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This year Rotel has introduced two new integrated amplifiers, the RA-1570 at $1599 and the RA-12 at $799, a new CD player, the RCD-1570 at $999, and two 5-channel home theater power amplifiers, the RMB-1555 at $1699 and the RMB-1585 at $2999.
The RA-1570 is a true Renaissance amplifier in the sense that it can accommodate any type of source from a turntable to a computer to a portable media player. Its circuitry draws on a high capacity power supply based on a Rotel custom designed and in-house manufactured oversized toroidal transformer. In addition to providing an abundance of voltage and current for all operating stages, the transformer's toroidal shape helps prevent stray radiation patterns from corrupting audio signals as they pass through adjacent circuit stages. This allows the RA-1570 to deliver 120 watts/channel of clear and strain-free power. The RA-1570's input section is substantially more flexible than that found in most integrated amplifiers. In recognition of the growing popularity of digital sources, this amplifier provides a front panel USB input for easy connection of a wide variety of music storage devices including Apple iPods, iPhones, and iPads. A rear panel asynchronous Computer USB input supporting files up to 24bit/192kHz is also provided. So you can stream music directly from your computer to this amplifier without purchasing a separate Digital-to-Analog converter. In addition, two each coaxial and optical inputs provide easy connections for non-USB digital components. It is possible to fix the level on these inputs for use with devices that provide their own volume control. Analog inputs include balanced XLR connectors in addition to conventional RCA jacks and phono inputs for your turntable.
The RA-12 is a scaled down version of the RA-1570. Like its big brother, it also has a front-panel USB input for connecting portable devices, optical and coaxial digital inputs, a phono input, and a very robust power supply. It does not have a computer USB input, and its power is more modest at 60 watts/channel. However, it has the same open and spacious sound quality as the Ra-1570 and will provide excellent performance for those on a budget, those needing less power, and those not requiring a computer USB input.
The RCD-1570 contains a number of analog and digital refinements as compared to its predecessor, the RCD-1520. It uses the same slot-loading transport mechanism but achieves purer sound by virtue of its circuit advances. For example, the digital filter and DAC section achieves 24-bit/192kHz capability by virtue of the Wolfson WM8740 chip, and the analog output now has balanced, XLR capability in addition to the more conventional RCA outputs. The truth, of course, is in the listening, and the RCD-1570 is audibly improved over its predecessor. When you consider that these improvements come with no price increase over the prior model, you begin to realize what a bargain the new model is.
The RMB-1555 and RMB-1585 might easily have been called their "classic" home theater models as they bring back Class-AB design to Rotel home theater amplifiers. These are the most refined-sounding 5-channel power amplifiers ever from this company, and they share many of the design parameters (such as the heavy-duty, custom-designed toroidal transformers and audio purist parts throughout) of the integrated amplifiers described above. While the RMB-1555's 120 watts/channel for all 5 channels will drive most home theaters to satisfying volumes, the 200 watts/channel of the RMB-1585 will drive virtually any system with power and finesse. The RMB-1585's power supply actually uses two massive toroidal power transformers to support the higher power and provide current for fast and dynamic transients. You can pair either of thee power amplifiers with a fine processor such as the RSP-1572 to achieve very spectacular home theater performance.
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