Worth changing from Rotel RA-971 MKII to Cambridge Audio CXA60?

SidZoot

Novice Member
Hi everybody. Could a Cambridge Audio CXA60 amplifier considered an upgrade from my actual Rotel RA 971 MKII integrated amplifier?

I have Monitor Audio Bronze 2 speakers. Changing from Rotel RA 971 mkII to CXA60 would give a better sound? Or should I keep the Rotel and think of upgrading to a Dynaudio Emit M20 or other?

Thanks in advance.
 
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muljao

Well-known Member
I'm imagining not to many have experience with both amps so the quiet answers. If you look around the web, a lot of people still look for and like the rotel, which seems a very highly regarded amp.

Is there is something in particular you need to improve, or do you fancy just an upgrade.

I have the bronze2s and like them, by all accounts the Dynaudio are in a different class, but I have read they like a lot of power. 60 wpc on the rotel and indeed the Cambridge audio is lot lacking but might not get the best out of them either
 

Mark.Yudkin

Distinguished Member
If the 20 year old Rotel is performing to its original specification, I'd suggest that it wasn't your bottleneck and that a speaker upgrade might well yield more.

Since we only know about the amplifier and speakers and not the sources, I can't be all that specific though.
 

SidZoot

Novice Member
My two audio sources are Rotel RCD-1072 CD player, and laptop connected to HRT Music Streamer II DAC.

I used to have an AE1 mkIII speaker, which I liked, but never thought it was detailed or had enough bass, compared with my Yamaha HS80M powered monitors that I use to mix. Since the AE1 became defective a month ago, I bought the Monitor Audio Bronze 2 speakers, since it got good reviews on some websites. I only got them a week ago, maybe they need more burn in. I like it's overall sound, more detailed than AE1, but maybe the bass is over pronounced, but are clear, and the mids are not so full. Or maybe I have to get used to them.
 

Ned Senior

Well-known Member
My two audio sources are Rotel RCD-1072 CD player, and laptop connected to HRT Music Streamer II DAC.

I used to have an AE1 mkIII speaker, which I liked, but never thought it was detailed or had enough bass, compared with my Yamaha HS80M powered monitors that I use to mix. Since the AE1 became defective a month ago, I bought the Monitor Audio Bronze 2 speakers, since it got good reviews on some websites. I only got them a week ago, maybe they need more burn in. I like it's overall sound, more detailed than AE1, but maybe the bass is over pronounced, but are clear, and the mids are not so full. Or maybe I have to get used to them.
Sid I reckon hifi kit is bound to sound different from studio stuff, in all my 48 years listening to live bands ( my dad gigging)
And various home hifi kit there is a very real difference
 

SidZoot

Novice Member
I'm imagining not to many have experience with both amps so the quiet answers. If you look around the web, a lot of people still look for and like the rotel, which seems a very highly regarded amp.

Is there is something in particular you need to improve, or do you fancy just an upgrade.

I have the bronze2s and like them, by all accounts the Dynaudio are in a different class, but I have read they like a lot of power. 60 wpc on the rotel and indeed the Cambridge audio is lot lacking but might not get the best out of them either
I am noticing that If I keep the Rotel and upgrade to Dynaudio Emit 10 or 20, would be not the best option, due to Emit lower impedance and sensibility, so it seems a powerful amp would ne needed. Altough I've read some post recommending Rega Brio R for use with them, but I noticed that Rega has also 60w. Is there another speakers options to go with my Rotel? I've just read that Dynaudio X14 has 8ohms. Maybe that would be a better match to my Rotel?
 
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muljao

Well-known Member
I am facing the dilema that If I keep the Rotel I am risking an upgrade to Dynaudio, due to it's lower impedance and sensibility, because a powerful amp would ne needed. I've read some post recommending Rega Brio R for use with them. But I noticed that Rega has also 60w. Is there another speakers options to go with my Rotel?
I have not tried enough or familiar enough with other speakers to make a good recommendation. If you are not overly happy with the bronze 2s it might be worth while opening a similar thread in the speakers forum about different options for your Rotel and indeed better options for running Dynaudio

However, if you prefer the sound from studio monitors why not get them. You could sell your Monitor Audio and your Rotel, get monitors you want and pick up an av receiver that has preouts for the front channels (I recently got one for 40 pounds without hdmi second hand). This way you use the receivers inputs/dac/tuner, but the preouts send the sound to the monitos that do the amplifying. I set up a system like this recently for about 300 pounds using a Marantz SR4400 and a set of Mackie MR6 MK3s
 

Mark.Yudkin

Distinguished Member
The Rotel's 60W (that is a real figure, unlike so many exaggerations) is quite sufficient to drive almost any speaker to levels well above what would be considered dangerously illegal in a work environment. Also as a neutral amplifier, there is no such thing as speakers that are better or lesser suited to it, and you can happily select speakers on their own merit.

Both the Acoustic Energy AE1 MKIII that you liked but felt a bit weak in the bass and the Monitor Audio Bronze 2, which are too new to judge, are bookshelf speakers and therefore suffer from the compromises that all bookshelf speakers necessarily take. In effect, to achieve a high quality bass you need more volume in the speaker enclosure, or an active subwoofer (translated from Hoffman's Iron Law). An corollary is that a Dynaudio Emit M10 or M20 won't help you. Perhaps it time you looked into floorstanders as an option?
 

SidZoot

Novice Member
The Rotel's 60W (that is a real figure, unlike so many exaggerations) is quite sufficient to drive almost any speaker to levels well above what would be considered dangerously illegal in a work environment. Also as a neutral amplifier, there is no such thing as speakers that are better or lesser suited to it, and you can happily select speakers on their own merit.

Both the Acoustic Energy AE1 MKIII that you liked but felt a bit weak in the bass and the Monitor Audio Bronze 2, which are too new to judge, are bookshelf speakers and therefore suffer from the compromises that all bookshelf speakers necessarily take. In effect, to achieve a high quality bass you need more volume in the speaker enclosure, or an active subwoofer (translated from Hoffman's Iron Law). An corollary is that a Dynaudio Emit M10 or M20 won't help you. Perhaps it time you looked into floorstanders as an option?
I observed that Bronze 2 has lot of bass, maybe a little excessive to my room, but I liking it and I am finding it defined and showing details in the bass and drums from recordings from The Smiths Hateful of Hollow that I didn't notice with AE1. But when I listen to Yes Roundabout, the bass seems a little dry. I think the midrange is a little harsh or analytical, less meat or musicality than hearing on my powered monitors.
 

muljao

Well-known Member
The Rotel's 60W (that is a real figure, unlike so many exaggerations) is quite sufficient to drive almost any speaker to levels well above what would be considered dangerously illegal in a work environment. Also as a neutral amplifier, there is no such thing as speakers that are better or lesser suited to it, and you can happily select speakers on their own merit.

Both the Acoustic Energy AE1 MKIII that you liked but felt a bit weak in the bass and the Monitor Audio Bronze 2, which are too new to judge, are bookshelf speakers and therefore suffer from the compromises that all bookshelf speakers necessarily take. In effect, to achieve a high quality bass you need more volume in the speaker enclosure, or an active subwoofer (translated from Hoffman's Iron Law). An corollary is that a Dynaudio Emit M10 or M20 won't help you. Perhaps it time you looked into floorstanders as an option?
I agree that 60w is a nice bit of power, (my amps are 45watts and can shake my house when required -or more to the point when the wife is away)and if as you say it's true rather than the exaggerated numbers sometimes spewed out by manufacturers then all the better.

I am fairly sure they would drive the emits no problem. I only made the point as I read a few times the emits are power hungry to get the best out of them, I am not sure does this just mean for volume or overall quality.

I use the bronze 2s also, and amount of bass is not really a problem, they can go low,though sometimes more than a certain speaker offers is required, I'm not sure there are any weak links as such here, just individual matching issue
 

Mark.Yudkin

Distinguished Member
I agree that the OP doesn't have any weak links as such. although I would contend that the speakers are where the most improvement could be achieved with a decent budget. More importantly though, I don't think either of his proposals - Rotel RA 971 mkII -> CXA60 or Monitor Audio Bronze 2 -> Dynaudio Emit M20 - will achieve much, even though the Emits would be an upgrade. Interestingly , I'd have thought that the AE1 MKIII's would have run hoops around both the MA's and the Dynaudio's.

The midrange will likely improve when the speakers run in.
 

SidZoot

Novice Member
I agree that 60w is a nice bit of power, (my amps are 45watts and can shake my house when required -or more to the point when the wife is away)and if as you say it's true rather than the exaggerated numbers sometimes spewed out by manufacturers then all the better.

I am fairly sure they would drive the emits no problem. I only made the point as I read a few times the emits are power hungry to get the best out of them, I am not sure does this just mean for volume or overall quality.

I use the bronze 2s also, and amount of bass is not really a problem, they can go low,though sometimes more than a certain speaker offers is required, I'm not sure there are any weak links as such here, just individual matching issue
That's exactly my main doubt: If the amplifier power output is responsible for the overall quality of the speaker or if any speaker asks for a simple recommended minimum power required.
 

muljao

Well-known Member
That's exactly my main doubt: If the amplifier power output is responsible for the overall quality of the speaker or if any speaker asks for a simple recommended minimum power required.
Can I ask if you like studio monitors, why are you not going down that route
 

SidZoot

Novice Member
I agree that the OP doesn't have any weak links as such. although I would contend that the speakers are where the most improvement could be achieved with a decent budget. More importantly though, I don't think either of his proposals - Rotel RA 971 mkII -> CXA60 or Monitor Audio Bronze 2 -> Dynaudio Emit M20 - will achieve much, even though the Emits would be an upgrade. Interestingly , I'd have thought that the AE1 MKIII's would have run hoops around both the MA's and the Dynaudio's.

The midrange will likely improve when the speakers run in.
Because of previous great reviews and also it's price, I thought the AE1 would be the final speaker. But I always found it very different from my powered monitors, in the sense of details and also bass achieved. But in the overall it offered a very pleasing experience. But it definitely sounds different from the Bronze 2. I can tell for sure that the Bronze 2 offers a very detailed bass response. I am rediscovering some records. For example, The Smith's Hateful of Hollow recent remaster, I'm noticing great details of bass and drums. Also, I can tell now the difference between records that have overall less bass frequencies than others.

Anyway, I will try a momentary change between the AE1 and a friend of mine Dynaudio 2/6, that also got great reviews on past articles, this weekend. I will tell here what I found.
 

SidZoot

Novice Member
Can I ask if you like studio monitors, why are you not going down that route
That's a good question. I thought of that at first, but then I noticed that I would need a mixer to link CD player, dvd player and computer. I could use the Rotel as a simple preamp, as it has preamp output, but I would need another pair of quality RCA/P10 cables, and would need to power at least four devices to listen to music.

So I opted for the Bronze 2, that got a great review at What Hi Fi, got it at an accessible price here in Brasil. I think that I am finding the Bronze 2 has more similarities to my monitors. So I can hear a mix in my studio and in my room without much difference.
 

SidZoot

Novice Member
So I compared my Monitor Audio Bronze 2 with Dynaudio 2/6. Firstly, i found that the Dynaudios worked very well with Rotel, despite being 6 ohms, sounding powerful and musical, and I kept Rotel's volume knob at the nearly the same position that I keep when connected to Bronze 2.

Then I tried to compare Dynaudio with Bronze 2, using some tracks from Smith's 'Hateful of Hollow' 2011 remaster CD and Yes 'Fragile' 2003 remaster.

Maybe because of it's smaller woofer size, Dynaudio 2/6 seemed to sound overall better to my small and acoustically untreated room. It sounded full even at low volume, giving a general sense of presence, and it has musical midrange and highs.

Bronze 2 seems to sound better, or fuller, when I pushed the amp to a little louder volume. But to my surprise, the bass sounded surprisingly more defined. I could easily hear more bass details from 'This Charming Man', and more defined drums from 'How Soon Is Now', even distinguished the kick drum and snare despite the heavy reverb effect. And could hear more defined bass from Yes 'Fragile' album also.

I know I am comparing two different classes of speakers, with different original prices, but found the Bronze 2 a 'no turning back' point because of the surprising low end definition. So now I am curious to hear a smaller Monitor Audio speaker. Well, I think the search for an ideal audio system will never end. But will keep the Rotel amp. ;)
 
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SidZoot

Novice Member
Hello everyone. Sorry for resurrecting this post after two years. I finally got a good deal on the Dynaudio Emit 20 and bought it, and found it very pleasing. It has plenty of bass and is detailed. Also, it pairs well with my Rotel 971 MkII. For a while I got satisfied with this setup. Problem is, this year Rotel had to be serviced two times because of faulty internal components. It's working fine now, but maybe it's time to take a chance with a new amplifier. So my question is the same as the two years old original post. Is Cambridge Audio CXA 60 worth as a Rotel 971 substitute (I could have tried the Rega Brio, that seems to be well regarded, but read on manual that it gets very hot with 4 ohms speakers, so I unfortunately had to discard this option). Or any other option on the cambridge or marantz price range?
 
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Costello

Active Member
I’ve been running a Rega Brio and the remarks about it running hot are nonsense. Yes, it runs warm like many other electrical appliances and every other amp but not hot. It’s a cracking amp with plenty of power. Selling mine here:
 

SidZoot

Novice Member
I’ve been running a Rega Brio and the remarks about it running hot are nonsense. Yes, it runs warm like many other electrical appliances and every other amp but not hot. It’s a cracking amp with plenty of power. Selling mine here:
Hi Costello. Even powering 4 ohms speakers it runs smooth? Since my long time Rotel had to be repaired , I associate this with Brazil local voltage, that is 127V, and in long time may damage internal components made for 115 V. Anyway, I'm forward to looking for further recommendation.
 

Costello

Active Member
I’ve been using it with KEF R100s which are 8 ohms but can drop to 4. In the UK the CXA60 is a £500 amp. It’s highly regarded but could be seen as overkill for the £250 Bronze 2s. I had a RA971 in the late 1990s (mk 1) and it was a very good amp, but that was 20 years ago. If you like Rotel, perhaps try finding a used RA10?
 

SidZoot

Novice Member
I like Rotel very much, at least the ra 971. But lately I did not find a consensus about the newer models, at least on 'what hi fi' magazine reviews. I was planning to try one, but there's none in stock at resellers. Only buying a new one but without hearing it first. Do you think Ra10 or 12 would be an improvement over the ra971 or ra1061?
 
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Costello

Active Member
RA10 is a very good amplifier. Haven’t heard the 1061. If you’re after new, the Marantz PM6006 is probably the best at the same price point as the Bronze 2s.
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
Has your rotel totally died or is it just the power amp side. May be worth checking to see if the preamp side and pre outs are still ok, you then add a power amp.

The RA 1062 gets pretty good reviews.
 

SidZoot

Novice Member
RA10 is a very good amplifier. Haven’t heard the 1061. If you’re after new, the Marantz PM6006 is probably the best at the same price point as the Bronze 2s.
I've moved from the Bronze 2 to Dynaudio Emit 20, and I became more pleased with it's overall sound. Very pleasing to hear, yet it shows details and has plenty of bass. I thought about the marantz integrateds. Maybe the emits would demand more power, since it's 86db and 4 ohms, and the 8006 would be more suited.
 

Costello

Active Member
8006 is a good call. If you like a new a Rotel, these are on special offer here. Not sure about international delivery though.
 

SidZoot

Novice Member
Has your rotel totally died or is it just the power amp side. May be worth checking to see if the preamp side and pre outs are still ok, you then add a power amp.

The RA 1062 gets pretty good reviews.
It has not totally died. But started to get faulty a few months ago, and three times in a short time period, presenting some internal crackling noises. My technician changed some internal components, but I'm still afraid if it may get faulty again, so this would be an excuse for an 'upgrade', even I'm pleased with it's sound. So since some brands got it's amplifiers circuits improved, like Rega Brio and Marantz pm series, im searching for a mid priced modern amplifier. I got a chance to get a bargain price on a Rotel 1062, but since it's a more than 10 years old model, Im afraid to experience the same kind of problems the 971 presented. Would the 1062 be an upgrade to 971?
 
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SidZoot

Novice Member
8006 is a good call. If you like a new a Rotel, these are on special offer here. Not sure about international delivery though.
Would you recommend the 8006 over ra12, or are both on the same league ?
 

Costello

Active Member
I’m experimenting with an Audiolab 6000A at the moment and it is outstanding. 50W and loads of features. Brilliant amp for the money.
 

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