Might I suggest another sellection to complent your gear?! The weak spot in that set up, even if you only use the Rotel as a digital HT preamp only, is going to be the Rotel itself!
While ok midfi gear, the Rotel is no cleaner than many receiver preamp sections! You could get the same kind of sonic performance using an inexpensive Yamaha or Marantz AV receiver from it's pre-outs!
I take it back...if you use the Rotel as a movie preamp only, and STRICTLY use the digital input for ALL purposes, the sound is ok.(still not the most refined, transparent, or dynamic however!) Anyway even the old Acurus ACT 3 is more refined sounding than the Rotel.
Your best sound for the money will be the used Classe SSP25(by a wide margine for what it offers). With very very neutral, detailed, and dynamic sound, it also offers "dirrect analog throughputs" for all inputs, and very good sounding dac's and preamp section! Also the noise floor is way low!..which is a huge plus.
Anyway, not sure of your budget. But if you can, you'll do well to find a used Classe at around $1000 price range if you can! *(i've seen em as low as $600 on ebay!)
So,any thoughts on what you might do? Just currious if you had any other ideas...
does gettign an older Classe or other brand compromise on the newer formats and technology available? I am in a similar situation, if you see my post on the amp/preamp page. I need an inexpensive pre/pro for video duties while I upgrade my 2 channel for purely music. Not lots of bells and whisles just decent video sound and current formats.
Hi cconrad. I actually have virtually the same setup as you are proposing. I have a 5.1 HT system with Marantz DV-12S1 DVD player, Rotel 1066, McCormack DNA HT-5 amp, B&W HTM Center, and B&W 805's Front & Rear (all on Sound Anchor stands). I'm running the DVD player to the Rotel's digital input and I've been very satisfied with it's performance, especially in DTS. Foreverhifi is probably correct in stating that the Rotel will be the weakest link in this such system and that a Classe could sound better; however I've personally never listened to any Classe products, but many audiophiles on here seem to like their stuff. Overall though, I've been very satisfied with this system and the only upgrade I may look into some day is a Theta Casablanca after the Rotel, but for now the Theta is way out of my budget. I previously had a Yamaha A/V processor which in my opinion sounded very flat and non-involving compared to the Rotel 1066, so I decided to upgrade and debated on getting the Rotel 1066 or B&K AVR 307, so I did a side by side comparison in my dealer's store of the Rotel 1066 versus B&K AVR 307, just comparing the B&K's pre-amp section (I didn't care for the amp section). The Rotel sounded noticeably better in more low-level detail coming through, but it was a very close call between the two. Interestingly, the B&K AVR 307's pre-amp section is pretty much their B&K Reference 30 which can be bought separately I believe for $2500-$3000 new, compared to the Rotel 1066 for $1500 which is built excellent like the B&K and is upgradeable. I also had considered getting the CJ MF5600 as you because I see them for sale on Audiogon, but decided on the McCormack DNA HT5 after auditioning their DNA 125 and 225 amps and loving the detail that came through. I do happen to have a CJ MF2500A 2-channel amp for my music system and love it! Both companies make great amps so I don't think you could go wrong with either one (CJ owns McCormack now anyways). Well, hope I helped you out and that you try some dealer demos yourself before making a decision, especially if you can demo a Classe. Then if the Classe sounds alot better and you can get one on audiogon for $1000 go for it, otherwise I'm sure you'd be very happy with the Rotel. Good luck to you!
THANKS FOR THE COMMENTS. I HAVE A SEPERATE AUDIO SYSTEM WHICH INCLUDES CART SLI80 AMP DRIVING JMLABS MICRO UTOPIAS. MY PRACTICAL EXPERIANCE WITH HOME THEATER IS THAT QUALITY SURROUND EFFECTS IS FINE AND THAT HAVING 1000 DSP OPTIONS AREN'T PRACTICAL. I'M GOING TO BE DRIVING 5.1 FOR NOW SO EVEN THE 7.1 MAY BE OVERKILL I HAD BEEN USING A YAMAHA DSPA1 AS MY PROCESSOR AND IT WENT TO HT HEAVEN. I HAVE A TRUSTED RETAILER WHO I WORK WITH AND HE SAID FOR MY APPLICATION THAT THE ROTEL WOULD BE MORE THAN ADEQUATE. SOMEDAY I MAY TOO LOOK AT A THETA, BUT NOT NOW. IT'S ACTUALLY BEING SETUP TOMORROW AND I'LL LET YOU KNOW MY THOUGHTS.
I'm also running the Rotel in 5.1 and that's all anyone would really need to fill an average size room with surround sound; I was told 7.1 is more appropriate for an exceptionally large room. I also agree with you that too many DSP effects are not necessary and I only use 3 at most. I'll look forward to reading your review of the Rotel after you've given it a listening in your system. Good luck!
yes, the Classe will not have the newer features, if this are things you need. The Classe won't have 7.1, Dolby Pro Logic II, 24/96 or 192 DAC's, etc.
Although, if you use only 5.1 or 2 ch, do your processing of higher order digital formats(SACD/DVDA) and such in the players themselves, and need high quality PURE DIRRECT ANALOG INPUTS for sources like tuner,DSS,tv,tape,vcr,tuner, whatever, then the Classe's sonics will be unbeaten for the money you can find one for used!
The Classe also has THX and balance out's for it's amp-out's!
Inshort, if you only need 5.1 or 2ch sonic purity,can do without the 24/192(although the Classe's 20 bit dacs are outstanding for CD's and DVD's, etc!), need better DIRRECT analog inputs(making a DVDA/SACD connection unbeatable in a pre/pro), plus some extra audiophile grade features thrown in, then you'll flip for the Classe! On the other hand, if you have different priorities(for me sonics are most important), you should continue to check out options, or the Rotel may be all you need.
I just think you can get the same features and sound that the Rotel will give you in your bassic "RECEIVER'S" pre/pro section!...and for less money!
I also have a small room, but when I expanded from 5.1 to 7.1 channels I found it to be a significant improvement. IMHO, 7.1 is so much better that I would never go back to 5.1. The sound is more enveloping, surround effects have more front-to-back and side-to-side depth, I feel like I'm in a larger room, and I do not hear any DSP artifacts. The challenge is synthesizing the extra channels. I use Lexicon's Logic 7.
I'M BUILDING A NEW HOUSE WHICH WILL BE DONE IN 10MONTHS. I WILL HAVE A NICE ROOM (18X25) TO USE AS MY THEATER/FAMILY ROOM. I'M NOT PREPARED TO DEDICATE A GREAT ROOM OF THIS SIZE TO DEDICATED THEATER. I'M LOOKING AT SOMETHING LIKE THE SONY WEGA 65" DLP. I'M HOPING BY THEN THE PRICES CONTINUE TO FALL AND THE QUALITY CONTINUES TO RISE. THIS WILL GIVE ME PLENTY OF TIME TO LISTEN TO 7.1 VS 5.1. I'LL ALSO CHECK OUT CLASSE' . I CAN TELL THAT FOREVER HIFI IS PASSIONATE ABOUT IT. I APPRECAITE ALL OF YOUR COMMENTS AND I'LL LET YOU KNOW HOW THE ROTEL WORKS FOR NOW. PS. I DO PLAN ON SETTING UP A NEW PIONEER ELITE MODEL 45A TO TRY DVDA AND SACD. THIS MAY INFLUENCE MY DECISION LATER ON WHEN I DO MY REAL SYSTEM!
There's a great article/review in the new issue of Stereo Guide to Home Theater. It compares it to earlier Rotel Pre- Pros and the Anthem AVM 20. They gave it a great recommendation, and even made it their pre pro choice for 2002.
I HAD THE ROTEL INSTALLED LAST NIGHT. OVERALL THE SONICS SOUND GOOD. IT DOESN'T HAVE THE DSP FLEXIBILTY AS THE OLD YAMAHA DID, BUT IN DOLBY DIGITAL STRAIGHT IT SOUNDS VERY CLEAN AND NATURAL. THE REMOTE TOOK 3 HOURS TO PROGRAM AND IT'S STILL DIFFICULT TO USE. SOMEDAY I'M GOING TO INVENT AN EASY TO USE REMOTE THAT IS EASY TO PROGRAM AND EASY TO USE. I'LL BE A RICH MAN WHEN I DO.
THE OTHER THING I FIND INTERESTING IS THAT THE BOX HAD A BIG "MADE IN CHINA" LABEL ON IT. I'M VERY CONCERNED ABOUT STUFF MADE THERE. I'M IN THE ELECTRONICS BUSINESS MYSELF AND WE ARE SEEING A LOT OF COUNTERFEIT PARTS BEING USED AND THE QUALITY IS SHABBY. I BUY STUFF FROM COMPANIES LIKE ROTEL FOR QUALITY. WE'LL SEE HOW IT GOES.
cconrad, I'd suggest taking a few dollars of your audio budget and buying a working keyboard, i.e., one that has a "CAPS LOCK" key that can be turned off! :-)