Thoughts on this setup, please.


New member
Username: Ric45

Post Number: 1
Registered: Dec-13
I'm in the process of upgrading and got too anxious. I already bought the speakers and would like your thoughts on the rest before I buy.

Speakers are Revel Performa M22s and I understand they like some power to properly drive them.

I was planning on getting the Rotel RA-12 integrated amp for now. Future plan (6 mo.-1 yr) was to use the Rotel as a pre-amp and adding the Vincent Audio sp-331 amp.

Sound reasonable?


Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17818
Registered: May-04

Can't comment on the sonics of the system and, since I have no idea what your musical priorities are, I can't say how happy you will be with the system.

The speakers are not what I would call an easy load; M_rev0.pdf I can't find any information regarding the electrical phase angle of the speaker system but the 4.8 Ohm minimum at 160 Hz indicates to me a speaker which will require a reasonable amount of current delivery from the amp. If that is not provided, the speaker will begin to drive the amp at certain frequencies due to the way negative feedback operates in most modern amps.

Rotel amps are decent when it comes to current delivery and the Vincent amp should be adequate for the speakers on a purely electrical pairing status. You could do better but it will cost you some money. I'm never much of a fan of using an integrated amp solely as a pre amp. What are you expecting the Vincent amp to provide that you wouldn't have with just the Rotel?

You can use the Vincent with a simple passive pre amp and would likely have better sound quality. Passive pre's have both good and bad points - as do most other components - and they might not suit your needs. But their simplicity makes for high quality sound potentials at low dollar outlays. There are certainly a good number of pre owned pre amps which would be no more expensive than the Rotel, less in many cases, that would give you a higher quality system than the one you propose. One issue to remember would be buying a used pre amp means you will lose very little money when you decide to upgrade. As far as line level inputs go, I can't say the Rotel integrated's pre amp section would have any advantages over, say a ten year old or even older separate pre amp. Really with a pre amp, you want it to do as little to the signal as possible. The buffer stages of most active pre amps are important but are all also largely similar from year to year and manufacturer to manufacturer. Parts quality in a dedicated separate pre amp from a decade or two ago is likely higher than in a current model Rotel integrated.

Six of one, half dozen of another really. The system you propose will make decent music if you pay attention to ancillary equipment such as cables and so forth and do a good set up. Once again, since I have no idea what your priorities are for music, there's not much to say about your choices other than there may be better choices to make.


Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17819
Registered: May-04

How many source player inputs are you expecting to need in this system? If only one digital source, there are far simpler answers than the Rotel. If you are using a computer based system, then buying the Rotel is not a good idea IMO.


Gold Member
Username: Magfan


Post Number: 3090
Registered: Oct-07
At least Revel is honest about some measured data.
I'm not overly worried about the minima of 4.8 ohms at that frequency�.UNLESS� also occurs at a point of high reactance. This would be the speaker 'looking' to the partnering amp like a Capacitor or Inductor.
They are also honest in calling the speaker a 6 ohm 'nomimal' impedance.
We have NO phase data on this speaker and only a few testers will go to that trouble. Other than that? All you will get is subjective 'good load' / 'bad load' nonsense.
Stereophile provides this information.

Any reasonable amp of 100x2 @8 ohms should provide good performance in a 'normal' room.

Amp choices are measured in the 100s and other considerations, as Jan states, may come to the fore. Will you, for example, want a TT input? Multiple Digital inputs? Tone Controls over and above the speaker adjustments? Bass management for a prospective sub?
That and more.
Narrow it down, a little, and get back to the forum

New member
Username: Ric45

Post Number: 2
Registered: Dec-13
You people make my brain hurt. I bet you get tired of people like me. To start - I'm 50+, have burned out my high-frequency hearing (due to my untamed youth and REALLY powerful car stereos), and have tinnitus in one ear (most of the time), no dedicated listening room, wife and kids. So audiophile level really isn't needed - but I do love accuracy and quality. But, to answer some questions.

I listen mostly to classical crossover (think S. Brightman, A. Bocelli, Celtic Women) and want to expand in this area (Pavarotti and so forth), rock - classic and heavy metal, some country, and would like to get into some classical instrumental.

~What are you expecting the Vincent amp to provide that you wouldn't have with just the Rotel?~
I was thinking it would add more 'quality' power to drive the speakers. (I was reading another post you were helping someone with and I thought you had said current is different "watts per channel" and that makes a difference in quality.

I'm looking for decent quality at lower volumes. I may end up adding an eq just to shape the sound at low volumes.

~Reason for integrated first~
Financial, flexibility, quality. Gives me something decent to listen to while saving the Vincent. And.. (based on reviews) the Vincent will sound considerably better than the Rotel.

CD, tuner, IPOD/USB stick (once I show my wife how that works), maybe a good turntable in the future. New CD for digital connection is a REAL possibility since I have a love/hate with my current Denon CD. And probably the earlier-stated EQ.

Leo, yes to tone controls and I currently have an adequate powered sub so I haven't really thought about bass management.

I hope this answers your questions.

Thanks for your help.

New member
Username: Ric45

Post Number: 3
Registered: Dec-13
To add some pain...I recently found out I could get a Mark Levinson 433 amp for $3000. Supposedly....a new "asthetic damage" unit.



Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17820
Registered: May-04

Rick, you still haven't told us what your musical priorities are. "Musical priorities" are not what genre of music you might listen to. And, though many so called audiophiles would argue the point, musical priorities are not the same as equipment priorities.

You state, "So audiophile level really isn't needed - but I do love accuracy and quality."

Well, if audiophile level is not needed, then buying "audiophile" speakers was a mistake IMO. Loving quality is fine but, you must realize, quality as perceived through such speakers is the result of quality equipment existing in front of those speakers. In other words, an "accurate", high quality speaker is designed to interfere as minimally as possible with the signal fed to its inputs.

It's become common nowdays to say we should take our cue from the computer industry whose main motto is, "garbage in = garbage out". The main purpose of a high quality speaker, therefore, is in most cases to show exactly what is being put into it. Put in low quality signals and the speaker will output low quality signals.

Therefore, if the signal has been degraded in any way by the electronics or the recording itself, the speakers will reflect that degradation. With that in mind, it's a fair guess to say the shop where you auditioned the speakers did not demonstrate them with low quality components. That's a guess, I've seen stores that had no real idea how to assemble a high quality system and do terrible things to nice pieces of hifi.

I am now 62 years old, I sold high end consumer audio (and eventually video as "home theatre" came to dominate the market) for about three decades and worked in pro audio also. What you've posted to date would make you a rather common client in my business. Therefore, if you don't mind, I'm going to go about this in much the same way I would if I were on the salesfloor and you walked in looking for a system.

My first few questions would be;

Do you listen to live music? Doesn't need to be a large scale concert, do you have the opportunity to hear someone playing music in front of you in real time? What was the last live performance you heard?

Do you play an instrument yourself? Have you ever? Do you have any friends or relatives who play? Children who are learning to play an instrument?

You say you have read in reviews the Vincent will "sound better" than the Rotel. What does "sound better" mean to you? What qualities will the Vincent provide your music that will not exist, or exist is lesser quality, in the Rotel? Be as specific as possible.

Since we're all busy with so many things to do in our day, do you ever actually sit down and do nothing but listen to music? No newspaper, magazines, social media, computers, etc, etc. Just sit and take in music as if you were experiencing a live performance. Or, is your music primarily background sources which are playing in the background while you participate in other activities?

What's motivating this purchase? Just a want? Or, something more than that?

How soon would you like to have your system up and running?

Have you established a budget for this system? Do you have any independent audio retailers in your area where you can audition equipment? What's your plan for actually acquiring the equipment? Do any of your friends have a higher quality system?

You say you have no dedicated room for the system. How much flexibility do you have in the set up of the system? Most high quality speakers are going to perform to their best when they are located out and away from reflective surfaces. Your Revels are standmount speakers which will require them to be placed on a stand off the floor and - normally - out into the room by several feet in each direction. Do you have this amount of flexibility in your set up? You'll have to run cables between all of these components. How acceptable is that domestically? Can you dedicated a stand for your equipment in a room where the rest of the family lives? Will other family members be operating the system?

What equipment are you using now to reproduce music? What's your "reference" for music playback quality right now?


Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17821
Registered: May-04

"To start - I'm 50+, have burned out my high-frequency hearing (due to my untamed youth and REALLY powerful car stereos), and have tinnitus in one ear (most of the time) ... "

Tinnitus is a b****, isn't it? Lots of us have it. As I said, I worked in audio for decades and, I think, my problems were brought about more by the number of ear infections I had as a kid in the '50's.

Of course, as we age we lose some high frequency hearing. But, then, most males never heard high frequencies as well as the average female. So there's no point in making any of this a rationalization for why you should or shouldn't buy this or that. "High end" audio is not all about hearing. It is, first and foremost, about perception. Perception is awareness, what you perceive to be the reality in front of you. Perception is not about whether your hearing measures flat out to 20 kHz.

It is, for example, whether you recognize the timbre of, say, an acoustic guitar vs an electric guitar. Or, even more broadly, the difference between a guitar and a violin. Timbre, in this instance, has nothing to do with frequency response since fundamental tones from both instruments cease slightly above 7 kHz.

Perception in audio is often about experience. A highly experienced performer might be able to recognize the timbral differences between two pianos from different manufacturers. Buying a high quality audio system is not about being an expert in these areas, but it is about recognizing you have certain priorities which suggest "live music" to you - not me, just you. If your goal for the system is to have pleasant background music, then many of these priorities become far less important in the final system. If, however, you would prefer to come as close to perceiving the music as if it were occurring within your own room, they become much more relevant.

You basically have to decide which type of system is it that you desire. Small variances between components become irrelevant to the background music system while they become exaggerated in effect in the system which strives for the greatest realism.

Either way, the ears and brain/mind you have today will be how you perceive music today. No need to have the physical equipment of a twenty year old. If you listen to live music today, you do so with your present ears and brain. For example, J.G. Holt who began Stereophile in the early '60's, reviewed equipment until he was well into his 80's. He admitted his high frequency hearing had diminished yet he had musical priorities which had been in place for decades. Musical nuance was in his perception and he had no problem picking up on which performer or which amplifier best portrayed that quality - even to the day he did his last review. None of that diminished his enjoyment of music, both live and recorded.

"I was thinking it would add more 'quality' power to drive the speakers. (I was reading another post you were helping someone with and I thought you had said current is different 'watts per channel' and that makes a difference in quality."

I don't know exactly what post you're referring to there but, yes, "watts" and "current" are not identical. There's no need to go into great detail here but "watts" are the result of combining "Volts" and "Amps" (current) divided by the load resistance/impedance (Ohms).

This means an amplifier manufacturer can manipulate their "watts" output by producing higher Volts while not increasing their current capability. Current delivery is important as (speaker) load impedance drops. Since Volts and Amps go together to produce watts, they must change proportionally when impedance drops. Most mass market receivers/amplifiers will not maintain a direct proportion between Volts and Amps as impedance drops which makes them less efficient into lower impedance loads.

I can see your brain hurting now. Let's just say "watts" alone are not very important in high end audio. It's how the manufacturer has designed their equipment to work into real world speakers that matters. "Impedance" is a complicated issue also and one we can address as the thread moves along.

This information is, however, somewhat relevant to piecing together the highest quality system for the lowest amount of money. Realize though that neither leo nor I can just say go buy "this". There are many variables involved in a high quality system and many times you will need to make a few decisions based on our input. Nothing complicated, it's just we can't make those decisions for you, we can only suggest and explain.



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