New Rotel Amp Vs Older Bryston, Krell, or McIntosh


Brand new to the community here, excited to start the journey haha. I wanted to get some insight on which amp I should purchase. I just bought a Rotel RC-1572 MKII because I love the feature of it being able to automatically turn on when it detects a signal. I use a SONOS Port as my source streaming Tidal, so having that feature and being able to walk in the door and play directly from my phone is valuable to me.

Speakers are B&W CM9 S2's, Audioquest cabling, Furman 15 PFi power conditioner.

Here's the question:

I am looking to pair an amplifier with it. I was debating buying a new Rotel RB-1582 MKii, which seems to be the obvious choice, but was thinking that there might be a better option out there from a higher end brand on the second hand market.

If I'm looking to spend around $2K, I was thinking that there may be a better value with something that has depreciated over 3-7 years but was more expensive new than the Rotel I'm considering. What I was considering was a Krell KAV 2250, Bryston 4B SST, or an older McIntosh. Given these other amps are older, is this something worth looking at or should I just keep it simple and pair it with the Rotel? And are new Amps from a brand like Rotel in the same league as older amps from brands mentioned before due to advancements?

Appreciate your input here.



My system shares a lot of similarities with what you're after, check it out in virtual systems.  I like my Mac receiver, lots of remote controlled features.  I also like the sound of my Bryston DAC.  I’m sure whatever you get will sound great.  Part of the hobby seems to be hearing a lot of different gear in different systems and deciding what sounds best to you, and of course you have to stay within budget.  I also always buy used.

I ended up buying the Bryston 4B SST and was disappointed with the pairing. I could hear faint white noise from the speakers when there was no volume and a faint hum coming from the amp when it was powered on. (maybe this is attributed to the amps age?). Also found that the bass wasn't nearly as tight as the Rotel and that the mid range was sort of muffled. On top of that the highs were way too bright. Luckily the guy is allowing me to return the amp.

So Long story short, I am going to be going with the Rotel RB 1582 MKII since I know it sounds good with the speakers and matches my Preamp.

One issue I had was that the gain on the Rotel amp or output of Rotel preamp was not as high. I have to get the volume of the preamp up to 70 plus to get decent volume when paired with RB 1582, where as the Bryston I was rocking away at 60 plus.

I find this strange since these two components are designed to be together. Can anyone shed light on that? It's weird to think that I could run out of volume well before the amp runs out of gas. 

Thanks again for all the feedback!

The gain on the Rotel amp is only 26.5 dB for RCA inputs and a very low 22.5 dB for the XLR.  These are very low levels.  The typical gain for amps is usually somewhere between 28 and 32 dB.  This just means that you have to turn up the preamp more to provide enough signal level to get the loudness you want.  There’s nothing wrong with this other than user convenience.  Many preamps actually work better when the volume is turned up higher (the internal gain circuit works better). 

That being said, the Rotel amps have very good resolution with just a bit of a warm signature. I actually thought they sounded very nice with the B&W speakers you havhave.  The older Krell 2250 could come across a bit bright/harsh.

McIntosh amps could sound very nice, but they are very laid back.  Neutral sounding (not warm like the Rotel) but are very mild and laid back sounding.  You might like it but it may also be not enough excitement/dynamics for your taste. 

@auxinput with the gain so low doesn't that mean I won't get as high of a volume compared to another amp because there is less volume to play with? 

And yes, the more I have been thinking about it, the happier I am with getting the Rotel over anything else. It's a good match to my current system and speakers.