Do Rotel amps have a "house" sound?


Novice Member
I am returning to the stereo/hi fi world after a considerable period of Bluetooth streaming to Sonos speakers. In assembling my components, I am considering Rotel integrated amps, in particular the A12 MKII or A14 MKII. I have done research, listened to YouTube reviews, etc.A recent review I heard made the statement that Rotel has changed/improved the “house sound” of their amps with the MKIi series. Can someone help me understand what the Rotel house sound was with the previous model amps and what the differences are with the MKII series? Or, is there really such a thing as different amps having different sound characteristics. Thank-you


Distinguished Member
Typically Rotel have been classed as a pretty neutral amp with good power supplies (big transformers and a decent amount of capacitors) that have a fairly high damping factor and enough reserves to keep control of the bass end. Most of the sound character of the amp comes from the preamp circuits.

If you were to generalise integrated amp characteristic from warm (slight bass boist and treble droop) to bright (the opposite, bass droop and treble rise) then it would go something like - Marantz, Nad - Arcam, Musical fidelity, Rega - Rotel, Audiolab - Cyrus.

However with Nad now using class D Hypex and Purifi amp boards and others modifying their sound, even between models the boundaries are more blurred.

Best thing to do is draw up a shortlist, go get auditions in shops and then a home audition of your preferred amp, let your ears decide.


Active Member

I would go new Chinese dac and nearly new power amp.

Just noticed your in US


Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
Not listed to any amplifiers before the MK2 series. If you can get the RA1572MK2 go for it. You can be lucky on eBay. There was one around the same price as RA14MK2. Don’t know if it’s available anymore.
It was B-stock amplifier. If I remember correctly.

If you are talking about house sound. Then I can’t think of any manufacturer which colors the sound more then Marantz, epically the budget series. If you go up the ladder to the high end series. The sound is way more neutral.

The budget series is very warm sounding. Rolled of bass, treble. Bosted midrange. This gives the impression of warm sound. Up to Marantz PM8006 this changes considerably.

I’m still Marantz fan boy, but there’s no question Rotel has the edge in some areas. Epically dynamics, bass. Midrange doesn’t have the vocals behind the instruments like Marantz has (some Marantz amplifiers) that is. Which frankly sounds odd after you hear pretty neutral amplifier.

Rotel has slight warmth in the midrange, treble. It doesn’t favor female voices as much as Marantz. But remember now amplifier is neutral. This is impossible. Simple as that. I would listed to as many amplifiers you can. Who knows you might end up with Naim amplifier.


Distinguished Member
I would argue that there is no such thing as a "house sound" , that no self-respecting manufacturer would deliberately and consistently distort the original sound in order to impose his own sound characteristics. There is of course the question of accuracy of the amplification, an issue that decreases as the price increases. And of course, an amplifier is designed to work within specific parameters, the best known being maximal power draw and impedance tolerance, these being dependent on the speakers and their usage. In any case, you don't need to spend silly money to get accuracy and freedom from colouration in an amplifier.

The Rotel A12 MKII (60W) and A14 MKII (150W) will be fine when used within their design parameters. Since you didn't list your speakers or your room size, or indicate the volume at which you listen. it's hard to be more specific.

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