REVIEW – The Rega Kyte Speakers A Somewhat Different Box

By Jeff Dorgay

The team at Rega Research is famous for somewhat out of the box solutions to engineering problems.

In the case of their newest Kyte speakers, they take this to heart, using a phenolic resin material to mould the speaker enclosure rather than make it out of MDF. This slightly curvy shape goes a long way at diffusing internal resonances, it also makes the Kytes fairly light in weight as well. Lower shipping cost means better price to the consumer. They are all pretty clever over there.

Many only know Rega for their turntables, but they have been a full-line electronics manufacturer for decades now. Yet, the speakers probably have the lowest profile in their lineup. At least here in the US, where we like stuff to be massive. Yet not everyone lives in a gigantic space, and more people are stepping up to better desktop hifi systems, especially in the current world where we sit at our desks in our pyjamas and work from home.

In addition to the cool resin cabinets, Rega designs and builds their own raw drivers too. Burn the word value into your cerebral cortex, and be ready for a happy face when you power up the Kytes for the first time. These are seriously good little speakers, especially for $795 a pair.

In typical Rega fashion, they did not just outsource these cabinets to China, they invested in their own equipment to make enclosures from this material. If you don’t know about Rega’s history, nearly 40 years ago, Gandy spent a small fortune to invest in proprietary dies to produce his tonearms, rather than be at the mercy of an outside supplier with dubious quality control. Don’t be surprised if we don’t see a few more speakers using this cabinet technology.

First laps

Knowing Rega founder Roy Gandy isn’t caught up in premium cables and such, I hope he doesn’t mind my listening begins on the desktop with my vintage Marantz 2220, connected with zip cord. Laugh as you might, this system is the great equalizer, because it doesn’t have an enormous power supply and doesn’t double down on power to four ohms, like a well-designed modern amplifier. The result? Hard to drive speakers sound awful with this receiver. And that means they will sound equally dreadful with your budget receiver or amplifier from Best Buy.

Rega lists a nominal impedance of 6 ohms and a sensitivity of 89db/1watt. They pass the Marantz test with ease. True to past experience, speakers that sound great with this mediocre 70s receiver, usually sound fantastic with modern amplification. Next step, our Rega Brio-R integrated/Planar 3 combination. Should you be in the market for a compact, high – performance, vinyl-oriented system, your Rega dealer can put you in the drivers seat for just under three grand. This will probably be some of the most fun you can have with your clothes on for that price.

Considering that a re-capped Marantz will set you back at least $500 these days, $995 for a New Brio (it is now merely called a “Brio”) is an incredible bargain. Just making this change on the desktop system feels as if the Kytes have doubled in physical size. Not to mention the huge increase in resolution.

More seat time

Seriously, the Kytes sound great right out of the box, but bass becomes slightly tighter and more extended after about 100 hours. This isn’t dramatic, but it’s there. So if you like em out of the box, you’ll like em more after a few weeks of play. Romping through a number of Electronica tracks, particularly a long playlist of Tosca and Chateau Flight. The Kytes are incredible, picking up a tiny bit of reinforcement from desktop placement. They do equally well in a room situation if you place them on top of a bookshelf, but be sure to leave a little bit of space between the cabinet back and the wall. The Kytes have a rear-firing port.

As these speakers do have ample bass output, do not put them on the same shelf with your turntable – you are guaranteed to get low frequency feedback. Great as all those Instagram pictures look, this is not the right way to set up a hifi system. (PS: Your Rega dealer can hook you up with a purpose built Rega turntable shelf to lift your table off the same shelf as your speakers)

The Kytes come with a plastic piece that screws in the back of the speakers to keep the front panel more perpendicular to the shelf surface. A stand mount adapter is also available, should you want to use them on stands. We had excellent luck on our 24” Sound Anchor stands, as they have a top surface big enough to accommodate the Kytes with their supplied adaptors. We also had excellent luck, taking advantage of the slight upward tilt (sans adaptors) with 16” Sound Anchors, and a bit of fine tuning with the spikes.

Fortunately, the Kytes are extremely easy to set up in your listening room, should you put them on stands. They offer up wide dispersion, so they aren’t terribly fussy to get the placement perfect. And once set up, they will engage you in the room no matter where you sit. A small woofer can only move a maximum amount of air, yet these speakers can play incredibly loud without distortion, even with a Brio-R.

Chequered flag

This is not very scientific at all, but the Rega Kytes are one of the most enjoyable small speakers I’ve had the pleasure of listening to in a long time. Many small, inexpensive speakers sacrifice overall sound quality for a single aspect of reproduction. The Kyte is such an overall high achiever, with a level of balance usually reserved for much more expensive speakers. Even after hours of constant listening, this is a speaker you will never tire of.

I could go on and on about this track and that track, but you really need to hear these speakers for yourself.

Much like that rare automobile that has a perfect balance of braking, acceleration and handling, these speakers offer everything a music lover will appreciate. Excellent bass response, smooth yet defined treble and a very refined midrange. Nothing sounds forced, nothing sounds lacking. The Kytes completely deliver Rega’s promise of making reasonably priced hifi gear that sounds great. There is a level of graininess and cloudiness that nearly every budget speaker has, that is completely absent with the Kyte, even powered by a vintage receiver. This level of refinement makes them sound much more expensive then their price dictates.

Normally we don’t do this kind of thing, but with mid – October only six weeks away, we’ll let you in on a secret. We will be awarding the Kytes our Budget Product of the Year Award in issue 109. They are more than just an exceptional value. If I were starting my hifi journey again from scratch, I’d buy a pair in a heartbeat. I may buy a pair anyway, just because they are so damn cool. (factory) (NA distributor)