Rotel Displays New Pre/Pros and Amp at CES 2015 - AVS | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 76 Unread 01-15-2015, 01:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Rotel Displays New Pre/Pros and Amp at CES 2015



The company showed a pair of pre/pros—one for 2-channel audio and one for surround-sound—and a beefy new amp. Is it enough to keep pace in an ever-evolving AV landscape?

As a brand, Rotel occupies a middle ground between the major AV manufacturers and boutique brands. Its design philosophy emphasizes sound quality and straight-forward design that evokes more expensive brands. Even so, it also manages to keep prices at levels that allow it to be competitive with the Japanese heavy-hitters as well as competing high-performance brands. Rotel told me the design and engineering budget for each device focuses on audio performance, above all.

First up is the new $1750 RC-1590 2-channel preamp/processor. Rotel equipped it with independent power supplies for its analog and digital sections, balanced XLR inputs, and outputs, a phono input, APTX Bluetooth, and a iPod-compatible USB port on the front. A second USB input on the rear of the unit connects to a PC or Mac, it supports up to 24/192 PCM as well as DSD playback (with Windows). The RC-1590 includes RS232 and IP control for easy integration into automation systems and packs it all into a 3U chassis that's available in silver or black.

Rotel has an amp that's made to match the RC-1590. Its new $3000 RB-1590 is a beast, offering 380 watts/channel of class A/B power into an 8 ohm load. The Rotel rep said "It is a monster piece with a transformer the size of your head in there." The company touts the combination of the 1590 pre/pro and amp as offering true audiophile performance on a budget. I plan to take them up on the claim in a future review.


The RB-1590 amp and the RC-1590 pre/pro.

I also saw—but did not get to hear— a new surround-sound pre-pro from Rotel. The $3500 RSP-1582 offers 7.1 channels of surround-sound along with 4K pass-through, but no HDCP 2.2 support. It uses six Wolfson DACs to render up to 24/192 audio—left, center, right, and subwoofer channels each get their own DAC whereas the four surround channels get one DAC per pair. It has seven HDMI inputs on the rear (with 4K pass-through) and one similarly capable HDMI input on the front panel. It also includes three optical and three coaxial digital inputs. There's a PC USB port that supports 24/192 PCM audio on the rear, and an iPod-compatible USB plug on the front. The RSP-1582 support automation through RS232 as well as IP over Ethernet.


The rear panel of the Rotel RSP-1582.

The RSP-1582 features seven stereo analog RCA inputs, including one with a phono stage. It also sports a complete set of surround-sound analog inputs. On the output side, the RSP-1582 has one set of balanced XLR connections as well as unbalanced RCA. There are two HDMI outputs as well. It also features three 12-volt trigger outputs and twin IR outs. The RSP-1582 has a large display on the front panel that allows you to perform all setup and configuration functions.

I asked about potential support for Atmos, Auro 3-D or DTS:X. Rotel said it was watching the immersive sound sector very closely, but this new model offers no support for those new formats. The RSP-1582 does decode everything Dolby and DTS can throw at it aside from Atmos and DTS:X. Personally, I'm already sold on the benefits of immersive sound and object-based audio formats. Even so, Rotel's new surround-sound pre/pro appears to offer a good feature set for its price—as long as it really does sound better than its similarly-priced but more feature-rich competitors. I bet it could sound great if you paired it with a few RB-1590 amps. What are your thoughts on Rotel's new gear?

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post #2 of 76 Unread 01-15-2015, 01:39 PM
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The back looks like a run of the mill Asian receiver.From that picture built quality looks not all that impressive, something Rotel was known for previously. The front's screen is just a bad idea, you won't be able to see anything from across the room, and they just cost money. MFR's should embrace smartphones and tablets[other than IOS!] as a way to control and monitor, of what being played and able to change settings on the fly.Oppo doing this rather successfully. I won't expect any movement on immersive sound from "these players" till late 2016 [in stores] as they always late to the party.
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post #3 of 76 Unread 01-15-2015, 01:58 PM
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Could you share pictures of the RC-1590 & RB-1590? Did they finally make the power button LED dimmable on either? Thanks!
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post #4 of 76 Unread 01-15-2015, 02:02 PM
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Agreed, the screen is basically useless in the grand scheme of things ... I owned the previous rotel with a screen so I would know.

Tablet based control is reasonable with control4, crestron, etc drivers provided by the company. You often want to control the device from a different room than the device is in anyway.

Why the hdmi and usb port under the screen? this simply looks terrible to top it off.

Even IR remotes should no longer be shipped IMO. Save the money and build a better smartphone app and IP control interface instead.

Also why doesn't the consumer industry simply embrace all XLR or whatever... there is NO reason to have both types of connector and waste a ton of space on the back.

I will say that I actually did like the flavor of sound that the Rotel pre-amp provided with my then B&W Nautilus 802 speakers.
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post #5 of 76 Unread 01-15-2015, 02:09 PM
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I have a Rotel RSP-1098 and have found the screen to be invaluable over the years. In a dedicated room it's inconvenient to have to turn on a projector if you need to make some adjustments to the processor. The screen on my RSP-1098 has always made this task simple.

From the spec sheets I have seen for the RSP-1582, it has a full web interface for IP control, so that will be a nice addition.

I'm still on the fence over the new sound formats. Putting speakers in the ceiling is not an option for me. Also, the lack of content doesn't inspire me either.

Hopefully the build quality has not deteriorated. My RSP-1098 and Rotel power amps have been going for 11 years without issue. I would expect at least the same quality from their new products.

At the end of the day it's the sound quality I care most about. If it sounds at least as good as my RSP-1098 I will upgrade.

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post #6 of 76 Unread 01-15-2015, 02:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rgb32 View Post
Could you share pictures of the RC-1590 & RB-1590? Did they finally make the power button LED dimmable on either? Thanks!
Not exactly my best-ever photo, but here it is. That LED on the power button sure is bright. I don't know if it's dimmable or defeatable.

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post #7 of 76 Unread 01-15-2015, 02:21 PM
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Not exactly my best-ever photo, but here it is. THat LED on the power button sure is bright. I don't know if it's dimmable or defeatable.

Thanks Mark! I seem to recall that Rotel includes some sort of sticker to tame the brightness. The RB-1590 certainly looks like a monster!
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post #8 of 76 Unread 01-15-2015, 03:12 PM
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In a nice dark HT the power light could be viewed as a safety feature.

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I'm curious if the RB-1590 isn't just a recase of the old Rotel RB-1090.

That was a perfectly competent amp, but re-releasing it a decade or so later with a new faceplate isn't exactly great innovation.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by thehun View Post
The back looks like a run of the mill Asian receiver.From that picture built quality looks not all that impressive, something Rotel was known for previously. The front's screen is just a bad idea, you won't be able to see anything from across the room, and they just cost money. MFR's should embrace smartphones and tablets[other than IOS!] as a way to control and monitor, of what being played and able to change settings on the fly.Oppo doing this rather successfully. I won't expect any movement on immersive sound from "these players" till late 2016 [in stores] as they always late to the party.
i think Rotel's strategy is to be viewed more like the boutique brands...offering their purest performance at a much lower price

They will not and never have been competing with the Asians models....with all the newness that change each season

a different market for a different buyer

think more Arcam etc for their competition

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RSP-1582 looks like too little, too late, for too much $$$ with rapidly evolving immersive surround formats. The Emotiva XMC-1 at $1,500 less has about the same (promised, if they ever finish the firmware) feature set plus Dirac room correction.

Must be tough for a smaller manufacturer to keep up with it all.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by turnne1 View Post
i think Rotel's strategy is to be viewed more like the boutique brands...offering their purest performance at a much lower price

They will not and never have been competing with the Asians models....with all the newness that change each season

a different market for a different buyer

think more Arcam etc for their competition

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I'm well aware who rotel and their peers are marketed to. My comment about being late for the party is meant for them all.

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post #13 of 76 Unread 01-15-2015, 06:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by petew View Post
RSP-1582 looks like too little, too late, for too much $$$ with rapidly evolving immersive surround formats. The Emotiva XMC-1 at $1,500 less has about the same (promised, if they ever finish the firmware) feature set plus Dirac room correction.

Must be tough for a smaller manufacturer to keep up with it all.
Just curious, can the Emotiva be updated to Atmos/DTSX? They claim it's future proof modular design, of course we have heard from other MFRS similar claims in the past.

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post #14 of 76 Unread 01-15-2015, 07:28 PM
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I'm well aware who rotel and their peers are marketed to. My comment about being late for the party is meant for them all.
ok then you know
None of the Asians are interested are introducing stereo preamps.... and separate amps at any where the capability of the one Rotel is introducing

and Rotel and their "peers" have not embarked on object based sound or extensive smart interactive features

different neighborhoods

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Just curious, can the Emotiva be updated to Atmos/DTSX? They claim it's future proof modular design, of course we have heard from other MFRS similar claims in the past.
No, it can't. Not without replacing half the insides. I suppose they could do that. Find a pic, it's nothing like some of the past machines that had slide-out modules, or even a computer with various upgradeable slots. I'd say their "modular" is more a boon to them as the manufacturer than to an individual owner. IOW, they can easily adapt for future products more than you could change the one that might be in your home.
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Rotel has always made great stuff.. looks nice.. surprised a little that they didn't go Atmos, but this is how they roll.. they usually don't jump on the bandwagon until the new formats are more widespread.. build quality looks great though.. i always wanted Rotel when i was younger.. now not so much.. but who knows what kind of system i may put together in the future.. they are definitely a great sounding amp.. probably more on the brighter side of things, thats ok though when matched to a specific system i would gather... their old RSP-1572 did not have Auto Room EQ, only manual.. i wonder about the new AV Pre?
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I kinda like how untrusting Rotel is of new technology...heck, after all the format wars who wouldn't be? Anyway, glad to see they finally adopted the second HDMI out...HDCP/HDMI 2.0 shouldn't be too tough for them to implement next time. I agree, they need to jump on the room correction bandwagon...its been standard now for 10+ years and is no longer seen as an option any more than a volume knob is...

There's an old Will Smith movie, forget the name, where he lives in an upscale house (wife is a high powered atty) and he comes home and powers up his ROTEL stereo with the small TV display on the front...looking back it was a tad bit cheesy, but it still made me want one...still do.

After they get Atmos, I'll audition one.
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Hi DS-21,

The RB-1590 is not a "recase" of the old RB-1090. That said, most manufacturers design philosophies manifest themselves in an architecture which is consistent over many amplifiers. In the case of the RB-1590, hundreds of hours have been spent by Robert Burns and his design team in parts selection and tuning of the amplifier.

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Originally Posted by DS-21 View Post
I'm curious if the RB-1590 isn't just a recase of the old Rotel RB-1090.

That was a perfectly competent amp, but re-releasing it a decade or so later with a new faceplate isn't exactly great innovation.
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post #19 of 76 Unread 01-16-2015, 06:02 AM
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Hi pottscb,

There is a big difference between a distrust of technology, and having a guarded position that does not promise things that inherently uncertain. As this applies the RSP-1582, the DSP and video boards are in principle upgradeable. To incorporate Atmos (which we are all very impressed with) you need to design a new DSP board with chips that become available to smaller manufacturers like Rotel this year. So while you in principle have a pre/pro that can be updated, until you actually have a working chip in hand and a solid idea of what that redesigned DSP board will look like (when?, what cost?), would it be wise to promise this to your customers? As a manufacturer, I think you would be very foolish to make promises to customers under these conditions.

Regarding room correction, I've still not seen a single system that gives repeatable results, and the results that I have seen are often laughably wrong (speaker distances varying from actuality by 9ft, volume differences from actuality of up to 4db.) All of this is before you even get to the topic of what to equalize. That's a longer diatribe. To be fair, I've not heard or used Dirac's system which I am told is very good.

HDMI 2.0 with HDCP 2.0 is featured on the RSP-1582. The video switching is fast with both 1080p and 4k sources that I've tested. That said, HDCP 2.2 sources will throw a monkey wrench into my previous statement. Fortunately we will be in good company sharing in that bit of pain with virtually everyone else!

Cheers,

Patrick Butler
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Originally Posted by pottscb View Post
I kinda like how untrusting Rotel is of new technology...heck, after all the format wars who wouldn't be? Anyway, glad to see they finally adopted the second HDMI out...HDCP/HDMI 2.0 shouldn't be too tough for them to implement next time. I agree, they need to jump on the room correction bandwagon...its been standard now for 10+ years and is no longer seen as an option any more than a volume knob is...

There's an old Will Smith movie, forget the name, where he lives in an upscale house (wife is a high powered atty) and he comes home and powers up his ROTEL stereo with the small TV display on the front...looking back it was a tad bit cheesy, but it still made me want one...still do.

After they get Atmos, I'll audition one.
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I have always liked Rotel products and came very close to buying a Rotel pre-pro and amp to power my B&W Nautilus 803's a few years ago but eventually went with B&K (now out of business I might add!). However, I'm of the opinion that unless one absolutely needs a pre-pro now-now, one would be better off waiting a year or so for both the object based audio format (Dolby Atmos, Auro and DTS-X) to mature a bit and HDCP 2.2 support to be included. When I bought the above mentioned B&K pre-pro, I believed the company's assurance that they would upgrade the unit to decode lossless audio. This never happened. So I'm of the opinion that if one wants certain features in a unit, it is best to wait until the unit actually has the features before purchasing it. Experience tells me that manufacturer's can promise future upgrades that may never happen. I've been burned once before and I've learned my lesson the hard way. Just my 2c worth!

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Hi pottscb,

There is a big difference between a distrust of technology, and having a guarded position that does not promise things that inherently uncertain. As this applies the RSP-1582, the DSP and video boards are in principle upgradeable. To incorporate Atmos (which we are all very impressed with) you need to design a new DSP board with chips that become available to smaller manufacturers like Rotel this year. So while you in principle have a pre/pro that can be updated, until you actually have a working chip in hand and a solid idea of what that redesigned DSP board will look like (when?, what cost?), would it be wise to promise this to your customers? As a manufacturer, I think you would be very foolish to make promises to customers under these conditions.

Regarding room correction, I've still not seen a single system that gives repeatable results, and the results that I have seen are often laughably wrong (speaker distances varying from actuality by 9ft, volume differences from actuality of up to 4db.) All of this is before you even get to the topic of what to equalize. That's a longer diatribe. To be fair, I've not heard or used Dirac's system which I am told is very good.

HDMI 2.0 with HDCP 2.0 is featured on the RSP-1582. The video switching is fast with both 1080p and 4k sources that I've tested. That said, HDCP 2.2 sources will throw a monkey wrench into my previous statement. Fortunately we will be in good company sharing in that bit of pain with virtually everyone else!

Cheers,

Patrick Butler
B&W Group North America
Wow Patrick, I didn't mean to offend! (I though my post was pro-Rotel) First, I wouldn't expect Rotel to state that something would be upgradeable without knowing. I am super happy that Rotel does have plans for Atmos, that's all I was implying, the intent for Atmos. Second, there are a few rooms corrections that are good...Anthem's, Dirac and even the newest Audyssey offers improved performance over nothing for less than perfect room setups. HDMI 2.0 with HDCP 2.0 is good, but as you say, the bear will be 2.2 (which is what many will want, I think, prior to jumping into a new processor for 4K)

The dedicated DACS for the front channels and subwoofer and USB DAC input on the back: that's why we'd buy a Rotel over the common brands. (though I'm confused, could the PC USB not be fed from a Macbook USB?)

Keep up the good work.

And by the way, I wish we hadn't all gone to HDMI....nothing but headaches.
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Hi pottscb,

No offense taken! You caught me 1/4 of the way through my first cup of coffee. My wife won't even talk to me until I've had my first cup.

Thank you for your support, and I very much enjoy reading about concerns and interests voiced by the people who buy the kind of products we manufacture. Much easier than relying on my rather hazy crystal ball. Any other input you are willing to share would be much appreciated.

Cheers,

Patrick


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Wow Patrick, I didn't mean to offend! (I though my post was pro-Rotel) First, I wouldn't expect Rotel to state that something would be upgradeable without knowing. I am super happy that Rotel does have plans for Atmos, that's all I was implying, the intent for Atmos. Second, there are a few rooms corrections that are good...Anthem's, Dirac and even the newest Audyssey offers improved performance over nothing for less than perfect room setups. HDMI 2.0 with HDCP 2.0 is good, but as you say, the bear will be 2.2 (which is what many will want, I think, prior to jumping into a new processor for 4K)

The dedicated DACS for the front channels and subwoofer and USB DAC input on the back: that's why we'd buy a Rotel over the common brands. (though I'm confused, could the PC USB not be fed from a Macbook USB?)

Keep up the good work.

And by the way, I wish we hadn't all gone to HDMI....nothing but headaches.
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post #23 of 76 Unread 01-16-2015, 07:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikejedi123 View Post
Rotel has always made great stuff.. looks nice.. surprised a little that they didn't go Atmos, but this is how they roll.. they usually don't jump on the bandwagon until the new formats are more widespread.. build quality looks great though.. i always wanted Rotel when i was younger.. now not so much.. but who knows what kind of system i may put together in the future.. they are definitely a great sounding amp.. probably more on the brighter side of things, thats ok though when matched to a specific system i would gather... their old RSP-1572 did not have Auto Room EQ, only manual.. i wonder about the new AV Pre?

Rotel doesn't do "trendy" and try to compete with the Asians.......
They try to compete with the boutique reference crowd....Krell...Anthem..Mcintosh etc...at a lower price point. I guess you could say they try to be the value boutique brand
When you see those brands have Atmos will be about the same time I would expect Rotel to offer it
The Asians will try to have some thing "new" in their line to get you in the market every 12-18 months
A sure fire way to make sure that their last years product line is obsolete...and the values of them fall quickly as we all know


The boutique brands...not so much
The same Anthem Statement D2V pre-pro I salivated over 3 years ago has not changed in market price
Another clear difference is that Rotel introducing a stereo preamp and what looks like a very capable 2 channel amp


Its simply a product category that the Asians don't play in


as I said a before...they are looking for a buyer who is looking in a different "neighborhood"


Warren

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post #24 of 76 Unread 01-17-2015, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by turnne1 View Post
Rotel doesn't do "trendy" and try to compete with the Asians.......
They try to compete with the boutique reference crowd....Krell...Anthem..Mcintosh etc...at a lower price point. I guess you could say they try to be the value boutique brand
When you see those brands have Atmos will be about the same time I would expect Rotel to offer it
The Asians will try to have some thing "new" in their line to get you in the market every 12-18 months
A sure fire way to make sure that their last years product line is obsolete...and the values of them fall quickly as we all know


The boutique brands...not so much
The same Anthem Statement D2V pre-pro I salivated over 3 years ago has not changed in market price
Another clear difference is that Rotel introducing a stereo preamp and what looks like a very capable 2 channel amp


Its simply a product category that the Asians don't play in


as I said a before...they are looking for a buyer who is looking in a different "neighborhood"


Warren
For those interested the below link contains the spec sheets for the new RSP-1582. Also, Patrick from Rotel gives a good explanation why companies like Yamaha and Denon have ATMOS before the likes of Rotel, Anthem and Arcam.

http://www.htguide.com/forum/showthr...42443-Ces-2015

Regards,
Stephen
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post #25 of 76 Unread 01-17-2015, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by whmacs View Post
For those interested the below link contains the spec sheets for the new RSP-1582. Also, Patrick from Rotel gives a good explanation why companies like Yamaha and Denon have ATMOS before the likes of Rotel, Anthem and Arcam.

http://www.htguide.com/forum/showthr...42443-Ces-2015

Regards,
Stephen

makes sense


and follows with the same method as it was with the advent of HDMI...then 3D(HDMI 1.4)...networking....apps...and on and on


Warren

Rm 1 Samsung 64F8500 Marantz 8801 prepro Sherbourn 5/1500A amp B&W CM10s..CM2 center...CM5's.rears
Rm 2 LG 47LE8500 Denon 4520 Celestion 305 speaker system
Rm 3 Samsung 51E8000 Pioneer SC37 Kef 2005.2 speaker system
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post #26 of 76 Unread 01-17-2015, 03:24 PM
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How long till we see a Rotel receiver and pre/pro(s) with Dolby Atmos and dts:x audio decoders? ....Auro-3D? ...I'd say around 2017-18 ... @ the earliest.
But I could be wrong, and I truly hope that my guess is wrong indeed.

Last edited by NorthSky; 01-17-2015 at 09:52 PM. Reason: typo (dts:x)
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post #27 of 76 Unread 01-17-2015, 09:08 PM
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ok then you know
None of the Asians are interested are introducing stereo preamps.... and separate amps at any where the capability of the one Rotel is introducing

and Rotel and their "peers" have not embarked on object based sound or extensive smart interactive features

different neighborhoods

Warren
Since you're one of the "faithfuls" I'll just say this: "Niche" doesn't equal better.
CruelInventions likes this.

sent via Morse code...........

The Hun

Last edited by thehun; 01-17-2015 at 09:25 PM.
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post #28 of 76 Unread 01-17-2015, 09:29 PM
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Since you're one of the "faithfuls" I'll just say this: "Niche" doesn't equal better.

Interesting assumptions you make about me without knowing any facts....


I didn't say "niche".."neighborhood" etc was any better or worse


I just said it was a different market/buyer


take what I say as what I say...and not what you think I am saying


things will be clearer then....


Warren

Rm 1 Samsung 64F8500 Marantz 8801 prepro Sherbourn 5/1500A amp B&W CM10s..CM2 center...CM5's.rears
Rm 2 LG 47LE8500 Denon 4520 Celestion 305 speaker system
Rm 3 Samsung 51E8000 Pioneer SC37 Kef 2005.2 speaker system
Rm 4 Panasonic 50ST50 Pioneer SC77 Mirage Omni sat speaker system

Last edited by turnne1; 01-17-2015 at 09:56 PM.
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post #29 of 76 Unread 01-17-2015, 09:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NorthSky View Post
How long till we see a Rotel receiver and pre/pro(s) with Dolby Atmos and dts:x audio decoders? ....Auro-3D? ...I'd say around 2017-18 ... @ the earliest.
But I could be wrong, and I truly hope that my guess is wrong indeed.

at the same time Krell..Anthem..Mcintosh etc introduce them...


Rotel is looking for that buyer of the boutique electronics to give them a look because of the price


As I said before...they are looking not looking to compete in the markets the Asians play in


Warren

Rm 1 Samsung 64F8500 Marantz 8801 prepro Sherbourn 5/1500A amp B&W CM10s..CM2 center...CM5's.rears
Rm 2 LG 47LE8500 Denon 4520 Celestion 305 speaker system
Rm 3 Samsung 51E8000 Pioneer SC37 Kef 2005.2 speaker system
Rm 4 Panasonic 50ST50 Pioneer SC77 Mirage Omni sat speaker system
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post #30 of 76 Unread 01-17-2015, 10:17 PM
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Lookin', ain't playin'. ...Today it just doesn't fit no more. IMO
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