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Rotel RA-970

 

Bronze Member
Username: Chriswild87

Holden, MA

Post Number: 69
Registered: Dec-08
I am looking at a used on of these on A-gon. Has onyone here had one or have any impressions? It would be my first venture away from a reciever. Currently have H/K 445. Is it an upgrade?
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4443
Registered: Feb-07
I have an RA-02 which is a baby-unit of the 970 I would guess. I've been using mine in a secondary system for several years - solid unit with lots of power.

How much is it going for?
 

Bronze Member
Username: Chriswild87

Holden, MA

Post Number: 71
Registered: Dec-08
165 american i believe

some minor scratching beyond that no other issues
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4451
Registered: Feb-07
You gonna buy it?
 

Silver Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 431
Registered: Oct-10
Used Rotel amps are quite popular. What's the attraction?
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 13563
Registered: Feb-05
They eat Denon's for lunch and cost less than a new Denon.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4453
Registered: Feb-07
Affordability on the used market would certainly be a factor as well.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Chriswild87

Holden, MA

Post Number: 72
Registered: Dec-08
"They eat Denon's for lunch and cost less than a new Denon."


Sold.

I take it Art, that if they eat Denon's for lunch H/K is a heartier dinner a little more to get down but still is able to finish it off, if we so choose to continue with the analogy.


When I went back it was gone, however they have the amp version (non integrated for that price) and I am thinking about using my H/K as a pre until I can find something else as I am also in the market for a phone stage, at which point I can begin to look at pre-amps.}
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4454
Registered: Feb-07
What speakers do you have?
 

Silver Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 438
Registered: Oct-10
I'd have to hear one of these with my speakers to believe they "eat Denons for lunch". Is that in sound quality or volume? If they're so good and apparently in demand, why so cheap? Call me skeptical, but I've heard such claims before. I haven't seen it done yet.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 13566
Registered: Feb-05
I've owned both and perhaps your ears won't agree but I would say clearly that the Rotel products I've owned (and they are many) sounded better than any recent (say last 20 years) Denon product I've owned or heard.

Chris, I would prefer an HK to a Denon for a number of reasons, starting with sound and on to interface and so on. For my ears Rotel sounds better than either the HK or Denon. NAD integrateds from the last 5 yrs or so I would prefer to Rotel even though the build isn't quite as bullet proof. The C320BEE/C325BEE/C326BEE represent excellent value.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Chriswild87

Holden, MA

Post Number: 73
Registered: Dec-08
Art,

That was the other option I have been enteraining.

David, currently I still have the Boston Acoustics CR 75 bookselves from about 8 years ago. They are not the best, but can be surprising. In my system, I feel the weak link musically is the H/K which is leading me to an integrated or amp by NAD or Rotel which both seem to have solid qualities both physical and non-physical (sound quality) for what they are.

Boston's being what they are tend to really play the sound of the amp rather than the sound of themselves. Due to this, I think I might check with my dealer and see if I can bring them in and listen to them on both Rotel and NAD to see which I prefer. Another reason I am going Rotel is eventually I hope to upgrade to some B&W as I have heard this pairing and really enjoy it. It is not a deal breaker for Rotel and if the NAD blows the Rotel out of the water sound wise, then that is the direction I will go since I am not sure when the other plans will come to fruition. Secondly, my sources need an upgrade and that might come second before speakers, currently running a Sony 5 disk changer and Apple Lossless with no external DAC only what the H/K has to offer.

Art, thanks for the input with the NAD, however, if I were to look further back beyond five years old would you still go with NAD i.e 214, 216 etc. series for amps and their integrated counter parts, or does Rotel have the upper hand ten to 15 years ago. The age helps with my budget.

Thanks
 

Silver Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 439
Registered: Oct-10
I once had a Rotel tape deck. It was great and based on my record and playback experience with it, I'd imagine one of their amps sounds pretty darn good, but eat Denon for lunch? That's probably a bit of a stretch. HK on the other hand, while they use bigger power supplies than Denon does, which only really matters at much higher volumes than I listen at, I prefer the sound of Denon over HK, but the difference is marginal at best.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Chriswild87

Holden, MA

Post Number: 74
Registered: Dec-08
Jazzy,

I beleive Art was refering to sound quality, as 95 percent of integrated amps will be more muscial than a reciever. Also volume is often not determined by the amp, rather the sensitivity of the speaker being driven by the amp. The higher the sensitivity, the more effiecently the speaker will utilize the power coming through it. More quality watts and better power supplies (found in integrated amps) will allow for a number of things most prevelant being greater headroom minimizing distortion, the affect that tells our ears something is too loud.

Here is a great article.

http://www.axiomaudio.com/dynamicheadroom.html

Sorry if I told you what you already knew.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Chriswild87

Holden, MA

Post Number: 75
Registered: Dec-08
Jazzy,

H/K and Denon do seem to have different sound qualities, to my ears the Denon is brighter whereas the H/K airs on the warmer side.

My purposes for the integrated is that I find that they offer a better low end through the qulaity of the watts they provide. My sub is crapping out and in my room size 12x14x7.5 I shouldn't really need it. The H/K just can't quite seem to handle and drive effiecently down around the 50hz range. The BA are 6.5 and ported so they should in theory throw decent low end. For my low-fi ear the mid and the hi are fair transparent and actually have decent imaging left to right (no soundstageing and presentation, but what do you want from a speaker I bought on clearance new for 150 for the pair).

That is the main reason for the integrated upgrade.

What speakers are you driving with the Denon? if you like the house sound, I know Denon has some seperate and possibly an integrated. That seems to be the trend, H/K just produced a beast of an integrated the 990.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 13567
Registered: Feb-05
The Older NAD's were far grainier sounding to my ears, Chris and at that point I prefer Rotel and even better yet a fabulous old Creek integrated. You can get a nice used NAD C320BEE or C325BEE for less than $250.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4456
Registered: Feb-07
Even the newer NADs even sound grainy to me. I had a couple of C272's for awhile, and the older 2150 I had (at only 50 watts!) sounded smoother and more powerful.
 

Silver Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 440
Registered: Oct-10
Chris, what I was refering to at high volumes is the ability of the amp to play music at or above its rated power. I know all about the speaker sensetivity/efficiency deal. The HK is more likely to play at or above its rated power. The Denon might not actually reach its rated power of 80 wpc. I am into accuracy not warmth. For me warmth hangs somewhere between missunderstood and non-existant. Warmth is something you FEEL, not hear as it registers on the subconcious. If there is warmth in music, it should be there because it was created by the musicians during the performance. It should not be added by the recording process, the medium or your any part of your system. If warmth is added by any of these stages, it doesn't belong and therefore it shouldn't be there. If you go to concert and that concert is recorded and published and you buy the cd, the EXACT AMOUNT of warmth that was present at the concert should be present when you listen at home no more, no less. Now that I'm done being a grump (lol)....

Of course seperating components has its advantages. An integrated amp or preamp/tuner with a seperate power amp will be better than a receiver. All 3 seperate will be better still. In defence of my Denon receiver, I have to point out a construction feature which IMO, helps it compete with more expensive gear. It's called SLDC (signal level devided construction). It took me 2 yrs to get a straight answer as to what that's all about. I met a Denon rep in person who explained it. It's arranging the parts so that the power supplies are isolated from the other components are not picking up noise from them. The tuner, preamp and power amp are arranged so that they operate as much like seperates as possible within a single package. Of course actual seperates would be better, but this as close as I can get right now. I've never used this receiver with speakers that had great bass performance since I always use a sub, so I don't know how well it does down low. If I get a chance to find out, I'll let you know.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 13568
Registered: Feb-05
Actally David I had the NAD pre amp about 5 or 6 years ago and it sounded grainy to me as well. One thing I can say is that my wife's C325BEE does not. Matched up with good cables and a good set of speakers, and the Era Design D4's are good speakers, there isn't a hint of the grain I've experienced in the past with NAD.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4457
Registered: Feb-07
Maybe "grain" is the NAD house sound? lol...
 

Bronze Member
Username: Chriswild87

Holden, MA

Post Number: 77
Registered: Dec-08
Jazzy,

Yea I figured, you understood, don't know why I posted. Still a good article though. That makes sense as the H/K claims to have the high current which I believe aids in the ability to utilize all 80 wpc.

I think accuracy is a very honorable trait in a system, to each is own, a reason why this hobby is so fantastic.

I enjoy some warmth in a system but only some as I do agree that if the music is meant to be exciting, a system that dulls it down and muddies with warm does not allow for the orignal meaning to be heard.

In example of too much warmth, I heard a Arcam with Totem's Staff, and played Pink Floyd's Dark Side of The Moon. It was mudded and uninteresting. Granting the strength and the quality of the parts (amp and speaker) were present the soundstage and imaging was fantastic the bass was perferct and the mid range was clear. But because the system played too warm, it still felt as if something was missing and when the vocals on Great Gig in the Sky sang out, there seemed to be a lack of passion.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 13570
Registered: Feb-05
Like I said my wife's C325BEE doesn't have a hint of graininess. Very clean. We're using Van den Hul cables, Era D4's and a modded Rotel CD player. I had two dealers I worked with at the time that sold quality budget components and when comparing NAD to Cambridge the NAD was clearly more musical to my ears. I do expect that nearly anything including Naim will sound a bit rough around the edges compared to the Sonneteer but such is life. I'm sure I'll still enjoy the music and that's where it's at..if I don't I'll move to change it and fast.
 

Silver Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 445
Registered: Oct-10
Chris, I don't have "Dark Side of the Moon" YET! But that's one album you don't want muddied up. I once heard it on SACD through Mac amps and B&W 801s up front plus B&W surrounds, center and sub. Phenominal!

I agree, audio is a great hobby and while each have our own sense of good, we can share experiences, taste, opinions, etc. I find it interesting when someone likes something I don't or visa versa. It's facinating how much differently any 2 or more people can perceive something. One funny thing is that a friend of mine mixed an album and played keyboard on one track for a band called Zu-ka. The album is called "Supplemental Restraints" it's on iTunes. He never said so, but I think he was dissapointed in the sound quality. I think it came out better than 90% of the popular albums ever released.

Art, what is meant by "grainy"? I never heard a sound that I'd describe as grainy, bit I sure enough have heard that term plenty of times. I just can't get a handle on what it means.
 

Silver Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 446
Registered: Oct-10
Oh Chris, forgot to answer your question. I use Mirage omnisat OS3 mains and a Mirage S8 subwoofer. $870 for the set and IMO, quite a bargain considering the sound quality, flexability and construction.

The omnis ($250 each) can be placed on shelves, end tables, wall mounted, ceiling mounted or stand mounted. They have the best sound dispersion of any speaker I've ever heard and create a very realistic sound stage. They are also less sensetive to room accoustics than any speaker I've heard.

The sub driver at ony 8" in diameter and powered by a 100 watt amp is a ferocious little beast ($370). I have to keep the Denon's bass control at -10 db. I also have the frequency control at 40 Hz (the lowest possible setting) and the level quite low.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 13571
Registered: Feb-05
http://www.integracoustics.com/MUG/MUG/bbs/stereophile_audio-glossary.html
 

Silver Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 456
Registered: Oct-10
Thanks for posting that Art, good artice. Still, a sound that I'd associate with grain does not come to mind.
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