Question Which preamplifier for my Rotel RB-980BX?


Hi guys, hope you all are well.
I am asking for your help in purchasing a preamplifier for my "new" Rotel RB-980BX.
This power amplifier is actually working paired to an integrated amplifier, the Nad 302, that I am using as a preamp. I purchased this power amplifier because I would like to move forward from the 25W provided by the Nad and then buy a decent pair of speakers (now I have a pair of Bose 201).
Now it seems that what I hear from this configuration is a sound focused on lowest frequencies and that mid and treble seems, how can I say, overwhelmed by the bass frequencies and I lost a decent amount of details. Honestly, I prefer the sound of the Nad 302 alone.
I would like to have tone controls and a phono imput on the preamp. Actually, I was thinking of an Audiolab 8000C or a Nad C 160/162 (with the latter I think that the sound signature would not be different from the one that I have with the 302).
Do you have any equipment recommendation for me?
Thank you in advance for both your kind attention and unvaluable help, salutations from Italy!


Distinguished Member
Rotel RC1070 ! Has a pretty good phono stage, got good reviews in the day and has Rotel version of tone controls. They come up occasionally on auction sites and Facebook marketplace around £150-200.

You could go newer with the RC1570 for £400-500 or the RC03 around the same price as the RC1070 but this was lower in the rotel pecking order. .

What you describe is what I would expect from Nad of that era. I had a nad1240 preamp, great phono stage but did bloat the bass which made the mid and treble veiled, big and cuddly but not at all finessed. So I think the Rotel power amp is just accentuating the Nad preamp in the integrated. The power amp should not colour the sound only amplify the preamp section which is where the sound signature will come from (and then be changed again by the speakers).

if you want to stick with Nad the the Monitor series 1000/1000s may be more to your liking.

on the 8000c check for cracked rca sockets on the rear, the 8000a/c have a tendency for the plastic to age and crack. Can be fixed by someone handy with a soldering iron but not a simple job.

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Thank you very much for your kind reply @Ugg10, it was very helpful for me. I will try to find a Rotel preamplifier such as the 1070 (but I think I can have a look at both the 1082 and 1550).
I will exclude the Nad because I think that the Rotel or the Audiolab preamplifiers can better help me obtain the clear sound that I am looking for.
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Dan Ritter

Novice Member
If you still looking for good preamps, then check out Marantz aswell. I have the same Rotel Power Amp, that drives a Punch III sub from Rockford Fosgate, along with Marantz sr4003, 7.1 surround receiver, with pre-out for every channel, with Yamaha NS-777 as front speakers. With that setup, I have clear mid and high freq and a very deep bass low freq.
I'm very impressed and happy for the sound, considering the affordably price I gave for it used 😉

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