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This year Rotel has been active in both the digital and analog areas with the release of their first stand-alone USB DAC, the RDD-1580 at $799, a new stereo preamplifier with built-in USB DAC, the RC-1570 at $999, and two new stereo power amplifiers, the RB-1552 MK II at $999 and the RB-1582 MK II at $1599.
The RDD-1580 DAC uses Wolfson's extraordinary WM8740 stereo digital-to-analogue converter. However, where competitive products use only one of these converters to handle two channels, the RDD-1580 uses dual WM8740s in a complementary configuration which reduces noise and distortion well beyond that a single converter can provide. Another RDD-1580 advantage lies in its input flexibility. A front panel USB input supports Apple iPod, iPhone, and iPad as well as streaming via Bluetooth with the included adapter. The rear panel USB input supports files up to 24 bit/192kHz in asynchronous mode. Two sets of rear panel RCA-style coaxial and Toslink optical digital inputs are optimized for LPCM data streams. This includes CDs with 16-bit/44.1 kHz up to high-definition sources with 24-bit/192 kHz audio data. A Rotel-designed and manufactured toroidal transformer is the foundation of the RDD-1580's well-regulated power supply. Advanced custom-designed slit-foil capacitors provide electrical storage capabilities to ensure substantial and stable operating voltages and current to feed the critical circuit stages. The RDD-1580 provides both single-ended and balanced outputs with RCA and XLR connectors. The carefully-tuned analogue section is another example of Rotel's award-winning Balanced Design approach where specifications alone do not dictate which electronic parts are selected. Rather, extensive listening tests are carried out under controlled conditions to determine the optimal choices. During this time the entire circuit is carefully tuned to provide musically-true signal reproduction. It is this total package of superior engineering tempered by careful listening that has yielded a product with such high performance and capabilities at such an affordable price.
The RC-1570 stereo preamplifier is also extremely flexible. Its digital capabilities are very similar to the RDD-1580 discussed above. Four digital inputs (two co-axial and two optical), plus the rear USB input handle digital sources up to 24/192 resolution. The 4 inputs are designed for sources such as TV set-top boxes, flat panel TVs or Blu-ray players for greatly improved playback quality. The USB input is used to connect your computer so you can stream music from your library using software such as iTunes or Windows Media Player. A Bluetooth dongle is provided for use with the front USB input and allows the user to stream content from any Bluetooth-enabled device directly into your audio system. A premium Wolfson stereo D/A converter handles critical conversion from digital data to analog. The analog inputs include balanced XLR connectors in addition to four pair of conventional RCA inputs. A moving magnet phono stage allows you to hook up your turntable directly without using an external phono preamplifier. XLR and single ended outputs are provided, as are two 12-volt triggers to control on/off operation of an amplifier and/or other components. In short, the RC-1570 is a tremendous value and the perfect upgrade for owners of older analog-only preamplifiers.
The RB-1582 Mk II is Rotel's largest stereo amplifier at 200 watts per channel and provides the massive current to drive the very largest Hi-Fi systems effortlessly. It has been designed to excel at resolving the subtle details in music as well as supplying the brawn required for extremely dynamic passages. It is able to achieve this difficult dual requirement because of the meticulous attention paid to circuit design and parts selection.
The RB-1582 MK II 's high-end performance begins with an extremely large toroidal transformer combined with a total of 60,000 microfarads of storage capacity in special, slit foil capacitors. This combination provides completely stable power to the output stage. Slit foil capacitors have the ability to charge and discharge extremely quickly, thereby ensuring signal fidelity during high current demand during, for example, orchestral crescendos or repetitive drum impacts. Both left and right channel construction are laid out in a mono block design (except for the toroidal transformer), and all grounding is terminated in a star pattern on a copper grounding plate to ensure low noise. The output stage is a discrete design that consists of 0 high current bipolar transistors per channel. Input options consist of both balanced XLR and single-ended RCA connectors.
The RB-1552 MK II is very similar to its big brother and offers the same outstanding design (e.g., dual-mono construction after the power transformer), sound quality, and connectivity at the somewhat lower power rating of 120 watts/channel. It's the perfect choice for use in smaller rooms or with more efficient loudspeakers that don't require as much power as more demanding loudspeakers. Both the RB-1582 MK II and RB-1552 MK II stereo power amplifiers are yet another outstanding example of Rotel's Balanced Design Concept and will form the heart of a very impressive stereo or home theater system for years to come.
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