Options for Integrated amp?

I have heard that I should be able to use my integrated Rotel RA 972 as a preamp and maybe as a power amp. Now my question is if I would gain anything in sound quality by hooking up a power/pre amp to it and in that case what would I gain?

The following is what it says in the instructions:
"The RA-972 has a set of preamp outputs. The signal from the source selected with the Listening Selector is always available from these outputs. Typically these outputs are used to provide a signal to another integrated amplifier or a power amplifier, which is used to drive remote speakers."

As explained before I have B&W 601 S3, Arcam CD72.
Is the Rotel lacking in some area that you are looking to improve? The Rotel is actually a good choice with B&W speakers, in general (check out the Rotel reviews in any of the British Magazines, like What Hi-Fi) and the Arcam CD72 is a nice unit as well. Your equipment is well matched for its price/performance ratio level. My guess is that if you look to seriously upgrade your amplifier, you will wind up having to upgrade your speakers, as well.

Regards, Rich
I agree with Rar1, including that Rotel and the B&W 600 series are a good match. The preout on the Rotel could also be used in a bi-amp configuration with the separate RB971 power amp. This is probably a more likely scenario than just using the RA972 as a preamp.

If you are still using cheap cables, then I would start there before thinking of new gear.
I have sold Rotel for years. You would gain TREMENDOUSLY in sound quality by upgrading the Rotel to say one of the affordable, yet sonically supperior Jolida Integrated tube amps! And the sound is at least 100% better(if not more) than the sonics you are getting from the otherwise adequate sounding Rotel piece you're currently using! For $375-700(USD)used, you could have more audiophile refined sound with either the 202, 302, 502 Jolida's. My fav with your B&W's is the SJ502 with your speakers, as it has more bass pop and snap! If you are interested in dealing with tubes, it's WAAYYYYY WORTH IT! If it were my gear, and my money, I'd do the switch in a heart beat, and the Rotel would be HIIIISTTTTTTTORY! Sonical, the Rotel is similar to a lot of other solid state integrateds for the money...nothing special really

What I feel I lack is a little bass. It's a very bright system I have (the Arcam CD72 is not that bright though) and I lack a tight bass. But I guess that has more to do with the speakers than anything else.

Thank a lot everyone for your answers although I still don't know if I would gain in anything by buying a power amp... And that's what I'm interested in knowing!

Are Rotel happy with you as a reseller?
Not a bad plan.

At one time, I compared Rotel separates directly with a Rotel receiver. The separates sounded better, in fact, I bought them (for a week, then upgraded to a Classe preamp, continuing to use the Rotel amp). The salesperson I worked with said that the Rotel integrated (which they didn't stock) sounded more like the receivers than the separates (this was certainly true of the other integrateds I auditioned). So if that is any guide, yes, you should see an improvement by using an external amp.

The unknown factor here is, where is the weakness in your current integrated -- the preamp or the amp? Probably both. In other words, eventual purchase of a separate pre-amp would also make a big difference (preamps make an even bigger difference than amps in my book). But hey, Rome wasn't built in a day, and improving one piece at a time works for me.

I haven't listened at length to your speakers (I have listened to a lot of other B&Ws), and I rarely disagree with Sugarbrie, but I will go out on a limb and disagree about requiring a speaker upgrade. I think your CD player (which I have heard and like) and speakers can do a lot better for you than they are doing now, with better amplification.

My current speakers are the oldest part of my system; I got them used; they were new 10 or 15 years ago, and sold for around $1500 then (Celestion S300, I paid $700). I first hooked them to an old receiver, then to a variety of mid-fi separates (such as Rotel), and now to Classe preamp and amp. With each upgrade in amplification, they sound better and better, amazingly so. The biggest improvement I noticed when I switched in the Classe amp was in the bass, much tighter and better defined.

Last week I demoed B&W CDM-9NT speakers with a Rotel HT receiver (one of those foot-high monstrosities). They sounded awful. The bass in particular was practically unlistenable (to be fair, I had just been spoiled listening in their very nice 2-channel room), it sounded positively distorted.

So in summary: I think separates will make a difference for you, and so this is a good step in the right direction. The Rotel amps are a great value and give good sound for the money, so I think your plan is a good one. You can get a used Rotel amp here very inexpensively, $200-$300. Just be aware that you will probably want to go the preamp route when funds allow.

One last thought -- if you are buying from a dealer, see if you can borrow an amp to try this with, which will answer the question definitively for you.

It can cut two ways ... a top flight amp can bring out the best in a speaker and a top flight speaker can make a passable amp seem better than it is. My experiences with the B&W 300 & 600 series speakers are that they emphasized the treble region a bit.

If what you are after is to tame the brightness and add some bass ... I would do the following in this order:

1. If my cables & interconnects are clearly cheap, I would upgrade them with good performing, moderate priced cables & interconnects. Look to AVCables; Parts Express; Signal Cable. Also, play around with speaker placement ... B&W's are more sensitive than most to room placement.
2. I would look to a speaker upgrade.

If you feel that the sound is not sufficiently alive and/or dull sounding ... I would do the following in this order:

1. Cable Replacements that I mentioned above.
2. I would look to an amplifier upgrade.

As for tube vs SS ... whatever sounds best. I am a SS fan, but that may be more because I grew up around 50's & 60's era tube gear.

Hope this helps.

If you're considering using the RA-972 as a pre-amp you may want to match it w/a Rotel RB-990 amp. Many years ago when I
was considering an amp change I talked to quite a few dealers and got the feeling that this was a great amp. One dealer, whom had no profit in it because he could'nt sell me one, said go buy one without hesitation because I would be pleased w/it. I believed what he was saying was straight and honest. So, 200w a channel, around $450 used, what little to do have to lose by giving it a shot and elimimating any doubt from your mind. Bill