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Rotel DT-6000 Review & Measurements (CD Player / DAC)

Mart68

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Yes, if you really want to do it that way, then you should be happy. It's still a crazy price for what it does, and we can still call it antiquated, and we can still call it audio jewellery because it's overpriced "prettiness" that helps fit into the psychological experience you have as part of the ritual of using it. If you want to spend your money (a tidy sum) on something like that then that's your choice, it's not that rational though really.

EDIT: I still buy music on CD's sometimes, but I rip them with a $10 USB CD Player (ha, see) - I buy them used, and as you say they can be bought for cheap (CD's that is).
It's not utilitarian - but I dispute the assertion that it's irrational.

If I couldn't afford it or had to sacrifice an essential to afford it then I agree it would be irrational.

It's an antiquated method of playback, I give you that but I am quite antiquated. CD wasn't even on the market when I started out, so it's still high tech to me.
 

Canuck57

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People will listen to their music how they want to; I stream from my computer, listen to vinyl, listen to CDs, and bluetooth from a tablet. We're not all vulcans!
 

AnalogSteph

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Rotel DT-6000 - Summary
Tests
Manufacturer's specs
Results (L & R)
Rating
Noise Level (REW)​
-115dB (stated as SNR)​
-116.0dBA​
Excellent
Dynamic Range (REW)​
99dB​
110.1dB​
Very Good
THD (REW)​
/​
0.00017%​
Very Good
THD+Noise / SINAD (REW)
-103.1dB
-105.3dB
Very Good
IMD SMPTE (REW)​
-98.4dB​
-99.5dB​
Good
Stereo crosstalk (RMAA)​
-115dB​
-115.3dB​
Very Good
IMD+Noise @10 kHz (RMAA)​
/​
0.00149%​
Good
Multitone 32 TD+N (Multitone)​
/​
-88.9dB​
Average
I think whoever put together the official specs was confused. It is fundamentally impossible for DR to be smaller than SINAD, being one of the limits for the latter.

Honestly, this level of performance seems like a bit of a waste of an ES9028PRO (an 8-channel beast that ought to be capable of up to 133 dB worth of dynamic range if combined to stereo). It's basically $80-150-ish DAC level these days, and I mean finished product, not IC price. A $349 Topping E70 using the same chip runs circles around it. They could have gone with an ES9038Q2M no problem (1/4 the channels and 1/4 the price) and spent some more on the analog stages instead (or voltage regulation, whatever is holding back dynamic range).
 

pseudoid

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Perhaps we should create a poll and see how many of us use a CD player regularly. I can't remember the last time I put one in and played it.

My CD collection was taking over the house, since - at one point - they numbered over a thousand.
Finally, I even got tired of carrying a library of CDs (along with their jewel cases) in the car at all times.
Madness; Indeed. :(
As I had done with my LP library previously; I made the hard decision to change my old/nostalgic attachments to media-ownership.
This decision presented a problem: I have an older GM car that came with a built-in 6CD-changer head-unit but no Aux-In.
Not wishing to swap out the car's OEM audio system, I just [kinda] mod'd the CD analog L/R outs of the PCB w/a 3.5mm Aux-In on the dash.
A MediaPlayer, 4 tiny-little microSD cards (512GB/ea) and an RCA cable is now all I need for music in the car.
202308_SilenceCD.jpg

I pop-in this CDR and tell the changer to 'RepeatTrack' and it thinks it's playing silence. :oops:
RedBook be damned!
 

AnalogSteph

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My CD collection was taking over the house, since - at one point - they numbered over a thousand.
This is most of my CD collection, has to be close to 600. Hardly "taking over the house", though it took some effort (new furniture and some DIY) to get there. Mind you, they're not terribly accessible like that, but I have them all ripped anyway, so who cares.
 

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restorer-john

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My CD collection was taking over the house, since - at one point - they numbered over a thousand.
Finally, I even got tired of carrying a library of CDs (along with their jewel cases) in the car at all times.
Madness; Indeed. :(
As I had done with my LP library previously; I made the hard decision to change my old/nostalgic attachments to media-ownership.
This decision presented a problem: I have an older GM car that came with a built-in 6CD-changer head-unit but no Aux-In.
Not wishing to swap out the car's OEM audio system, I just [kinda] mod'd the CD analog L/R outs of the PCB w/a 3.5mm Aux-In on the dash.
A MediaPlayer, 4 tiny-little microSD cards (512GB/ea) and an RCA cable is now all I need for music in the car.
View attachment 304075
I pop-in this CDR and tell the changer to 'RepeatTrack' and it thinks it's playing silence. :oops:
RedBook be damned!

That's a novel way to use the head unit. :)
 

pseudoid

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That's a novel way to use the head unit. :)
If I changed the head-end: I would have needed 10 new Speaker$, few new amp$, new x-over$, custom loom$, cable$ and sound-deadener$... etc.
Hardware upgrades would have been in excess of $3,000. At least , I would have saved on installer fee$.;)
I've done it with all my previous cars but the outcomes have always been... ummmm... like putting lipstick and high-heels on a pig.

(Only to have the sound be swamped out w/car interior/exterior noise, reflections, lack of imaging, etc., etc.)
K.I.S.S. was the best solution.
 

Snoopy

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At this price range I would expect SOTA DAC, roon and CD/SACD/Blu-ray audio playback. :)
 

Neric

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Rotel has never made a SACD player, they have made a LOT of CD players. Though the DT-6000 works with DSD, I've ripped SACDs and pushed them to this player and it plays them just fine.

Most of my SACD have a CD-Layer, the few that don't I have a bunch of other players that can play them - and I've ripped them.

It's expensive but it's also very well built so it should last a very long time. I like buying things that last a long time.
 

Robbo99999

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It's not utilitarian - but I dispute the assertion that it's irrational.

If I couldn't afford it or had to sacrifice an essential to afford it then I agree it would be irrational.

It's an antiquated method of playback, I give you that but I am quite antiquated. CD wasn't even on the market when I started out, so it's still high tech to me.
Fair enough.
Use a basic transport to feed your DAC. Reallocate the remaining 2000€ towards your speaker budget. That will make a sonic difference.
Yup, definitely!
 

Galliardist

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Rotel has never made a SACD player, they have made a LOT of CD players. Though the DT-6000 works with DSD, I've ripped SACDs and pushed them to this player and it plays them just fine.

Most of my SACD have a CD-Layer, the few that don't I have a bunch of other players that can play them - and I've ripped them.

It's expensive but it's also very well built so it should last a very long time. I like buying things that last a long time.
Ah, but we only know that something will actually last a very long time... after the fact.
 

Canuck57

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Ah, but we only know that something will actually last a very long time... after the fact.

My spidy senses tell me it will last much longer than a Topping amplifier! Past reliability is generally a good predictor of future reliability.
 

Galliardist

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My spidy senses tell me it will last much longer than a Topping amplifier! Past reliability is generally a good predictor of future reliability.
I have an interesting example of that with JVC components from the old days.
First item 10 years
Second item 8 years
Third item... 3 weeks

Excuse me for being a little cynical.
 

Neric

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I have an interesting example of that with JVC components from the old days.
First item 10 years
Second item 8 years
Third item... 3 weeks

Excuse me for being a little cynical.

I've had the DT-6000 for 7 months and it's my 3rd Rotel item... so doing better then JVC ;-)
 

Neric

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With CD players, it often comes down to the quality of the drive... as that will generally fail first and need repair/replacement.


JSmith

Agreed - my Denon DVD3910 had it's tray fail, required replacing. My even older Technics dvd-a10 still works with no drive issues.
 

pseudoid

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With CD players, it often comes down to the quality of the drive... as that will generally fail first and need repair/replacement.


JSmith
Interestingly enough, most of the automotive-grade CD 'decks' (that I've had and/or installed) had the mechanicals sorted-out better than most of the mid-grade CD players I've had in my home systems.
Of course, the extreme environmental conditions need to be accounted for but my experience seems counter to home CDPs as not being finicky.
 

Neric

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Interestingly enough, most of the automotive-grade CD 'decks' (that I've had and/or installed) had the mechanicals sorted-out better than most of the mid-grade CD players I've had in my home systems.
Of course, the extreme environmental conditions need to be accounted for but my experience seems counter to home CDPs as not being finicky.

Most automative don't have tray - the cd is just inserted. It's the darn tray and it's wormgear that I had issues with on the denon. Since that moves more maybe it's more likely to fail.

My denon is a cut down do it everything player. The A10 was top of the line at it's time and the DT-6000 is top of the line for Rotel. I never liked the drive / tray in the denon.

Granted I used the denon a lot more back then since it started as my dvd player. It's quite old.
 

jwmitchell

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Rotel DT-6000 Review & Measurements

View attachment 302300

Hi folks,

I am back for another review. Today's one is about the Rotel DT-6000 CD player and DAC. The latter is self-qualified by the company as a "DAC Transport", which sounds a bit unusual. It has been launched in 2022, as part of the Diamond Series line, on the occasion of the Rotel's 60th anniversary (which was really in 2021). The Diamond Series is supposed to fill the gap between the regular 15X2 midrange line and the higher-end Michi electronics. There are only two products: one integrated amplifier, the RA-6000, and the player measured here, the DT-6000. It comes at a fairly high price tag, costing 2299€ as the time of this writing. This sample has been kindly loaned to me for the purpose of this review by Masimo France (formerly Sound United), which is the distributor of Rotel products, at least for EU market.

Rotel definitely remains a traditional, old-school manufacturer. It should be one of the very last companies to still make FM tuners by 2023, as they have very few, if none, raw DACs or standalone streamers listed in their product line-up. As such, they also have a long tradition with classical optical players. While keep releasing CD players in the era of streaming is certainly kind of hazardous, I personally do have a loving relationship with the Red Book format, and would still be in pursuit of buying such a product. Besides, while I am familiar with their amplifiers, I look forward to seeing how a D/A converter from this iconic brand would perform. This unit in particular features an ESS ES9028PRO chip, and would be, as such, the first Sabre implementation in a Rotel product, which previously used Wolfson, AKM and now, TI chips.

The DT-6000 design is quite a departure from the rounded corners we used to see with their previous CD Players and Amps, such as the 1572 or 1592. You got here a much more rectangular drawing. This Player simply looks magnificent. These sides, made of polished metal, are just amazing and there is a very nice grained painting (that you cannot see on pictures) on the top steel. In brief, the build quality is top-notch. The player is rather big (41cm wide, 32cm deep) and heavy (8.1kg) and feel very solid in hands.

You get quite a few buttons on the front, and basically, every command you would need without using the remote. The disc tray seems to be quite sturdy, and works smoothly and silently. The CD playback is also pretty fast, with no disk that I could not read, even the most scratched ones. Definitely a strong quality device overall, for the few weeks I used it.​


The rear first seems very conventional, with both XLR balanced and RCA single-ended outputs. What is not that common, however, is to not see digital outputs at the back of a CD player. Yes, these S/PDIF ports are inputs only, for both optical and coaxial. There is also a USB-B input, that works through and XMOS chip and a dedicated driver. The USB-A is only here for software update.

Since Masimo allowed me to open the unit, you get as bonus a (uncommented) teardrown :​

View attachment 302492View attachment 302493View attachment 302494View attachment 302495

Measurements

Disclaimer: Measurements you are about to see are not intended to be as precise or extensive than what you get from a 30k€ AP. There is obviously both hardware and software limitations here, so not quite apples to apples comparison with Amir's testing. Still, this data is enough to have a pretty good idea if the gear is bad or not, stellar, broken, or sub-par...

- Instruments : RME ADI-2/4 PRO SE. E1DA Cosmos ADC (Grade B), Minimum phase filter. E1DA Cosmos APU 60dB preamp is used for DR measurements. Output voltage is measured separately, using a DMM with a 0dBFS 1kHz tone.
- Software : REW V5.20.14, Multitone Loopback Analyzer 1.0.80 and RMAA 6.4.5 PRO,
- Method : 8 runs for each test, then I choose the closest to the average. Bandwidth and sampling rate to be specified for each test.

Note: Prior to this publication, I showed my measurements to Masimo, who put me in contact with Rotel to discuss the results.

I started my tests with the USB-B input and XLR balanced outputs.​

View attachment 302498

Rotel DT-6000 - Summary
Tests
Manufacturer's specs
Results (L & R)
Rating
Noise Level (REW)​
-115dB (stated as SNR)​
-116.0dBA​
Excellent
Dynamic Range (REW)​
99dB​
110.1dB​
Very Good
THD (REW)​
/​
0.00017%​
Very Good
THD+Noise / SINAD (REW)
-103.1dB
-105.3dB
Very Good
IMD SMPTE (REW)​
-98.4dB​
-99.5dB​
Good
Stereo crosstalk (RMAA)​
-115dB​
-115.3dB​
Very Good
IMD+Noise @10 kHz (RMAA)​
/​
0.00149%​
Good
Multitone 32 TD+N (Multitone)​
/​
-88.9dB​
Average

Note: I now use a new column for published manufacturer's specs (when some are available), that gives an interesting comparison between what is advertised and what you buy at the end.​

Total Harmonic Distortion + Noise (SINAD) - 24b/44.1kHz
View attachment 302514

Frequency Response - 24b/44.1kHz
View attachment 302516

Noise Level - 24b/44.1kHz
View attachment 302669

Dynamic Range - 24b/44.1kHz
View attachment 302670

Intermodulation Distortion SMPTE - 24b/44.1kHzView attachment 302671

Intermodulation Distortion SMPTE Versus Level - 24b/44.1kHz

View attachment 302672

THD Versus Frequency - 24b/48kHz
View attachment 302673

Jitter - 24b/48kHz
View attachment 302699

Multitone 32 - 24b/192kHz
View attachment 302675

Intermodulation Distortion + Noise (sweep) - 24b/44.1kHz
View attachment 302676

Crosstalk - 24b/44.1kHz

View attachment 302677
Alright. My first thoughts here were about the surprising correlation between advertised specifications, and my measured results. For almost every part, the DT-6000 performed according to specs, or a touch above. You may assume that this should be the norm, but it is not. Apart from some manufacturers we often see measured here on ASR, a lot of products on the market are sub-performing in regard to exaggerated numbers. In this case, I am pleased to observe such cohesive (while good but not great) benchmarks.

Now, if I take a step back, I could admit that the performance is not quite there for the high price tag. The SINAD is effectively good, but a lot of cheaper DACs will give you better numbers. Should it be audibly transparent? Most probably: yes. Yet, I have got a couple of issues (say, three, really). First is the USB-B input that shows both strange sidebands in my THD+N FFT, for which I would not mind, since it doesn't affect the THD, not to mention in an inaudible way. The second concern is... a terrible jitter performance. While the noise floor seems acceptably low, the main 12kHz sine wave seems to be kind of desynchronized in every J-tests I have run. I shared this results with Rotel, and they told that they will investigate on it. Sadly, the poor Jitter performance is not related to my specific sample, as you may see in
SoundStage's (Audio Precision) measurements here. Since they did not measure the USB-B input, tho, I will come back to the matter when commenting S/PDIF inputs. At last, I am not satisfied to see, for a product released in 2022, such an "ESS Hump" with IMD VS Level, that most Chinese manufacturers already fixed a long time ago. These aside, the Rotel DT-6000 is doing alright, for a product from a traditional manufacturer, that stayed out of the "SINAD Race" we witness here on ASR.

What about unbalanced RCA outputs?


RCA
View attachment 302513


Rotel DT-6000 - RCA Summary
Tests
XLR
RCA
Output Voltage @1Khz​
4.540Vrms​
2.127Vrms​
Noise level (REW)​
-116.0dBA​
-111.8dBA​
Dynamic range, dB (REW)​
110.1dB​
109.6dB​
THD (REW)​
0.00017%​
0.00020%​
THD+N (REW)​
-105.3dB​
-104.3dB​
IMD SMPTE (REW)​
-99.5dB​
-99.1dB​
Stereo crosstalk (RMAA)​
-115.3dB​
-113.5dB​
IMD+Noise @10kHz (RMAA)​
0.00149%​
0.00160%​
Multitone 32 TD+N (Multitone)​
-88.9dB​
-88.6dB​

Total Harmonic Distortion + Noise (SINAD) - 24b/44.1kHz
View attachment 302678

Noise Level - 24b/44.1kHz
View attachment 302681

Dynamic Range - 24b/44.1kHz

View attachment 302679

Overall, very consistent results. It is rare to observe such a small drop in performance from XLR. While single-ended obviously catches more hums, it keeps the noise at reasonable levels, and both THD and IMD remain almost on par with XLR. Good.

Let's see if coaxial and optical have the same "issues" as USB...


S/PDIF
View attachment 302496

Total Harmonic Distortion + Noise (SINAD) - 24b/44.1kHz
View attachment 302682

Jitter - 24b/48kHz
View attachment 302683

Jitter - 24b/48kHz
View attachment 302684

Overall, both coax and toslink are performing equal, meaning, a hair better than USB-B. Not regarding raw numbers, which are basically the same, but by looking at the shape of the 1kHz sine wave, that definitely shows a cleaner picture.

Back to Jitter, we do have here a much more stable presentation, with somehow a "readable" 12kHz tone... and a ton of sidebands around it. It still is not a good performance, even if considering the absolute level ultimately too low to be audible. As said earlier, these tests are unfortunately backed-up by AP measurements from SoundStage, that show mostly the same picture. However, when I showed these specific results to Rotel, they reacted very professionally and took the problem quite seriously. They said that their team would investigate and could work on a fix. Could this be done by firmware update only (hypothesis: a DPLL setting too aggressive) ? I hope so. In any case, there was a proposal for testing an eventual updated sample when the investigation would be done.

Now, wait. I just realized that the initial purpose of a CD Player would eventually be to play... CDs.​


CD Playback
View attachment 302497

For these last tests, I spent a short time to burn several disks to then decide which tones I would use. Since I would not be able to synchronize sweeps, there were not an option. The continuous tones, repeated for a long period (allowing me repeatability of testing) worked great. As CD is obviously limited to 16bits, I generated my files from both REW and APx Tone Generator, which are basically the same test tones I use for my 24bits testing. The tones are generated 16bits dithered, 44.1kHz.

Total Harmonic Distortion + Noise (SINAD) - 16b/44.1kHz
View attachment 302685

This is basically the maximum I could measure from my 16bits dithered file, and as, such, as transparent as it can get for a CD Playback. I remember @amirm finding almost the exact same picture in his review of the Marantz SA-10.

Just for experiment, I tried with a still 16bits PCM file, but this time generated with a 24bits dither:​

Total Harmonic Distortion + Noise (SINAD) - 16b/44.1kHz
View attachment 302686
While it gives better SINAD numbers, it makes the harmonics unreadable with a very busy and blurry noise floor. I would stick to the 16bits dithered for next CD player reviews.​

Noise Level -16b/44.1kHz
View attachment 302687

For some reason, my Noise Level test is as good as what I get from 24b/44.1kHz through digital inputs.​

Dynamic Range - 16b/44.1kHz
View attachment 302688

Dynamic Range is as expected.​

Jitter - 16b/44.1kHz
View attachment 302689

While not looking that good, this is indeed a texbook perfect 16bits J-test picture, the same I may get when measuring the tone directly in the digital domain. Its ENOB even surpasses 16bits. So, the DT-6000 may do a great job with Jitter after all. It is just a pity that other digital inputs are somewhat flawed on that matter.​



Conclusions

It is not so easy to come with a wrap-up about the Rotel DT-6000. As a pure audio product, I really liked it. It is extremely well-built, it looks gorgeous, and it sounds good. When focusing on specifications, I would say that I praise Rotel for selling a product that performs right on specs, even when it should the very minimum from any manufacturer out there. Now, what about the performance? Essentially good, absolutely transparent for CD playback on one side. On the other hand, mostly sufficient for 24bits contents in audible thresholds. Now, is it technically perfect? No. There are some issues that should not be observable for a product at the price point. Nor that there would be any excuse from such an established company to make some compromises in designing a D/A architecture. As such, I could not give my "competent" rating to the DT-6000. The Jitter disparities come to mind at first, and their results are not acceptable at this point. Is this specific flaw audible? Not from what I heard, honestly. I also assume that most potential buyers for this Player would intend to pair it with the RA-6000 Amplifier, and I highly doubt that they would be any kind of disappointed, or disturbed by any irregularities in the analog signal. That is for sure, but what we are evaluating here are raw objective results. And in that regard, it falls short of its potential.

On a positive note, I am glad to know Rotel being aware of these measurements, and recognizing that the Jitter behavior would need for a rework. I really hope that they could come up with a fix, as I said, preferably by firmware update. If it is a DPLL adjustment as I suggested, I am sure that they could solve it that way. I sure would be glad to re-test an "updated" sample if Rotel makes the proposal. At last, I would like to thank Masimo France for sending me this sample, always knowing the risk of a bad measuring product that they actually sell. Their efforts for transparency are, again, much appreciated.​

Flanker rating: Good Enough
Thanks!
 
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