ROTEL RB-850 Amplifiers

RB-850

50 Watt Stereo Power Amplifer - Bridgeable (1987-1991)

User Reviews (15)

Showing 1-10 of 15  
Reno   Audio Enthusiast [Oct 07, 2015]

Fantastic when you bridge up two of these rotel 850's!

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Brian   Audio Enthusiast [Feb 19, 2015]

Found this amp collecting dust in my Grandmothers basement. She's a casual listener and didn't want the multiple component set-up, so she got a all in one Bose unit for a replacement. It sat there in the basement for years until Christmas when I decided to see if it still worked as I needed a receiver for the man cave. Honestly the best Christmas I've had because it works perfectly and since it belonged to my Grandfather, it's a great way to keep his memory going strong every time I jam out to some tunes.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Usubio   Audio Enthusiast [Feb 19, 2013]

Given the age of this amp I was a little reluctant to buy it but a friend of mine recommended Rotel being a good product. I've only ever owned Pioneer and Harman Kardon. After finding one advertised for sale locally and after reading some reviews I thought it might just fit my needs for a second room i wanted to play music in.

Im using the the Rotel RB850 to run a pair of BW 685 speakers on stands and they sound great! I was using a Pioneer VSX-1018AH to play them with and I would say the Rotel sounds just as good if not better then the Pioneer!

There is a switch on the back that puts it in bridged mode that increases the power, but not sure by how much. Im now thinking of looking for a second one so that i can have two amps and run one with each speaker. Right now the 50 watts per side sounds just fine though. Now I know why people say its better to get seperates instead of integrated amps or receivers!

it also weighs a ton and seems very solidly build.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Darian   Audio Enthusiast [Dec 29, 2012]

I purchased two RB-850's back in 1988 and run them in bridged mono mode with an RC-850 pre-amp. It will be 2013 in a few days and the amps are still going strong after 25 years!! I use them to power Magnepan 1.7 QRs and they still sound amazing year after year. They are built like tanks ... sadly, they just don't seem to make them like this anymore.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Tony   Audio Enthusiast [Nov 15, 2011]

IT'S A DREAM.

One of my favorite amplifiers. i've listened and owned a lot of stuff(amplifiers).

I've bought this amp several years ago from a local dealer for the fun and after reading the positive review of this amp.

I'v connected the RB 850 with a very good soundig and natural pre-amplifier Bryston BP25.

Wow, what a warm, fast, smooth, powerful and musical amplier is this. Few weeks ago I've bought as spare Rotel RB 971 MKII. sound. I was a little bit disappointed. Earlier I've had a RC/RB 980 combo. I've the same feelling with the 971, Clinical sound, a little bit on the bright side, Positive of both amplifiers (971/ 980) is a very good control of all kind of speakers.
At this moment I play the RB850 with B&W CDM 1SE, 7SE and the Monitor Audio Studio 2SE.
, in one word SUPER.

One thing is sure, I keep the 850, the 971 maybe?

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
AJCalhoun   AudioPhile [Mar 29, 2006]
Strength:

The usual: clarity, gobs of clean power, dead quiet, cool-running - just name it and if it's good it applies.

Weakness:

None. Absolutely none.

OK, here's the deal: I have a Sony STR-DA777ES receiver powering B&W DM600S3s L&R, and a B&W CC-3 for center. I have absolutely no way to run wiring to the rears (a pair of a/d/s L200 minis on Sanus stands) - at least no way that my wife would accept (and I don't blame her. This ain't a college dorm). For a long time I used the neat little Kenwood RFU-6100 wireless sender/receiver gizmo and it worked really well, but I knew in my heart that the rears weren't getting anywhere near what the front and center speakers were, and it was hard to balance the sound. Then I disocovered Acurrian's HomePlug system that sends and recieves as well, but utilizes the house wiring's extra bandwidth, and has a built-in 25 w/ch. amp. I started with that, and it worked better than the Kenwood device. Still, it was only 25 w/ch. to the rears, while front and center were getting 120 clean, clear watts. The Acurrian thing has an RCA pass-through if you want to go that route, but I needed an amp to make it all work - one that would fit in the tight space between the sofa arm and the wall where the Acurrian receiver was hidden. I used to own a Rotel RB980X power amp rated at 120 per side and it had been incredibly powerful and clean, so I started looking and before long had found this RB-850, rated at 50 w/ch, which has to be a bald-faced lie, because connected to the Acurrian device it delivers what sounds like power identical to the Sony's L,C &R channels! No problem balancing this! Of course the little a/d/s speakers may be more efficient than the larger B&Ws, but it just seems to not make any difference. The surround sound coming through them now is absolutely incredible. I keep forgetting it's not the Sony rear amps driving them. I already was a believer, but this is such an incredibly GOOD way to solve an irritating problem and maintain true hi-fi in surround mode. (The accurian HomePlug device is now available from Radio Shack and works like a champ, adding no audible noise or distortion to the rig). This is just another great Rotel product that seems to be grossly underrated, and no, they don't make 'em like this anymore. Never gets warm to the touch, either. Just incredible. For the price I felt I had stolen it.

Customer Service

N/A

Similar Products Used: Rotel RB-980X, Yamaha M-40, AudioSource Preamp/Tuner2, Sony TA-AV650ES, Sony STR-GX67ES, STR-DA30 and 50 ES, and now the STR-DA777ES, Sony DVP-NC80V and now Denon DVD-1920; B&W DM600S3s and CC-3, a/d/s L300S surrounds, and Boston Acoustics PV-400 powered sub. Oh, and that Acurrian thing I mentioned. If wires are a problem, check it out.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Petek177   Audio Enthusiast [Feb 25, 2004]
Strength:

Good power for only 50 watts, clean, full range, detailed sound. Small. Cool running.

Weakness:

A speaker AB switch would have been nice.

This is an excellent amp. I replaced a Kenwood Pro Logic Home Theatre receiver in part with Rotel RB 850 (power amp) and RC 850 pre-amp. I recently acquired a Yamaha DSP-E492 to complete the package. I use the Rotel for stereo and front speakers and the Yamaha to run center and rear and to feed signal to the sub. The Kenwood was very thin sounding compared to the Rotel. The Rotel is full range, clean, detailed and amazingly powerful for 50 watts per channel. In fact, it seems to have much more real power than the 100 watt per channel Kenwood. I also have a NAD 2150 I use to power speakers in other rooms. I recently reviewed the NHT super one speakers I use with the Rotel. In that review, I suggested the NAD was not as clean in the treble range as the Rotel. Well, maybe so, but I rewired the speaker connections in the room in question and that cleaned up the NAD. It is a good unit as well. Back to the Rotel. It is a great value and on an absolute level, sounds very good to my ears. I think it has dual power supplies and that might contribute to its sound quality.

Similar Products Used: NAD 2150
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Greg Clinkingbeard   Audio Enthusiast [Sep 08, 2002]
Strength:

Good warm, detailed sound without the grainy treble of most budget amps.

Weakness:

Cheap plastic speaker posts

I bought this amp about ten years ago to replace my Dynaco ST-70 which required too much maintenance. Compared to the Dynaco, it had much better Bass and a more transparent sound. The soundstage was also more coherent from top to bottom. I was surprised that although it didn't have the natural midrange of the Dyna, it wasn't far behind. The dynamics of this amp are also very good. Soundstage wise, it is wider, but not quite as deep. The midrange and treble are very clean. I've bypassed the stereo/mono switch and also bypassed or replaced the capacitors with polypropylenes for a minimal improvement. With my JR149 (LS3/5a) speakers this amp works very well. I had always planned to upgrade to something better, but I will probably wait until it breaks. As reliable as it has been, I'll probably wait for a few more years. Highly recommended if you can find one.

Similar Products Used: Dyna ST-70, Little Adcom
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Scott   Audiophile [Mar 18, 2000]
Strength:

Great Value

Weakness:

Hmmm...

A local audio store has a second hand section witch on occasion reveils audio gems. I found the RB-850 used for $125(Canadian), so couldn't refuse passing up a quality AMP for next to nothing. What can I say? Every Rotel I'v ever owned has met my expectations in quality. Very smooth and accurate. Amazing how 50 watts of quality power exceeds 100 watts of Japanese power in both accuracy and output. This 50 wpc amp can meet most audiofile's needs in quality and sound. Highly recommended!!

Similar Products Used: Rotel RB-930AX, Rotel RB-981, Nikko Alpha III
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
L Bourgon   Audio Enthusiast [Jan 06, 2002]
Strength:

Unbelievable power for a 50 W amp! No problems after 12 years of operation! Clean warm sound.

Weakness:

NONE

I wish all electronics were built as well as this wonderful amplifier.

I have used this amp to drive KEF 104/2 speakers for over 10 years. I originally got this amp from a friend as a "temporary measure" while I was saving for a more powerful amp. I've been so impressed with the amp that I've never felt the need to go shopping since. I previously had a Carver 1.0 and a NAD 2200 so I thought for sure I would be making a temporary sacrifice with this amp. Not the case.

Does anyone know what the BRIDGED MONO output is supposed to be on the RB-850? I'm thinking of getting Rotel's surround receiver RSX-972 and I think I could keep my RB-850 and bridge it mono to power the subwoofer.

Any comments or thoughts on this setup would be appreciated!

Similar Products Used: Carver 1.0T
NAD 2200
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 15  

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