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Rotel RSP-976 vs RSP-985

Discussion in 'AV Pre-Amp/Processors & Power Amps' started by RJS, Nov 10, 2001.

  1. RJS

    RJS
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    I'm looking at getting one of these Rotel Surround Processors to go with a Rotel 1095 amp. Anybody have experiences with these two? I'm actually leaning towards the 976 because of the component inputs (just in case I need them), and the 5.1 analog input which can be used w/multi-channel DVD-A or SACD (or even regular analog 2 channel I believe). The 976 is also about $800 U.S. cheaper.
    But the 985 has the THX - not that I'm a THX junkie or anything, but I've always like the THX surround sound mode in receivers that are equipped with it. This is my first jump into "separates". I'm upgrading from a Marantz SR-19 A/V reciever which has THX, and I'm sure the separates will sound better - but I don't want to lose the Home Theater surround quality. Any advise or info would be helpful.

    Thanks,

    RJ
     
  2. russraff

    russraff
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    I would say the following about the two processors:
    In terms of ergonomics, the 985 is pretty poor as it doesn't have a digital display. Now, this may seem like nothing, but it makes the 985 a nightmare to use, and the remote doesn't help either. Having said that the 985 does sound quite a bit better, will be a closer match to your 1095, and is THX certified (which I like). The 985 does have 5.1 inputs, but in the form of a DB25 input. I must say that even the 985 isn't a match for the superior 1095 power amp.
    The 976 is easier to use, has a few newer options, as you mentioned. The 976 has a better remote, but you can get a similar model for about £30. The 976 won't sound as good as the 985, and won't get the best from a 1095.
    If I were you, I would (unless you have sold it) add the 1095 to the SR19 (quite a good receiver, by all accounts) and wait until you can get a very good processor, like a TAG or 2nd hand Meridian.

    Russell
     
  3. RJS

    RJS
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    Thanks for the tip Russell. Unfortunately, to get the Rotel Amp/Pre-Amp combo, I'm taking advantage of my local shop's generous trade-in policy, so I'll be returning my SR-19 (which has performed well over the past year). My other thought to the Rotel 1095, 976/985 pairing, was to check out the Marantz AV9000 pre-amp, and MM900 5ch amp set-up. One of the compromises I made with the wife for agreeing to the upgrades, was that I would get matching components to keep it all looking pretty. :)
    I've heard some not-so-good things about the Marantz, especially the MM9000 amp. Not that it's sounds terrible or anything. Just that it's not that much of an improvement over their recievers, and thus, not such a good value. Any thoughts or experiences with these?

    Thanks,

    RJ
     
  4. common

    common
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    I'm a bit of a Rotel fan, i've got the 976 with a 985MKII power amp and a 995 DVD player. Unfortunately I can't help with the comparison between the 2 processor's as I havn't listened to the 985, but I love the 976 especially in DTS. Channel seperation is superb and it's great with music (but not the DSP's that Rotel have thrown in) but unless you are being offered a great deal is it not worth waiting for Rotel's new models with pro logic II etc ? - if you need any more info please let me know
     
  5. russraff

    russraff
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    Actually, I'm planning on buying the Marantz 9000 pre/power system before xmas!

    The processor is, musically, a better sounding one than the 985. The AV9000 is more detailed and less forward than the 985, which does mean that the AV9000 sounds less "impressive" on first audition. Give it time and it will grow on you. The AV9000 is intuitive to use and comes with a rebadged RC2000 remote, which I like. I also liked what the THX processing did to DVD soundtracks.

    The MM9000 amp isn't in the same class as the 1095, simple as that. The MM9000 is still a good power amp, somewhere between the 1075 and 1095 (closer to the 1075), I would say. Again, music rules, but there is still a lot of current here. The MM9000 is very different to the mainstream Marantz receivers. It has a large toroidal transformer (don't know spec) and lots of headroom. This amp sounds a lot better than any Marantz receiver that I have heard, but I don't know about the SR-xx series of amps.

    Personally, I think that the subtle qualities of the av/mm9000 and difference in price (£1300 for Marantz pair, £2700 for the Rotel) make it a better buy than the Rotel985/1095. Even though, all thing considered, the Rotel is the better pairing.

    Russell
     
  6. RJS

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    I hear what you're saying, especially since I've been a very happy with the SR-19 over the past year. What concerns me somewhat, is that according to the product buyer at one of the local hi-fi shops, he had their Marantz representative tell him that the pre-amp section of the SR-18/19 is identical to that found in the AV9000 (with the notable exception of the power supply).
    I can't imagine that he'd be telling me this for his own store's gain, since the AV9000 is $500-$800 more expensive than the Rotel. He actually recommended the 976 over the 985 as a better value. He did say that the 985 sounds a bit better, just not $600 better.
    Since it sounds like you've had a chance to hear and use both, what are your thoughts between the 985 and 976?
    Thanks for all the help and input.


    RJ
     
  7. russraff

    russraff
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    The 985 is better than the 976. But, your dealer is quite correct: the difference in price is not in step with the jump in quality.
    I would say that if you can get them, the 976/985MkII are the best value. The 985MkII is practically the same as the 1075 (don't be put off by the case being bigger on the 1075, the extra height is all air inside) and real world specs are near identical. So in other words: don't pay extra for the newer 1075.
    The only other thing I would say is that the sound of the Rotels will be different to your Marantz SR-19. Get a dem (preferably a home dem) of the Rotel kit, just to be sure, and use decent interconnects between the amp and processor.

    Russell
     
  8. DHarcourt

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    Personally I find the RB985 a little lightweight at the lowest frequencies. But that's just me...
     
  9. niles300z

    niles300z
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    If you mean the RSP 985 I think you may be right but I really do not like the fact it is does not have an analog 5.1 inputs for a bypass
     

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