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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 16.9%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 187 68.8%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 36 13.2%

  • Total voters
    272
I will never understand why amps with so much real estate on the back have to put the speaker outputs so close together.
It can be worse . Quad had some models where the speaker wires had to cross behind the amp.... :) looking on the backside the left output are to the rigth on almost all amps normally.
 
I will never understand why amps with so much real estate on the back have to put the speaker outputs so close together.
There is a standard for dual banana jack spacing. I wouldn't personally use banana jacks for anything more crucial than quickly hooking up test supplies, but lots of people do.
 
Also, on SINAD front, the amp lands in the green range:

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And slightly above average of 200+ amplifiers tested. So even going by SINAD, this amp lands in "good" range.

If it were below average, then I would likely not recommend it.
 
This is my unit I sent in. I bought it new in 2006 at Hi Fi Buys in Nashville, Tennessee. Retail price was $700 but I got it for $650 as part of a matching set with the RC-1070 pre amp, and the RCD 1072 cd player and a pair of Revel Performa M-22 speakers. I still have all the pieces and they all are in good shape and sound very good to me.

I bought a matching amp years ago so I could run both in bridged mode. Was so excited to get it set up. Within 15 minutes I realized the sound was really bad, like PA amplifier bad and promptly unbridged them. Afterward just used one channel on each amp as a left and right for years and was quite happy though the cabling was a bit over the top.

Then I discovered the Genelec 8000 series after Amir's review (with their built in Class D amps) and I'm now in Audio Nirvana. The Genelecs are plugged into the RC-1070 pre amp with rca adapters along with a Schitt Modi 3 from the PC and CD players. The pre amp has a remote too so super convenient. Radio Swiss Classic is my main source atm. But Led Zep remasters run a close second.

If you're on the fence about the Genelecs, I urge you to jump in with both feet.

Thanks for the solid review Amir!

Cheers!
 
This is my unit I sent in. I bought it new in 2006 at Hi Fi Buys in Nashville, Tennessee. Retail price was $700 but I got it for $650 as part of a matching set with the RC-1070 pre amp, and the RCD 1072 cd player and a pair of Revel Performa M-22 speakers. I still have all the pieces and they all are in good shape and sound very good to me.

I bought a matching amp years ago so I could run both in bridged mode. Was so excited to get it set up. Within 15 minutes I realized the sound was really bad, like PA amplifier bad and promptly unbridged them. Afterward just used one channel on each amp as a left and right for years and was quite happy though the cabling was a bit over the top.

Then I discovered the Genelec 8000 series after Amir's review (with their built in Class D amps) and I'm now in Audio Nirvana. The Genelecs are plugged into the RC-1070 pre amp with rca adapters along with a Schitt Modi 3 from the PC and CD players. The pre amp has a remote too so super convenient. Radio Swiss Classic is my main source atm. But Led Zep remasters run a close second.

If you're on the fence about the Genelecs, I urge you to jump in with both feet.

Thanks for the solid review Amir!

Cheers!
Bought my 1st integrated (NAD 3140) at HiFi Buys in 1979. Nostalgia...
 
I read enough reviews to tell that in many AVC/AVR cases, SINAD is THE ranking factor… Look at reviewers ranking… It doesn’t make sense to recommend this amp without putting it into context more than; it’s not expensive and already 20 years old. I don’t mind the measurements because these are great. Just the rather ‘personal’ final statement at the end of every review about ‘recommending’ or not.
A personal recommendation is just that. If what you want is SINAD rankings they are already present in a chart in the very same review and you can simply ignore the recommendation.
 
Bought my 1st integrated (NAD 3140) at HiFi Buys in 1979. Nostalgia...

That amp is, in my opinion, the real overlooked NAD classic. Better in every respect to the venerable 3020, and you can buy them for very little money.



nad3140_inside.jpg
 
That amp is, in my opinion, the real overlooked NAD classic. Better in every respect to the venerable 3020, and you can buy them for very little money.



nad3140_inside.jpg
Yes-I now have a spare as well. Can't have too many.
 
We have the RB-1050 and it is a great little amp. It is "pleasant" to listen to and sounds "clean". The front cooling fins are for fashion purposes only.

Our Yamaha VFET and our tube amplifiers are great but frankly, the Rotel gets most of the use. It is a workhorse that doesn't use much power.
 
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.

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Nice review! According to an older post on the following forum, the Rotel RB 1070 listed for $699 when new.

 
For early 2000's, and for that price. Honestly not that bad. And I agree, the look is nice. Reminds me of those older Monster Power Conditioners.

10530035-4639a__78897.1510774170.jpg
Funny that you posted the Monster HTS3600mkII...I just got one from a friend and love it! Everytime I walk by it and I see what the AC voltage of my house (at least that outlet) the nerd in me smiles. I do switch it to the amps mode when cranking my stereo. I could care less about any of the filtering claims it makes. The main reason I got it was that it has some switched outlets (triggered by a switched outlet in my preamp/tuner coming on in my case), so I plug my power amp into the switched outlet and keep its power switch on, so everything comes on when I turn the preamp/tuner on...
 
Nice retro review, but even used price, I would not recommend it nowadays. Just not competitive anymore. Sure maybe 20 years ago it was, but not now IMO.
The real comparison at this point in time would be a resto-modded NAD 2200.

 
Which similar performance can be had to this but new?
Schiit Vidar

 
This is my unit I sent in. I bought it new in 2006 at Hi Fi Buys in Nashville, Tennessee. Retail price was $700 but I got it for $650 as part of a matching set with the RC-1070 pre amp, and the RCD 1072 cd player and a pair of Revel Performa M-22 speakers. I still have all the pieces and they all are in good shape and sound very good to me.

I bought a matching amp years ago so I could run both in bridged mode. Was so excited to get it set up. Within 15 minutes I realized the sound was really bad, like PA amplifier bad and promptly unbridged them. Afterward just used one channel on each amp as a left and right for years and was quite happy though the cabling was a bit over the top.

Then I discovered the Genelec 8000 series after Amir's review (with their built in Class D amps) and I'm now in Audio Nirvana. The Genelecs are plugged into the RC-1070 pre amp with rca adapters along with a Schitt Modi 3 from the PC and CD players. The pre amp has a remote too so super convenient. Radio Swiss Classic is my main source atm. But Led Zep remasters run a close second.

If you're on the fence about the Genelecs, I urge you to jump in with both feet.

Thanks for the solid review Amir!

Cheers!

I listened to a few Rotel amps from that era and modified a few as well. They always sounded too cold and sterile to me - like you explained... like a PA amp. However, they were engineered quite well and I in particular liked their ground / common returns' execution with their amps and the use of polystyrene caps. There was an 820BX4 model without tone controls, which I moded (original transformer) and was getting 90W at 6 ohms just before clipping.... I still have that particular one, its RIAA preamp sounds superlative. Kids play records (showoffs when other kids come to visit...), using the amps' headphones out jack. Amazing how many kids haven't heard of vinyl let alone seen one... or listened to one.

Another reason why I appreciated their engineering -> the whole sound chain did not have a single resistor or capacitor in it, from the input diff pair all the way to the speakers' binding posts. Impressive/not easy to achieve good stability with that approach, but Rotel did it.
 
Hmm .. would you kindly be specific? How about this, for example



I have a Bryston 4BST that I've owned for 15 years. Got the caps replaced last year. I still love it -- likely to be the last power amp I'll own until I'm forced to downsize. It will have no problems lasting another 20 years, IMHO. The Rotels of the era can be similarly long-lasting.
 
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