I mean Rotel RA 1062 Intergrated amp-not 1072. Thanks
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Personally I have never cared for the sound of Rotel equip. I have had many NAD pieces and think they are a great value. I also think older A or A.2 series Musical Fidelity pre/pwr or integrated are great pieces for the money. Finally, I think Marantz is making some very good pieces at reasonable prices.
That is what makes this hobby so much fun. So many choices.
Best of luck.
As often happens here, my experience has been the opposite of Pcs's. I've owned three Rotel integrateds and two NADs. I've preferred the Rotels both for build quality and sonics but that is, of course, just a single owner's experience and ears.
The amp I would recommend over either Rotel or NAD in that price range is the Onkyo A-9555. It's built in Japan and both the build quality and sound are exceptional. It got a very good review in Stereophile and the phono stage has been highly recommended, though I have never used it with a turntable.
Refurbished ones are often available at accessories4less.
I just bought a Rotel RA-1520. (My dealer didn't have the 1062, which is, I think, a little less expensive. I'm not sure if the 1062 is still available or not.) I preferred the Rotel over the NAD amp I listened to. The Rotel sounded more detailed, less grainy, and seemed to handle transients better. The NAD didn't sound bad, however, and it was cheaper, but even my wife, whose ears aren't as experienced, remarked (unprompted) that the Rotel sounded better.
I haven't heard the Onkyo in question, but my father owned Onkyo gear in the past, and while it never sounded bad, I think Rotel or NAD would be better that than any Onkyo I've heard. I did audition an Integra (also made by Onkyo) at a different dealer, and found Rotel and NAD superior as well.
Again, different people will offer different opinions, so your mileage may vary!
The Rega might be a good choice. Does anyone know what type of binding posts come standard-I hate those cheap plastic ones-thats whats nice about the Rotel-it has WBT posts. Also, NAD int. dont have built in phono. Im leaning to Rotel or Rega. Each at 60 watts per. Should be enough to drive my Usher X718?
Rega products are said to be nice, although I have no direct experience. The Rotel integrated amps do have a phono stage, which was another nice plus over NAD for me. I don't know about those Usher speakers (a dealer I visited did have a pair of Usher something-or-others hooked up to an Integra for demo purposes, but that's my sole experience with Ushers), but the 60 W Rotel RA-1520 was driving a pair of B&Ws in the dealer's, and B&W speakers are generally known for being wattage-happy. The dealer I bought from also said that the Rotel (also a similarly-spec'd NAD) should have no problem driving my very inefficient Smaller Advents. (I haven't hooked it up yet to test because my Advents are still in the shop.) So I don't think you Ushers should be an issue.
I nominate the Onkyo A-9555. It puts out 85/170 wpc into 8/4 ohms, so it's a good match to your requirements and your speakers. It's very quiet, fast, and transparent. I personally prefer it over the Rega integrateds and many of the other British integrateds which are either too forward in the midrange, too wimpy in the bass, or both. It requires a good 100 hrs to break in, but transforms into a smooth, yet detailed, dynamic amp with very low noise floor. It has so much current it replaced a 150wpc high current power amp with no perceptible drop in weight, but a significant gain in transparency and speed without turning edgy.
The built-in MM phono preamp is pretty good too. It doesn't have the greatest slam, but it's very musical and excels at inner detail.
The speaker terminals are those weird things like the 1st gen. Cambridge Azur series had. It accepts only bare wire or bananas, but it's worth it. If you shop around you can pick up this $799 amp for under $500. Try Amazon and B&H.
08-06-09: Rodm3878Interesting. Other than a USB input and pre-outs, it sort of steps into the price/performance void left by the departed Peachtree Decco.
according to onkyo's website, the new a-5vl only puts out 2 x 40w--a higher powered integrated would give you more flexibility. if you want a real budget play, i'd look at the late 80s/early 90s integra and yamaha units, both of which are very neutral, have good phono stages and are easily available under $200. for a more modern piece, i'm partial to arcam, which is both very good values used and to my ears, sounds more "refined" and less forward than nad.
I went through a whole slew of amps from NAD, Rotel, Cambridge Audio, Musical Fidelity, Creek, Vincent ect and then I found the Exposure 2010S. It is mind blowing. The sound is tramsparent and real. It sounds like live music. All the others had their good and bad points as does the Exposure but none came off sounding like music the way this does. keith
My vote goes to a Musical Fidelity - 2nd hand A300 or A5. Good power (A300 has 150W/ch, A5: 250W/ch), very high quality phono stage and a transparent and well integrated sound. I have the A300 driving the Usher BE-718 in my second system and they combine superbly. I would expect very similar results with the X-718's.
You didnt mention a budget but given that you are looking for a temporary integrated with a decent phono section I submit there is no finer choice than a vintage Sansui AU series integrated.
The depreciation is already absorbed and you would be amazed at the quality of a properly serviced; well maintained AU series integrated. As a Levinson owner trust me when I say the vintage Sansui AU series of integrateds are truly a best kept secret. Find one; always keep it as a backup and enjoy.
I have an older arcam A65+ that includes a nice phone stage, and have really enjoyed it with a pair of Focal/JM Labs. It even has enough current to push a pair of magnepans 1.6's while only rated at a 40wpc amp! That tells you a lot about numbers on paper and real world. I put it up against a Rega, which I also think highly of, and they sounded equally nice though the arcam I thought gave the maggies the soundstage presence they are able to reproduce. Im actually using it right now in lieu of a parasound JC2 pre that I have and am selling brand new due to finances. If you can find a dealer with some older arcam components give them a listen. Since arcam has been changing their line-up quite a bit you can find them very cheaply - and they were made very solid (I got mine unopened for $300 from a rep who had a backlog) but those went fast.
Usher is a good speaker company. I was very impressed with their budget product the S-520 with an audition at a local Usher dealer. Usher even uses quality drivers (Scanspeak and Seas) in some of their high end models.
Are reviews helpful?
Through several pairs of speakers of different brands purchased and sold or gifted to my brother and sister, I have learned the hard way that your setup should be built in a way that your potential audio purchases will have a good chemistry with your existing components in your audio setup. Good gear reviews can help you narrow down your next audio purchase but only trust your ears.
This is not to say that there are no down-to-earth reviewers that do not OFTEN sugarcoat or massage their reports.
Credits should be given where they are due. Bob Reina and Jim Austin at Stereophile are good reviewers. Gregg Johnson at Affordable Audio is another good reviewer that I like.
What to choose, Rotel or NAD?
Rotel is a good company and they have been in the business for a while (almost 50 years) Their warranty period is longer and better than most of their rivals in the budget audio market like Cambridge Audio or NAD or Rega or Onkyo. Rotel budget amps usually have a phono stage which is a plus for many folks here.
Rotel can drive 8 ohm speakers very well and they will deliver beautifully as long as the speaker's impedance load does not dip below their commercial ratings be that 8,6, or 4 ohms.
Rotel budget amps are open and can complement several metal dome speakers quite well. Rotel budget amps can partner well with speakers like B & W 805 or the Focal JM Lab Utopia.
Rotel, partnering with decent speakers like B & W 800 series, Focal Utopia, and Usher high end models can form a great audio reproduction partnership that will beatifully grace any 2 channel audio setup.
Why do I own NAD rather than Rotel?
My problem is that I have a way too sensitive pair of ears which has limited me the options to own some of the best speakers with metal dome tweeters available on the market like Focal Utopia, Usher Be, Totem, B & W, etc....
And because of that limitation, I have to settle with speakers that sport silk dome tweeters like Mission and Dynaudio if I want to listen for hours without having that listening fatigue.
NAD's design philosophy just happens to complement my listening habit and my silk dome tweeters Dynaudio. NAD amps (Classic Series) are ugly but they can drive almost any speakers with tough impedance loads like Totem and Dynaudio. And they are a bit warm for some people but that could help tame the harsh high end in some metal dome speakers like the JBL S-38 that I currently own in my second system.
NAD and Rotel are both good. If you do not have my sensitive problem, Rotel make some decent gears and boy Rotel budget amps are probably very handsome to boot.
Why do I like Dynaudio?
Dynaudio's silk dome tweeters help alleviate my sensitive listening. I like speakers that run almost full-range (capable of reaching down to the 40 cycle with clean and transient bass) and IMO Dynaudio spends so much time voicing, articulating the bass from their drivers, making sure that the bass do not sound bloated, thin, slow, and weak. Dynaudio are just right in the bass dept in my book.
What to do then?
IMO, the best thing to do is to bring your Usher speakers and your favorite CDs to your local Rotel, NAD, CA dealers, ask the dealers to see if you can hook their amps to your monitors, listen to them for a good while and then decide which one to bring home. You can tip them a little but that little tip will save you so much aggravation down the line.
Temporary solution ? go for the Rotel Ra1062 if you can live with a bit forwarding sound but good bass and clean hi/ warm mid. I tried some NAD stuff back in the 80s and never could live with them. Do not like cheesy plastic knobs and less than detail in sound. For re-sell value, you cannot go wrong with the Ra1062. I did buy and then did sell the RA1060/ Ra1062 two times between upgrading gear intervals and do not mind to have spare one for emergency usage.