ROTEL RSP-985 A/V Preamplifier

4.21/5 (29 Reviews) MSRP : $1995.00


Product Description

Flagship Digital Surround Processor PreAmp


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Reviews 1 - 5 (29 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Kal a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: February 24, 2003

Bottom Line:   
The RSP 985 SW Limiter has to be set high in order to get rid of the cutting out in THX with DD 5.1. Mine is set at -4 db. You may want to mute your rsp 985 while setting the SW limiter because the bass can be overwhelming. Once your done exit the screen and turn the mute off. Presto..no more cutting out during loud LFE levels during movies. Its just a safety feature your hearing not a flaw.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2000



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by paul325 a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: April 8, 2002

Bottom Line:   
There is a fix for the RSP 985. Go to the menu and access the SW Limiter. Press enter and set the limiter at about -10db. I realize when you do this the sub will start to shake. If your afraid of putting too much pressure on the sub just turn it of or unplug it when you set the limiter. Trust me your amp wont cut out in THX mode anymore!!!!

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2000



Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:2
Submitted by Jonathan Carroll a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: January 31, 2002

Bottom Line:   
It has been a while since I posted my rants and raves here about my displeasure with the 985. I received many emails from people who are (were) in the exact situation as I am. So here is the latest.

The problem with this unit is that the THX processor does not function properly. "There is not fix" (quote from ROTEL). If the THX is turned off, the cut out problem goes away, or set the rear speakers to small and the cut out problem goes away.

Rotel should have discontinued selling this product but continued to anyways. I guess profit is more important than reputation.

On another displeasing side, there is no work around for the delay of the 5.1. I have compared much cheaper units and I find the 985 is much slower at coming on line, by as much as a twice what others can do.

My conclusion, wait for the new models to come out early in the spring and ensure that the store will take it back for a full refund if you encounter any problems.

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Used product for:   3 months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   2000

Purchased At:   Dewars Audio



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Kal a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: January 20, 2002

Bottom Line:   
You wont find anything that come close to the value and quality of this product. The first one i bought had the same problem with the digital processing cutting out during scenes with large passages. I returned it and Rotel replaced it with the same model but an updated version because they indeed were having problems with other RSP 985's. Now I know that there is no flagship receiver that can compete. People say that its no frills....who cares? Why sacrafice sound and quality for silly DSP modes and a fancy remote. This thing doesnt even break a sweat like most low end processors. I suggest people with earlier 985 models should replace them for an updated one. Lets just hope youre still under warranty.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2001

Price Paid:    $800.00

Purchased At:   APW



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Steve a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: January 16, 2002

Bottom Line:   
This unit replaced my old Pro Logic receiver (which has been relegated to phono pre-amp as the RSP-985 does not have a phono input)
It is driving an RB-976 amplifier.

I had planned to buy an RSP-976, but jumped at the runout price of the RSP-985. Got this for $1500 AU normally retails for $3000.

I will say this. I can't see $3000 dollars value here. Yes, it is THX ultra and is (or was) Rotel's flagship model. However it is obviously a rather old design and doesn't offer many features that you would expect as standard. However it was definitely worth the money I paid for it, and sonicly would have to be one of the best performers around.

Typically Rotel, all the effort has been put into performance, which is what this baby does best. Rotel have not spent time (or money) on bells and whistles or user interface.

Audio)
Audio is excellent. It has Stereo, Pro Logic, DTS and DD5.1
plus a few DSP modes. I like to listen to all my source material in Pro Logic mode (except for DD, DTS) and it does this very well. You can configure all of your inputs to default to a particular mode, and you can override if you want to. Being THX Ultra it also has THX re-equalisation and all of the other Lucasfilm stuff for DD, DTS modes.
There are a million and one configuration settings that determine how bass is distributed for various modes, individual pre-amp levels for each input, defaults for analog or digital inputs for a particular source and so on. More than I will ever use.

Be aware that everything you put into this thing will be put through an Analog to Digital converter, processed and then through a Digital to Analog converter. The RSP-985 does a very good job of this, better than many CD players will. It has 3 Analog Devices DSPs in it. Therefore there is no point in connecting your super duper expensive DAC to the CD input of this thing. The only way around it is to use the 5.1 DB25 inputs, which go straight out the line outs (via the volume control). I will say that I have observed the audio performance to be excellent. I am running the digital from my Rotel RCD950 into the RSP985, and things that sounded harsh and painful on my old system don't anymore.

Connectivity)
Is fair has full composite and S-video switching, but NOT component YUV. Note that the RSP-976 DOES.
It also does not have RCA jacks for 5.1 in. It has the DB25 connector. There is also a DB25 connector for the line outs in addition to the RCA line out jacks.(Again the RSP-976 does have RCA line in jacks) This is a THX thing, many of the old Rotel amps have matching DB25 line inputs. Quite frankly I think this is horrible, and DB connectors are intended primarily for data, but if the cable is of sufficient quality it should be OK. If you want to use the 5.1 input you can buy cables that convert to RCAs, or you can build one (if you really know what you are doing).
Other connections are zone2 line outs, 3 coax and 2 TOSlink digital in and a heap of line in channels.

User Interface)
Is pretty poor, but you're buying this thing for audio performance, right?

There isn't even a display on the front, just rows of buttons and LEDs. That makes it hard to tell what input you are using. All the setup is done via an on screen display and remote. This isn't difficult, but it is obviously using a very old character generator, early nineties technology at the best. No pretty fonts or graphics. You can also use the OSD to determine what input is active and what mode it is in, but I am not using the RSP-985 to switch my video, so I would have to change the TV channel to see what my audio settings are.

Remote)
Is poorly laid out and hard to use. It is universal, but NOT learning. It IS backlit. There are two components in my system that it doesn't know about, and because its too hard to work out what button is what I use the remote that came with the component anyway. If you want a real remote buy a Pronto.

General Performance)
Is excellent. Once its all set up it works well.
Just a coulpe of observations.
The volume control is extremely cludgy. It is not smooth at all and takes some getting used to. For some reason the audio output levels seem much lower than I would have expected. I have the pre-amp in on the RB-976 set to maximum, and I still have to have the volume knob at 9 oclock to get any audio. I can increase the volume through the setups for the preamp levels, but I don't like the idea of winding them up too high.

Summary)
An excellent performer, but an obviously dated design.
Has no bells and whistles, but to buy a better performer you would need to spend mega bucks. Should be some good deals around as this unit is now end of life. Otherwise look at the RSP-976.

Doesn't have the newer modes but I really doubt that most people need these modes, unless they have a room large enough to set up a proper 7.1 speaker system. Most people don't have this.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2001

Price Paid:    $780.00

Purchased At:   Stereo Supplies




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