Rotel RDV-1080 review

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by LarsB, May 29, 2002.

  1. LarsB


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    Just stumbled over this forum and noticed that no one actually tried the Rotel so here's a review I posted at the Hi-Rez Highway earlier this year, but just a little note regarding the region codes first. I was very disappointed with the picture quality until I found out that the Rotel doesn't handle PAL/NTSC automatically. You have to manually set the switch on the back panel to match the DVD you're playing (Region 1 = NTSC, Region 2 = PAL) and it needs a power off, power on for the change to take effect.

    Ok, here's the review:

    In my quest for the perfect DVD-A player, the Rotel RDV-1080 was the next one in the line. This is the 7th DVD-A player I'm auditioning, so I'm really beginning to get the hang of it now.

    First a little story about JVC XV-D721. About two months ago I auditioned the JVC, but found the build quality to poor. I did however like the sound, but as I later found out, this was because I had only served it DVD-A's with DD tracks, so this was what I compared it with.
    Then recently I learned that the JVC had a special 1-bit dac, and decided to try it out again to re-evaluate the DVD-A performance.
    I found that the sound was OK but not up there with the best. It was an improvement from a DD track but not from a DTS track (handled by my amp). Also, this unit sometimes stopped playing in the middle of songs, so I knew that this was not the DVD-A player for me.

    So the next day I grabbed the Rotel, hoping for something better.
    As I plugged it in and opened the tray, I thought that there was something familiar about the Rotel. I looked at the JVC, then the Rotel, and to my great surprise, they had the same display, buttons in the same places, and the trays were similar except for the front piece. I now dogged out the Rotel remote from the box and surprise...same remote as the JVC, except for a "progressive scan" button on the Rotel remote, which on the JVC is placed on the rear panel.

    So, the Rotel is a "modded" JVC XV-D721/723 (or is it the other way around). Am I really the first to notice this?
    I was now a bit disappointed in Rotel and thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to expose the scam by "proving" that there was no difference in sound quality, but only in a larger Rotel price tag.

    But as it turned out, this was not the case. When I put on the Tchaikovsky Classics, the strings were natural and smooth, actually almost SACD-smooth, like I experienced with the Sony DVP-NS900V, but more natural, just absolutely delightful. This was definitely an improvement on the DTS track. I think that the DTS track on the Tchaikovsky is about as good as a DTS track can get, so whenever I audition a DVD-A player, this is the track that it has to improve on. The majority of the DVD-A players I've auditioned so far have failed.

    Well, now on to another discipline in which many DVD-A players fail: CD performance.
    Apart from an acceptable sound stage, there's one thing that I really don't want to be without. I have managed to obtain a bass in my system, which I would describe as "soft explosion". Being an old bass player, this is something that I just thrive on. Many of the DVD-A players I've tried out, seem to put a damper on the "soft explosion" that I love so much.
    But not the Rotel, in fact the "explosion" delivered by Jimmy Haslip's extra deep bass string was intact and even tighter than before.

    Lars B.

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