During its more than half-century existence, the basic function of a stereo preamplifier has largely remained the same: transfer signals from traditional analog audio sources. Will the new Rotel RC stereo preamplifier satisfy such lofty expectations? Follow me and together we will find out. The RC bears a strong family resemblance to its other Rotel siblings. Below the vacuum fluorescent display is a generous bank of input selectors.
The rear panel has a bevy of inputs and outputs. An aptX Bluetooth antenna neighbors three Toslink and three coaxial digital inputs, followed by single coaxial and Toslink digital outputs. Below are inputs for the phono stage input and other inputs labeled CD and tuner. An Aux line output to another device or powered subwoofer follows, flanked by a pair of unbalanced and balanced outputs.
At the far right is the power cord receptacle that, surprisingly, lacks a ground prong input. The RC software is upgradable via the Internet. About halfway through this review, I easily downloaded the latest version V1. For all listening sessions, I mated the RC with a brute of a stereo amplifier and the subject of a separate reviewthe Rotel RB I selected the tone control bypass the factory default setting for the entire review period.
Starting with. For those unfamiliar with recent developments in the Bluetooth world, aptX is a codec that enables compatible devices to transmit and receive CD-quality files. Both recordings yielded some pretty spectacular musical moments, highlighting the ability of this preamp to resolve complex musical passages without overemphasizing any aspect of the sound spectrum. In other words, blessedly neutral. I explored the high-resolution download libraries on the Bryston player and Mac laptop.
Fitzgerald and Mr. The late J. Having lived with the Rotel RC for the better part of two months, I can state unequivocally that it delivered some of the most uncolored sound that I have ever heard. There was refreshing honesty in the way the RC passed music forward through the audio chain: great recordings were given their due while lower resolution material was treated kindly. Rotel has triumphed again!
Given its excellent build quality and a very handy remote control, this is one heckuva preamp that earns my highest recommendation.Moving magnet phono input for turntable connection. Bluetooth with aptX. Balanced XLR inputs and outputs. Separate components hold the promise of the best possible fidelity, since each device is optimized for its role in the sound reproduction chain. Among many refinements, the RC utilizes relay switching for analog sources instead of an IC based switch to maintain the integrity of the signal path for RCA, phono and XLR inputs.
Beneath the clean lines and user friendly fascia of the RC lies highly sophisticated engineering. A large toroidal transformer and regulated power supply ensures stable current and voltage requirements to all stages under dynamic conditions.
Premium circuit components have been selected only after extensive listening evaluations. Careful routing of all low level signals has been practiced to ensure impressive signal to noise levels. The result is effortless musical dynamics, impressive detail and scale. The RC stereo preamplifier is also extremely flexible. The 4 inputs are designed for sources such as TV set-top boxes, flat panel TVs or Blu-ray players for stunning playback.
Integrated Bluetooth aptX is provided. A moving magnet phono stage rounds out the source capability. In short, the RC is a tremendous value and the perfect upgrade for owners of older analog-only preamplifiers. Owners Manual. Info Sheet. Dimensional Drawing PDF.
Dimensional Drawing CAD. RS Protocol. Please provide us with your email address to get the latest news in sound technology and products. Sign up for the Rotel Newsletter today!Search form Search. Show Munich More Reports. Solid State Preamp Reviews. A few issues back, in my review of the Mark Levinson No. It was worth spending more on a preamplifier, therefore, than on loudspeakers. Needless to say, this viewpoint was regarded by many readers as dangerously heretical.
Solid State Preamp Reviews
I decided, therefore, to investigate the sonic possibilities of budget-priced preamps in this issue, even the most expensive being less than one-tenth the price of the Mark Levinson. By coincidence, all three models chosen are manufactured in Taiwan, though two companies, NAD and Parasound, are as American as apple pie.
The third, Rotel, is Japanese though with a strong strain of English design philosophy. Following the signal from input to output, the phono inputs feed a rear-panel slide switch, selecting both the gain of a low-noise Signetics NEAN IC head amplifier and the input shunt resistance.
Shunt capacitance is defined by a pair of pF polystyrene capacitors; these can be easily changed by the dealer to match cartridges requiring more or less capacitance. This first stage feeds the RIAA equalization circuit, this again based around NEAN dedicated audio op-amps, which in turn lead, via series electrolytic caps bypassed with polystyrenes, to the source selector and tape monitor switches. The line-level inputs are routed to the switching by pcb tracks, separated by ground tracks to minimize crosstalk.
The phono and CD input sockets are gold-plated.
Rotel RC-1590 Stereo Preamplifier Review
The volume control, a rather ordinary-looking component though usefully not detentedis followed by the tone control circuitry, this founded on two NE dual op-amps. Although there is no balance control as such, the two halves of the volume control are friction-locked and can be adjusted independently.
The Sound The first set of listening tests was done with the Rotel set for exactly unity gain, its tone controls set to "off," and inserted in a PS Audio 4.
As explained earlier, in its "Straightwire" mode, the PS Audio's output is taken directly from the volume pot, imposing very little coloration on the sound.
Comparing the sound from CD via the Rotel with what is effectively a piece of wire with a few switch contacts revealed that it does have a characteristic signature. Tonally, the RC was commendably neutral; however, it did seem to have somewhat of a "bowdlerizing" effect on the sound of instruments. When listening to a new component, I tend to reach for a piano recording first, the complex sound of the instrument being very hard to reproduce faithfully.
In this instance, it was the last CD in the complete series of Beethoven piano sonatas recorded for Nimbus by Bernard Roberts, Switching the Rotel into circuit made the sound more like that of a "generic" piano, a veiling in the midrange reducing the sonic differences between Mr.
The sound of the introductory orchestral climax via the Rotel was clean, without too much "splash" in the treble. However, the solo trumpet introduction, where the player almost double-dots the part, increasing the music's drama, came over with less tension than when the CD player was fed straight to the power amps via the PS Audio's volume control pot. This "slowing" of the music's pulse was a consistent feature to emerge during my auditioning of the RC Yet it came over as too polite through the Rotel, lacking some of the tension that it usually has in spades.
Despite a commendable degree of neutrality in such a low-priced component, there was something about the line stage that prevented the music from holding my attention. Turning to the auditioning of the phono stage, the noise level was gratifyingly low with the input set to MC, and the sound was clean, lacking any kind of hardness.
But "inoffensive" was the word that appeared more than once in my listening notes, the musicians again sounding more tired than I had become used to with the reference.Discussion in ' Audio Hardware ' started by jloweinmoSep 13, Log in or Sign up. Steve Hoffman Music Forums. High end Phono Stage vs good Preamp? Location: Kansas City. Long story short, I'm looking to upgrade my Preamp. Currently running a Rotel with the matched Preamp.
I recently upgraded my speakers to Vandersteen 3A Sig. I now feel that my Preamp is my weakest link. I only use this system for vinyl.
My question is; should I go with a better Preamp with a good Phono Stage or spend the money on a dedicated Phono Stage? I do have a very high quality CD player but it has not been out of the box in 15 years. Am I going to get enough sound improvement from a quality dedicated Phono Stage to offset the loss of flexibility provided by a regular Preamp?
My Rotel Amp is very good but the Vandersteens are very thirsty. The M is rated at into 8 Ohm and into 4 Ohm. The Rotel has enough juice to drive the 4 Ohm Vandys but the volume is up quite a bit higher than when driving my previous JBL speakers.
I feel like I may be loosing some fidelity here Any thoughts on PS Audio in general? Pretty small company out of Boulder. Not much out there to read on them Location: South West, UK. Dedicated phono stage. It's probably the built in phono that's holding the sound back.
High end Phono Stage vs good Preamp?
Keep the preamp. A lot of stages don't have enough gain for direct into power amp or a passive pre in fact most. Run into aux and you can use your Cd player. I think Fremer has the new PS audio phono so there likely will be a full review on Analog Planet or Stereophile coming up.
ClassicrockSep 13, Athalwolf and jloweinmo like this. Location: Sydney. When I search Rotel I get what appears to be a preamp which is also a surround processor. Is late in here so I might be misreading your post but do you want to connect the phono stage directly to the power amp?
Has it got volume control knobs?Many are able to accommodate virtually any sort of source component. Or do you just want to turn the system on, set the input and volume, and not touch it again? Its general build quality seemed good, and comparable to other models at or near its price. The styling is similar to that of other Rotel models, with rounded corner pieces of painted aluminum that make a transition from the front to the side panels.
The case showed no obvious flexing, and except for the aluminum faceplate is made from folded sheet metal, as is common at this price. It consumes 15W during active use, and less than 0. The volume knob, too, will appeal to the fiddler. Turning the volume control below the Min setting triggers a relay that mutes the output. The benefit of this all-electronic volume control is that you never have to remember to turn it down.
Those who prefer to keep the signal path as short as possible will find the balance and tone controls at their default settings of zero, the default volume setting at a reasonable level, and the brightness of the screen unobtrusive.
The Bluetooth connection is simple -- anyone with an up-to-date Bluetooth device can connect with a simple pass-key. This sort of accessibility is important to those of us who now listen mostly to digital files instead of CDs and LPs: Your friend can play mixes and DJ your party all night from the smartphone in his or her pocket. Still, I can see this being troublesome for those who live in apartments or condos -- their neighbors might put on inappropriate selections when their own Bluetooth device is not in control.
Its 51 buttons will control most of the Rotel devices anyone might use with the RC, but will be nothing but clutter if used with gear from other manufacturers. I long for the day when all remote controls are Wi-Fi-capable smartphone apps that can control everything from a computer to all functions and settings of audio gear.
As for the Rotel pairing, all this complicated remote could do was turn the preamp and amp on and off and adjust the volume.Rotel RC-1572 Preamplifier Unboxing - The Listening Post - TLPCHC TLPWLG
All of this was rendered well by the Rotel. Percussion instruments sounded natural, with cymbal strokes having a realistic metallic quality.
Roughly two-thirds of the way through there is a notable change, as the track crescendos to an aggressive climax as Morrison speaks of lashing out at his family.
All three instrumentalists are playing aggressively, and the sound became a bit harsh. Percussion and guitar both became a bit less focused. The Rotel treated it well. The entire band was centered narrowly between the speakers, with Davis slightly forward of the other musicians.
The sound was generally laid-back, except when Davis muted his horn -- then, it sounded forward and a bit jarring. The high-pitched edges produced by a Harmon mute were very sharply defined, and incongruous with the smoothness of the rest of the sound. This recording has a nice flow without being too exciting.Search form Search. Show Munich More Reports. Solid State Preamp Reviews. Spatial Coherence TVA-1 preamplifier.
There are some standing jokes in the audio industry about the qualities a piece of equipment must have in order to be truly "high-end. Another is that it will sound great, break, and its manufacturer go out of business. By meeting at least half of these variables, the Spatial Coherence TVA-1 preamplifier qualifies as a classic audiophile product. But one long-standing manufacturer whose exhibits at audio shows invariably inspire ecstatic reports, Germany's MBL, has remained outside my purview.
I thought I knew what a preamp could do. Benchmark LA4 line preamplifier.
Four jazz quartet. No such association was intended, however: the "4" merely designates change from previous Benchmark designs. Great American Sound Thaedra preamplifier.
Our first sample of this preamplifier was returned to the manufacturer before we had completed our tests on it, and was replaced with the latest version ours is serial number Enough time elapsed between the time we shipped back the first sample and the time we got around to auditioning the second that we are unable to report on any sonic differences between the two. Pass Laboratories XP line preamplifier. For those who listen with their ears and not their brain, perfectionist hi-fi offers many surprises.
A friend called me up a few weeks ago and asked if the DAC we both own had received an automatic firmware update he hadn't heard about; something had changed, it wasn't good, and he couldn't figure out what it was.
His system's sound was suddenly pale and unfocused. There had been no firmware update. Exposure XVII preamplifier. Thomas R. Moreover, many manufacturers are omitting phono stages altogether, on the assumption that people don't listen to LPs anymore. Audia Flight FLS1 preamplifier. Our conservative two-channel audio world doesn't easily accept change. Not that many years ago, even remote control was considered a sign of electronic moral decay certain to degrade sound quality.
In his report on that showHerb Reichert described the midrange of Sugden's A21SE Signature, a pure class-A integrated amplifier, driving DeVore Fidelity speakers, as " shroom -like" and contrasted the sound with what he called class-D's "fake cocaine.
Although I no longer attend the audio pageant that was once the annual Consumer Electronics Show, I now seem to be traveling more, in hopes of recapturing the excitement CES had once provided. Last May I attended High End, in Munich, and found that while it was entirely as advertised, there was, alas, not enough emphasis on the playback of high-resolution files, and hardly any attention paid to multichannel music.
In the early s, the Compact Disc was all the rage, and vinyl records were being executed en masse. Thirty years later, and oh, how our tables have turned.
Vinyl continues to enjoy a global resurgence of popularity, while CD sales have plummeted to all-time lows. What happened? Apparently, yesterday's pops and ticks are today's "warmth," Record Store Day exclusives, and skyrocketing vinyl values.
All things old. The digital ground seems to shift weekly. While firmware and software updates over the Internet somewhat slow the constant upheaval, when you do buy something, you just know that as soon as you plunk down your cash, something new will come along. So, especially with preamplifiers, why not produce a design based on modules that the user can swap in and out, to custom-configure the preamp to that user's current needs while leaving room for later expansion?A stereo system today can be something as simple as an integrated amplifier connected to your smartphone, with the multitude of music sources a smartphone can provide, and a pair of bookshelf speakers.
Or, it might be something larger and more sophisticated — a stereo preamplifier with on-board Digital-to-Analog convertor, multiple independent sources including a turntable, a CD player, a network music player and powerful separate amplifiers for bi-amping full range floor-standing speakers.
Simple or sophisticated, Rotel manufactures a wide range of high performance, high value audio components that will deliver all of the passion and detail that the artist intended. Please provide us with your email address to get the latest news in sound technology and products. Sign up for the Rotel Newsletter today! Skip to main content. Music Systems Check out Stereo for everything you need to know about music systems and sound. Stereo Integrated Amplifiers. Stereo Preamplifiers. Stereo Amplifiers.
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