Is Rotel brand still good? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 94 Old 05-28-2017, 01:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Is Rotel brand still good?

I used to own top of the line Rotel separates back in the day (~15 years ago). Still have the RSX-1065 used in 2.1 mode with all surround features disabled. Built like a rock!

But it may be time to upgrade to a new entry level (in the audiophile world that is) setup.

Should I start looking to Rotel, or is that brand "stale" nowadays?

My speakers are ELAC Uni-Fi UB5 paired with SVS SB12 sub. Using Bluesound Node 2 / Roon as a source with ALAC files and Tidal Hi-Fi.

I have been out of touch on home audio front for the past several years, but I have a nice headphones setup.

Thanks!

P.s. Please be gentle with me
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post #2 of 94 Old 05-28-2017, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by thyname View Post
...P.s. Please be gentle with me
You need to upgrade your speakers first.
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post #3 of 94 Old 05-28-2017, 01:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Russ69 View Post
You need to upgrade your speakers first.
Yep! I was suspecting so, although these are good speakers on that price range.

But with what?

Any answers to my Rotel question?

Thanks!
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post #4 of 94 Old 05-28-2017, 02:46 PM
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Sure, Rotel still makes a quality product. Everything they produce is made in China now. However, this doesn't really matter to me as long as the product is still made well.

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post #5 of 94 Old 05-28-2017, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by thyname View Post
Any answers to my Rotel question?
I'm biased

I still have my Rotel RSP 970 and the awesome RDA 985 dts decoder.

Rotel is a great investment even today. In my opinion the very best quality per pricing.

SAMSUNG QLED | ROTEL | MOREL | M&K | HAFLER | TECHNICS SP-25
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post #6 of 94 Old 05-28-2017, 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by thyname View Post
...But with what?
Investment wise, I would suggest migrating toward powered speakers. Dynaudio has a great active 3-way LYD 48. Their listed $1,149...for Dynaudio quality the pricing is pretty good. Active monitors are great in HT applications as well as 2-channel setups.
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post #7 of 94 Old 05-28-2017, 03:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thyname View Post
Yep! I was suspecting so, although these are good speakers on that price range.
But with what?
Any answers to my Rotel question?
Thanks!
The Rotel is fine until you move significantly up the speaker chain. That is also my recommendation (move significantly up the chain). I can't select speakers for you, that is a personal choice. Go out and listen to some quality speakers.

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post #8 of 94 Old 05-28-2017, 03:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Tomas2 View Post
I'm biased

I still have my Rotel RSP 970 and the awesome RDA 985 dts decoder.

Rotel is a great investment even today. In my opinion the very best quality per pricing.
Good to hear. Back in the day, I loved the Rotel sound. Good value for the money.

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Investment wise, I would suggest migrating toward powered speakers. Dynaudio has a great active 3-way LYD 48. Their listed $1,149...for Dynaudio quality the pricing is pretty good. Active monitors are great in HT applications as well as 2-channel setups.
I completely unfamiliar with powered speakers. Never owned such. Time to look them up.

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Originally Posted by postrokfan View Post
Sure, Rotel still makes a quality product. Everything they produce is made in China now. However, this doesn't really matter to me as long as the product is still made well.
Thanks! I will look up what you have in your signature.

It seems like I am staying with Rotel. Thanks for the confirmation all.

Is it worth looking at the integrated, or should not even bother and go straight up to separates?

Back in the day I used to own the full stack, RB-1080 as the Amp, RC-1070 as a pre (not sure on numbers on this one, can't recall) and RCD-1072 as a CD player
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post #9 of 94 Old 05-28-2017, 03:31 PM
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I completely unfamiliar with powered speakers. Never owned such. Time to look them up
http://www.fullcompass.com/prod/5299...ional-LYD-48-R

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post #10 of 94 Old 05-28-2017, 03:40 PM - Thread Starter
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The Rotel is fine until you move significantly up the speaker chain. That is also my recommendation (move significantly up the chain). I can't select speakers for you, that is a personal choice. Go out and listen to some quality speakers.
Unlike with headphones gear, where I can go to multiple meetups per year locally (I never miss these), auditioning speakers is a challenge.

With headphones, room acoustics don't matter. I can go to a dealer, with acoustically Treated listening rooms, some speakers would sound great, and they would sound like crap home.

Obviously speakers are not portable to bring to meetups Headphones gear is.

Here is my headphones gear:

Roon --> microRendu (powered by sBooster) --> Singxer SU-1 (powered by LPS-1) --> i2s --> Holo Spring L3 KTE --> AURALiC Taurus MKII --> Focal Utopia

Everything there is endgame for me there, with the exception of the Amp (perhaps, not sure yet)
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post #11 of 94 Old 05-28-2017, 04:12 PM
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Rotel still makes quality gear and great deals can be had buying their electronics used. Here is a fairly recent AVS review of some of their latest offerings. Notice the signal to noise ratio of 120. That is a pretty good number, if one is seeking a quiet amplifier.

https://www.avsforum.com/rotel-rb-159...preamp-review/
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post #12 of 94 Old 05-28-2017, 04:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thyname View Post
Here is my headphones gear:

Roon --> microRendu (powered by sBooster) --> Singxer SU-1 (powered by LPS-1) --> i2s --> Holo Spring L3 KTE --> AURALiC Taurus MKII --> Focal Utopia...
Loudspeakers can sound way better than headphones but headphones are pretty good for the price. You'll need a really good set of loudspeakers so you can surpass headphone performance and be satisfied.

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post #13 of 94 Old 05-28-2017, 05:06 PM
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Not from personal experience but from what I've read the Uni-Fi speakers are hard to drive. Seems strange since in that budget range users aren't looking at "mega-buck" electronics.

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Originally Posted by thyname View Post
I used to own top of the line Rotel separates back in the day (~15 years ago). Still have the RSX-1065 used in 2.1 mode with all surround features disabled. Built like a rock!

But it may be time to upgrade to a new entry level (in the audiophile world that is) setup.

Should I start looking to Rotel, or is that brand "stale" nowadays?

My speakers are ELAC Uni-Fi UB5 paired with SVS SB12 sub. Using Bluesound Node 2 / Roon as a source with ALAC files and Tidal Hi-Fi.

I have been out of touch on home audio front for the past several years, but I have a nice headphones setup.

Thanks!

P.s. Please be gentle with me
Probably not as good as it once was. How's that for gentle?
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post #15 of 94 Old 05-28-2017, 05:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Loudspeakers can sound way better than headphones but headphones are pretty good for the price. You'll need a really good set of loudspeakers so you can surpass headphone performance and be satisfied.
Truly words of wisdom! Agreed.

I was thinking: maybe I move my fronts from the surround system 5.1.2 I have to the stereo setup. I have the MKII version of these Axiom speakers:

http://www.axiomaudio.com/m60-floorstanding-speakers

From several years ago.

I think the elac's would be fine on that system (just movies and shows).

What do you guys think?

Also, I was thinking of getting a second sub for my system, making it 2.2. How do you guys accomplish this with 2-channel gear?
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post #16 of 94 Old 05-28-2017, 05:24 PM
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...I was thinking: maybe I move my fronts from the surround system 5.1.2 I have to the stereo setup...
That is a good idea and you can work on proper placement to get the absolute best sound.

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Also, I was thinking of getting a second sub for my system, making it 2.2. How do you guys accomplish this with 2-channel gear?
In a music system adding a second sub is better but only slightly so. Try the floorstanders first and go from there.
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post #17 of 94 Old 05-28-2017, 05:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thyname View Post
Unlike with headphones gear, where I can go to multiple meetups per year locally (I never miss these), auditioning speakers is a challenge.

With headphones, room acoustics don't matter. I can go to a dealer, with acoustically Treated listening rooms, some speakers would sound great, and they would sound like crap home.

Obviously speakers are not portable to bring to meetups Headphones gear is.

Here is my headphones gear:

Roon --> microRendu (powered by sBooster) --> Singxer SU-1 (powered by LPS-1) --> i2s --> Holo Spring L3 KTE --> AURALiC Taurus MKII --> Focal Utopia

Everything there is endgame for me there, with the exception of the Amp (perhaps, not sure yet)
If you are dealing with a reputable audio dealer they will have no problem doing an audition in your home once you narrow your choices down to one or two speakers. If you choose to buy online for the best deal then you really get what you pay for and take all the risk.

I used to have a fair bit of Rotel in the early 90's; IMO they haven't kept up with the pack if your goal is any type of home theatre. I don't think you get anywhere near the value for dollar on their processing and to me for audio, the "Rotel sound" is no longer there. I still have a 1090 that I picked up I think in 2001 or so that I hook up every now and again. In my listening room I am running Bryston now which to me is one of the better sounding amps out there until you spend serious coin. The upside is, there is a lot of good older Rotel amps out there for sale; like others have said, if you want to improve your sound I would also suggest speakers and grab up some of the used older amps for a steal at the same time. I have always liked Rotel with Paradigm, it does ok with my KEFs but not as well.

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post #18 of 94 Old 05-28-2017, 05:28 PM - Thread Starter
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That is a good idea and you can work on proper placement to get the absolute best sound.

In a music system adding a second sub is better but only slightly so. Try the floorstanders first and go from there.
Will try that tomorrow as I am off tomorrow. Thanks.

I would be interested in others' opinion, both in terms of this speakers swap idea, and whether it is time to retire my RSX-1065 for something new.

On another note, you only joined three months ago and have almost 1,200 posts here?!?! Darn...
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post #19 of 94 Old 05-28-2017, 06:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thyname View Post
Unlike with headphones gear, where I can go to multiple meetups per year locally (I never miss these), auditioning speakers is a challenge.

With headphones, room acoustics don't matter. I can go to a dealer, with acoustically Treated listening rooms, some speakers would sound great, and they would sound like crap home.

Obviously speakers are not portable to bring to meetups Headphones gear is.

Here is my headphones gear:

Roon --> microRendu (powered by sBooster) --> Singxer SU-1 (powered by LPS-1) --> i2s --> Holo Spring L3 KTE --> AURALiC Taurus MKII --> Focal Utopia

Everything there is endgame for me there, with the exception of the Amp (perhaps, not sure yet)
@thyname :

Nice coming across another Focal Utopia owner.

My Utopias are driven by a HeadAmp GS-X Mk2, with a Schiit Yggy on the front end. SGC and mRu in between and UltraCap and HDPlex for juice.

I've posted the same elsewhere, and it is contrarian...but I recommend improving the upstream components before the speaker.

Rotel is still good, perhaps not where it was, but at it's price point it is competitive.

Having said that, most electronics (today) are pretty good and the quality to price ratio keeps rising.

Given that you have a good feel for what TOTL headphone sound quality is, figure out what it is that you really, truly, want to accomplish with your 2ch system. That should lead to a more specific decision / choice.
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post #20 of 94 Old 05-28-2017, 06:46 PM
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Not from personal experience but from what I've read the Uni-Fi speakers are hard to drive. Seems strange since in that budget range users aren't looking at "mega-buck" electronics.
I think that reputation has been overblown. Yes, they're 4ohm nominal, but they only have a couple little dips under 4ohms and spend most of their time quite above that, you don't need super fancy electronics to drive them.

They're also an incredible value for the sound quality you get out of them. I bought mine on the spot after auditioning them. The price certainly played a role, being low enough to be an impulse buy, but they sounded better than the PSB T3s I'd listened to immediately previously.

I'm not saying they're the best speakers in the world, the B&W 804 D3 is still the best I've heard, but you'd have to spend significantly more than the $500/pair price for the Uni-Fis to get comparable sound from what I've heard, especially if you're using them with a sub to beef up the bottom end (though they have surprisingly nice bass response if you can position them correctly, my setup precludes that unfortunately).
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post #21 of 94 Old 05-28-2017, 07:17 PM
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Not from personal experience but from what I've read the Uni-Fi speakers are hard to drive. Seems strange since in that budget range users aren't looking at "mega-buck" electronics.

Easy to drive, but not the most efficient.
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post #22 of 94 Old 05-28-2017, 07:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
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@thyname :

Nice coming across another Focal Utopia owner.

My Utopias are driven by a HeadAmp GS-X Mk2, with a Schiit Yggy on the front end. SGC and mRu in between and UltraCap and HDPlex for juice.

I've posted the same elsewhere, and it is contrarian...but I recommend improving the upstream components before the speaker.

Rotel is still good, perhaps not where it was, but at it's price point it is competitive.

Having said that, most electronics (today) are pretty good and the quality to price ratio keeps rising.

Given that you have a good feel for what TOTL headphone sound quality is, figure out what it is that you really, truly, want to accomplish with your 2ch system. That should lead to a more specific decision / choice.
Nice 👍

GSX MKII is certainly in my radar. Either that or the Cavalli Gold. If the finances allow down the road. In fact, I listened to the GSX yesterday again for the second time during a mini meetup we had locally (just four of us). I was impressed. A little on the bright side with my Utopia, but I like bright.

I looked at Yggy before, but I decided to go with L3 Kitsune Holo Spring. Very close call, but i2S makes a difference (for my modified Singxer SU-1 powered by LpS-1), as well as DSD (Schiit is not into DSD at all). Both are great R2R DACs.

For my home audio, I don't think I can accomplish what I want given the housing situation with my big weirdly shaped basement, and my family situation, as it is different than what it was 10-15 years ago when I had a great setup (family, kids, and so on). Also, I cannot enjoy my speakers other than during the weekends, whereas with headphones, I can crank it up every weeknight after work. I realize that, but still looking to improve it somewhat. While I am very close to achieving TOTL with headphones, if I achieve 50% of that with my home audio, I would be happy. I think I am at around 20-25% for now on that front.
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post #23 of 94 Old 05-28-2017, 07:29 PM
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I think that reputation has been overblown. Yes, they're 4ohm nominal, but they only have a couple little dips under 4ohms and spend most of their time quite above that, you don't need super fancy electronics to drive them.

They're also an incredible value for the sound quality you get out of them. I bought mine on the spot after auditioning them. The price certainly played a role, being low enough to be an impulse buy, but they sounded better than the PSB T3s I'd listened to immediately previously.

I'm not saying they're the best speakers in the world, the B&W 804 D3 is still the best I've heard, but you'd have to spend significantly more than the $500/pair price for the Uni-Fis to get comparable sound from what I've heard, especially if you're using them with a sub to beef up the bottom end (though they have surprisingly nice bass response if you can position them correctly, my setup precludes that unfortunately).
My comment wasn't really meant to be a knock on the quality of the speakers. You thought them better than $7500 full-range speakers? Interesting. Not that price is necessarily associated with equivalent performance but I've always felt that PSB offered well designed neutral speakers.

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post #24 of 94 Old 05-28-2017, 07:40 PM
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My comment wasn't really meant to be a knock on the quality of the speakers. You thought them better than $7500 full-range speakers? Interesting. Not that price is necessarily associated with equivalent performance but I've always felt that PSB offered well designed neutral speakers.
To be fair, I was really unimpressed with the PSBs. They sounded dead to me, almost plasticky, and seemed to distort heavily far earlier than similar large towers I'd listened to. The Paradigm Prestige P95F impressed me far more, and the B&W 804 D3 absolutely blew me away.

The Uni-Fis may not be the final word in accuracy, but they're incredibly 'fun' speakers. With the coaxial tweeter/midrange the imaging is ridiculously good as well.

I also wasn't really comparing the T3s to the Elacs, or at least that wasn't my goal. I'd gone to the shop specifically to hear the T3s after reading the review of them here, and saw that the same store had the Elacs which I'd also read about and had been curious about. I'm sure the T3s should be better speakers in most regards, but my impressions after listening to them both right after one another was 'I don't like these, and I don't see them being worth anywhere near this price' with regard to the PSBs, and 'oh man, I love these, and they're only $500?' with regard to the Elacs.

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post #25 of 94 Old 05-28-2017, 07:49 PM
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Fair enough. I think I will refrain from derailing the thread any further.

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post #26 of 94 Old 05-28-2017, 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by thyname View Post
...On another note, you only joined three months ago and have almost 1,200 posts here?!?! Darn...
I'm retired, I've got the time to play. My post count would be a lot less if the HT guys would quit posting in the 2 channel forum and messing my mellow.
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post #27 of 94 Old 05-29-2017, 05:15 AM
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I've heard the Rotel IA and CD player with Paradign, B&W and PMC speakers and I wasn't really feeling the brands sound. That said the prices aren't unreasonable, but I think I'd look at alternatives as well. Naim, NAD, Hegel, Arcam, T+A, Primaire, Rogue, Rega, Roksan, Simaudio. To name a few, IMO.
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post #28 of 94 Old 05-29-2017, 07:16 AM - Thread Starter
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Any opinions on Parasound Halo integrated?

http://www.parasound.com/hint.php

It looks like it had two subwoofers outputs for 2.2 setup
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post #29 of 94 Old 05-29-2017, 08:29 AM
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Parasound gives you a good feature set, and yes, 2 sub outs. It is being discounted. DAC is not it's strongest card, but if you are using the Level 3 Kitsune it will be a non issue.

All of the brands @callas01 lists are also good options.

I'd add Wyred 4 Sound and Nuprime integrateds to his list (at somewhat similar price points to the Parasound).
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post #30 of 94 Old 05-29-2017, 08:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidrds View Post
Parasound gives you a good feature set, and yes, 2 sub outs. It is being discounted. DAC is not it's strongest card, but if you are using the Level 3 Kitsune it will be a non issue.

All of the brands @callas01 lists are also good options.

I'd add Wyred 4 Sound and Nuprime integrateds to his list (at somewhat similar price points to the Parasound).
Thanks.

Did you mean "discounted" or "discontinued "?

To clarify, it will not be used with the Holo Spring. It will be in a totally different room, where my speakers are located.

It does have the Sabre ESS Pro chips. Not the most recent (1038Pro), but still from the "pro" line. I typically like the Sabre chips.
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