The unfair comparison demo: NAD vs. Rotel


Bronze Member
Username: Avnovice


Post Number: 15
Registered: Mar-07
I was fortunate enough to get to demo a Rotel RMB 1075 (120X5 into 8) weekend before last. I used the Denon AVR as a preamp and ran with the B&W 603's.
I also have an old NAD 3130 integrated amp rated at 30X2 into 8 ohms.

I switched both using the Denon DVD as the source with 2 channel CDs (yes I know it's not that great, but I couldn't use the AVR DAC's for the NAD amp).

My experiences were that the NAD moved more air in the room (rear blowhole was working hard at higher volumes), had louder bass and more punch in the midrange. It also had more sibilancessssssss in some voices (mostly the preamp - same was true with Rotel as amp and NAD as pre) and lost control of the bass on many CD's especially those with complex portions, less complicated or more acoustical bass was mostly fine. Lost control = boomy without much definition. Stringed instruments were usually slightly sweeter - sometimes harsh depending on which disc.

The Rotel was more even across the frequency range. Bass was well defined, but not super authoritative. The Rotel seemed more in control, which I expected because it has more current and probably more damping. The Rotel sounded better loud to me than the NAD. The Rotel also had much better detail and clarity.... again more current and damping.

My question to all the NAD/B&W folks (M.R., Hawk, arnold): when you say that this combo gives deeper tighter bass with more powerful NAD amps (372 & 272), is this true for complex passages? Is the bass detail there? Also, perhaps most importantly, what kind of room do you have??? Lots of fabric?
My room is 15X30 w/ ~ 12 ft ceilings, decent amount of fabric now, but still slightly reflective.

I can't demo the NAD at home unless I pay a restocking fee....I can't even find a dealer with NAD/B&W together anywhere near here. All info is appreciated...thanks in advance

Gold Member
Username: My_rantz


Post Number: 1379
Registered: Nov-05

My answer to your question is yes - I find the bass well controlled and detailed even in more complex music. But, other things come into play like cables, speakers (even though mine are in the same family), and postioning, the source, and of course room acoustics. My listening room is about 8x7 mts though the set up uses half this area (4x7 - the other half sits under an open loft area) and our ceiling is timber and sloping from almost 3mts to 6mts overall. Hifi and main speakers near brick wall, side wall is plaster sheet, rear wall is timber. The floor is slate with a heavy wool rug between the listening position and main speakers. Two fabric sofas in an "L" arrangement make up the rest of what is fabric in the room. All this, I'm told is not ideal, (what is?) however I have no complaints. With the B&Ws, position and toe-in experimenting I believe is essential and more power is definitely suited - even though their specs say they are reasonably sensitive, their impedence can dip very low so reserve power helps them work well. I have limited experience with other brands so I hope this helps a bit. BTW, I find the sound full, slightly on the warm side of neutral and clean and detailed. I'm loving it!

Bronze Member
Username: Avnovice


Post Number: 16
Registered: Mar-07
Thanks M.R.

Sounds like you've got it set up nicely.

I'm still looking and listening...
The C272 is $800 here w/ 15% restock fee. They don't have one in stock...mostly a home theatre place.

Bronze Member
Username: Betamax


Post Number: 13
Registered: May-07
I just got my C272 today, hooked it up to my B&W 602's (and C162 & C542) and it sounds truly excellent. Base is not excessive nor boomy. I particularly dislike boomy base, but this was substantial yet tight and controlled.

I was actually surprised how good it sounded and what a difference it made; even my wife said that she never realized how good the speakers were until now (was using mediocre power before).

The room is somewhat bright with hardwood floors, which is why I didn't go with Rotel, which has a tendency toward a slightly more bright/forward sound. Great gear, but not a good match for me.

Buying expensive equipment without an audition is always a crap shoot, but I doubt very much you'll be unhappy if you take a chance on the NAD.

Then again, the same could be said for the Rotel...

Silver Member
Username: Jingka99

Post Number: 216
Registered: Aug-06
Congrats Franks, enjoy the Music eh!

annovice, I am also quite satisfied with the addition of C272 in my system though I am still using my C352 as preamp...the improvements made by the C272 are substantial, better bass definition, tighter and of course the power is very obvious, the amp does not show or exhibit any stress....

Bronze Member
Username: Avnovice


Post Number: 17
Registered: Mar-07
Thanks Frank S. and red2.

Our room has tile floor with a rug, cloth chairs, sofa, curtains. Room is 15X20 ft., typo earlier.

It wasn't bright w/ Rotel, so I'm not too worried about that.
I'm seriously considering sucking it up and getting both the Rotel RMB-1080 and the NAD C272 for a demo and paying the restock fee. Whichever I decide on will determine which brand fills out the other channels (unless I go with Outlaw M200 for other 3 channels), and likely later preamp... more flexibility with future source updates. I'm trying to focus on getting a very good 2 channel w/ a good 5 channnel at the same time.

You guys have given me good info on the bass definition w/ room info. Thanks again. I just discovered a shop in NE Atlanta that has PSB/NAD together.... might be making that drive soon.

New member
Username: Nickelbut10


Post Number: 4
Registered: Jun-07
I auditioned the Rotel 1075 and 2 NAD C272's. I now own the NAD C272. To me, the rotel was too bright, and the NAD was much warmer with a nicer bass. Some people like the sound of Rotel more though. I would say it is a 50/50 comparison. I would do your best to audition both on your setup.

Bronze Member
Username: Avnovice


Post Number: 18
Registered: Mar-07
Thanks to everyone for comments on the NAD and the Rotel.

I didn't listen to the C272, but decided to go with the Rotel RMB 1095 based on this comparison (above) and the highly subjective "I like the way that sounds in our house" factor...For me, the B&W's and Rotel combo lets me hear more instruments with clarity and just sounds fantastic!

I'm still using the old NAD with the Klipsch and Bose... 20 years and still going.

Thanks to Paul at Hifibuys in Nashville. Great guy and very knowledgeable.

Silver Member
Username: Rsxman

Post Number: 288
Registered: Jul-05
you will love b&w with rotel, very musical for the, money.

try vandersteen with Jolida tubes if you want a huge wow factor for a little less money.

enjoy your purchase!
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