• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). There are daily reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

Rockville RPA16 Review (Pro Amplifier)

Rate this amplifier:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 67 43.8%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 66 43.1%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 18 11.8%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 2 1.3%

  • Total voters
    153

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
37,954
Likes
162,178
Location
Seattle Area
This is a review and detailed measurements of the Rockville RPA16 "Professional" power amplifier. It was kindly purchased new by a member and drop shipped to me. It costs US $390.

Rockville RPA16 Review stereo Pro Power Amplifier.jpg


The amp has a "peak" spec of 10,000 watts! No, there is no typo in there. It weights 40 pounds/18 KG so it does have some meat to it. You can probably see the bolt that holds the power transformer on top left. So no switching power supply at least. Back panel shows nice sub out option:

Rockville RPA16 Review stereo subwoofer filter out Pro Power Amplifier.jpg

The fan is variable speed and is mostly quiet at idle. But even under modest power it spools up as temps climb, making a slightly whining sound:

Rockville RPA16 Measurements Warm up Pro Power Amplifier.png


The front controls are analog actually but notched, making it harder to select an exact value. They are out of sync with each other so one notch is not the same as the other. The displayed amount is also off by a couple of dB (27 dB shown above was actually 29 dB). There is a built-in limiter and clipping light.

Rockville RPA16 Measurements
Let's jump right in with our dashboard:


Rockville RPA16 Measurements Pro Power Amplifier.png


That is very odd set of spikes in low frequencies. We have the mains 60 Hz noise but also 70 Hz. At this power level though, spray of distortion at -62 dB sets SINAD though, causing it to rank as one of the worse tested:
Best pro amplifier review subwoofer.png


Its score of 55 dB is so low that it pulled down our overall median by 1 dB to 78!

Signal to noise ratio is poor at 5 watts, likely due to that power supply noise. But there is so much power that when you push it, the ratio is not bad:
Rockville RPA16 Measurements SNR Pro Power Amplifier.png


Multitone test shows that distortion naturally gets worse at higher frequencies:

Rockville RPA16 Measurements Multitone Pro Power Amplifier.png


Frequency response is nice and load independent indicating a non-switching amplifier:
Rockville RPA16 Measurements Frequency Response Pro Power Amplifier.png


You have a choice of two roll offs for sub output. Strangely both boost the gain as well:
Rockville RPA16 Measurements Subwoofer Frequency Response Pro Power Amplifier.png


Let's see how accurate the power specs are (2 X 1500 watts at 4 ohm):
Rockville RPA16 Measurements Power 4 ohm Pro Power Amplifier.png


Naturally we don't get there but this is one powerful amplifier, generating nearly 1500 watts with both channels combined.

Letting distortion go up and with shorter term signal we get even more of it:

Rockville RPA16 Measurements Max and Peak Power 4 ohm Pro Power Amplifier.png


I don't think we have measured this much power before, have we?

Even at 8 ohm you have a ton of power:

Rockville RPA16 Measurements Power 8 ohm Pro Power Amplifier.png


As noted though, noise floor is high, again, I think the worst measured. Distortion actually doesn't set in until 100+ watts.

Checking for frequency vs power and distortion we see orderly response:

Rockville RPA16 Measurements Frequency vs Distortion vs Power 4 ohm Pro Power Amplifier.png


If you are using it for sub, you want to use the above number, rather than the 1 kHz power tests shown earlier. Fortunately this is still a ton of power considering dual channels are driven.

Finally, I ran a wideband spectrum test to confirm the design is not switching:

Rockville RPA16 Measurements FFT spectrum Power 4 ohm Pro Power Amplifier.png


And it is not. There is also good filtering to push the noise levels down so low above a few hundred kilohertz.

Conclusions
This is an interesting take on a pro amplifier to go with non-switching design. This makes the amp extremely heavy compared to competition yet, the price is maintained and absurdly low. Copious amount of power is available if you can tolerate some fan noise.

Due to high level of noise I can't recommend the Rockville RPA16. But you are welcome to choose otherwise based on other factors.

-----------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 

Sal1950

Grand Contributor
The Chicago Crusher
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 1, 2016
Messages
10,388
Likes
10,866
Location
Central Fl
I wouldn't use it as a HiFi amp, but as a stage amp it's probably just fine.
 

ROOSKIE

Major Contributor
Joined
Feb 27, 2020
Messages
1,244
Likes
2,191
Location
Minneapolis
Wow, that is a great amp for certain use cases.
$390?
Sticking with Crown for "pro meets hifi" but this inexpensive thing has a couple of watts to spare.
 

DanielT

Major Contributor
Joined
Oct 10, 2020
Messages
2,655
Likes
2,062
Location
Sweden - Слава Україні
Thanks for the test Amir! That was interesting!:)

Acceptable or preferred to be used with passive subwoofer?
Maybe, but how much do the fans sound?
Amir:
"The fan is variable speed and is mostly quiet at idle. But even under modest power it spools up as temps climb, making a slightly whining sound:"

Perfect amp for a strip club. Lots of power for lotsa, lotsa bass oomph, and such an environment isn't low noise anyway.
Perfect as a party amp. Bring it out and use it at outdoor parties for example. Together with the party PA speakers.:)
 

Matias

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 1, 2019
Messages
3,250
Likes
5,975
Location
São Paulo, Brazil
Power corrupts.
 

Dzhaughn

Active Member
Joined
Mar 12, 2020
Messages
117
Likes
275
As Weird Al sang to a Nirvana ditty: We're so loud and / incoherent / Boy, this oughta / bug your parents

Any serious speaker suggestions? Some big Realistic models from the 70s?
 

MZKM

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Dec 1, 2018
Messages
4,064
Likes
10,470
Location
Land O’ Lakes, FL
I don't think we have measured this much power before, have we?

Its peak power is over 1kW more.
 

sarumbear

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Aug 15, 2020
Messages
3,785
Likes
3,453
Location
Southampton, UK
With no CE mark and fixed (labelled) 120VAC they do not plan to export it to EU either.
 

XaVierDK

Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2020
Messages
40
Likes
96

Its peak power is over 1kW more.
But only into one channel. The peak power is still tested with both channels running here, I think.
 

Helicopter

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Aug 13, 2020
Messages
2,663
Likes
3,807
Location
Michigan
That is a lot of power per dollar. It certainly is keeping that promise. I am sure it suits the priorities of a lot of people and applications. I wouldn't use it in my home though.
 

Bombadil

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 28, 2017
Messages
533
Likes
671
Location
Davis CA
I can't keep up with the panthers; does this dancing (jogging?) panther mean suitable for use only when under the influence?
 
Top Bottom