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Rega's Ania Redefines the Entry Level Moving Coil Cartridge Category
Descended from the latest generation of Rega moving coil phono cartridges, the new Ania MC uses the same "floating cross" armature, micro-fine wiring, and neodymium magnet as the high-end Apheta 2. Its aluminum cantilever is fitted with an elliptical diamond stylus and mounted to a high-tech PPS-Fortron body using Rega's unique rhomboid shaped pivot pad. As always, Rega cartridges are hand-built by Rega in the UK.
When Rega first announced the original Apheta phono cartridge in 2006, it changed the way people looked at moving coil design. Crafted without the "tie-wire" that plagued most every other MC cartridge, Apheta was iconoclastic like many Rega products. It was fast, clear, dynamic and insightful, garnering praise in many quarters of the high-end audio world.
In 2015 and 2016, respectively, Rega pushed forward with new designs that brought about the reference Aphelion ($4995) and reborn Apheta 2 ($1895). These two cartridges are based on the original concepts, but with the benefit of almost ten years of experience and a complete overhaul of the cartridge manufacturing facilities. Now Rega can build moving coil cartridges with a level of precision, speed, reliability, and height of technology that the company could only dream about way back when.
The Revolutionary Ania MC Cartridge
Having surmounted the challenge of perfecting the original and expanding their horizons, Rega set their eyes on fashioning a moving coil cartridge for less than half the price of the Apheta 2. Now, your first thought might be "there's no way to preserve quality while lowering the price", and if this weren't Rega you might be right. But Rega is a 40+ year specialist at making things better and more reasonably priced.
Rega leaned hard on its engineers' expertise and its suppliers. The first challenge was to construct a new cartridge body that preserved that benefits and lowered the cost from the aluminum-bodied Apheta 2, a marvel in its own right. Here, computer modeling and expert tool making allowed Rega to build a body from PPS-Fortron, a sophisticated polymer-glass amalgam, that has a complex shape, keeping strength high, mass low, and unwanted resonances to an absolute minimum.
Unique "Tie-Wire"-less Design
Of course, Ania would not be a Rega moving coil if not for its unique "tie-wire"-less design. The tie-wire was originally conceived as a method to secure the cantilever, but this introduces nasty resonances that have to be tuned-out with the undesired result of reducing detail and speed. Being the curious types and unwilling to compromise, Rega's engineers sought out a method that eliminates the pesky tie-wire. Thus was born the pivot pad, a rhomboid-shaped device that positively locates the cantilever, adds zero mass, improves strength, and allows free movement so that the stylus can more accurately track the groove.
The generator is formed by a floating iron cross attached to the inner tip of the cantilever, hand-wound with incredibly fine ultra-high purity copper wire. This iron cross is some 50% smaller than the original Apheta, making it one of the smallest, lightest weight generators in the world. These parts, including the high-power neodymium magnet, are borrowed directly from the doubly-priced Apheta 2. An elliptical stylus tops off the lightweight aluminum cantilever, while a CAD-designed plastic case protects the delicate internals from prying fingers and well-meaning feather dusters.
All in all, the new Rega Ania moving coil cartridge demonstrates precisely what makes Rega great: unique solutions to age-old dilemmas, a commitment to quality, commanding performance, and a reasonable price.
|Rega Ania Moving Coil Phono Cartridge Product Reviews|