Compared: Rotel RX-1050 and RI-1070

First, I don't think the second model number is right, we listened to the 100W integrated amp. So, in ignorance, I'll use RI-1070 as if it were the correct model number.

My brother-in-law (burgeoning audiophile) and I went listening over the Christmas holiday. He was looking for a new amp or receiver to replace the Parasound DR-25 he's been borrowing form me. He has a pair of B&W 602 S2 that he bought this spring. He doesn't want to publish the model of CD player he's using. We were able to listen to 602 S3 speakers at the local Des Moines salon, and were treated to the Rega Planet CD player as a source. Also available was a 12" Velodyne powered sub (the model number I can't remember).

We listened to the RX-1050 for 45 minutes or an hour; with the Velodyne and without. While the top end and midrange were what my brother-in-law was looking for, there was something missing at the bottom. There was no weight. My BIL listens to hard rock and metal 90% of the time (he allows his wife to listen to current pop and country occasionally). He likes a fat bass and a hotter treble than I do.

We asked the salesman to put the RI(?)-1070 in the system to replace the RX-1050 and BANG!, there it was. Even without the Velodyne, everything my BIL was looking for was in front of us. The RI-1070 took hold of the B&W's woofers and made them sing. The midrange was still clear and strong and the treble was still strong (and a little too hot for my liking). We didn't listen to any acoustic music, jazz or pop, but so what? My BIL will listen to metal anyway. He asked for an overnight audition and they granted him one for the RI-1070 only. While we would have liked to A/B the RX-1050 and the RI-1070 in my BIL's room, most of what we heard in the show room we heard at his house. He placed an order for the RI-1070, in silver, on Christmas Eve day. By the way, the new Rotels look good in silver, reminiscent of BAT.

I can't think what the niche for the RX-1050 would be. While it has 4 composite video inputs and an output, and sounded decent overall, it was totally outclassed by the RI-1070 integrated in terms of sound, and doesn't offer enough features to be considered for a full A/V set-up. Granted, the RI-1070 is 50% nore ($1200 vs. $800), but the smaller integrated (RI-1050(?), 60W/ channel) should have the same characteristic sound and retails for $600.
I've had the RX1050 in my bedroom system for about 6 months. I agree that it is a little light in the bass, but otherwise I'm very pleased with its performance, especially the tuner (FM and AM) which is quite good. TAS recently ran a very positive review of this product. It's not intended as a statement product, but in an ever shrinking market for quality 2 channel receivers, at $800 mrsp, it does offer fair value.

Thanks for the response. I'm glad the tuner is so good. My BIL doesn't listen to the radio. I found that to be an exercise in frustration 10 years ago when I lived there and he says the situation is no better today. Out of curiosity, what speakers are you using, and how big is your room? As I said, we were using B&W 602 S2 and S3. The show room where the 602 S3 were was approximately 14 x 20.
I'm using Sony SS-7m speakers and the room is 10x18. I'm not surprised that the integrated amp performs better, at a 50% premium it really should. I learned this tip from the TAS review - replace the preamp/amp jumper with decent interconnects. It not a "huge" difference, but it's definitely worthwhile.

We had the same reaction regarding the price; however, neither of us was prepared for the magnitude of the difference. My only explanation is that the integrated has a much more robust power supply. Perhaps that's where the extra $400 goes.

Regarding the difference in speakers: I'll assume that your Sonys have roughly the same impedance as my BIL's B&Ws. However, I've always found it interesting that reviewers say that B&Ws need quite a bit of juice to come alive even though they're generally pretty efficient. Perhaps your Sonys are easier to drive.
The Sony SS-7m likes power, but in my application I'm rarely listening over 80dB which minimizes the problem. The TAS review also mentions that the receiver doesn't sound as loud as a 100w should. They tried the receiver with Vandersteen and Magneplanar speakers. They liked what it did with the Vandy, but thought it wasn't a good match with the Maggie. It very well could be due to skimping on the power supply.