Review: Rotel RA-1062 Amplifier

Category: Amplifiers

The RA-1062 was my first foray into "Hi-Fi." In contrast with the Yamaha receiver that had been my mainstay for fifteen years prior, the Rotel was hands down a better product. I simply had no idea what I had been missing all those years I had assumed the Yamaha was telling me the truth about my music.

I've had the Rotel for more than six months now, so I'll just cut to the short of it. What I should have bought was a Krell KAV-400xi. But I just didn't know then what I know now. Music is SUCH a subjective experience. What sounds great to me might be boring to you. If all you know about music reproduction is the usual stuff at circuit city or best buy, by all means, listen to the Rotel, it's hands down better than all the Yamaha's, Sony's or any other mainstream product.

My worst criticism of the Rotel is that it reproduces music without being musical itself. Had I never experienced that "eureka moment" myself with different equipment I simply would never have known just how far the Rotel falls short. You just can't know that from reading a review. You MUST find this for yourself with your own music. My best measure of a two channel system's strength is its ability to disappear from the room and just leave you alone with the music. Those are simply just words until you experience this for yourself. It takes going to Hi-Fi shop after Hi-Fi shop and being left alone with systems you can't possibly hope to afford as well as some you can with a few CD's(no more than ten) that you love front to back.

The Rotel NEVER leaves the room. In fact, if you're prone to listening to higher volumes, Rotel will routinely overheat and turn it's output off for you. By loud I mean putting the volume between the ten and eleven o'clock position. I've experienced this with two separate 1062's now.

My best advice to you is to gather from these reviews a list of five amps that you can actually go and audition for yourself. Five minutes with highlights of your favorite songs while being babysat by a salesman isn't good enough. Audition ALONE for no less than thirty minutes.

I hate paying for the same thing twice. That's what's going to happen to me though. Now that I've actually experienced the system I want to own for myself, the money spent on the Rotel was all but wasted.

Speaking as someone who has read God knows how many of these reviews; if you're starting to build your first real system, start with the SPEAKERS first. But DON'T buy anything until you've had that moment where the equipment disappears from the room and the music just takes you away. I'm talking goosebumps, I'm talking closed eyes. I'm talking old memories. I'm talking just plain floating in space. This should happen with record after record that you know front to back. What does that for you might not do that for me. For me, all it took was a Krell KAV-400xi and Dali Mentor 6 speakers.

Associated gear
Focal.JM.Lab 714S

Similar products
Krell KAV-400xi
I really like your review. First, because it eschews the usual 200 words on the bass, 200 words on the midrange and 200 words on the treble. The review actually speaks about music and the transcendant nature of music. And, of course, to your emotional reaction to how the gear honors the music. Most professional reviewers miss all of this.

On the other hand, in the real, dollars and cents, world very few people will be deciding between one amp and another that is more than twice the price. Most people feeding on this end of the food chain are on budgets. On the high end, they would be comparing the Krell to it's similarly priced competitors, and at the Rotel end to the Arcams and Cambridges of the world, with which it is fully competitive.

The rest of your advice seems spot on, and this review serves as a great guide to those who read it. Great going and great listening.
I'm more inclined to agree with Viridian--buyers of Rotel won't generally be "auditioning" Krell, or any other product for that matter. Rotel buyers want VALUE in the form of a reliable, well-built and nice-sounding component that's going to last. They don't necessarily want to take the time to "audition", so they go to online havens like this, or, or What HiFi or Stereophile to read reviews--expert and otherwise. At the risk of inciting a class war, we're really talking about two different strata of society, with Rotel buyers not having either the means or desire to plop down 10 grand of their hard earned cash on a CD "transport". And I'll bet plenty of those folks have experienced a "eureka moment" from their entry level Rotel amps and CD players. One thing Cubist alluded to is the subjective nature of the listening experience, and that couldn't be more true. But to ding the RA 1062 for not taking him into the ether may not be fair, simply because of the subjectivity of the listening experience.

By the way, in case you haven't guessed, I own an RA 1062 and use it to drive a Cambridge Audio CDP. That combo has provided "goosebump" and "floating in space" experiences for me, sometimes just because I know I didn't have to take out a second mortgage to put them on my shelf.
I have to agree with Bohunk. Though I'm currently looking to upgrade, the 1062 has been a great amp for me for the past 4 years. Remember, not everyone can afford the kind of amp you have to go into a ritzy hi-fi store to audition before purchasing.

Also, how loud are you listening to music that amp is turning itself off? This has never once happened to me.
Just a follow up, regarding the Rotel RA-1062. I continue to use and enjoy the RA-1062 that I originally wrote about, but it now resides in my bedroom and receives music via a wireless link with my main iTunes library. I think of it as a polite little English amp, and that's how I treat it, i.e. just playing music with low volume levels.

I feel that an expensive amplifier ought to be able to tolerate higher listening levels, and the RA-1062 does not. My original statements in the review above remain my experience with the RA-1062, which is to say that when playing music at louder listening levels, the Rotel WILL overheat and shut itself off. My Krell 400xi does not have this problem. You get what you pay for I guess.

I think it's a shame that anyone would buy the Rotel based solely on price and the strength of a positive review, especially without the benefit of having first auditioned it. Speaking as a "Rotel buyer," I certainly auditioned the Rotel before purchasing it, and I can't say it enough. Audition before you purchase.

I routinely audition audio equipment I have no hope of EVER being able to actually afford. Why? Because I love music. I want to know just how good it can sound. I want to feel the power of it in my very bones. Music is beauty. What other ecstasy is there that comes with a power button? Listening to as many different brands and systems as I can has taught me a great deal about my own expectations regarding Hi-Fi, and thankfully, it has also taught me that more money often doesn't make for a better listening experience.
What? Rotel "Entry Level"? "No one would be auditioning Rotel gear before buying"? Are you guys from another planet? A $3,000 THX certified Rotel surround processor is hardly entry level. A $1,700 DVD/cd player is not what I would exactly call an Internet special. And that huge 84 pound Rotel 1055 5X200 watt amp is, well, get outta town! That thing is just awsome!

If Krell floats you boat, then absolutely go for it - but let's not discount Rotel just because you got tingles up and down you leg when you auditioned the Krell.

I have Rotel and B&W 800 series gear and I can tell you that it's a hard combination to beat. Insofar as the gear leaving the room and leaving you only with the music, heck, I've had that experience with my Yamaha DSP A1 pumping 110 watts through a couple of little B&W DM601 S3's. With my eyes closed, my brain was tricked into believing that the sax man was just 5 feet in front of me. Seriously!

So, it's all in the moment I suppose.
Cubist works for Krell. Or worked for them?
Dinging the Rotel for not playing LOUD ENOUGH is absurd ! Obviously, your particular speakers needed more then the Rotel 1062 could deliver. Keep in mind, that Rotel makes PLENTY of other gear that would more then adequately drive your speakers. The fault lies with you, for not choosing the right SIZE Rotel amp to drive your particular speakers. If you had a more efficient pair of speakers, the Rotel 1062 would be more then qualified for the task. Component matching is the KEY to a successful system that one can enjoy. Simply throwing random components together without much thought can be fruitless. Well reviewed gear still needs to be matched carefully to each other. Otherwise your experience will be Hit and Miss. Throwing gobs of money at a piece of gear is great, but when one achieves audio nirvana while on a budget makes it even more satisfying. ANYONE can spend a ton of cash and have a nice setup, but it takes some real effort and smart choices to achieve the same on a budget.