ROTEL RQ-970BX TurnTables

4.17/5 (6 Reviews)


Product Description

Phono Equalizer


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Reviews 1 - 5 (6 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:3
Submitted by coolcoupe00 a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: April 2, 2005

Bottom Line:   
I purchased Rotel's BQ979BX in 1999 because my main system amp did not have a phono stage and I wanted to play a few records on an old Linn LP12 with very good quality arm and MC cartridge. For various reasons, the plan was never enacted beyond buying the Rotel phono equalizer, which I purchased without researching any alternatives. The Rotel sat unused in the box for five years. In recent months I connected it to a newly-acquired Sansui AU-D11II (very good for its 1983 vintage) amp and was surprised to discover that the sound quality of the phono stage in this vintage Sansui amp surpassed that of the RQ-970BX. Certainly the Rotel's sound is tolerable, but compared to the Sansui phono stage I found the Rotel a little on the harsh side with perhaps slightly weaker bass response, and the Rotel soundstage was not as well-defined. I left the Rotel powered up for a week or so to see if a burn-in (the unit had never previously been powered up for more than an hour) would help. I didn't notice much difference. I put the Rotel back in its box after my listening tests.

Before putting it away, I opened the Rotel to see what it was made of. I was surprised to see the Black Gate capacitors and given their known quality I think this Rotel should sound better than it does. There are a few cheaper caps in the circuitry and upgrading these may yield improvement. Also, the cheap two-wire unshielded power cord could be upgraded to a shielded IES-receptacle type - though this would necessitate some surgery to the back panel and a ground connection internally. I did not connect the Rotel through a filtered power supply and I think that might help things out, given the improvement a power conditioner has yielded to my main system (the one without a phono stage).
If one does not have a phono stage and only occasional use for a turntable, this one is OK, the sound quality is decent for the modest price. But if one has a good table like an old Linn or Oracle with a MC cartridge, the RQ-970BX will not do your source justice.
If you can afford better, keep shopping. All in all, I wish I'd comparison-shopped for something better.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1999

Price Paid:    $200.00



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by royphil345 a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: April 6, 2002

Bottom Line:   
I don't see how you could go wrong here!!! Has better power supply, More advanced RIAA EQ, better design than anything else in the price range. Parts are high quality. Will run SUPER QUIET with a moving magnet or even a moving coil!!! To me, it just sounds "right". Not too bright, not too dark. EXCELLENT rhythm and pace. Maybe not as extended or effortless as the super high priced stuff.
But, overall VERY smooth sounding.

I'm using it with a Rotel RP-955 turntable, and an Audio Technica AT 440ML. Sounds GREAT for a MM setup, of course, now I'm getting tempted to try a moving coil for that little extra helping of extension and dynamics.(never had a phono pre that would handle MC before)

It's one of the few audio purchases I've made that I'm COMPLETELY satisfied with. No regrets at all!! (so I had to write a review)

Only drawback is that not many stores that carry Rotel keep the phono pre in stock. And Rotel seems to be super careful about not having their stuff sold on the web. I just went to the Rotel web site, found my nearest dealer and had them order it for me. It took about three weeks for it to come in, but it was WELL WORTH the wait!!! Obviously, I HIGHLY recommend this unit. Don't settle for less just because this is a little harder to get!!!

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2001

Price Paid:    $199.00

Purchased At:   Wellman & Griffith,



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Richard Murdey a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: April 6, 2001

Bottom Line:   
Th Rotel is a good sounding unit, better than the Creek, but too warm and fuzzy to be considered really hi-fi.

The Rotel is a full width, slimline unit, a basic black box. Captive power cord, MC/MM switch. I didn't evaluate the MC section. The circuit is well laid out around two opamps per channel, with Black Gate capacitors used for the power supply and bypassing. The power transformer looks to be mu-metal shielded and is offset away from the input circuitry. The regulation circuitry has substancial filtering capacitance. There appears to be a small coupling capacitor between the two gain stages, however, which looks pretty low grade.

I found I had to use a lean sounding cartridge (Grado 8MZ) and tweak my arm's VTA to control what seems to be an excess of mid-bass energy. Let me step back and say my direct reference was a DIY phono preamp I built which I've measured to be accurate to the RIAA standard to 0.2 dB. It doesn't sound all that great, though. I built it with opamps like the Rotel, but the sound of my unit is too cold and thin, with all the energy seemingly focussed in the treble region. My project emphasizes the 1kHz and up, the Rotel 1kHz and down.

The two units were clearly opposite extremes, surprising given the similar circuits employed. I'd love to know if the Rotel accurately followed the RIAA standard, or if they've tweaked the frequency response. I'm guessing that there is a mid-bass lift employed, to compensate for the lack of any real bass below 50 hz. The treble also seems severely shelved down.

But...

It sounds good! There is a lot of music coming through, and the tonal balance is very enjoyable. Pop/Rock/Jazz is generally better served than Classical, for which clarity is more important than tone. Though what does come through is good and surprisingly accurate tonally, the Rotel doesn't resolve much detail, and bass resolution is particularly sloppy.

The Creek OBH-8, by the way, is just grey in comparison. Not much of anything, bass, treble, dynamics, detail or tone. You name it, it doesn't do it. The Rotel is far better, and is the logical choice until you can afford/build somthing better.

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   2000

Price Paid:    $100.00

Purchased At:   used



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Fred B a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: October 13, 2000

Bottom Line:   
My new Acurus RL11 preamp has no phono stage. I have a Technics SL1700 turntable with Audio Teknica cartridge with shibata stylus. Not the highest end setup, but sounds good.

A relative gave me a Recoton preamp. Yeah, I know. But it was tolerable for a while. Then I obtained a QED Discsaver phono stage, made in England. This was better, but had too low an output level for recording.

I finally got the Rotel. What a preamp! It is one heavy unit. Very well built. MM/MC switch. Ground connector for turntable ground lead. Front Panel AC Power switch.
Very well made, and has a five year warranty.

The sound is excellent. Highs are perfect. Detail is superb. Lows solid. No audible noise. One beautiful sounding machine! I am very happy with it.

Stereophile Magazine gives it a good review and recommends it.

I am very happy with it. And I also recommend it.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   2000

Price Paid:    $200.00

Purchased At:   Audio Center, Deerfield Beach FL



Overall Rating:5
Submitted by sgoodman a an Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: May 27, 1999

Bottom Line:   
I recently replaced my NAD 314 Integrated amp with a new one that did not have a phono stage. I heard that the Rotel BQ970BX was a very decent sounding phono stage for a very reasonable price so I ordered one & I have to agree. It sounds great & my vinyl has never sounded better. I think it is better sounding than the one in my old NAD & I highly recommend it to anyone that cannot afford the high-priced spread!

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Duration Product Used:   an Audio Enthusiast




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