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Rotel RB-1070 Amplifier Review

Rate this amplifier:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 3 1.1%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 46 17.0%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 186 68.6%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 36 13.3%

  • Total voters
    271

amirm

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the Rotel RB-1070 stereo power amplifier. It was released in early 2000. Can't find the cost then but I see it used for around $400 to $500.
Rotel RB-1070 Stereo Audio Amplifier Review.jpg

I have always found Rotels to be most attractively designed power amplifiers. One look at that front panel and you immediately think of muscle and beauty in design. Alas, the extruded aluminum in front which gives it that look, is cosmetic. There are two others internally which do the job of cooling this classic AB design. In use the heastsinks got pretty warm to touch to give it some air to breath.

Not much news in the back other than nice inclusion of trigger input/output:
Rotel RB-1070 Stereo Audio Amplifier back panel Review.jpg


Rotel RB-1070 Measurements
The unit warmed up nicely without its performance changing much:
Rotel RB-1070 Stereo Audio Amplifier Warm Up Measurements.png


So let's see what our dashboard of 1 kHz tone does into 4 ohm load:

Rotel RB-1070 Stereo Audio Amplifier Measurements.png

The amp is about 2 dB more sensitive than usual which likely accentuates the power supply noise a bit. I was able to reduce 60 Hz hum in one channel but not simultaneously in the other. That is exceeded however by the power supply noise at 120 Hz and multiples. SINAD is likely dominated by distortion to the tune of -80 dB. This lands the RB-1070 slightly above average of all amplifiers tested:
Best power amplifier review 2023.png


Despite the power supply noise, dynamic range is very good:
Rotel RB-1070 Stereo Audio Amplifier SNR Measurements.png


Frequency response is excellent and spec compliant:
Rotel RB-1070 Stereo Audio Amplifier Frequency Response Measurements.png


Crosstalk is good:
Rotel RB-1070 Stereo Audio Amplifier Crosstalk Measurements.png


Multitone shows no frequency dependence which is nice:
Rotel RB-1070 Stereo Audio Amplifier Multitone Measurements.png


There is ample power available into 4 ohm:
Rotel RB-1070 Stereo Audio Amplifier Power 4 ohm Measurements.png


The response is quite odd in that it doesn't slope down. Don't know if that is intentional, accidental or due to power supply caps aging, letting in more ripple as power goes up.

Regardless, lots of power is available:
Rotel RB-1070 Stereo Audio Amplifier Max and Peak Power 4 ohm Measurements.png


Company only specs the power into 8 ohm at 130 watts. It certainly delivers that:
'.png

Putting aside noise floor which is rather high, the units transfer function is one of the best I have ever seen:
Rotel RB-1070 Stereo Audio Amplifier Power 4 ohm vs frequency Measurements.png


Sadly there is a significant power on pop:
Rotel RB-1070 Stereo Audio Amplifier Power on off noise pop Measurements.png


Conclusions
As one of my favorite (looking) brands, I was very anxious to measure a Rotel amp, hoping it would not let me down. Fortunately it did not. No, the SINAD doesn't break new ground but the rest of the measurements are very good with plenty of power available. It is a great choice for people wanting good amount of power in an attractive package with competent performance.

I am going to recommend (used) Rotel RB-1070.

----------
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/
 

fredoamigo

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It becomes really interesting in bridge mode .
 
Last edited:

DWPress

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I've got one of these! Well, for a little bit longer, just sold it and have to get it to the guy next week. Always liked it but assumed the specs weren't completely truthful. The old Rotel and NAD stuff had the same market niche and both seemed competent builders 80s-90s.

With this unforeseen ASR review, probably the street price of it just went up by a bit!

Edit: I acquired my 1070 when one of my NAD 2200s went in for service years ago and this was the loaner which I decided to purchase in the end along with my serviced amp.
 
Last edited:

H-713

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This pretty much agrees with my own measurements of similar Rotel equipment - decent linearity (I measured right around 0.01% THD+N), pretty decent build quality, tasteful styling, and generally a fairly simple design.

They tend to be pretty easy to fix too.
 

AndreaT

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Great review! Not bad for an aged amplifier. Yet, lots of progress in the past 20 years for power amps. Is it audible? Does it make a meaningful difference? Well, I think it does as I experience Music with more joy now (Hypex monoblocs) than I did with class AB from Rotel, Krell and even Mark Levinson. Thank you Amir!
 

Urib

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the Rotel RB-1070 stereo power amplifier. It was released in early 2000. Can't find the cost then but I see it used for around $400 to $500.
View attachment 258672
I have always found Rotels to be most attractively designed power amplifiers. One look at that front panel and you immediately think of muscle and beauty in design. Alas, the extruded aluminum in front which gives it that look, is cosmetic. There are two others internally which do the job of cooling this classic AB design. In use the heastsinks got pretty warm to touch to give it some air to breath.

Not much news in the back other than nice inclusion of trigger input/output:
View attachment 258673

Rotel RB-1070 Measurements
The unit warmed up nicely without its performance changing much:
View attachment 258674

So let's see what our dashboard of 1 kHz tone does into 4 ohm load:

View attachment 258675
The amp is about 2 dB more sensitive than usual which likely accentuates the power supply noise a bit. I was able to reduce 60 Hz hum in one channel but not simultaneously in the other. That is exceeded however by the power supply noise at 120 Hz and multiples. SINAD is likely dominated by distortion to the tune of -80 dB. This lands the RB-1070 slightly above average of all amplifiers tested:
View attachment 258676

Despite the power supply noise, dynamic range is very good:
View attachment 258677

Frequency response is excellent and spec compliant:
View attachment 258678

Crosstalk is good:
View attachment 258679

Multitone shows no frequency dependence which is nice:
View attachment 258680

There is ample power available into 4 ohm:
View attachment 258681

The response is quite odd in that it doesn't slope down. Don't know if that is intentional, accidental or due to power supply caps aging, letting in more ripple as power goes up.

Regardless, lots of power is available:
View attachment 258683

Company only specs the power into 8 ohm at 130 watts. It certainly delivers that:
View attachment 258684
Putting aside noise floor which is rather high, the units transfer function is one of the best I have ever seen:
View attachment 258685

Sadly there is a significant power on pop:
View attachment 258686

Conclusions
As one of my favorite (looking) brands, I was very anxious to measure a Rotel amp, hoping it would not let me down. Fortunately it did not. No, the SINAD doesn't break new ground but the rest of the measurements are very good with plenty of power available. It is a great choice for people wanting good amount of power in an attractive package with competent performance.

I am going to recommend (used) Rotel RB-1070.

----------
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/
Interesting, if the faults are due to aging capacitors or if measured back then when produced would be better?
 

mash

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I helped a friend set up his home theater and he had one of these sitting around not being used. He gave it to me for helping him and I gifted it to my kid along with old pair of B&W DM3000's and an AVP2 processor that he used for a pre-amp. Made for quite the bachelor pad stereo.
 

pma

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The response is quite odd in that it doesn't slope down. Don't know if that is intentional, accidental or due to power supply caps aging, letting in more ripple as power goes up.
Probably the design with lower loopgain (lower feedback factor). Or CFA ( current feedback amplifier). Maybe intentionally resistor loaded VAS. Separate THD (not THD+N) measurement would reveal more, or spectrum measurements at various power. But, the 5W distortion is too high, I would expect lower distortion from this Rotel amplifier.

Nice to see 3 pairs of power transistors per channel, the SOA will be better than with similarly power rated commercial audio amplifiers, good for reliability.
 
Last edited:

3125b

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It cost 789€ new and was made from 2001 to 2008. Power specs are moderate at 130/238W per channel.
The biggest model of that line, the RB-1092, would be interesting, it‘s a Class D amp specced at 500/1000W RMS per channel.
There was some concern about these Rotel models being made in China, however a friend of mine has the RB-991, a more powerful predecessor of this, it still works very well after 20+ years now.
 

laudio

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I have always like Rotel too. Good to see this power amp performed to spec on power output. I think the 10 series stuff from Rotel in early to mid 2000s is quite decent. Have a Rotel RX-1052 receiver I am fond of as an all rounder component, and just sounds nice.
 
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