ROTEL RTC 970 A/V Preamplifier

RTC 970

User Reviews (23)

Showing 1-10 of 23  
rockmachine   Audio Enthusiast [Jul 14, 2013]

I bought this rotel preamp to use for a system I put together in my garage.I patched it into an adcom 100 watt amp and everything is fine.I have noticed that the rotel is a solid body preamp,other preamps I own have vents on either the top or on the sides to allow heat to escape,this rotel does not and after an hour or so it gets warm to the touch.I think perhaps I may remove the cover and drill some fine holes into it so as to let the heat out and or place a small cooling fan on top as well.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
MusicMachine   Audio Enthusiast [Jan 09, 2007]
Strength:

Good build quality. Sounds good (I guess).

Weakness:

Not the best in audio or video sound, I have no specifics but it just didn't have 'it' that some higher-end has. No digital w/o adapter AND then you must hit input button on face to activate. Hideous poor design choice for volume clicker.

Sounds alright but mine had cross-talk from the tuner meaning that you could hear the radio very softly thru all inputs (when it should be silent). Maybe mine was defective- I don't know. But it also has the strangest little joypad like volume clicker with numerical readout above.... to me it was silly and ugly. Rotel only did it on this model so I'm not the only one that hated it. Most other rotels have a sweet heavy volume knob that's one of their best features. I sold for an rsp980 and later a rtc965 (numbers are backwards- I wouldn't trade the 965 for two 970s).

Customer Service

Can't beat Rotel. AND unless you own an 855 cd player, you'll likely never have to service!

Similar Products Used: rsp960, rtc956
OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
3
Brad Chase   Audio Enthusiast [Dec 30, 2000]
Weakness:

Remote

Overall this is an absolute GREAT product for its pricing. I have read review after review, they are just pathetic. First of all audiophile enthusiasts that I have encoutered love a system for its clean sound and enjoyability. I have heard reviews time and time again on this site for its lack of remote functions, bad programming, and a hard to understand manual. Not once have I read the manual nor complained about the remote. To listen to the sound is pure bliss. I would run a mile to listen to the quality of this preamp nevermind the 5.1 setting on the remote. Also the DB25 input is easily understood by going to: www.rotel.com where there are docs on how to build your own connections. A little sodering and connections can go a long way. This unit is not out of date due to the fact that DVD players are now including DTS and DD decoders built in. Simply buy one with a 5.1 analog output and build a connection for 35 cents. It is a great buy for the quality and pricing. Bottom line.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
rik   Audiophile [Nov 17, 1999]
Strength:

price, name of product

Weakness:

mostly every thing except maybe the batteries that came in the box.

I truly cannot believe Rotel even put thier name on this Piece of &^$%*^. First of all you would expect quality sound from a name like Rotel. When I turned the volume button up or down I can hear an anoying little rythmic click. Also when in Pro Logic mode the surrounds sound terrible with all kinds of distortion. The remote for lack of better words sucks because you practically have to be right next to the preamp to get it to work and the the layout is confusing and half the buttons are un assigned.
I told my dealer I wanted the "new" RSP 985 from rotel but just found out from the dealer that it really isn't that great either. If your thinking about the new rsp 985 check it out in the store first and for the same price of around $2.000 you can pick up a fully loaded used Lexicon. That's what I did.

Similar Products Used: none
OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
3
Fred   Audiophile [Jan 18, 2000]
Strength:

This truly is an entry-level audiophile product. The linearity and quietness of the unit easily outperform all the midrange stuff (HK, Sony, etc.)

Weakness:

Definitely the remote. It's more suitable to sawing up into little pieces than it is to switching your components. Also, the FM antenna jack doesn't seem to make a good connection.

I waited to write this review until I traded this unit in (for the high-end Rotel stereo-only pre-amp--the RC-995). My dealer gave me a tiny pittance of what I paid just two years ago, since the unit is only pro-logic capable.

I used the RTC970 for two years in stereo-only mode and never really loved it. It was too hard to deal with. Mechanically, it was fine, but:

(1) the remote is horrible (and the RTC970 uses special codes that make upgrades to most other third-party remotes impossible),

(2) the tuner section is lacking (for instance, the station always displays, regardless of what component is selected, and there's no tuning strength meter to help you position your antenna),

(3) changing modes and applying tone or loudness controls is a hassle,

(4) dealing with the subwoofer outlet is a pain.

I could continue. In short, the sound was really quite good, but the experience of using the thing was always too complicated.

With Dolby pro-logic only, this unit is obsolete. Who wants to add on external decoders when you can purchase AC-3 and DTS all in one box now? I would say, avoid the RTC970. There are more mature products out there than this.

One star for functionality; four stars for sheer sound vs. price.

OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
2
Scott   Audiophile [Dec 28, 2000]
Strength:

Sound quality.

Weakness:

Ergonomics (I you're especially sensitive to this issue).

Do yourself a favor and read between the lines when you're considering the reviews for this product. Most of the people who have posted something on this page ruin their credibility somewhere in their review. Although it's showing its age, this unit is among the top of its class (entry-level components and mid-fi receivers).

Please consider this rebuttal. If you want to buy a _remote_, buy a _remote_. If you need a great instructions manual to setup a ProLogic preamp, I find it very difficult to take you seriously. And anyone who does his or her a/v research on the web, only involving a dealer when it comes to paying for it, strikes me as even less credible. Note that many of the 'negative' reviews here don't even include a comment on the sound of the gear. If you get 'all kinds of distortion' in your surrounds, you need a new unit-- your dealer has sold you a defective one. Clicks when adjusting the volume??-- I listen to my sources _after_ I adjust the volume, not _while_. Loud buzzing sound w/ DD... your dealer sold you a defective DD decoder. The DD decoder is _very_ temperature sensitive and, among other symptoms, can buzz if it's been overheated before. With a proper install, you're fine. Call your dealer if you need someone to install your gear for you.

In general, if you don't know how to install and/or troubleshoot your components, you need to have a better relationship with your dealer. That's why they're there.

My advice is to ignore all the reviews that don't mention sound quality. Suffice it to say that the 5.1 passthrough mode is inconvenient if you don't want to set it while you're up to insert a DVD. You *can* turn it off via the remote. As for the instructions manual... see the paragraph above-- again, call your dealer if you need someone to come out to the house to install your gear for you.

Thanks to all that provided thoughtful reviews of this product. I have loved mine. In particular, enthusiasts on a budget would do well to look for the RTC-970 on the used market and in the trade-in room of their local dealer.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Ben Macpherson   Audiophile [Nov 04, 2001]
Strength:

Sound, Price, Features

Weakness:

Remote

I bought this pre-amp about two weeks ago for a fairly cheap price. I've got it feeding into a Leach amp (it's one I built myself, but as all the DIY amp builders know it's a good'in).

Anyway, the last review by Mark is more or less exact and a fair assessment of the Rotel. It is a very smooth sounding pre-amp indeed...almost to a fault (depending on tastes). It does lack heavy duty thumping ability, but then again I've been studying for ten hours per day in my room everyday for the last two weeks. The stereo's been on virtually the whole time and I didn't once get sick of it - ie. none of that listener fatigue you hear some reviewers talk about. If it were a car it'd be a 3 litre V6. It doesn't have the performance of a V8, it doesn't strain like a Japanese 4-cylinder, but it can cruise quite nicely thankyou very much.

Yes the remote does indeed suck. Mine just plain won't go. And it does make some clicks when you're changing the volume, but that's not a major turn-off for me.

Having two zones offers some nice flexibility to use other types of amps without fiddling with cords. Lots of inputs, lots of outputs which is good (for me at least). The tuner is extremely good too.

I've got no regrets about buying it, especially for that price.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Mark   Audiophile [Jul 30, 2001]
Strength:

Sound quality, tuner, bass

Weakness:

Abundantly pointed out by the others

I bought this last month for a ridiculously low price to use for a second system in my bedroom. I didn't expect it to be a world-beater, but it is better than any received I've ever owned or heard for that matter. I'm not going to comment on the design flaws, which have already been abundantly well pointed out, but I will state that this is a fine product, and I'm thrilled to have it as a second system.

So far, I've just used it for music. The tuner is far better than the Yamaha and Sony I've used in the past. I'm very happy with it, and that alone was probably worth the price.

The sound is quite warm, decently detailed and very smooth. My Arcam main system is not in any danger of being replaced. While the Arcam sounds like a 120 piece orchestra, the Rotel is more like a fine chamber ensemble. It does what I need it to, and I'm happy with it. I recognize that many people prefer the smooth, warm and laid back Rotel sound to the sonic kick in the pants that comes from my main system, so I'm not going to knock it on those grounds. I didn't want something that sounded just like the other system anyway.

It's worth noting that the first unit I purchased did not work. It buzzed something fierce after about 8 hours (and didn't sound that great before the buzz kicked in).

At any rate, I would recommend this product strongly to someone who wants a definite improvement over a receiver and who is serious but not fanatical about sound -- especially if it can be found for a blowout price like I found or on e-bay or the like. My value rating is for the price I paid and hoping you can find a similar price.

Similar Products Used: Sony, Yamaha
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Edward   an Audiophile [Dec 17, 1998]

I bought a Rotel RTC 970 preamplifier 4 months ago. The sound is OK. I really
like the tuner.But the remote control is a total waste. For the unit of this
price, the remote control looks extremely cheap. I constantly had problems
with it from day one. I had to be really close to the unit in order for it to
pick up the signal. I had to press the buttons really HARD. And now, the
remote control is completely dead. I called up their technical support, the
line was always busy. I was told to send the remote control to New York for
them to check it out!!! I believe other people must also have nightmares with
this shit too.

Another problem I found with Rotels is that their manuals are useless,
printed on pieces of cheap paper and most times inaccurate. I am surprised
how they got all the hype reviews.

My system:
Vandersteen 2ce (main)
B&W 601
Rotel RTC 970 (preamp - a big mistake)
Rotel RB 976 (amplifier - another mistake)
Rotel RCC 935 (CD changer - yet another mistake)

BTW, the Vandersteens are the best things I have seen in the world!

So, be careful out there with Rotel stuff.

OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
Henry Tran   an Audiophile [Jan 04, 1999]

I had this pre/pro for 3 months. The rotel made a loud buzzing sound in DD.I returned it to the dealer that I purchase from for a full refund. Stay away
from this model! I brought the Acurus Act-3 instead. it blows away preamps that I've heard before like the Chiro C800 combo and B&K 4090.

OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
Showing 1-10 of 23  

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