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The concept of a digital or Class D power amplifier is not new, but only recently have the designs matured sufficiently to be used in high-end applications. Thus, several companies, including Rotel, have now introduced such models. Rotel has three Class D offerings, the RMB-1077 7-channel home theater version at $2,499,the RB-1092 2-channel version at $2,499, and the RB1091 mono block version at $1,499. The RMB-1077 is rated at 100 watts for each of its 7 channels whereas the RMB1091 produces 500 watts and the RB1092 produces 500 watts for each of its two channels. When you realize how small these three amplifiers are, 17 inches wide by 16 inches deep by only about 3 inches high, you can begin to understand what an impressive achievement they are. These are very small boxes putting out enormous amounts of power, far more than could be achieved with comparably-sized analog designs. The new Rotel Class D power amplifiers achieve excellent, high-power sound via the new ICEpower technology. This new technology is based on two principles called Controlled Oscillation Modulation (COM) and Multivariable Enhanced Cascade Control (MECC). Together, these comprise an intelligent power processing capability that ensures that the amplifier's power supply and output is rock solid even under complex speaker loads or AC power variations in your home. Thus, the RMB-1077 will provide plenty of power for all but the largest home theater systems. For systems that demand practically unlimited power, one can combine two or more of the RB-1092s with an RB-1091 to create a 5.1 or 7.1 system of essentially unlimited power. But none of this would matter if these new power amplifiers didn't have superb sound quality. Here's what some recent reviews said about these models.
Like any home cinema product, the RMB-1077 goes loud. Very loud, in fact, and it refuses to harden up even at ear-splitting levels. If that was where the good news ended, you'd be disappointed. Thankfully, the RMB-1077 offers much more. It has refinement, and a highly even tonal balance, which helps it sound natural regardless of the partnering speakers. Switch to music, and this power amp reflects Rotel's stereo heritage with a performance packed full of detail, dynamics and poise. Five stars. (What Hi Fi?, May, 2006)
Custom install professionals are crying out for amps like this...there is simply no other multi-channel power amplifier available that's this compact, elegant in appearance and cool-headed in operation. ...this amplifier delivers a thunderous sound with no hint of hardness, stress, or strain. ...the Rotel is especially capable of sustaining a marvelous sense of atmosphere and anticipation. (Hi Fi News, December, 2005)
As a stereo pair, the RB-1091 is typically very easy-going, painting its musical canvas with a garrulous spirit, a boundless enthusiasm barely contained by its kilowatt capacity. ...it's in this guise where a clutch of five or more RB-1091's has the capacity to evolve a very good home cinema into an experience that's truly state-of-the-art. (Hi Fi News, May, 2006)
The trouble this [RB-1092] amp could cause if we all stopped worrying about brand names. Even if we factor out snob appeal, the Rotel clearly has much with which to seduce you, massive amounts of power being the most obvious. It actually sounds great, with a more-ish silky character that allows you to sit there for hours without fatigue. (Hi Fi News, April, 2006)
So, what's the bottom line? Rotel has created some very advanced power amplifiers that are an ideal choice for either stereo or multi-channel use, especially if you want lots of clean power in a small package that can run cool, play loud, and deliver great sound for a very reasonable price.
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