Need your expert guidance: Rotel A12MKII and good speaker pair

dadneedshifi

Active Member
Hi all,

Long time lurker, first time poster.

I've long considering upgrading our sound system from the one I first bought about 20 years ago when I got my first job -- a Denon receiver and Polk floorstanding speakers (altogether cost about $400). We've now got two young kids, we spend a ridiculous amount of time inside -- obviously -- and I've decided to take the plunge.

I don't want to spend over $2K USD. We have a handful of key priorities between my wife and I: needs inputs for a record player, super easy streaming capability directly from a phone, and connects to our TV.

I've looked at a few integrated amps over the years, but recently I've been eyeing the Rotel A12MKII Anniversary model. It seems to meet all of our needs and at matches our price point. The reviews are all solid, and people seem to have nothing but good things to say about Rotel. Would love to hear thoughts on if this amp sounds right or other recommendations as well.

Now I've been trying to identify the right pair of speakers. I've read great things about the B&W 606S2s and have been leaning that way -- although it certainly puts me at the top end of what we want to spend. I'm also considering the 607s and I've read nothing but great things about the Revel Concerta2 M16.

Anyway, would really appreciate opinions and feedback on this.

Thanks,

Dad who really needs some hi-fi.
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
Rotel is fairly neutral with body/warmth to the midrange, might be an exciting, excellent match with 607.

I’d look at MA silver 50, Triangle, Focal.

Sound is subjective, home demo is essential!
 

dadneedshifi

Active Member
Thanks. Really appreciate that. I will do a home demo and try at least two different speakers out.

And do you suggest the 607 because the 606 would be too much to power?

And thoughts on the MA silver 100?
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
MA 100 is fuller, deeper in bass while stills being refined. It would be my choice.

B&W are monitor speakers. Great for mixing sound, not for home listening. They are simply to thin, bright.

Rotel has 60 watts, I believe.Rotel is famous for their power output stage, I don’t believe you we’ll have any issues.
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
I suggest you listen to B&W 607/606 with 2-3 amplifiers to see if you like the sound.

Same with other speakers.

Synergy is important. If the amp, speakers engages you. Then you know what sound you like.

Otherwise it can be dull sounding.
 

dadneedshifi

Active Member
Thanks. Appreciate the help.

On the Monitors, I see they have the high and low frequency inputs on the back. Is that just like any regular speaker hook up, or would that require any special connections? Or simply like 2 banana clip cables?

And thoughts on trying the KEF Q350s with the Rotel?
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
Thanks. Appreciate the help.

On the Monitors, I see they have the high and low frequency inputs on the back. Is that just like any regular speaker hook up, or would that require any special connections? Or simply like 2 banana clip cables?

And thoughts on trying the KEF Q350s with the Rotel?
It’s called bi-wiring. Some swear it makes a difference, some do not. Then you need to buy bi-wiring speaker cables. Bi-wiring cables separates the high frequencies from the low frequency’s.

That’s why it says high frequency-low frequency. Some speaker manufacturers have this options so the customer can chose if the sound is better. If you buy bi-wiring speaker cables you need to make sure you take of the bridge behind the speakers. After this the bi-wiring speaker cables are labeled high frequency and low frequency. Then you can connect the speaker cables.

Single speaker cables are designed only to play the low frequency, but you get all the sound information from the speakers anyway. Regardless if you chose bi-wiring or not. Make sure to leave the bridge in place, don’t take it off, if you chose to use single speaker cables.

It gets even more complicated. Some replaces the bridge with jumpers. Then just cut of 10 cm from the speakers cables.

You can even buy speaker jumpers. Also the term bi-wiring vs signal wiring is even more complex. In the end let your ears the decide, not the engineering behind how the cross over are built in the speaker.

KEF with Rotel. Tough one. KEF are more open in the midrange, treble then Monitor Audio. Rotel is neutral with fairly darker sound then other manufacturers, plus some warmth in the midrange.

It could be you find the sound is too neutral, but am pretty sure you’ll be amazed on how the Rotel handles dynamics, speed. They have tons of bass.

Popular option are Denon, Marantz. Marantz emphasizes the midrange more then others, same with bass. In short the sound is more gentle, warmer. Treble is very detailed. Denon resembles Marantz in some ways. Fairly warm sound but more dynamic to the sound.

Marantz is also dynamic, but the sound is different. The midrange is warm but also more laid back then many other brands. Voices particularly are well defined.

I do hope this helps, since sound is subjective. Also speaker matching is crucial. Some amplifiers sound dull on that particular speakers. Then you switch the amplifier or speakers.

Your favorite music sounds like a concert. You can pin point the guitar. If you like jazz, one particular album like Jazz At The Pawshop, is captivating to listen to. You can almost hear the smoke, vine classes and the audience when the recording was made.

Caution, don’t be fooled into buying expensive cables. Normal 2,5 (14 avg) speaker cables from Amazon etc is enough. Same with RCA cables. Just make sure the RCA cables are well shielded. Also the speaker cables should be OFC copper. All this information you can read on Amazon. In fact I’d order cables from them. They have tons of options compared to normal shops.
 
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dadneedshifi

Active Member
Thanks, Helix Hifi. Really appreciate all the solid info.

I went with the Rotel amp and Monitor Silver 100s. Going to test out that set up and see how it goes. Do you suggest doing the bi-wiring, or is that unnecessary?
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
Hopefully other members might tell you if bi-wiring is better or not. In my opinion there’s no difference in sound quality.
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
I have the impression he’s going to buy Silver 100. This speakers have tons of bass, plus refined sound.

Of course the more expensive ones are better.
 

daddy999

Active Member
I ended up going with the silver's because of budget purposes. But I'll report back.
I tried the silvers too and they are great speakers for the money, it’s like everything in hifi, it’s the law of diminishing returns. Truth is., If had been sensible and hadn’t bought the wife a new car that week, doubtless I’d have purchased the silver‘s and been happy.

Enjoy the speakers.

ps: I even tried to convince her the platinums were the way forward….. she gave me the look… I settled for the gold! 🤣
 

dadneedshifi

Active Member
Hah! Tactical error trying to buy them the same week as the new car. You need to leave an irresponsible financial purchase window. I always leave about a 6 month window before I start talking about guitars 😁
 

daddy999

Active Member
Hah! Tactical error trying to buy them the same week as the new car. You need to leave an irresponsible financial purchase window. I always leave about a 6 month window before I start talking about guitars 😁
Hmm, well next on my list is the Roksan Xerxes, only 35 years of wanting and I’m still gonna need another 5 year window on that one!!
 

dadneedshifi

Active Member
It’s called bi-wiring. Some swear it makes a difference, some do not. Then you need to buy bi-wiring speaker cables. Bi-wiring cables separates the high frequencies from the low frequency’s.

That’s why it says high frequency-low frequency. Some speaker manufacturers have this options so the customer can chose if the sound is better. If you buy bi-wiring speaker cables you need to make sure you take of the bridge behind the speakers. After this the bi-wiring speaker cables are labeled high frequency and low frequency. Then you can connect the speaker cables.

Single speaker cables are designed only to play the low frequency, but you get all the sound information from the speakers anyway. Regardless if you chose bi-wiring or not. Make sure to leave the bridge in place, don’t take it off, if you chose to use single speaker cables.

It gets even more complicated. Some replaces the bridge with jumpers. Then just cut of 10 cm from the speakers cables.

You can even buy speaker jumpers. Also the term bi-wiring vs signal wiring is even more complex. In the end let your ears the decide, not the engineering behind how the cross over are built in the speaker.

KEF with Rotel. Tough one. KEF are more open in the midrange, treble then Monitor Audio. Rotel is neutral with fairly darker sound then other manufacturers, plus some warmth in the midrange.

It could be you find the sound is too neutral, but am pretty sure you’ll be amazed on how the Rotel handles dynamics, speed. They have tons of bass.

Popular option are Denon, Marantz. Marantz emphasizes the midrange more then others, same with bass. In short the sound is more gentle, warmer. Treble is very detailed. Denon resembles Marantz in some ways. Fairly warm sound but more dynamic to the sound.

Marantz is also dynamic, but the sound is different. The midrange is warm but also more laid back then many other brands. Voices particularly are well defined.

I do hope this helps, since sound is subjective. Also speaker matching is crucial. Some amplifiers sound dull on that particular speakers. Then you switch the amplifier or speakers.

Your favorite music sounds like a concert. You can pin point the guitar. If you like jazz, one particular album like Jazz At The Pawshop, is captivating to listen to. You can almost hear the smoke, vine classes and the audience when the recording was made.

Caution, don’t be fooled into buying expensive cables. Normal 2,5 (14 avg) speaker cables from Amazon etc is enough. Same with RCA cables. Just make sure the RCA cables are well shielded. Also the speaker cables should be OFC copper. All this information you can read on Amazon. In fact I’d order cables from them. They have tons of options compared to normal shops.
Well, Helix Hifi 🙌

I feel like I'm in a fugue state (pun absolutely intended). I never would have imagined such incredible sound could be achieved with a $1,700. Your speaker recommendation is just amazing. The first song I played was Jeff Buckley's version of Hallelujah. A song I've listening to hundreds of times that by now felt quotidian, felt cosmic. I couldn't believe the sweeping quality of his voice and ability of the speakers and amp to capture his melodic jumps and his rare ambitus.

My wife and I put on Maxwell's version of This Woman's Work. There is just nothing to say about his falsetto. It captured emphasis I've never heard that Maxwell put's on certain words.

We listening to Keith Jarrett at Koln. I couldn't believe the sustain I felt on the piano. I could feel what he was playing with his left or right hand.

Fugazi's I'm so Tired. Ian MacKaye just sounds so...done. You can feel him working out a song, playing with melody on the piano.

My wife and I once walked into a super high-end audio spot near where we once lived in NYC -- years ago -- and the owner sat us down and put a record on like a $25k turntable and some crazy speakers. Both of us cried at what we heard. This wasn't that experience, but this is the closest I have had since that moment -- my wife agreed -- and I wanted to thank you for helping me find it.

I know how silly all this sounds, but I've been chasing that sound, and I know it isn't that $100k system sound, but I'm blown away.

Thank you!
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
Monitor Audio Silver 100 are excellent speakers. The sound is crisp in high frequency without being harsh sounding. Midrange is engaging to listen to. Bass! Wow.

Rotel controls this speakers with an iron fist. If you can try listing to the Spectre movie soundtrack. The bass drums in the first track is amazing.

Enjoy.
 

dadneedshifi

Active Member
Monitor Audio Silver 100 are excellent speakers. The sound is crisp in high frequency without being harsh sounding. Midrange is engaging to listen to. Bass! Wow.

Rotel controls this speakers with an iron fist. If you can try listing to the Spectre movie soundtrack. The bass drums in the first track is amazing.

Enjoy.
I'll do that.

And just curious, what are you thoughts on the EQ? Just leave it flat? Seems pretty fantastic as it.

I've got the speakers on two pieces of furniture, ear level, with some of this Sorbothane under them. Do you think speaker stands are worth it? Only concern is the two little kids.

Appreciate any other tips! I'm just loving these things.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
I'll do that.

And just curious, what are you thoughts on the EQ? Just leave it flat? Seems pretty fantastic as it.

I've got the speakers on two pieces of furniture, ear level, with some of this Sorbothane under them. Do you think speaker stands are worth it? Only concern is the two little kids.

Appreciate any other tips! I'm just loving these things.
I've got speakers on a heavy cabinet. As long as the cabinet is well made and free from movement it should be fine. Isolating the speakers is a must. Speaker stands are going to be better, no doubt about that but you have to consider the possible danger to children. That choice is down to you.

One thing about having speakers on furniture. Make sure that the front of the speakers are sitting proud of the edge of the shelf by around 25mm (half an inch).
 

dadneedshifi

Active Member
I've got speakers on a heavy cabinet. As long as the cabinet is well made and free from movement it should be fine. Isolating the speakers is a must. Speaker stands are going to be better, no doubt about that but you have to consider the possible danger to children. That choice is down to you.

One thing about having speakers on furniture. Make sure that the front of the speakers are sitting proud of the edge of the shelf by around 25mm (half an inch).
Great tip. Thanks.
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
Try and see if you like the sound better. Rotel can adjust the tone controls from the remote. So it’s easy to dial in the sound.

I own Rotel, Monitor Audio my self. Rarely use the tone controls but I wouldn’t buy an amplifier with out tone controls.

If you listen to albums which sounds flat, boring. Then adjusting the bass, treble is convenient.

I haven’t got the chance to listen to the RA12MK2 my self, but I recently bough Rotel amplifier to match the Monitor Audio speakers.

Rotel-sound gets your foot tapping. Tuneful deep bass. Midrange, treble crystal clear without being bright, or boring.

So I took gamble you would love the sound. Rotel measurements the watts conservatively. So don’t be surprised it’s more powerful then 60 watts.

If you want more bass, you could always add subwoofer. Have you got the chance to listen to Neil Young Rust album. Incredibly sound with Rotel, Monitor Audio.
 
Last edited:

dadneedshifi

Active Member
Try and see if you like the sound better. Rotel can adjust the tone controls from the remote. So it’s easy to dial in the sound.

I own Rotel, Monitor Audio my self. Rarely use the tone controls but I wouldn’t buy an amplifier with out tone controls.

If you listen to albums which sounds flat, boring. Then adjusting the bass, treble is convenient.

I haven’t got the chance to listen to the RA12MK2 my self, but I recently bough Rotel amplifier to match the Monitor Audio speakers.

Rotel-sound gets your foot tapping. Tuneful deep bass. Midrange, treble crystal clear without being bright, or boring.

So I took gamble you would love the sound. Rotel measurements the watts conservatively. So don’t be surprised it’s more powerful then 60 watts.

If you want more bass, you could always add subwoofer. Have you got the chance to listen to Neil Young Rust album. Incredibly sound with Rotel, Monitor Audio.
Thanks. Great tips.

I think I’m finding sometimes the brights might be too bright. Almost like it might be giving me a headache, despite how amazing it sounds.

This is a dumb question, but what part of an EQ tones down brightness?
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
Ajust the treble -2db.Then see. Tone controls should be used sparsely. If you adjust the tone controls too much. It puts more strain on the amplifier, speakers. Epically at loud volume.

How bright is it? Is it so bright you want to turn it off.

Does this only happens on bad recordings.
 

dadneedshifi

Active Member
Ajust the treble -2db.Then see. Tone controls should be used sparsely. If you adjust the tone controls too much. It puts more strain on the amplifier, speakers. Epically at loud volume.

How bright is it? Is it so bright you want to turn it off.

Does this only happens on bad recordings.
Thanks for the advice. I will try slightly adjusting the treble and see what happens.

It seems to be happening with all recordings. But it I also get migraines and I could be having a spell.
 

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