ROTEL RB-970BXII Amplifiers

RB-970BXII

60 Watt Power Amplifier (1995-1997)

User Reviews (10)

Showing 1-10 of 10  
ces4x4   AudioPhile [May 10, 2011]

Back in 2001 I wrote a review on this amp in this column and gave it two stars.Since then my system has completely changed, I'm currently using a Mac 220 tube pre-amp, B&W CDM9NT speakers, Velodyne SPL 1000 sub, Arcam CD73T cd player, pro-ject turntable, all cabling is solid core single strand copper wiring. This amp really sings when hooked up with these components. I'm now really convinced that there is something to components interacting together. This amp was lifeless in my previous system yet now I have never owned a system that has been this musical. The depth and air surrounding the instruments is huge. Each player in the band can be plainly heard and I can sit in front of this system for hours on end without listening fatigue. I find my foot tapping continuously as I listen to the music and not the components. It's a crying shame it takes such trial and error even among well respected components to come up with a match that is so pleasing. I have an Adcom 555 II that doesn't sound as good as this little rotel. Though the adcom is currently out being modified so we will see how it stands up when I get it back. There is more to component matching then just the components themselves. Even the best components may not give their best sound when hooked up together. I don't know why this is but I can certainly distinguish good sound when I hear it. If the trial and error weren't so expensive it would be fun!!

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
5Hero   Audio Enthusiast [Dec 08, 2008]
Strength:

Less is more...what you see is what you get, no-frills audio. Decent quality 4mm speaker plug sockets, gold plated input sockets, Black Gate elcaps, toroidal transformer, symmetrical amp layout...all jargon for nice quality audio.

Good power output and tight bass at volume for the rated power output...a good choice for a first venture into higher end audio.

Can be run bridged mono for greater power output if you have another one for the other channel...be careful though, it's pushed hard when bridged, especially if you have low impedance speakers. Probably the reason mine was broken.

Weakness:

Single power supply transformer, Might sound slightly bright on some speakers, especially ones with metal tweeters.

Only has a single set of speaker terminals so no bi-wiring capability.

At first glance it's black, like 99% of consumer grade audio gear (did they ever make these in other colours?). But at least the front panel is skinned in brushed metal and looks nice quality up close. Not visually stunning by any means but then it's not designed to be, it still looks very decent.

Came accross one of these a while ago, £50 on eBay, not working. Soon traced to a set of blown outputs on the left channel. Replaced the outputs on both channels and soon realised what a nice sounding amp it was. The key here is 'what you see is what you get' - for the money you can't expect tank like build or enough power output to weld sheet metal but what you do get has been well thought out.

Had it running from a Soundblaster Audigy platinum soundcard on my main PC driving a pair of Celestion Ditton 4's (virtually unknown mid size floorstander, twin 8" bass and soft dome tweeters), nothing more than an Alps volume control inline between it and the soundcard. The Audigy is a mid level soundcard and has never been that musical but the first thing I noticed was how open the midrange had become, combined with a tight punchy bass and sparkling treble...sparkling but not overpowering by any means.

Ran that system for a while, I'd always liked the Dittons but this amp really made them sound good...even running .wav and DVD audio from a PC. Maybe not club sound level stuff but a nice system to really sit down and listen to, especially on acoustic and vocals...very transparent with a good soundfield.

Did try it once in my main system, from a Pioneer reference CD driving my Celestion A3's. Slightly disappointed there, it did sound a bit too pushed and the treble was far brighter than before. But then the A3's are a mammoth speaker and the Rotel would've been punching way above its weight if it could drive them - I think the recommended amp is 250-300w/ch there, go figure.

All in all a nice amp, was quite sorry to see it go.

Similar Products Used: Technics SE-A900 pre/power

Pioneer A400
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
klaatu   Audio Enthusiast [Nov 12, 2002]
Strength:

A Ferrari disguised as a Ford. Why pay more?

Weakness:

Makes me feel sick remembering how much money I've spent chasing the high end! Speaker terminals could be better. Boring black ?

I decided to buy two of these little amps and bi-amp them to my Monitor Audio speakers I was using at the time. The sound? Punchy, good detail and nice transparent midrange. I've been a firm believer that you'll be more surprised by great sounding budget gear in the right system than by mis-matched overpriced high end gear, and these amps are no exception. I now run Castle Harlech quarter wave floor standers and except from a 'bloom' at the bottom end the Rotels can't be faulted. A previous reviewer mentioned he had trouble driving his Castles, I have had no problem at all and I suggest perhaps this is due to his room shape or floor construction - this can have an enormous effect on the sound of any hi fi. I've now bought another 2 RB970's off Ebay and will now have a tinker with monoblocking 4 of them. Or try multi channel music with my DVD audio player and Castle Tays (3 of them, centre & rears) Good fun this hifi stuff! Micromega T-Drive/T-Dac Rotel RB990 Pre Rotel RB970mk2 x 2 Pro-Ject Perspective/Trichord Dino phono stage Nordost & Audioquest cables

Similar Products Used: Plinius pre/power Nad Silverline Integrated Musical Fidelity class A integrated
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
dave   Audio Enthusiast [Dec 11, 2000]
Strength:

clean sound, nice imaging and soundstage

Weakness:

none so far

Bought my first "real" amp (with the 970 pre-amp) to use with my marantz cd63 and paradigm mini-monitors. It is definitly a considerable step up from the cheap pioneer amp that used to drive the speakers. I haven't compared it to any other amp's, but I now see a clearly defined soundstage, and imaging is also greatly improved. Bass is considerably more controlled, and the speakers will play at much higher volumes. For a realtivly inexpensive setup, the stereo has quite a good presence and sense of "aliveness." The high-end is still al little bright, but I think that the cheap tweeter of the M-M is to blame. For the price I paid ($310 for the preamp/amp), i consider it to be a bargin.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Euan   Audio Enthusiast [Aug 29, 2001]
Strength:

Great power, smooth sound, very analytical

Weakness:

Lack a bit of warmness at the midrange

Got a great deal to get these power amps...

I used 2 of this AMPs in conjunction with the RC971 to do bi-amping...Yielding a total of 120w to drive my NHTs....Wow, simply amazing, I got layers of layers of soundstage coupled with realsitic imaging. Bass is taut and clean, instruments sounds accurate and vocals sounded grain-free....

Certainly makes a great combo when used in a Bi-amp config.

My conclusion is that : If you are after a warm and relaxinf sound, look elsewhere....But if you want razor sharp and accurate sound, with a rthymic ability to get you involve with the music, then this is it....

Similar Products Used: Marantz PM7000, MF X series, Exposure 20, Jolida Hybrid, Nad 370
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Scott   Audio Enthusiast [Jan 25, 2002]
Strength:

Lots of current for music transients

Weakness:

A little bright in the high end

I have used 3 60 watt amps in my life so far. All were high current designs. The Denon was good, but had a bit of harshness to its sound and wasn't as powerful on music peaks. The Luxman was the smoothest sounding of the 3, but lacked current on music peaks and was the weakest of the three amps. The Rotel however was pretty darn good. On bass notes, it was strong and tight. This amp has plenty of current on music peaks. On some classical music it scared me when the woofer kicked out. I haven't heard that quality from the other two units I've owned. This amp has plenty of current for 60 watts. I say its under rated. More like 70. Anyway the highs are quite clear with not as much brittleness or harshness like the Denon had. I say its a little bright though. I had Paradigm 5 SE Mk2 speaker which the treble was a little soft, so that helped me a little. The soundstage was quite good, though I have heard better imaging from higher end amps. For the money though these are great buys. I sold off my Rotel gear and am currently running my old Luxman, but I'm now looking for an amp to compliment the Lux since its power output is rather weak. I'm looking for the RB-1050 which is the 970s current model. As a side note I had the 980 Rotel preamp running with my old Rotel amp.

Similar Products Used: Denon PMA-300, Luxman LV-103
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Yamin Salam   an Audiophile [Dec 25, 1998]

I agree with Mr. Khayat from London regarding this amp, but I had very interesting experience with this amp. Four years ago I bought this amp to drive my Definitive Technology BP 10 loudspeakers. I used Audio Research LS 7 for the pre-amp and Rotel CD player (I forget the type). The sound was good but it little bit lack of power, then I bought the same amp to bridge it into 180 watts. The sound was great, it was brought life into my system. The transient was fast, the bass had authority and the detail was pretty good. At that moment I had a pair of Conrad-Johnson Premier V (200 Watts monoblocks tube amp), comparing to this giant the Rotel almost lost in all aspect. The Conrad-Johnson was clear, tight, sweet, detailed, and the imaging was superb, but somehow the Rotel was more live (in my opinion this is the strong characteristic of this amp). The other good thing was although the Rotel lost comparing to C-J, but that wasn’t too far behind (I still could live with Rotel’s weaknesses). I have compared this bridged amp to my friend’s 120 Watts PS Audio and the result I like Rotel than PS (the price is for PS Audio is about USD 1,200). Anyway, remember for bridging this amp you need the minimum 8 Ohms of speaker impedance.After couple months later, I trade my Conrad-Johnson to a pair of Infinity IRS Beta panel and I bought a pair of Infinity IRS Ib as the sub-woofer. At that moment I still didn’t have any powers except my 60 Watts Rotels. While I was waiting for the other amp that match to my Infinity IRS series, I tried to put on my Rotels to Infinity system (Infinity IRS Beta and IRS Ib sub-woofer have 4 Ohms impedance which will crank up the power of Rotels about 100 to 120 Watts). Pessimistically I tried to hook these amps as biamp to my Infinity, the result was more than I expected. My Infinity sang nicely, it didn’t sounding great or wonderful but it worked pretty well. The bass was not bad and also the panel, not bad at all for 60 watts amp driving this 400 lbs behemoth and the sense of live music was still there (the IRS Ib have 12 woofers at 8’ diameters!!!). Maybe some people find difficulties to match up this amp but please try this amp before you spend your money to something else. You have nothing to lose especially if you have 8 ohms or over speaker impedance, bridge it! It’s really hard to beat at it price.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
kHAYAT   an Audiophile [Jul 18, 1997]

This is a £400 pre power combination. Auditioning this against other more expensive amplifiers such as Arcam alpha 9 showed how good this Rotel is. While cheapest in the group it showed a very confident, clean and punchy sound compared by others costing twice as much. The only argument here is that others might prefer a more relaxed sound, not that the Rotel is harch or dry. Infact it is warm, tight and clean sounding. One big advantage is the possibiliy of upgrading either by biamping or bridging. For only about £200 more you can bridge with another power amp resulting in a total of 180Watts.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Carl Smith   Audiophile [Mar 01, 2001]
Strength:

None that I've heard

Weakness:

Not very musical, hard to listen to for extended periods. Two dimensional.

Current system:
Rotel 971 cd
Spark 110 tube preamp
Linn Tukan speakers
Sunfire True sub
Kimber PBJ and 4TC cables

The 970mkII in my system lacks involvement and musicality. I have no idea why this occurs however the little 930 sounds so much better. The 930 compared to the 970 is more involving and just sounds down right musical.

If you know of someone who wants a 970mkII I have one that I'm willing to part with!!!

Similar Products Used: Luxman M-02, Rotel RB-930, Carver 1.0t
OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
2
CH Shih   an Audio Enthusiast [Oct 25, 1997]

This pre/power setup is one of the most affordable on the market and is one hell of a bargain if your speakers are friendly enough to drive. I used it for an entire year hooked-up to my old B&W 602's and they were superbly musical.
The overall presentation is very neutral and allows the strengths of rest of your system to shine thru. It isn't harsh on the music and with the right setup of similarly priced equipment, it will drive most recordings with adequate zest to please any casual listener.

Sadly, I had to relinquish this pair once I upgraded my speakers to a pair of quater-wave Castles. They were just too weak and slow when it came to more demanding loads. Even when biamping at 180W, these Rotels began to strain and show-up their weaknesses. The were not build for this task.






OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
Showing 1-10 of 10  

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