rotel rsp976 or rsp980 advice please

Hi Folks,

Last year I made the big leap from a yamaha surround receiver to old rotel separates. I also jumped from Boston bookshelf speakers to a DIY kit from GR Research plus a subwoofer and I've been very pleased with the results.

I primarily built the system for music, but I also run my dvd, tv and vcr through the system for 2.1 reproduction. I'm finding the need for a center channel speaker so dialogue can come out of the center rather than the speaker I'm sitting closest to, so here are a couple of questions:

1) I currently run a rsp980 (pro logic, not digital) processor through a rb980bx power amp. I'm very happy with the sound and run music through the 2 channel setting, with a sub cable going from "sub out" to powered subwoofer.

2) Our local craigslist has an rsp976 for sale at a very low price. It is digital, so I could connect my dvd player with optical out rather than rca.

-- does anyone know if the RSP976 is a step down in quality from the 980? I started with a rsp960 and found the 980 to be a marked improvement. I love the pro logic units because of their low resale value relative to sound quality. They also offer video switching which is convenient for my video setup.

here are my questions:

-- can the 980 with pro logic do a true center channel?

-- I currently use the dvd player for cd reproduction. will optical out sound better than rca out? (I plan to eventually buy a dedicated cd player.)

thanks for any feedback and suggestions

Not sure what you mean, but yes the 980 outputs a dedicated center channel signal if it's fed one from the DVD player.

Rather than switch to the 976 and use its DAC to process the audio signal, you might consider buying a good used outboard DAC that would probably yield much better overall results when playing CDs through the 980 (depending on the DAC and digital cable of course). I used the 980 for many years and it's certainly transparent enough to benefit from a higher-quality source signal.

Best of luck and hope this helps.
Hi Soix

thanks for your response and advice. My concern was if a pro logic processor could offer true center channel separation without a digital signal. My understanding is that pro logic was, at best, an attempt at surround, but not true surround signal processing. I love the tone of the rsp980 as a 2 channel source, but wasn't sure it could handle true 3.1 output (left, right, center, sub.)


Dolby processing is meant to decode Dolby surround encoded program material, so it is a real surround signal although the rear channels are mono rather than discrete. So when presented a Dolby surround signal the 980 should produce a dedicated center channel signal, but I don't know what it would do with non-Dolby signals (my guess is it would synthesize a decent center signal). I always used the phantom center mode since I always sat close to the center when watching movies/tv, so unfortunately I can't comment directly on its center channel performance. If I were you I'd try hooking up one of my L/R speakers as a center channel and see what happens, and I would think that would tell you everything you need to know.