Rotel RA-12 Amplifier

Rotel has been a long standing adversary but historically its amps were never the most feature-laden versions going. But no more, as the RA-12 is possessed of a rational few bells and whistles. At the same time as four line-level input signals, it has four digital inputs (although not one of these is a USB DAC connection) making good use of a Wolfson DAC and moving magnet phono stage. The leading interface is Apple apparatus-compatible, in addition to having the capacity to read compressed files on USB sticks the RA-12 comes provided with a Bluetooth dongle off a computer - albeit at lesser quality than a USB connection would manage. Concerning day to day use, it is the most convenient amp.

There is an amazing amount for what is the least expensive amplifier in the evaluation of functionality. The RA-12 claims a power output of 60W into just one set of tough loudspeaker terminals, which suggests it is at the center but is actually a much more able performer in real-life terms (see On Test above). The build is absolutely sound as well, even though it's somewhat fussy cosmetically and the display that is used to reveal input and volume lacks the attractiveness or the Arcam's legibility. There are several operational niggles, too. The RA-12 appears to switch on at a default volume and also the volume travel doesn't feel very favorable. The remote control is logical, simple to use and well laid out, nonetheless.

Sound quality

The Rotel's suitability depends to a great extent on your listening preferences. The Muse and Neil Cowley Trio records are smooth, managed and reasonably in-depth to the soundstage with definition and pleasant width. That is a slightly sweet quality to the midrange that brings a pleasant fullness to instruments and voices. The RA-12 manages to generate an impressive soundstage with plenty of space across the performers along with a good perception of front to back depth.

Together with the less perfect Scratch Huge track, it is as unhappy. The live performance sounds a little driven and there are traces of harshness in the upper registers like it's calling on more of its own available power in relation to the remaining amps that sound. The Aloe Blacc record also shows a number of the exact same stridency. There is a practical liveliness to it plus it seems positive and agile with these recordings that are quicker. It manages to do that while creating acceptable - if not the best within the group - bass amounts and there is a good depth and detail . The somewhat strained quality completely goes away, nevertheless, as well as the Rotel isn't as difficult to listen to long term as a few here.

The RA-12 is quite able in many means and signifies an awful lot of amplifier for the cash. For anybody who has music that has a tendency to lean towards the end that is more civilised, it is capable of an engrossing and comprehensive performance and also the extensive functionality should allow it to be a very flexible part of any system.

The slight and strain harshness it shows with less immaculate records along with the somewhat fussy aesthetics and controls are much less appealing, yet, and superior all round skill is offered by some of the more expensive amps in the test.

Rotel RA-12 Amplifier photo