ROTEL RTC-965 A/V Preamplifier

RTC-965

Tuner /Preamp AC3 DTS

User Reviews (22)

Showing 1-10 of 22  
MusicMachine   Audio Enthusiast [Jan 09, 2007]
Strength:

Sounds great. Instant button acces on face to most controls. Can custom label inputs -i.e. turn Vid1 into 'Cable' etc. Lots of info readout. Heavy and built well. Full digital functions including auto switching unlike rsp980 and others. Serial 5.1 cable out to amp. For eBay prices- this is a great unit!

Weakness:

No Prologic II (no biggie). Some character fonts on screen are like 1985 Tron (why?). Button access is convenient but lacks super sleek Rotel face (doesn't appear at a glance to have over 50 buttons but it does!)- I wouldn't trade for the ease of use though. I'd give a 4.5 star if I could for this reason.

Great sounding unit, lots of features. I also have Rotel amp and use the 5.1 serial cable instead of RCAs for preamp to amp- keeps it very clean. The volume knob has the sweet heavy Rotel feel to it- build quality is all you'd expect from a 19lb preamp. I've owned the RTC970 and was afraid to own another pre-pro WITH tuner as the RTC970 has 'shine thru' or cross-talk and I could hear the tuner very softly in speakers no matter what input was selected! Also the RTC970 had this really funky and crappy volume click-pad thingamabob. I hated that thing and love the usual Rotel 5lb feeling volume. Overall a great unit- I'm very happy with it. It's an older unit- I sold my modern HK330 to change back to Rotel components and with the 965 I didn't lose a single function, in fact when it switches (automatically unlike rsp980, rtc970 and others) to Dolby Digital, it'll scroll "dolby digital" across the LED screen. Has all the indicator lights etc that it could have.

Customer Service

Only 5yr warranty, but I've heard nothing but good things about Rotel service. Except for the 855 CD players, I very rarely see broken Rotels- built very well and usually last a lifetime!

Similar Products Used: Rotel RSP960ax
Rotel RTC970ax
Rotel RSP980
Harman Kardon AVR 330
Various Onkyo and Sony ES
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Joe Mendes   Audiophile [Feb 01, 2000]
Strength:

Dolby Digital, DTS performance. Nice remote

Weakness:

Remote only controls Rotel CD players, high pitch noise coming from Right and Left front speaker

I upgraded from a Rotel RTC-970 and an outboard decoder the Rotel RDA-975. I was looking for a used Lexicon DC1, but even used the price was too high right now for me. I auditioned the RSP985 and found the bass to be tighter, and the imaging especially in 2 channel stereo to be much better than the RTC-965, but it was $1100 extra and I don't have the cash right now. Where this pre-amp shines is in the DD and DTS performance, this thing is really good. In my opinion, and i have listened to the best Lexion MC1, Proceed avp, Meridian 861, UNLESS you buy these high end units, you dont' really see a big difference in DD and DTS performance when comparing mid range products. 2 Channel stereo is ok, nothing special, about the same as my old RTC-970, which was a decent pre-amp. DD and DTS as I said is very good. The remote is very good, no major complaints except I can't program my CAL audio labs CD player, only works with rotel cd players. The menu setup, is nice, directions and the manual as usual is not to good. The only thing that bothers me is a high frequency pitch coming from my Right and Left front channel, no matter what input I select. There is also allot of noise coming from the Right and left channels also, I fully agree with the previous review. Besides that, I like the unit.

Similar Products Used: Rotel, RTC-970, RDA-975, RSP-985, Lexcion DC1, Acurus ACT3, Proceed AVP.
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Jeff   Audiophile [Aug 18, 2000]
Weakness:

Whine, hiss, crackle, pop....

Besides the high frequency whining noise, this thing has the sound-color of a rainbow! Distortion too! For shame, Rotel! Are you guys doing the KLH boogie?

Anyway, I own an NAD 1600 preamp/tuner that I use with an
AMC 2445 Four-Channel power amp. This older (much older) combo sounds leaps and bounds better than this RTC-965. In fact, my RTC-965 in in the shop right now getting a grounding problem modification performed. This is supposed to get rid of the annoying whine that is present in every input mode except "3-Stereo".

A note to potential buyers; DON'T MAKE THE SAME MISTAKE I MADE!!! Go with a Denon, Marantz, or even Radio Shack instead.

Similar Products Used: NAD, AMC
OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
1
Jonathan   Audio Enthusiast [Jan 13, 2000]
Strength:

sound quality, price

Weakness:

The single worst instruction manual ever written, switched power fuses

The sound quality of this pre-amp is superb. I recently upgraded from a Carver Surround Sound Pre-Amp Tuner (first generation). As a young audio enthusiast I am on a limited budget. For the price and sound quality this unit is second to none. I have to admit that getting this machine up and running was the most unpleasant experience I have ever had with any piece of audio equipment. This unit fought me at every turn. The instruction manual is so insufficient and un-user friendly that trial and error was the only way to configure it properly. The fact that the unit must be opened right away to replace the “ Fast Fuses” with Slow Blow Fuses” is a bit discouraging and worrisome. But when this unit finally came to life I found the effort well worth it. Rotel must have had physiologists contribute to the RTC 965s design because when you have finally figured it out the satisfaction of besting the machine makes the acoustic rewards that much better. (PS I have not completely solved the fast blow / slow blow situation – I hope to do so tonight, wish me luck, I will need it)

Similar Products Used: Adcom 740
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Tom   Audio Enthusiast [Jan 31, 2000]
Strength:

Soundstage

Weakness:

Noise, Noise, Noise

I purchased from Gifted Listener, a boutique audio retailer in Centreville, Va. He is a great guy and will work with you to make sure you're completely satisfied. Great products, mostly ultra high line. Give him a call, It's worth it. I had to give him a plug since he is puting up with all of my grief.

I was very disapointed with this product.
I combined it with the MK II amp. First I had to swap amps due to noise. Then the DAC on the pre. died at the end of a dvd. Just quit.

Got new pre. DAC froze on pro logic and had to turn off to get it to switch to 2 ch. stereo.

Still noisy. Must just be normal for this product.

I ordered Marantz 19. Dealer loaned me the 18. Wow! No noise. I must admit that the rotel sound stage is better though. I am sure once I get the 19 set up it will be a hoot.

Similar Products Used: Marantz 19 THX
OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
3
Sam   Audio Enthusiast [Jan 08, 2000]
Strength:

Sound, value, features...

Due to the fact that this web site lists a RTC 965, and a RTC-965 (notice hyphen), I reviewed it on the other name first...but to try to balance some of the negativity here about this piece, I must review it again here. After reading the comments on noise, I asked my dealer if they had had any such complaints...so far 15+ units sold, no issues with noise. I must say that noise in an audio system can be traced to many areas, and both reviewers noted they replaced both amp and preamp, and did not mention if it was connected to a line conditioner to remove any power line noise. I have mine connected to a Panamax conditioner with all other components, and I must say the fastest way to degrade performance is to plug everthing into a wall outlet. Anyhow I love this pre/pro, and thank god I didn't buy an Adcom 740 like my friend did!

System:
Rotel RB985 amp
Paradigm Studio 20's on Lovan Imperial stands
Paradigm Studio CC
Definitive BP2x surrounds
MIT Terminator2 Bi-wires
Denon DVD 2500
Panamax line conditioner
Velodyne FS12 sub
Sony 36xbr250 wega

Similar Products Used: Rotel RTC 970, Adcom and NAD preamps
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
leslie   Audio Enthusiast [Sep 14, 2001]
Strength:

phono input, ease of operation

Weakness:

manuel written poor.

I have had this product for about 9 mos. No problems surfaced. Looked at Marantz AV 600. What drew me was the phono. Overall this is a great product. I brought it to replace my NAD pre (their 1st one) when she gave up the ghost. The sound is clean, clear. Fast Response, bass tight. Dialogue clear. I am going to replace other componets, but not this.

System:
Rotel RTC 965
Acurus A80 (pwr)
Marantz 170DC (pwr)
Cal DX2 cd
Panasonic DVD 120
RCA VCR
AE 109 spkrs
Energy e:XL 15
Pinnacle digital 150 sub

Similar Products Used: none
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Josh   an Audiophile [Jul 13, 1999]

The RTC-965 is a generally nice product that is, unfortunately, flawed. I am running one with Klipsch KLF 20s in stereo mode only (I have yet to purchase HT stuff). The sound is phenomenal, except for one fatal flaw in my case -- it generates a quiet, yet clearly audible, high pitch tone through the KLF 20's tweeters. With the windows in my living room closed and the A/C off, you can hear the tone throughout the room. It is not effected by the source (cd, phono, tuner, tape) or by the volume. Music plays over it, but there it is during silent passages. Very annoying. I called the dealer who sold it to me to ask about how to resolve this problem. After several suggestions that did not change the sound, the dealer suggested I may have a bad unit and offered to replace it. Later, however, he called me to tell me that the tone appears simply to be a "feature" of the system. He said that when he put his ear to the tweeter of speakers at his shop to which this product was hooked up, he could hear a high tone also. He invited me over to check, and sure enough -- same tone, lower level. He suggested that this "feature" would not be noticable on a speaker less efficient then a Klipsch (i.e. most speakers). So, perhaps it is a great unit for most speakers. Do not buy it, though, if you own Klipsch speakers or other highly efficient speakers. I'm returning mine this weekend! Too bad, it was otherwise an unbelievable value.

OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
Bernard Durand   an Audio Enthusiast [Jul 09, 1999]

Looking to replace my RTC-970 desperately for reason seen on the RTC-970 review, I looked somewhere else because Rotel did not have anything similar to the Adcom GTP-740. To make a long story short, I tried the Adcom and the rest is history. Again see the wonderful rating Adcom is getting with the GTP-740.
I took home a RTC-965 not because of Rotel's web site but because of an audio retailer in the USA who listed a tuner / preamp from Rotel. Yet to this day, Rotel does not have the RTC-965 on their web site!!!! They would have lost a costumer if i would have not surfed the web in depth.

I ended up buying the 965. It is simply a wonderful sounding preamp, easy to use, mind you I am not much of a HT person but I still needed to AC3 for our occasional use. It would appear the RTC does not or has not suffered the same bad rep the RSX (receiver) as received when it first came out. My only disappointment with the remote RR939 that comes with the 965 is that I will not talk to my Teac VRDS-10 CD player. If anyone knows a way to do so, I would appreciate any input.

I bought my RTC-965 for $1000.00 CND and compare to the GTP-740 at $1900.00 CND, both with DTS, I was impressed at the value and sound quality. In fact, when I asked about the new RTC-965, I felt almost like I was purchasing something of much lower standard from what I was actually for. After spending 5 days with the RTC-965 in my house, the chase was over and I bought an other Rotel product.

Have fun and happy listening.
Regards

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
sean   an Audio Enthusiast [Sep 10, 1999]

My system:Rotel RTC-965 pre/pro
Rotel RB-985MKII amp
Proscan DVD player
Technics CD player
Paradigm Titans front speakers
Paradigm PW-2200 subwoofer
Cambridge Soundworks Center Stage center channel
Bose 301 rear surrounds
Tributaries DCA-100 interconnects


I bought this pre/pro one week ago as part of a combo with the RB-985MKII amp ($1700 for combo). I've noticed an audible hiss and another high frequency tone coming from my speakers regardless of source. I never noticed any such thing on my 10 year old Onkyo TSX-515Pro, or on the Yamaha RXV-2095 that I auditioned previously. I think that I also hear these noises during the silent passages of music/movies and that really frustrates me. I can't say with any certainty which component of my system is to blame, but it only makes sense that, since the preamp/amp combo is the only new addition to my system, one of the two must be the culprit. I'm suspicious of the RTC-965 since it has other defects (s-video monitor output, speaker size setting). My confidence in the product's design and build quality was really shaken when I noticed the same noises emanating from the store's demo equipment in one of their dedicated home theater rooms. But I'll only know for sure when I get my replacement, with which the dealer is gladly supplying me. A situation like this is where a good dealer really pays off. I'm sure I won't end up dissatisfied, even if it means replacing the Rotel pieces with another brand of equipment.

I don't want to only report negatively on Rotel. They have a great reputation and are obviously confident of their products, as evidenced by their 5-year warranty on this type of equipment. Their track record must be very good, because I don't think they could afford to keep replacing defective products over the course of 5 years.

I can't pinpoint the RTC-965 as the source of the noise I'm hearing. It could be the RB-985MKII or something else. Also, it has a load of great features, and reproduces my music with good clarity for what seems to be a reasonable price. Without the noises described above I would rate it four stars because it could still use more features (full video switching - S-video and composite, variable crossover frequencies, digital out). But that's probably too much to ask for $900 and still retain any quality.

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
Showing 1-10 of 22  

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