Better for Separates Newbie: Rotel or Adcom?


Trying to decide between Rotel-based or Adcom-based separates. These are what I can afford in the "up to $1250" category.

Just looking for two channel amplification and preamp. Have decided against entry level integrated tubes (Synthesis). As yet, no decision on speakers.

Thanks so much,
They are really pretty close in sound and performance.
Go with the ones that rock your boat.
I have owned both companies products and been happy.
Go for the Rotel with better quality than the Adcom. The Adcom products have some of negative reports latly. IMHO.
I strongly suggest you evaluate your room, choose speakers and then consider these options.
Are you set on buying new only?
I strongly suggest you purchase a higher quality integrated amplifier. Both are average components at best. I would look at products from Jolida, Prima Luna, Cary, Electrocompaniet, Portal Panache, and Creek. There is SO much better out there than Rotel and Adcom. So Much Better.

Hi, all!

Thanks for your responses thus far!

Elizabeth: thanks for letting me know your experience.

Unsound: I appreciate the nature of what you're saying, however, I have sold all of my equipment, so I'm experiencing a little "chicken and the egg" conundrum! This wasn't my first choice, but since someone was willing to pay top dollar for my kit, I had to sell in order to spend that amount plus a few extra dollars on new equipment.

Jsujo: Yes, I am only considering new products.

The_kid: I have heard what some tube enthusiast friends of mine consider some great kit: Synthesis ( I thought the integrated amp sounded okay, as it was powering speakers I was auditioning (Spendor 3/1). The problem is - for better or for worse - nearly every other speaker I've auditioned (B&W, Gallo, Paradigm, Faber, and Dynaudio) was attached to the stores' Rotel amplifiers/preamplifiers. So, when I heard the Spendors, I didn't know how much of the sound I was hearing was the tube integrated, and how much was the speakers! All I know is that this combination was the only one where at least some of the sound actually sounded colored or "warm". I audition with a tremendous amount of material, some of which is symphonic with solos I performed at the concerts.

In any case, I'm coming from home theater receivers. In my price range, it sounds like "average" to most people will be much better than what I've previously experienced!
Ivyinvestor, Rotel has a good track record over many years for making solidly constructed gear that is well engineered, with substantial power supplies and of good above average sound quality. There are other products that on a case-by-case may sound better for this unit or that, but in the price range you're describing for new only, Rotel is a very safe bet and materially better than the mass market electronic gear.
Thanks, Rushton: I really appreciate your comments, especially with respect to my current funding allocations.
I would also recommend Rotel. I have owned a Rotel CD player (RCD 970 BX), and an integrated amp (RA 970). Both were very well designed and built, and sounded exceptional (CD player in particular). I would argue that this is right around where the point of diminishing returns begins in hi-fi.
If you really have to go with seperates I would suggest the rotel. The one Adcom preamp that was rated very good by Stereophile went for $750.00,( forgot the model # ) not leaving much room for an amp. the answer lies in an intergraded amp. Depending on your speakers, China are puting out some wonderful intergraded tube amps. Thats where I would go. !!!
Chris (The Kid) is dead on. Great integrateds that will embarress either Adcom or Rotel separates. Plus no IC costs between preamp and power amp.
if you have some time take a look at odyssey stuff-
you can get seperates or the new cyclops intigrated(not yet on the web sight-you must call klaus)

much better than rotel or adcom and a 20 year warranty-also made in the good ol US OF A
Put your hard earned cash into a decent integrated unit. The monies you'd have spent on marginal interconnects can be applied to the integrated unit.
There's nothing wrong with buying a used solid state unit.
Many a unit comes up for sale on the gon that is only months old. The buyer made a mistake, is willing to take his lumps, and is selling just to get the mistake out of sight.
Hello, folks,

Again, thanks for so much discussion! I really appreciate it!

I have decided on the Rotel gear instead of the Adcom models, but I wonder if, also in a similar price range, I should consider the boutique "Channel Islands Audio". I've heard great things about them, but maily through reviews - little from owners.

Also, The_kid & Hbarrel: I really appreciate your thoughts. However, where I am able to shop the only true integrateds I've been able to listen to are the tube Synthesis (whose experience I previously shared) and a Bryston (the HSST 1100 or 100??) that was around $3000. I didn't care for the Synthesis, and the Bryston was very much beyond my price range. If I'd been able to listen to more integrated amplifiers, I would have considered increasing my budget - but I won't do that for options I haven't heard.

Otherwise, the Rotel pieces I will select are the RC-1070 (pre) & RB-1070 (power).


I'd look for a used Bryston or Classe integrated (with phono stage), probably pick up a mint unit here on the 'Gon for $1000 or so. Leaves you $500 for a decent analog front end.

What is your budget? What is your power requirement for your speakers?

I second Bryston as the best used product out there. I would get a 4B-ST amp and BP20 preamp and you will be happy. This was my setup for years with no problems and great sound.
My advice; rethink your commitment to only new equipment. I feel you're making a huge mistake to take your limited budget and spend it on pieces of equipment that will devalue about 40% when you walk out the door. That 40% could be applied to moving you into a higher range of equipment.
You will effectively place yourself in the decidedly lower eschelon of sound by spending $1250 or less on new components. Do a little survey, or read the threads regarding the items you want. Pursue them used, and you'll get a superior system. Don't think that you need all one brand to get a decent sound!
If you need hand holding and warranties, fine. (no disrespect here; some people want 'security' about purchases above all, or they have no time to shop).
But you wouldn't believe how much better you can do than you're planning. Go to and read up on the best reviewed cd players, integrated amps, etc.
I currently have a nice Rotel integrated in my office, and I've owned Rotel multichannel amps. But no way would I now spend my $ on a new Rotel piece! There's SO much more out there that's better used for the same money!
Or goodness, man, look online for Rotel B stock if nothing else!
Hello, all...

I realize what you are saying - especially Mr. Schroeder.

Although I have sold tons of equipment to upgrade, I have never bought anything used. Most respectfully, I've known far too many folks who have purchased used equipment only to later lament "purchasing someone else's junk" (not my quote).

And while I would love to think that everyone on this forum would only offer for sale to me gear that is as described, that will not statistically be the case. I hate to say that I don't trust any one of you, because I do *very much* respect your opinions and suggestions: this thread is evidence thereto! Please do not think otherwise.

I have to admit (and *please* excuse this contrived situation): if I were able to see the equipment functioning, demo it, try it with some of my media, & etc., I would be much more likely to bend my own rule and consider what you kind folks are suggesting - to either purchase already depreciated Rotel (to make sure that I want to enter this hobby) or some of the other kit you've referenced further up the price line.

However, purchasing from an unknown person in an unknown location who might or might not have a piece of functioning equipment and who might or might not package it carefully, with or without what he or she said would be included, without warranty, or with a reduced warranty is too much of a case against buying something that someone wants of themself to rid.

I realize that some folks might purchase kit and do not enjoy it, box it back up, and could sell it to me such that I'd have saved 30-40% compared to a retail sale. But, without being able to see the equipment in its functional state, why should I trust them?

I might consider purchasing used: but only if I can demo something. After all, for those of you have purchased used vehicles or audio kit, I bet you didn't do so without driving or hearing it!

To suggest that I, someone who is just entering this hobby, purchase something sight unseen - and, more importantly, unheard - is incomprehensible.

Thanks for you comments. I do appreciate hearing from folks regarding equipment
By the way, I live in NOVA (Arlington, VA), should anyone wish to sell something that has been mentioned here.
I umpteenth the bryston suggestion...get a B-60 will run you less than a grand...and if you are worried about buying someone elses "junk"...fret not...Bryston has a 20 year transferrable warranty...furthermore...if we are unable to talk you out of your "must have new" shortlist...then we might as well add one more to it BOSE.
I've done a good number of transactions on Audiogon and have been very happy. The odds you'd be buying someone else's junk are remote. Most of us keep very good care of our gear. That and the fact that most of it is of very good quality make buying used an excellent idea. Heck, I just had a guy send me an amp before he received my money. The amp works and looks like brand new. I saved 2,000 over buying it new 3 years ago. Now ,just guessing, this piece is probably good for at least another 12-15 years. That was about my 28th transaction here and every time what I received was in as good or better than I'd expected. Maybe I'm just lucky.
Ellery911: You really believe that Rotel, Channel Islands, and Adcom are at the same level as Bose?

Do others concur? I've never before heard any of those brands so likened.

Additionally, Ellery, your intimation that if I don't purchase a Bryston I should just consider Bose is the kind of "you should do this because most folks do it" attitude that does not facilitate trust in the process *at all*.

Warnerwh: Your post was the kind of evidence for which I've searched. Several folks PM'd me with similar themese - but the greatest number of items anyone had purchased used was three components; two others had bought two items, and one bought one. Of those eight purchases 6 were satisfied with all aspects of the transaction, 1 was unhappy with his selection (but the product was fine), and 1 stated that the seller had misinformed him regarding the condition of a unit. Certainly these stats were not enough to really shed light on the situation. However, your nearly 30 purchases *does* make me feel much more comfortable: thank you VERY much for telling your side of the story!

Regardless of your opinions, I am very grateful to be able to read so many replies.

I live in Fairfax Va so we are practically neighbors. So if you are set on buying new Rotel Gear in this town you are either talking to Myer Emco, Audio Buys, or Tweeter. If you must buy new. (I only buy speakers new but eveything else in my system has been purchased here on Audiogon in 9/10 condition. No issues BTW.)

Go to and talk to Joe Stromnick the owner. He is in downtown Bethesda and carries Bryston, Classe, Musical Fidelity, and other fine electronics. I hear what you are saying about "Buying someone else's junk". However, if you buy those seperates, you are buying mid-fi junk in my opinion. You do know it is made in Tawain don't you?

For the price of the Rotel New with a nice pair of audiophile level interconnects new, you can own a real peice of gear that will make you happy for years to come.

NAd silver intergrated...about 1k...used though...
ivyinvestor...sorry...i was being sarcastic about the is a long running joke here on the gon...I was not trying to imply that "you should do this because most folks do this" flat out stated that you didn't want to buy someone elses used "junk". What would you rather have break after 5 years?...a receiver bought new and is now out of warranty...or a 5 year old bryston with 15 years of warranty left. Do whatever you think is appropriate for your case. I feel that Chris (the kid) gives good advice also...he has even listed local shops for you to hear a few different components...whatever you get...make sure that it is your ears that like it...and if you can bring it home for a demo...even better...happy hunting

and no..i don't work for bryston...i used to own have an electrocompaniet...and in a few months...will try something completely different.
Ahhh, Trust. Funny thing. You can trust me! Let me sell you something! I'm sure any number of individuals I've paid handsomely will now come online to support my contention that Audiogon is a reputable site, and the vast majority of transactions are conducted flawlessly. (hint, hint, come on boys & girls, now's the time- I'm calling in my favors!)
Honestly, Agon has built up my trust in the human race. I'm always leery of deals with unknowns. Always. Do enough deals, and sure, you'll get one that's not wonderful. But, MAN, you have a wonderful world of audiophiles here. Good people who love their equipment (hopefully not worshipping it) and sell to upgrade, not because of defect. This website is a gold mine!
You've got to lose your fear of unknown audiophiliacs! (sounds bad) I was very nervous, anxious the first few deals I did - leery. But the good people of Audiogon proved themselves worthy.
If you're suspicious, check the seller's feedback. Also, take Agon's suggestion and speak to them personally by phone prior to doing a deal. Ask all the questions you want, ie. was the unit ever repaired, etc. make sure the unit is insured for the amount it cost, etc. A few precautions and you eliminate 90% of bad possibilities.
yes, you can buy new to avoid ever being taken advantage of, but in the long run, it'll cost you.
I suggest you try small first; do one deal for a relatively small item, like a power cord or interconnects. Find out the system works. (I feel like I'm counseling here..)
Oh, yes, and my consultant's fee for whatever you buy on Audigon is 6%. ;)

We all get screwed every once in a while, but overall, I have never met more honest people than in the Audiophile circles. I have a business and I buy used equipment all the time. 95% of the time you get a great deal at a great price. The other 5% is life. So focus on quality well made gear with transferable warrenties and strong companies so you can build up your trust on the site. If a guy has sold 152 items on Audiogon without a single problem, I bet you can trust him more that the sales rep that has worked in six audio-visual stores in the last three years.
Bryanhod: Point well taken. Thanks for your comments.

And thanks to everyone for their comments! ;)
Rotel (2nd) !