Home Review Rega Saturn MK3 CD player/d-a converter – Through a ring

Review Rega Saturn MK3 CD player/d-a converter – Through a ring



  • Sounds great
  • Works silently and quickly
  • Great dac section
  • Versatility
  • Nice front
  • Solidly made


  • Dac limited to 192 kHz
  • No SACD
  • Plastic cover

Price: € 2600

Build quality
Alpha-Audio Approved


British company Rega Research has been around since 1973 and needs no introduction. Primarily known for their turntables, Rega grew to become a dependable brand in the audio world. Besides turntables, they also make amplifiers, speakers and CD players. Their first CD player, the Rega Planet, dates back to 1997 but today we have their latest optical player on the test bench. Meet the Rega Saturn MK3, a versatile device that surprised us tremendously. Wondering why? Then be sure to read on!

Did you know that at the time of writing, the compact disc is 40 years old? Perfect timing, then, to test a CD player! And although our editor-in-chief invariably says that reviews of optical players are less well read, this time will be different. Why? Well, it’s been a very long time since we’ve been this excited about a piece of hi-fi. Do we have your attention? Good. 

A lot has been written about the decline of the compact disc but we still have a loads of those dics and we are never going to get rid of them. More so, when we do critical listening we mainly use CDs because they sound better in our system than the stream via Qobuz or Tidal. We are also sure that we are then listening to one particular version of a recording. Streams vary quite a bit in quality and even streaming services differ. And then everything has to go through all kinds of software as well. Salient detail. CD sales, according to a number of sources, are expected to increase again in 2022 for the first time in years. Food for thought.


The Rega Saturn MK3 is a full-sized unit and measures 43.5 cm wide, 8 cm high (17cm with the lid opened) and 40 cm deep. This CD player weighs nearly 10 kg, but fortunately stands on sturdy feet.

The Rega Saturn MK3 adopts the new design we first saw on the Rega Aethos. It’s a beautiful design. Quiet, powerful and sleek. The typical red color on the display has remained and although not always easy to read it remains inseparable from the brand The Rega Saturn MK3 is still a top loader with that typical lid (to us it looks like a wolf’s head) that opens and closes gently. Remember to provide a little space to open the lid.

On the front left is the power button, in the middle is the display and on the right are four push buttons. Play/pause, stop, rewind and forward. All together a clear front that exudes class and, as far as we are concerned, looks a lot nicer than the previous model The included Solaris remote control is large, comes from the Osiris series, and is a button party. Not really our definition of a good remote, but we find the most frequently used buttons quickly and intuitively. Switching between dac and CD player, for example, is centrally located at the top, and the play/pause button is also well positioned and extra visible in green. Our favorite button, shuffle, is also present and located (super convenient!) above the play/pause button. Unfortunately, no lighted buttons like on the recently tested Cyrus Audio I7-XR. That should actually be the case, Rega!


When we turn the player over, we do scratch our heads for a moment. Rarely have we seen so many connections on the back of a CD player. In addition to the analog rca output, you also have an optical and coaxial output. Nowadays, you find these on new players, but that’s not all. We see, at the dac, no less than five digital inputs (2x optical, 2x coaxial, 1x usb) and two digital outputs (1x optical, 1x coaxial). So you can connect this CD player analog, use it as a CD transport, connect a streamer, computer or television to it and loop it through to another area. Impressive.

Inside, small but important changes have been made. We see the same two Wolfson WM4782 dac chips that have been tested with even tighter margins in this latest version. There is a nice master clock that buffers the signal first before it is forwarded. The usb part has been updated and has its own driver for windows so you no longer have to depend on your computer.

The power supply has been improved, the dac part is completely separated by the way, and the output stage has been adjusted. All refinements that explain the MK3 and should make an already excellent CD player even better. 

So you don’t really need to upgrade over the previous model unless you have a new Elicit or Aethos amplifier and want uniformity. Since the modifications are not really shocking, after all they are still the same dac chips, the question arises whether this source is still relevant anno 2022 and can keep up with the competition?

Spoiler alert. Without a doubt!

Type test
Single Test
  • Digital Coaxial
  • Digital Optical
  • Digital USB
  • Analog RCA
  • Digital Coaxial
  • Digital Optical
Product type
Max samplingrate
192 kHz
Max bit depth
24 bit
10 Kg
  • Width: 43 cm
  • Depth: 32 cm
  • Height: 8 cm

Winkels met Rega

Sint-Antoniusstraat 15
2300 Turnhout, BE
Joseph Bensstraat 21
1180 Ukkel, BE
Bredabaan 1031
B-2930 Brasschaat, BE
Pelikaanstraat 126
2018 Antwerpen, BE
Schoenmakersstraat 19
6041EX Roermond, NL
Stationsweg 87
9471 GM Zuidlaren, NL
St. Ceciliastraat 28
5038 HA Tilburg, NL
Breestraat 146-148
2311CX Leiden, Zuid Holland, NL
Koningsstraat 35
2011TC Haarlem, Noord Holland, NL
Steenstraat 54
6828 CM Arnhem, Gelderland, NL
Theresiastraat 151 - 157
2593 AG Den Haag, Noord Holland, NL
Beethovenstraat 9-b
1077 HL Amsterdam, Noord Holland, NL