ROTEL RCD-991 CD Players

4.57/5 (58 Reviews) MSRP : $1300.00


Product Description

Rotel's Best CD Player


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Reviews 1 - 5 (58 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Hans Wurst a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: August 31, 2010

Bottom Line:   
I use the Rotel 991-AE since 10 years. It is still the best cd player I have heard in my system. After bying it and connecting with my stereo system, I was first very dissapointed because it sounded terrible (harsh, not musical, not clear, no space). But the sound was getting better and better after some months (!); it seems to have a very long burn-in time. The strengths are resolution, speed, space, bass control, dynamics, natural voices and instruments. But the sound may be over-analytic in a system that already sounds thin and analytic by itsself.

I experimented of course with some cables, placement and so on: I now use a pair of balanced Straight Wire Virtuoso R - interconnect cables, Straight Wire Megalink II Digital cable (to CD recorder), XLO ER-10 power cable and a Lovan Classic II base. The Cardas Crosslink cable does not completely reach the performance of the Virtuoso, but was the best of the "cheaper" cables (Kimber PBJ, van den Hul 102, Clearaudio Trident, AVM Bi-Coax...) I had tested and is a good alternative, if the Virtuoso is too expensive. Like the components, the cables connected with the Rotel better should have a slightly warm then an over-analytic tendency.

I compared the Rotel with some other CD-players, for example the Audio Analogue Paganini, which is a little more expensive. It looks nicer and sounds a little "nicer" (softer) than the Rotel, but had no chance in all other hifi criterias (speed, resolution, dynamics, bass control, clearness...).

If you find a used 991 AE in good condition, it should not be so expensive and is still a cd-player, which is a good source in an audiophile system. There was no defect in between 10 years.

I rated it in the "overall rating" with only 4 stars, because I think 5 stars should be reserved for absolutely "State of the art"-components. Many people here in audioreview give 5 stars to beginner or mid class components in "overall rating". Perhaps they had never heard really top components...

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   Pre 1995



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

Date Reviewed: August 29, 2008

Bottom Line:   
This is a follow-up review. I originally reviewed this in 1999 and purchased in 2000. See review far below.

I had the unit for 5 years and enjoyed it for many years but I did eventually upgrade to a Classé player. Rotels RCD991 is a high resolution unit that gives a taste of high-end sound with the use of 2x 20bit processors that are strong in retrieving details. Totally walked over lower-end units ie Rotel 971, 975 and even their new units of today.
The only glitch that ever developed was a sensitive loading tray that would close while trying to put a CD on it. This unit did play better once tweaked; using setting 3 of dither, better power cords, AC conditioning and balanced wires. The largest improvement in performance I could remember was when I upgraded the preamp from the Rotel 1090 to a Classé cp-500. This brought out the best performance ever. The presentation and realism of instruments and vocals were completely better. So much so, that it seamed as if a different version of the same recording was played. Goes to show you a preamp really makes a diffence.
This player is an over achiever and was a good investment in the old Rotel catalogue especially for its price and I had to be really convinced to let it go. Yet its in a different class when comparing to a Classé player.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2000

Purchased At:   Local Dealer



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

Date Reviewed: October 25, 2007

Bottom Line:   
I have the 991AE edition which I think makes a difference over the 991 edition. I am not technical enough to write and extensive review but am completely satisfied with this CD player.

Using a better aftermaket powercord does make the sound better as does good interconnects. I like the dither settings and they do make a difference in sound and can also be defeated should you choose. I listen to it on the 3 dither setting.

I had been thinking about upgrading to the 1072 but I find after listening to each of them, I like the 991AE better.

I don't remember the price I paid but it was about 20% below retail.

At this my components are all rotel including the RB-1090, RMB-1075, RSP-1068 and RT-1080 tuner (although it would be nice to have an RT-990BX tuner). My speakers are B&W.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2002

Purchased At:   Dealer



Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:2
Submitted by Chris Wyser-Pratte a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: February 7, 2007

Bottom Line:   
Sound is excellent. Warm, responsive, gorgeous transparency. Fabulous bass. Put on "Also Sprach Zarathustra", turn up the volume, and you'll vault into space just like the astronaut in "2001: A Space Odyssey." Since everyone else has described the sound of the Rotel 991 fairly accurately (although I certainly don't agree with anyone who thinks it has a muddled mid-range or some such opinion), nothing I add in this department will be very meaningful.

What I want to talk about is reliability. When I got this device from New Paltz Audio (now defunct, since there wasn't much of a market upriver for real hifi), it was unable to read discs. Put in a disc, and the display would say "no disc." Hmmm. Must be something wrong with the optical reader, I thought. So I took it back and the proprietor, Fred, exchanged it for one he was keeping for himself (he only had two.) Worked fine until January 2006, when suddenly it said "No disc" when a disc was put in. OK. It's an expensive unit, and it's under warranty, so I figure I'll fix it. Just costs the Fedex charge after all. It is now a year later and the same thing has happened. "No disc." I'm not sure what I'll do, but I may junk it, believe it or not. It's not under warranty any more, and the inconvenience is more than I can tolerate. The audiophiles among you will scream. I find nothing more useless than a piece of equipment that needs repetitive repair for the same problem.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2001

Price Paid:    $1050.00

Purchased At:   New Paltz Audio



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:2
Submitted by LightwizHH a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: February 4, 2004

Bottom Line:   
In terms of sonic performance, it's hard to find fault with this player. It sounds well-balanced and detailed.

I don't like its very laid-back sound, though. I sounds uninvolving and, therefore, uninteresting - I find that although it reproduces the music in great detail, it's not much fun listening to it. Some tones just don't sound "right".

That's why, after several months of trying to get used to this player, I finally decided to sell it and buy an NAD C542 instead. I'm even willing to put up with NADs sub-par build quality.

Objectively, the Rotel sounds better - subjectively, the NAD is more fun listening to. The latter is more important to me.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2002

Price Paid:    $1300.00

Purchased At:   local HiFi store




Reviews 1 - 5 (58 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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