Rotel RA-1570 Amplifier

The integrated amplifier is certainly a useful barometer in measuring the present path of home sound. The coming of Compact Disc in the 1980 s began a move from vinyl playback and place the line stage to the limelight. The 2nd decade of the 21st Century streamed as digital files or has found music lovers move far from conventional physical media to music from saved, frequently played like smartphones on mobile gear.

Until lately, music lovers who adopted physical and non-physical media needed to purchase individual parts or look to high-priced one-box options from high end manufacturing companies like Simaudio Moon, Naim, McIntosh et al. Now sound manufacturing companies have seen the light and there's a big selection of multi-tasking amplifiers options from big and small manufacturing company equally, eg. Bel Canto, Onkyo, Harman Kardon, NAD, Cambridge Audio and even the own Perreaux in NZ and Plinius.

The most recent addition to the growing group is the Rotel RA-1570 integrated amplifier, including USB DAC and a phono stage, using the full package of digital and analogue input signals and a significant 120wpc.

The Rotel will be familiar sight to those who have a seen a 15-set part before. Essentially it is an enormous boxy amp using a fashionable brushed aluminium fascia fronting a significant (13kg) black crackle covered chassis. Softly curved the square-jawed visage softens. The review sample was also accessible. The front panel controls are typical amplifier menu for source and volume selection. Underneath the volume knob are buttons for choosing and fixing various menu items treble, balance, electricity on max, screen dimmer, Rotel System Link. volume (useful for those that tend not to conscientiously turn volume down before switching off) and changing chosen input signals to fixed gain mode. As well as a USB input for hooking up various i-Bluetooth by means of a tiny dongle or thingies.

Inside sits a big custom Rotel toroidal transformer supplying the Class AB output stage with the juice. Sadly for i-enthusiasts the front USB is restricted to 96kHz/16-bit sound.

Setup is as straight as plugging in your source parts, taking the amp from the box and hooking up your loudspeakers. And a lifeless, over-damped, somewhat wobbly digital encoder. It does the job but isn't as tactile as an excellent old fashioned knob that is mechanical.

The remote control is normally well laid out yet the volume buttons are not excessively large and badly located on top of the remote.

The balanced analogue and PC-USB input signals were untested as I did not have access to sources that are appropriate.

Right from the carton the Rotel was a pleasure to listen to. It is a rich, inviting sound, bringing you to the music, and it's smooth and forgiving, although a power station. It errs on the side that is warm. Highs are airy and clear. Bass is weighty and large with definition and great expansion. Soundstaging is excellent, depth is shortened focus and a bit isn't sharp but there is a persuasive sense of space as well as great dimensionality.

The entire sonic experience is reminiscent of a great Plinius incorporated from days gone by.

A Ortofon TMC200/T5 transformer mixture functioned wonderfully into the Rotel. Digital fans are not forgotten as the Rotel's DAC did a great job from my Marantz, Panasonic, Toshiba cd spinners and an Asus media player playing with various digital formats. It made Bluetooth music tolerable.

A well balanced program

No criticisms could be made about its performance although the Rotel has a few ergonomic glitches. It is a music lover's amplifier, providing superb sound quality. Listening through the Rotel to music becomes a unique occasion again. The amp is well made, extremely versatile and user friendly, all to get a fair cost. Highly recommended.

Rotel RA-1570 Amplifier photo