven me up the wall. The original full-size Apollo started freaking out after a few months - too long to blame on non-disclosure of issues from the seller - starting with random skipping and eventually settling into an inability to read any discs. So I took it into Bay Bloor Radio in Toronto - Rega dealers - for repair and some $400 for a new laser assembly later, it was back and humming along. Until it started doing it again. Rather than repair it again at the same price, I opted for a used Apollo-R off CAM because it would presumably perform better and also match the Brio-R. Which it did, for better part of a year. Then guess what - same thing. Random skipping, then eventually crapping out entirely. Again, back for repair and a new laser assembly at $400, and back in my system. And a couple years later... once again. Same thing. So rather than pay once again for the same repair, I swapped it out for a Marantz CD6004 picked up reasonably cheap from Best Buy and that has been doing a solid job for digital duties in my main system.

and yet the Apollo-R haunts me, both physically because it's sitting there in my closet and intellectually because I can't understand how these things keep failing on me. I haven't found anything online about particular reliability issues around these, and there's a part of me that's wondering if I should just get it repaired one more time and get my pretty Rega mini-stack back because what are the odds of this happening AGAIN?

tl;dr - what should one do with this paperweight?


Thanks for posting, I never realized there were reliability problems with the rega CD players. A couple of years ago I picked up a used Nakamichi CD player that is likely close to 20 years old. It has an internal 5 disk changer that works perfectly.

I firmly believe that much of the hifi gear sold 20+ years ago is way better than most of the gear sold today, both in sound and reliability. There are exceptions.

For CDs I also use a computer CD/DVD/Blue Ray reader. The external ones are very cheap these days. I can either play what ever disk I have loaded or just rip to the hard drive. In any case my Linux box will immediately read the entire contents of the disk to memory and play from there, so much for CD transports.

In short, I think its time to dump the rega CD player and get a PC as a music server if your up to it.

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Last edited by Audio_Guy on Fri Aug 17, 2018 7:18 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2018 6:47 am 
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They had huge failure rates, perhaps 100%. At the time the quality control was terrible, not sure how it is now.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2018 6:48 am 
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planetofsound wrote:
They had huge failure rates, perhaps 100%. At the time the quality control was terrible, not sure how it is now.


sadly 100% has been my experience, out of my sample group at least.

-- 17 Aug 2018 09:55 --

Audio_Guy wrote:
chromewaves wrote:
as anyone who's seen my other recent posts can tell, I'm a bit of a Rega fan and during my last big gear upgrade, I ended up with a system of a Brio-R, P3-24 turntable, and Apollo (mk1) CD player, all purchased used via CAM.

And while the amp and turntable have served me well, the CD player(s) have driven me up the wall. The original full-size Apollo started freaking out after a few months - too long to blame on non-disclosure of issues from the seller - starting with random skipping and eventually settling into an inability to read any discs. So I took it into Bay Bloor Radio in Toronto - Rega dealers - for repair and some $400 for a new laser assembly later, it was back and humming along. Until it started doing it again. Rather than repair it again at the same price, I opted for a used Apollo-R off CAM because it would presumably perform better and also match the Brio-R. Which it did, for better part of a year. Then guess what - same thing. Random skipping, then eventually crapping out entirely. Again, back for repair and a new laser assembly at $400, and back in my system. And a couple years later... once again. Same thing. So rather than pay once again for the same repair, I swapped it out for a Marantz CD6004 picked up reasonably cheap from Best Buy and that has been doing a solid job for digital duties in my main system.

and yet the Apollo-R haunts me, both physically because it's sitting there in my closet and intellectually because I can't understand how these things keep failing on me. I haven't found anything online about particular reliability issues around these, and there's a part of me that's wondering if I should just get it repaired one more time and get my pretty Rega mini-stack back because what are the odds of this happening AGAIN?

tl;dr - what should one do with this paperweight?


Thanks for posting, I never realized there were reliability problems with the rega CD players. A couple of years ago I picked up a used Nakamichi CD player that is likely close to 20 years old. It has an internal 5 disk changer that works perfectly.

I firmly believe that much of the hifi gear sold 20+ years ago is way better than most of the gear sold today, both in sound and reliability. There are exceptions.

For CDs I also use a computer CD/DVD/Blue Ray player. The external ones are very cheap these days. I can either play what ever disk I have loaded or just rip to the hard drive. I any case my Linux box will immediately read the entire contents of the disk to memory and play from there, so much for CD transports.

In short, I think its time to dump the rega CD player and get a PC as a music server if your up to it.


well the Marantz has been doing the job fine, I am just sad about the Rega in the closet. And my collection of 1100+ CDs demands that I have a functioning player around; I've no interest in ripping all of that to a server and I am enough of a physical media proponent that I'll never get rid of the discs. That said, most of my listening these days is vinyl or spotify, but I'm bringing CDs back into the mix - hence my wondering what to do with the Apollo


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2018 7:17 am 
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planetofsound wrote:
They had huge failure rates, perhaps 100%. At the time the quality control was terrible, not sure how it is now.



Something in the deck must have been under-built for that to happen. Not pointing fingers, as..if one is in the business of manufacturing, it will happen. It's just a matter of time. It's like parachuting -it never gets safer. It's all accumulated risk.

Eg, the Linn receiver and cd and integrated units from the late 1990's to the mid 2000's, they all failed. they all fail the same way and they can all be fixed the same way. About 4 small capacitors. Gary at better music used to tell people how and what to do.

There must be, or may very well be .....some similar aspect to the Apollo units.

this, for example. 4 small capacitors, is generally all it is:

https://www.ebay.ca/itm/NO-POWER-LINN-K ... ition=7000

It has to do with the instant on remote/infrared monitoring and power on control system. The caps are not the best quality choice and they are stressed fairly hard. This led to a quite high end of life problem for Linn products of that particular design phase and time period. Easy to see in hind sight, near impossible to see when they were built.

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Last edited by Teo Audio on Fri Aug 17, 2018 7:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2018 7:22 am 
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yes, it only takes 1 poorly specced or defective component to take the whole thing down. Unfortunately companies don't test the components before assembly anymore and with multilayer circuit boards it is extremely labour intensive or impossible to take out any number of components to trial and error see which one is the cause.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2018 7:36 am 
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As someone who has lived with items that fail for no apparent reason,I am very sympathetic to your plight.
Have you contacted Rega?
If nothing else a matter of fact email may get a response and you'll at least have some idea as to why the Apollo's keep failing.
I sent a letter to Marantz and stated very clearly all was asking for was their best guess as to what was causing my problems with their AVR.
Marantz,surprisingly, decided to repair it. :shock:
It's worth a shot.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2018 7:38 am 
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mahatma1 wrote:
As someone who has lived with items that fail for no apparent reason,I am very sympathetic to your plight.
Have you contacted Rega?
If nothing else a matter of fact email may get a response and you'll at least have some idea as to why the Apollo's keep failing.
I sent a letter to Marantz and stated very clearly all was asking for was their best guess as to what was causing my problems with their AVR.
Marantz,surprisingly, decided to repair it. :shock:
It's worth a shot.


I posted my situation over at Pink Fish Media, where I know Rega folks hang out. hopefully someone chimes in. In the meantime, I also contacted Plurison, their Canadian distributor. Unencouragingly, they've asked if my CDs were scratched or dirty.

they. were. not.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2018 7:39 am 
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I feel your pain, I was lucky enough to get stuck with an early production Apollo that I bought used, they were notorious for failure. I couldnt justify the hefty repair cost Plurison quoted so I just tossed it and......picked up another later production Apollo which served me quite well till last year.
Nice sounding players when they work.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2018 11:26 am 
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I have zero experience with Rega Cd players, but of the numerous players in my possession, the newest is a Teac for recording. I find it...bland, unexciting. The favorite sounding of half a dozen...an old and still working ADC 16/2R. Its not old, its ancient. And sounds better than the Sony or Yamaha players here.
As CD is not my primary source, it concerns me little about stepping up to newer units, that said, when it finally fails I dunno what the heck I'd replace it with....

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:41 pm 
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planetofsound wrote:
They had huge failure rates, perhaps 100%. At the time the quality control was terrible, not sure how it is now.

Seems crazy that there is not more on the net about it if that's the case.
Personally I have a bit of bias against most Rega products, seem to me to be very cheaply built. That being said, on of the best players I ever heard was a top model Rega.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:58 pm 
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chromewaves wrote:
planetofsound wrote:
They had huge failure rates, perhaps 100%. At the time the quality control was terrible, not sure how it is now.


sadly 100% has been my experience, out of my sample group at least.

-- 17 Aug 2018 09:55 --

Audio_Guy wrote:
chromewaves wrote:
as anyone who's seen my other recent posts can tell, I'm a bit of a Rega fan and during my last big gear upgrade, I ended up with a system of a Brio-R, P3-24 turntable, and Apollo (mk1) CD player, all purchased used via CAM.

And while the amp and turntable have served me well, the CD player(s) have driven me up the wall. The original full-size Apollo started freaking out after a few months - too long to blame on non-disclosure of issues from the seller - starting with random skipping and eventually settling into an inability to read any discs. So I took it into Bay Bloor Radio in Toronto - Rega dealers - for repair and some $400 for a new laser assembly later, it was back and humming along. Until it started doing it again. Rather than repair it again at the same price, I opted for a used Apollo-R off CAM because it would presumably perform better and also match the Brio-R. Which it did, for better part of a year. Then guess what - same thing. Random skipping, then eventually crapping out entirely. Again, back for repair and a new laser assembly at $400, and back in my system. And a couple years later... once again. Same thing. So rather than pay once again for the same repair, I swapped it out for a Marantz CD6004 picked up reasonably cheap from Best Buy and that has been doing a solid job for digital duties in my main system.

and yet the Apollo-R haunts me, both physically because it's sitting there in my closet and intellectually because I can't understand how these things keep failing on me. I haven't found anything online about particular reliability issues around these, and there's a part of me that's wondering if I should just get it repaired one more time and get my pretty Rega mini-stack back because what are the odds of this happening AGAIN?

tl;dr - what should one do with this paperweight?


Thanks for posting, I never realized there were reliability problems with the rega CD players. A couple of years ago I picked up a used Nakamichi CD player that is likely close to 20 years old. It has an internal 5 disk changer that works perfectly.

I firmly believe that much of the hifi gear sold 20+ years ago is way better than most of the gear sold today, both in sound and reliability. There are exceptions.

For CDs I also use a computer CD/DVD/Blue Ray player. The external ones are very cheap these days. I can either play what ever disk I have loaded or just rip to the hard drive. I any case my Linux box will immediately read the entire contents of the disk to memory and play from there, so much for CD transports.

In short, I think its time to dump the rega CD player and get a PC as a music server if your up to it.


well the Marantz has been doing the job fine, I am just sad about the Rega in the closet. And my collection of 1100+ CDs demands that I have a functioning player around; I've no interest in ripping all of that to a server and I am enough of a physical media proponent that I'll never get rid of the discs. That said, most of my listening these days is vinyl or spotify, but I'm bringing CDs back into the mix - hence my wondering what to do with the Apollo


To go with a laptop and a DAC does not mean you have to rip it all In. You can just use the laptop as a transport and still load and unload your CDs. I did that for quite a number of years. I had some music ripped into the computer but also used it to play my existing CDs. I had an ayre dac and was very happy with the sound. But ultimately I got rid of it all because I started having computer problems. I then went to a dedicated Mac mini but never could get it set up right and just gave up and sold it all. Now I have an old Sony that I got for about 150 bucks and I use that. But I'm not A computer guy at all.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2018 1:01 pm 
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Audio_Guy wrote:
chromewaves wrote:
as anyone who's seen my other recent posts can tell, I'm a bit of a Rega fan and during my last big gear upgrade, I ended up with a system of a Brio-R, P3-24 turntable, and Apollo (mk1) CD player, all purchased used via CAM.

And while the amp and turntable have served me well, the CD player(s) have driven me up the wall. The original full-size Apollo started freaking out after a few months - too long to blame on non-disclosure of issues from the seller - starting with random skipping and eventually settling into an inability to read any discs. So I took it into Bay Bloor Radio in Toronto - Rega dealers - for repair and some $400 for a new laser assembly later, it was back and humming along. Until it started doing it again. Rather than repair it again at the same price, I opted for a used Apollo-R off CAM because it would presumably perform better and also match the Brio-R. Which it did, for better part of a year. Then guess what - same thing. Random skipping, then eventually crapping out entirely. Again, back for repair and a new laser assembly at $400, and back in my system. And a couple years later... once again. Same thing. So rather than pay once again for the same repair, I swapped it out for a Marantz CD6004 picked up reasonably cheap from Best Buy and that has been doing a solid job for digital duties in my main system.

and yet the Apollo-R haunts me, both physically because it's sitting there in my closet and intellectually because I can't understand how these things keep failing on me. I haven't found anything online about particular reliability issues around these, and there's a part of me that's wondering if I should just get it repaired one more time and get my pretty Rega mini-stack back because what are the odds of this happening AGAIN?

tl;dr - what should one do with this paperweight?


Thanks for posting, I never realized there were reliability problems with the rega CD players. A couple of years ago I picked up a used Nakamichi CD player that is likely close to 20 years old. It has an internal 5 disk changer that works perfectly.

I firmly believe that much of the hifi gear sold 20+ years ago is way better than most of the gear sold today, both in sound and reliability. There are exceptions.

For CDs I also use a computer CD/DVD/Blue Ray player. The external ones are very cheap these days. I can either play what ever disk I have loaded or just rip to the hard drive. I any case my Linux box will immediately read the entire contents of the disk to memory and play from there, so much for CD transports.

In short, I think its time to dump the rega CD player and get a PC as a music server if your up to it.


well the Marantz has been doing the job fine, I am just sad about the Rega in the closet. And my collection of 1100+ CDs demands that I have a functioning player around; I've no interest in ripping all of that to a server and I am enough of a physical media proponent that I'll never get rid of the discs. That said, most of my listening these days is vinyl or spotify, but I'm bringing CDs back into the mix - hence my wondering what to do with the Apollo[/quote]

To go with a laptop and a DAC does not mean you have to rip it all In. You can just use the laptop as a transport and still load and unload your CDs. I did that for quite a number of years. I had some music ripped into the computer but also used it to play my existing CDs. I had an ayre dac and was very happy with the sound. But ultimately I got rid of it all because I started having computer problems. I then went to a dedicated Mac mini but never could get it set up right and just gave up and sold it all. Now I have an old Sony that I got for about 150 bucks and I use that. But I'm not A computer guy at all.[/quote]

I've considered going to a computer-based option for my living room, but am not there yet. If everything WORKS a component-based system is still the simplest and best-sounding solution for me. IF. I mean, if the laser and motor worked right I could use the Apollo as a transport and focus on a better DAC but nope.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2018 1:02 pm 
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I have an original 2000 that I have had for years as well as an Apollo which I have never had any issues with. I wonder if you have considered repairing it yourself. I am remembering a post from a fellow cammer who shared a web page where one could purchase a new laser assembly at a very reasonable price. The task though daunting to mind is actually fairly simple. Perhaps someone is familiar with that post and could share the information. I find the Rega’s SQ to be worth the bother. T


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2018 1:05 pm 
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Part of the problem was also that I was trying to use JRiver. I hate that platform! They have about 20 versions and you have to pay full price every time. Their support is virtually nonexistent, they just tell you to buy the latest version.
Ultimately, for me it's just a heck of a lot easier to set up a turntable, tonearm and cartridge and just play records.
It's funny, I still have my technics five disc changer that I bought when I was 16 and it still works perfectly almost 30 years later.

-- 17 Aug 2018 17:07 --

Another option is to speak with Dan Santoni and get a quote from him. I know he has repaired cd players and he is quite reasonable and good.


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