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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
During the process of putting another HT together, I began auditioning amps to replace a Sunfire Series 1 Load Invariant and an Anthem MCA20 – noteworthy at the respective price points in their day and for the Sunfire: novel. Appreciating the ideas and most of the execution designed into the Sunfire, I continued on a path of operational efficiency, while needing the replacements to: edit the signal as little as possible, remain stable under varying load and signal conditions, offer logically laid-out/easily accessible connections, pleasing aesthetics, utilitarian machine functions – under 2.5 grand for 7 channels.


Through researching a good cross-section of designs core to my interest for the past year, I became intrigued by the favorable reviews and comments in the direction of designs employing either Hypex or B&O (ICE) modules. This quickly turned into a solidified interest and diligence as it does many times paid off in the form of a press release: touting the introduction of Rotel’s 15 Series.


Admittedly my last brush with Rotel was many years ago having given a high school graduation present to a nephew consisting of a PS Audio 4.5, Rotel RB-981 and Eminent Technology LFT VIII’s. Back then it was a fun setup, but since then Rotel (for a few specific reasons) has been off the radar as a serious consideration for anything I’d put into a “cost-effective” system. Mild reservations aside, along with knowing the 15’s were just introduced at the ’08 CEDIA with updated Class D amps, in my price range and they just started shipping... I quickly made way to my local friendly neighborhood Rotel 15 Series merchant in Ann Arbor to see if they’re worth it!

Day 1

Before hitting the mid-fi area, I looked through their high-end room knowing that I most likely would want to audition the amp(s) there. This practice helps me discern what a component may be adding to/deleting from the signal and better understand if I want to pass on the component, audition further at home or just buy it. It also helps an open-minded high-end dealer become better aware of their mid-fi equipment and eschew possibly pre-conceived notions concerning limitations; therefore I, the dealer and prospective customers to a given product - benefit.


Program Material

• Patricia Barber – Café Blue


Room:

Roughly 14' x 16' x 10'


Rig:

• Denon DVD1800 Blu-ray player

• Transparent HPHDMI (when video)

• Rotel RSP-1570 Processor

• Transparent MusicLink interconnects

• Rotel RB-1572 250w 2-channel amp

• Rotel RMB-1565 100w 5-channel amp

• Tranparent The Wall Plus speaker cable

• B&W 703 series 7.1 system

• ~ $15.5k in equip and cabling


After a tour of wares from Wilson Audio, B&W, JL Audio, Krell, Wadia and Runco, I made my way to the ‘mid-fi room’ containing the Rotels, met a very cool member of the staff and began an all too brief encounter with the RMB-1565 (5 channels 100w/8Ω 200w/4Ω). With ~ 50 hours under it’s belt, it helped convey a strong campaign for putting the 2-channel version through its paces in one of their better rigs on the following day. The salesperson agreed and told me he would have it set up and running before I got there. Excellent; we said our goodbyes and the stage was set!

Day 2

Program Material

• Patricia Barber – Café Blue

• Stephen King's The Stand – Original Television Soundtrack

• Cantate Domino by Oscar's Motet Choir

• Loreena McKennitt – The Mask and Mirror


Room:

Roughly 15' x 18' x 10' treated with Real Traps


Rig:

• WadÃ*a 781i Mult-format player

• Krell EVO707 Preamp

• Transparent (single-ended) Super interconnects

• Krell Evolution 600 Monoblocks

• Transparent Reference MM2 Speaker Cable

• Wilson WATT/Puppy System 8

• ~ $100K


• Evaluation component: RB-1572 (2 channels 250/8Ω 500w/4Ω) with roughly 50 hours on it.


Given the company it was in, I entertained the possibility that the 1572 would give a valiant effort and possibly fail to one degree or another with its variation of common characteristics found in relatively inexpensive Class A/B amps (leaner side of neutral, tight somewhat dry bass, good dynamics, slight loss of instrument body in the midrange, appreciable but somewhat bright upper-octave performance, etc.), which can be very easy to hear. However, seeing that Rotel is spinning their latest take with ICE Topology in this series, I was certainly open as to why...


Before the first track of Café Blue hit the Wadia, I remembered my nephew and the first Rotel I purchased as I was about to compare its diminutive “statement” Class D successor against Krell’s sizeable statement Class A Monoblocks in a very revealing system. Amused at the David and Goliath visage sitting on the floor, I was sure that David was just about to get his ass kicked… As I’ve been a musician since age 3 and got into audio ‘bout the time I was 8, I’m no stranger to live music and certainly know what to listen for when it’s reproduced. Even still, it’s always fun in this hobby when something pleasantly catches you completely off guard, because roughly 30 seconds into the disc - I was not fully prepared for the levels of nuance, neutrality, micro dynamics soundstaging and imaging being reproduced; I sat surprised at what this rogue started to do. From there it was a series of 7 or so bouts between the Krells and Rotel with the sales person moving interconnects and cables when I needed.


Roughly two hours later, it came down to this: Between the frequency extremes, the Rotel is just as neutral as the Krell except the latter squeezes out a tiny bit more information at the upper and lower octaves; and the soundstage was slightly more defined as was the imaging. Comparatively its presentation is neither forward nor laid back; dynamic swells in choral music are accomplished without congealing individual voices and the soundstage into a globular mass as everything remains stable with the sonic signature and position of each voice unaltered. By way of contrast, reproduction of acoustic instruments such as drums and stand-up bass keep the attack and sustain along with the character of the instrument body – unaltered except for an incredibly small degree in the lower end. In other words its roughly 98% there, the Krell just does it that much better. It never clipped, lost composure or turn noticeably warm to the touch and it was being done at realistic volume levels for that room. In fact, seeing that the Krells raised the room temp. to roughly 80 degrees, the Rotels were noticeably cooler than the warmer air just above them.


Pros:

• Incredible sonic performance across the board!

• Ree-DICULOUS bang-for-the-buck!

• Efficient (Tech. Support wasn't sure how much).

• Output doubles as ohms are halved.

• Temporarily handles 2Ω dips.

• RB-1572 provides an extra set of outputs for bi-amping, or driving another pair of speakers.

• 12v trigger input and output.

• Very light weight.

• Local support (providing there’s a dealer in your area): hopefully they’ll be knowledgeable and down-to-Earth enough to take time to work with you as they did with me in Ann Arbor. Conversely I had to be respectable of their foot traffic and worked with my salesperson to find time slots to get the things done that I needed.

• Don’t have to wait for shipping before you can audition (providing your dealer is stocked).

• 5 year warranty garnering a free replacement in the first year should the amp fail for any reason.

• finished in silver or black.

• Contemporary inoffensive utilitarian look.


Cons:

• Blue light around the power button doesn’t dim; there should be a user-selectable switch for this function (i.e.: Theater Dimming – disengaged, Level 1, level 2, Off).

• Connections on the rear aren’t logically laid-out on the 5-channel.

• No balanced inputs (ICE Modules are balanced in and out).

• Output connections are too close together.


In summary: The 15 Series amplifier execution works in such a big way that hearing it serves an explanation as to why Rotel stayed with ICE. They are high-end amps without apology and hang directly with better statements of the world at a fraction of the purchase and maintenance (electric bill) costs. Given that, I didn’t need to audition further and duly purchased an RB-1572 and an RMB-1565 in black.


In closing: Unless something drastically changes in the state-of-the-art-for-the-money-sweepstakes, these are the last amps I will need for my current system; the Sunfire and Anthem are up for sale.


Rotel


RMB-1565 - Five-Channel Home Theater Power Amp (5x100W Class D, 2U height) $1299.00

RMB-1575 - Five -Channel Home Theater Power Amp (5x250W Class D, 3U height) $2799.00

RB-1562 - Two-Channel Home Theater Power Amp (2x100W Class D, 2U height) $799.00

RB-1572 - Two-Channel Home Theater Power Amp (2x250W Class D, 2U height) $1299.00

RB-1510 - Two-Channel Installation Amplifier (2x65W Class D, 1U height) $499.00

RMB-1512 - Twelve-Channel Installation Amplifier (12x100W Class D, 3U height) $2999.00
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I spoke with Mike at (Classe', B&W, Rotel) Tech. Support who answered a few questions concerning the Class-D amps in this series. The outcome of that conversation is by way of updates in the entry above and those numbered below.


1. Are the wattage specs for all channels driven? Yes.

2. What's the wattage draw at idle? Don't know.

3. What's the wattage draw when triggered OFF? Don't know.

4. Akin to #3, is there a sleep mode (for those not using triggers) to conserve more energy when the amp is not needed? No.

5. Is Rotel using ICE in this series? Yes.

6. What's used in the RMB-1565 and RB-1572? '1565 uses 2x 200ASPs & 3x 200As; '1572 uses 2 500As with a Rotel designed power supply.

7. Why was a dimming switch omitted from the design? Not sure, but the idea is being kicked around to use one in the future.
 

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So the RB-1572 is essentially a stock ICE module with a Rotel power supply? They do not change the input stage like Wyred4Sound?


Very impressed with how they look and the price seems competitive with all the other companies that use ICE.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
It's been a few weeks so I forget exactly what he said, but according to the sales person I've been working with: the 15's addresses some of the slight brightness and stridency of the 10 Series. Given that, it is highly likely that Rotel tweaked their modules and/or overall design one way or another; certainly enough to hang with Krell.


To that end, while they are competitively priced with some of the D-Sonic offerings, they are certainly cheaper than similarly configured Wyred4Sound, PS Audio, Channel Island Audio, Bel Canto, Jeff Rowland, etc. designs that use ICE Modules.


Again, just unbelievable bang-for-the-buck!
 

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Then again, the conventional Rotel RB-1080 is cheaper still (slightly less power) and probably has better measurements in terms of distortion. I own a Bel Canto amp right now though, and most fans of ICE amps seem to enjoy the midrange and bass characteristics.
 

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To that end, while they are competitively priced with some of the D-Sonic offerings, they are certainly cheaper than similarly configured Wyred4Sound, PS Audio, Channel Island Audio, Bel Canto, Jeff Rowland, etc. designs that use ICE Modules.


QUOTE]


I've tried most of this list and the Wyreds are head and shoulders above the rest.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
For your post to have any benefit, it is better that you offer those reading this thread the background of your comparison. For instance, was it done in the same room/rig, on the same day, same material? Or was it done over a period time, different systems, material, rooms?


For that matter, what models did you listen to? If it was really "most of the list" (there were no models mentioned - just company names) that's a helluva lot of amplifiers to listen to and compare to the 15 Series. On top of that, if it was done in different rooms/systems/setups (which no one should do when meaningfully comparing components for obvious reasons), then what you communicated is unfortunately not useful.


So if you could tell us what models you listened to, what the system was, the material you used, as well as the 15 Series Component you compared the others to - would be extremely helpful.


Thank you,

=AirCeej=
 

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Give us a break. Care to provide some evidence since others have said there is no audible difference?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
You're going by what "others have said"? You couldn't even waste the bandwidth from your own experience? Look, some folks can see color, others can't. Some have a greater tactile sense while other don't. Some can hear differences in components - some can't. Live and let live; however, this is NOT a thread to debate those differences. It is however devoted to Rotel's 15 Series Class D Amps. If you have something you would like to offer given the subject matter, please do so; if not, take it elsewhere.


Regards,

=AirCeej=
 

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The Rotel 1067 Rcvr does well with my B&W 703 5.1 system. I am interesting in increasing my power and getting a somewhat more "tube-like" sound like I had in the past with Audio Research/Mark Levinson and B&W Signature 30s. Just not as much money available now. Would appreciate experience with D-Sonic and Rotel ICE amps with regard to that hybrid warmer sound. Thanks.
 

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Hi, I am currently in the hunt for a new pre/pro, amp to replace my existing setup which consists of a Denon 3808 and Outlaw M2200's.


As far as amps are concerned, I am considering Wyred 4 Sound as well. My only problem is, there just aren't many owners/reviews (from I have found anyway), to get a better sense of what issues (if any at all) the Rotels may exhibit. Their website is very limited in the information that they provide you with.


I guess my questions are, what the dimensions on the 1570, 1575, 1565? What type of EQ does Rotel impement into their p/p's? Do they have any issues with the video switching aspect, or issues with passing BTB/WTW?


I am not very familiar with Rotel as far as feature set, but do like what I hear coming from them.


I do not care for auto correction devices, or video scaling.


Ok, I am just rambling and not making sense, so I'll leave it at...


If there is a review (I googled, and didn't really find any worth mentioning) that would have all of this information, it would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hi Fanaticalism,


1. The dimensions can be found here .

2. As described by the title, this thread is for the 15 Series Class D amps only, not the pre-pros...


Regards,

=AirCeej=
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by AirCeej /forum/post/16006770


Hi Fanaticalism,


1. The dimensions can be found here .

2. As described by the title, this thread is for the 15 Series Class D amps only, not the pre-pros...


Regards,

=AirCeej=

I am looking at the 1575/1565 as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Nice but you only queried about dimensions concerning the amps; so given what I wrote in the first, second and fourth posts what else would you like to know?
 

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Have your initial impressions changed now that you have had them in your home for some time?


Also, what are you powering with the Rotels?


I am looking to power Vienna Mozart Grands, Maestro Grand cc, and Hayden Grands. The plan is to jump into the 1565, and then add a 1572 later on. Which leads me to my next question... Do you feel that the 1575 is justifiable considering the difference in price to power a center and surround channels?


I know this can be subjective to a degree, and more is always better in the A/V world, but it is always nice to gather others opinions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Ah, good questions.


1. Absolutely not - they've been reinforced; they're just ridiculously good amps that can hang with (and in certain areas beat) at least one world-class offering like they were born to the post! Therefore I presume they may fair just as well with other "statements".

2. 6 modified Mirage OMD-5's.

3. The 1565 and the 1572 just sailed along driving the Watt/Puppy 8's in what turned out to be an extremely pleasant experience during both auditions. And seeing that the Wilson's are nominally 4Ω as are the Grands, I presume the Rotels would do extremely well depending on your room size and appetite for volume.

4. That depends on the room size and how loud you want the grands to be. Given the synergy the '65 had with the Wilsons at decibels briefly approaching discomfort, and knowing that I don't need the '5's to be driven that loud; I throttled the system back and let myself just enjoy the music. I'll put it this way: Never at one time did I miss the Krells (especially the heat they generated). So for my needs in a ~ 3,700 cubic foot room, I certainly don't need beyond what the '65 can do, which admittedly will be extremly hard to do no matter the cost.
 

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I have a 1572 on order and was told today that I will have it some time next week. I am going to use it to power my B&W XT4's which are major power hogs. I am currently running a 7.1 system connected to a Denon 4308ci. In a few months I might add a RMB 1575 to the RB 1572. My local dealer told me that rotel amps work well with B&W speakers. I guess I will soon see.


Dave
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Congratulations on purchasing a world-class amp! B&O did unbelievable job with their latest iteration of ICE modules and it certainly shows in the new 15 Series Rotels (with whatever tweaks they may've applied)! I'm sure once more people who are ready to purchase listen to them with equipment, source material and setup up to snuff, it will be a hands-down purchase - they are that good.


More over, seeing that the 15s never broke a sweat driving Wilson Watt/Puppy 8s with a nominal impedance of 4Ω dipping down to ~2Ω; and your XT4's are 8Ω nominal dipping down to 3.1Ω - I'm sure they'll do just fine.


And the rumored synergy of Rotel and B&W may be more than that as the B&W Group own Bowers & Wilkins Loudspeakers, Classé Audio, i-Command and Rotel Electronics...


Looking forward to an update when you get a chance.



=AirCeej=
 

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Quote:
Congratulations on purchasing a world-class amp! B&O did unbelievable job with their latest iteration of ICE modules and it certainly shows in the new 15 Series Rotels (with whatever tweaks they may've applied)! I'm sure once more people who are ready to purchase listen to them with equipment, source material and setup up to snuff, it will be a hands-down purchase - they are that good.

So if these guys are putting the same modules in as D-sonic, Bel Canto and so on then sonically they are all the same...what do they do different to alter the sound? Make some people believe it all sounds different?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by AirCeej /forum/post/15682763



To that end, while they are competitively priced with some of the D-Sonic offerings, they are certainly cheaper than similarly configured Wyred4Sound, PS Audio, Channel Island Audio, Bel Canto, Jeff Rowland, etc. designs that use ICE Modules.


QUOTE]


I've tried most of this list and the Wyreds are head and shoulders above the rest.

Same modules....same sound??
 
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