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Rotels - integrated or separates

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by theo cupier, Jan 22, 2005.

  1. theo cupier

    theo cupier
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    Apologies if this belongs in the pre- and power- amp forum...

    Have recently bought a DSP-E800 for surround sound and have a (pipe dream) idea that I will eventually get a 5-channel power amp like the rotel RB 985 or 1075 to give all channels a boost (or maybe the famous 993 / 991 combo!).

    In the meantime, I think I am going to have to replace my B1 integrated amp - it's starting to make some unhealthy noises.

    So, the question is do I:
    - get an integrated amp, something like the Rotel RA-01 and use this as an amp and processor for the time being, or
    - cut out the middle man, not eat for a month and get a pre / power amp combi straight off something like the RC 1070 or 850 with one of the power amps mentioned above .

    I guess the question really is whether the RA-01 will be worth owning just to act as a pre-amp in the future, or if a dedicated pre-amp is going to do the job far better.

    Part of the reason for the question is that I was looking at the old 971 kit from Rotel and the pre-amp was a real weakness in that range, so there are presumably differences between similarly named bits of kit.

    Any thoughts most welcome.

    Theo
     
  2. theo cupier

    theo cupier
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    Oh, and while we're at it...

    would the Arcam 8r be a better choice of integrated amp than the RA-01?
     
  3. Bassbin

    Bassbin
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    The Rotel RC972 preamp is regarded as a much better sounding bit of kit than the 971 and also has a remote.

    The entry level 9xx series power amps are not the best so I would be tempted to get a good used integrated amp like a RA971 if you want Rotel. If you want pre/powers also keep an eye out for older 800 series products RB850 (I use 3 of these for my front 3 speakers) and RB870BX (I use 2 of these for hifi) power amps were both best buys and are far better than the newer amps at their price points (the new ones seem to have had cost squeezed). The RC850 and RC870BX preamps are ok as is the remote controlled RTC850 tuner/preamp. Ebay should see you right if you're careful and can bide your time.

    By the way not suggesting Rotel are better than other makes I'm just a fan of some of their older products which I've been using for nearly 20 years without a single fault.
     
  4. theo cupier

    theo cupier
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    Bassbin

    Thanks!! Funny you should mention that, I'm just thinking about the RC850 pre and a pair of RB850s to mono block the fronts. In time I could maybe build up a battery of 850s, instead of a single 985 / 1075!

    do you know how fussy Rotels are if you mix and match power amps etc? For example if I had the pair of RB850s on the front and a different model looking after the rears and a different model for the centre?

    Is it important to have the same model on each pair of monos but OK to mix and match otherwise, or is matching pairs unimportant?

    Also, does it matter if the front pair are mono block but the rears are run off a single amp (eg the RB 960). Obviously the rears would get less power, but I guess this isn't so crucial?
     
  5. Bassbin

    Bassbin
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    Rotel told me the gain on an 850 and 870 was pretty much the same but after that I don't know. I use the 850 as monoblocks for the front 3 and then my Denon 3802 powers the 4 rear speakers. Only put it altogether a few weeks agobut seems to work fine. I will probably switch the power amps back to 2 channel mode and Biamp the front 3 speakers as Rotels bridged monoblocking is maybe not all that great (people have reported problems driving demanding speakers with their newer power amps in this mode). I also use a Rotel preamp (RC870BX) and CD player in my AV system which has a CD direct feature so I can bypass all of my AV stuff for music listening. You should be able to get RB850s for around £70 to £80 each (they were only about £130 new) preamps start from about half that. I'd buy a few bits and try them out and sell on anything that doesn't work.
     

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