Rotel New RA-10/11/12 series - Asleep at the wheel

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by BlueWizard, Jul 28, 2012.

  1. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
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    I've not heard a word about Rotel retiring its older RA-04/05/06SE series. So apparently I've been asleep at the wheel.

    Home Theater System Surround Sound Amplifier DVD Player - Rotel PRODUCTS

    All models are similar to the previous RA-04/05/06 series, but with the addition of Wolfson DACs with USB, and Optical/Coaxial PCM inputs.


    The Rotel RA-12 is down about 10w/ch from the previous RA-06SE (60w/ch vs 70w/ch on the 06SE), and with a similar price of about £600, but again, with the addition of a internal DAC. Some places are closing out the older RA-06SE for less than £500.

    I never found the RA-05SE to be very good value. You pay a LOT of extra money over the RA-04SE just to get a remote control. The RA-06SE has always been appealing, but priced a bit high for my budget.

    However, the new RA-12 at £600 with a built-in high quality DAC seems very appealing. I predicted several times in the past that all amp makers would gradually move to having built-in DACs as a standard part of common stereo amps, and that prediction seems to be coming true. With the world moving to pure digital music files, it also makes a lot of sense. Plus, it allows the easier use of a Stereo as the sound system for movies; simplifying the interconnect between the TV and the amp.

    At any rate, I wonder how this change could have occurred without a mention of the impending change being discussed in the forums? Perhaps it was and I just missed it.

    I think in terms of overall amp quality I would prefer to have the RA-1520, but the addition of the DAC REALLY makes the RA-12 an appealing amp.

    The RA-11 at £499 with 40w/ch might have some appeal, but I'm not completely convince of its value. According to the specs, it still has USB/Optical/Coaxial inputs, so that is a plus.

    Just curious if anyone was aware of this impending change, and what you now think of the new line of amps? At equal power would you prefer the RA12, or would you prefer the slightly more expensive RA-1520?

    Thoughts?

    Steve/bluewizard
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2012
  2. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
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    I will add one additional thought, the Internal DACs do not seem to support FLAC files. Which is odd since I was under the impression that FLAC was Open License software.

    From the spec sheet -

    Decodable Front USB/iPod Digital Signals: ... AAC (m4a), WAV, MP3, WMA (up to 48K 16bit)

    Coaxial/Optical PCM: ... LPCM

    File Formats: ... Real Audio, MP3, OGG Vorbis, WAV, AIFF, and AU


    Just passing it along.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2012
  3. Ben Jammin

    Ben Jammin
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    Hmm, are you sure they just haven't bothered listing FLAC? I don't understand how the compression method would even be noticeable to the DAC.
     
  4. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
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    What you see in bold was cut-and-pasted directly from the specs. They included OGG Vorbis, if it supported FLAC why wouldn't they say so?

    The compression method matters because the software has to be there to DECOMPRESS it.

    While I referenced that DAC, it is not the DAC that directly decodes anything. I was implying that because it had a DAC, it therefore had the ability to handle Digital files and convert them to analog signals, but the DAC itself, of course, does not do the actual decoding or decompressing, that is handled by other digital signal processing circuitry.

    But as it stands, those files listed are what the specs claim the device can decode and decompress.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
  5. nunovi

    nunovi
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    The DAC itself doesn't have to decode anything, that's the music player's job. The Flac format is only relevant if you use something like a USB stick with files on them so that the Rotel plays them. In most cases, this will not be the case by using a PC/Music Server connected via USB or optical/coaxial. This will do the decoding, not the amp.
     
  6. plasterman

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    I've had the Rotel RA12 for just over a week now and I have to say it's a really good amp sound wise and feature wise. A real jump up in class from my marantz pm6004 which while not a bad amp just lacks the drive and detail of the Rotel. I now rum my Marantz cd6004 through the Rotels dac and what a difference that makes. :smashin:
     
  7. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
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    Thanks PlasterMan, always good to get some direct feedback.

    Curious, what are you using for speakers?

    Steve/bluewizard
     
  8. plasterman

    plasterman
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    I'm using B&W 685, which go much better with the Rotel Ra 12 than the Marantz PM6004. If anyones after an amp with a decent built in DAC it's well worth a demo.
    Also the bluthooth streaming is a handy feature and the sound quality aint to shabby, great package all round.
     
  9. mirkor

    mirkor
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    I'm about to demo the RA-12 soon and I've also been looking on the B&W 685. But now I wonder if it will be enough power from the amp if I would pare it together with B&W CM7:s instead? Because I think I want that bigger sound from a good pair of full range floor speakers rather than the generally smaller sound with poor bass from a standmount speaker...

    What do you think, plasterman? :)
     
  10. plasterman

    plasterman
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    The Rotel RA 12 is rated at 60w and it drives the B&W 685 with no problems and the bass is far from poor. I've not heard the B&W CM7 so can't really comment, but I will say that I'd be suprised if the RA 12 could not drive the CM7. The RA 12 has pre out's so you could add a power amp if you wish more power.
     
  11. DIBSTER

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    Hi Plasterman

    You were a happy bunny when you posted this reply. Now that you've had the RA12 for a few weeks now, are you still as impressed? It ticks lots of boxes for me and my budget and I'm looking at a demo later this month.

    Cheers
    Dave

    .
     
  12. plasterman

    plasterman
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    Yes I'm still as happy with it as I was on day one. I'd definitely demo the amp, but as ever it up to your own ears to decide.
     
  13. mindgraphy

    mindgraphy
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    I am really interested in these new Rotel amps, expecially the RA-12. Really nice features and the integrated DAC of course is a great addition. Almost sounds like the perfect amp for me except for one major thing...

    If i understood correctly you can't connect your computer directly to the amp with usb? In Rotel website it says "Apple Authorised USB inputs" so does this mean its only for ipods and other mp3 players? Can you also plug in an external hard drive/usb stick and play music from there?
    I also saw some discussion about the FLAC compatibility, so that is not supported in any way? My transport would mainly be my laptop so im a bit disappointed that it wont let me plug it straight in with usb, what is the point of that if you have internal dac (of course the other digital inputs are more than welcome too)?

    So if i would have the RA-12 and would like to get the best digital audio out of my laptop (without buying an external dac with usb connectivity), is the best way to connect the laptop to my tv via hdmi and then from the tv -> digital out (optical) to the RA-12. Would this bypass the laptops dac (and tv's?) and the D/A conversion would happen in the Rotel?

    Thanks in advance for the help! :thumbsup:
     
  14. sounddog

    sounddog
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    Unless you have a digital output built in to your computer already, your best option would be a USB to SPDIF converter such as Musical Fidelity V-Link or M2Tech HiFace.

    Eloise
     
  15. mindgraphy

    mindgraphy
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    I didn't even think about a converter, but now that you mentioned it, it sounds like the obvious choice.. :facepalm: Anyway thanks for the tip!


    I see that the Musical Fidelity V-LinkII asynchronous usb supports only 24bit 96kHz data (150€) and if you want the full 24-bit/192kHz support you need to go for the MF V-Link192 which is 295€. So basically double the price just to get that 192kHz support as i dont have any need for the balanced XLR.. And also i see that the output impedance for the SPDIF is 50 Ohm, but isn't most coaxial cables 75 Ohm. How does this work, is there any loss in quality?

    Now the M2Tech HiFace with 24-bit/192kHz support and price of 135€ seems like a steal! Why would one choose the MF V-LinkII instead of this, what are the advantages for the MF?
     
  16. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
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    On the other hand, you only need 192k support if you have 192k content. There are only a few on-line sources where you can down load Hi-Rez audio files, and I suspect when a standard is set, it will be set at 92khz.

    Still if you are looking long into the distant future, 24b/192k capability is not unrealistic, but in the moment, and the near future, you have to ask yourself if you have or will ever have any content with that high of sample rate?

    And are you better off buying that 192khz technology now, or a few years from now?

    Steve/bluewizard
     
  17. windhoek

    windhoek
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    Anyone else got a Rotel RA-12? My mate is looking for a stereo amp to replace his AVR as he has a TT and music is now the main priority. He also likes the idea of an amp with digital inputs so he can use a DAC that will probably be better than the one in his Sony BDP. Any more thoughts on this amp?

    Fwiw, he uses B&W 684 speakers.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2012
  18. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
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    Mirkor

    Please let us know how that Demo goes. The more feedback we can get the better.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
  19. couto27

    couto27
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    i have one Rotel Ra-11 and i think is sound lovely

    I made a audition with my b&w 685 against a rotel 1520 vs RA-11 but due the DAC Wolfson WM8740 in the RA-11 sound even better, not just auditioned by me, but by several people around.

    heres the video

     
  20. mcklemme

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    According to the RA-12 manual you can (only) connect an iPod/mp3 player to the usb on the front. You choose the music file on the player. I've tried it with decent quality mp3-files and Apple lossless files from an iPod Classic. The sound quality did not come near the sound from a cd player connected through the digital input on the back af the RA-12. I've read elsewhere that the usb input is maximized to 16 bit/48 khz.

    The obvious choice of source for the DAC in the RA-12 would be the network player Rotel RT-12. However, this player has NO digital output, only analog. I almost cried when I found out.

    I'm wondering how you're supposed to make full use of the RA-12's DAC. Do you really need to connect a pc with a digital coax or optical output if you want to play high resolution files? Or something like Cambridge Audio Stream Magic 6? Or a very expensive mp3 player that handles 24 bit?

    Any ideas on how to get a high resolution file into the Rotel RA-12?
     
  21. mcklemme

    mcklemme
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    The RA-12 is supposed to be quite powerful, and all the hifi stores I have asked have confirmed, that it will be very good with the B&W CM8 speakers.

    In the Rotel Series 12 brochure they've put the CM8's next to it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2012
  22. Silverblack

    Silverblack
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    I'm really happy to have come across this thread as i have recently got shot of my amp and speakers just for the sake of minimising my setup, but i like the fact that the rotels are adding these digital inputs and also the slim form factor is equally appealing.

    Now i was looking into soundbars or even buying the audioengineA5+ with a beresford dac but i like the idea of having less equipment in my av unit so the addition of the rotel adding a dac to the amp negates me having to buy one.

    hd audio isn't a priority as i've been there done that. I'm now at a stage where i just want something simple and also of good sound quality.

    There isn't much info about this and i will be looking into arranging a demo at my local sevenoaks, speakers i'm thinking of partnering would be some monitor audio bx1s small form factor and all.

    What do you guys think???
     
  23. plasterman

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  24. Silverblack

    Silverblack
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    Wow just had a read of that review sounds quite positive. I don't like the idea of the no remote though whats that about??

    I hope either the ra-11/12 ship with remotes.
     
  25. plasterman

    plasterman
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    A strange Rotel quirk given nearly all integrated amps at the RA 10 price point (£350) and below have remotes. The RA 11/12 ship with remotes thankfuly which will control other Rotel equipment. BTW I own the RA 12 any questions ask away.
     
  26. Silverblack

    Silverblack
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    Phew, thanks for clearing that up i really like the look of these and just want to get as much info as i can because this is going to be my final purchase for a long time.

    I would like to ask you if the sound borders on the bright side or the warmer side in your opinion? also can it go quite loud without strain and finally do you think that a pair of bx1 speakers would work well. I'm really not to fussed on getting bigger speakers.

    If i do end up buying the ra-12 i will be hooking up my bluray player via optical to the ra-12's digital input and using that as a cd player until i get the funds for a proper cd player.
     
  27. plasterman

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    It's not an overly bright amp I have the Rotel hooked up to a pair of B&W 685 plenty of power enough bass depending on the source though..

    The dac in the Rotel is decent quality, it's the same used in the Rotel cdp. I'm sure your BD player will work fine for CD replay. You might find you dont need a dedicated CD player.

    Not really sure about your speaker choice the RA 12 will drive floor standers with ease. I fear a small stand mount speaker would sound shut in due to the amp having to much drive for that speaker.
     
  28. Silverblack

    Silverblack
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    Thanks for that i may consider some floorstanders although that isn't the direction i want to go but if i indeed get one i will demo the rotel with the bx1s when i go to sevenoaks, thanks alot for answering my questions really can't wait to demo one now.
     
  29. mcklemme

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    Plasterman, what sources seem to work best? My own demo indicated a cd player, while an iPod connected to the usb on the front left the music too bright an lacking bass.
     
  30. plasterman

    plasterman
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    Have to say I've found that to be the same for me too, my marantz cd 6004 has a usb input that has a digital output so it goes through the rotels dac much nicer sound.
     

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