ROTEL RB 980BX Amplifiers

RB 980BX

Discontinued, price may be lower. 120 watt stereo amplifier

User Reviews (19)

Showing 1-10 of 19  
Loren Young   Audio Enthusiast [Nov 25, 2017]

I bought one of these amps used around 2008 and had for three years, or so. The amp was solid and very quiet. Great bass response, imaging and sound stage. It was also well made and robust in construction. I was amazed that it was still made in Japan at this point in the mid 1990's. When the Rotel preamp/tuner I was using with it failed, I replaced it with a used NAD preamp and the amplifier's sound improved dramatically. Much more controlled and the hint of brightness was smoothed out. It appears that the Rotel amps made in this period were very good, the pre-amps (Taiwan built), not so much.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Cruz Enrique   Audio Enthusiast [Apr 18, 2014]

I'm going to give 5 stars to this already old guys only on one condition, and is based on my own experience with several hook ups to drive my speakers. I have an Adcom SLC 505 passive pre (I said I never go back to active but that not the point). First I audition this amps in "mono bridged mode"; my speaker are quite efficient and the amps in this mode turned irritating, annoying. molesting you name it, I've could not resist a minute listening to this amps on this mode; the only benefit of this connection is loud levels of sound. My Adcom passive was at 9 o'clock volume postion in this configuration. The second try was to connect an amp to each speaker bi-wired (Parallel mode?) using one channel of each amp; obviously the power drop from 360 to 120W, I had to increase the passive from 9 o'clock to 11 o'clock, but the Adcom still have enough juice to drive the system; everything changed and then I've understood why some audio and music lovers say that "The Lesser The Power The More Delicate The Sound" An overall change occured to my Rotels 980BX power amps; delicate, more controlled sound in all the frequency range, Bass still powerfull, but musical, fast and precise, sweet mids and non agressive relaxed, smooth highs. Soundstage opened noticeably. I enjoy 'em for hours without fatigue.

But the best connection I've ever made with this amps is biamping the speakers with them; that was my next and last audition; what was already awesome became even better. A stereo 120W/CH amp to drive each speaker and I've started to enjoy the best sound you can hear from 2 non expensive amps from Rotel. Sounds quite good with one single stereo amp Bi-wired.

Of course, this depends, obviously, on each listener's taste, for me, biamping is the best option, but if you want to complaint with your neighbors and love it loud "bridge 'em". Again, this review is based on my experience in the connections I've mentioned above.

Adcom SLC-505 Passive Preamplifier
PSB Image T6 3 Way Speakers
Adcom GDA 600 Outboard DAC
Pioneer Elite DV-37 DVD Player (Used as a CD player)
Rotel RCD-950 Dedicated CD Plyer
All Audioquest Cabling
2 Rotel RB 980BX Power Amplifiers

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Figaro   Audio Enthusiast [Sep 25, 2012]

I bought this old amp on Ebay based on these Audio reviews. It replaced a dead Denon POA 2800. The reviews were spot on. This amp is dead quiet and very easy to listen to all day long. Very clear sound, good sound stage, crisp bass, great mids, and smooth highs.. At the going used prices for this amp it is one incredible value. I supply this amp through a Yamaha CX-2 pre and it drives Overture 1 bookshelf speakers. High end sound on the cheap.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Bert   Audio Enthusiast [May 13, 2006]
Strength:

build like a tank
good damping factor (good control of the difficault Matrix 803II)

Weakness:

nothing for the money

The RB 980 was an upgrade of a NAD tuner/amp because of a pair new (used) B&W 803 Matrix S2 in 2002. The Rotel had far more control over the sound (especially the bass) and the sound stage was very good. A year later I sold the NAD receiver and the RB980 was controlled by a Rotel RC 980. Good combination for the money (€160).
In 2004 I completed the set with an as good as nes Rotel CD player RCD 991 (€450).
I upgraded the standard interlinks with self constructed interlinks (good quality microphone cable with golden connectors about €6 per pair, a bargain for the quality)
I am fully satisfied with the sound. I know that an improvement will cost much more money.

Similar Products Used: Kenwood amp (KA 601)
NAD receiver (monitor series)
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
AJCalhoun   AudioPhile [Feb 17, 2005]
Strength:

Compact size, moderate weight, toroidal transformer and formidable-looking caps, unobtrusive, clean, clear, accurate, with stop-on-a-dime bass management, just all I could have hoped for and more.

Weakness:

None. Absolutely none.

I just recently picked this off during a buying spree on eBay, and could have had it for even less if I'd played my cards right, but it doesn't matter, because it's a great deal and would be even if it were bought today at the MSRP, as far as I'm concerned. I've been looking for an amp of equal power and quality to replace my Yamaha M-40, which is getting up in years and was too darn big to fit in the rack with the Vantas Dolby 5.1 processor/pre-amp I had added recently (another great deal, but another story, told elsewhere on this site). So I found this unit, examined and tested it, found it not wanting in the essentials, and now have put it through the workout and it is definitely in a league with much pricier (new) equipment. It's a little more detailed than the Yam, and also just a tad warmer. With the B&W DM 600 S3's and Boston PV600 powere sub this amp will never have to work up a sweat. The power knob rarely goes beyond 5:35, and that's loud! It's physically smaller and a little lighter than the Yam, built to British standards, extremely clear, clean, and pretty neutral. Just to my liking. It's served via an AudioSource Preamp/Tuner-2, and before you start laughing read my review on that item elsewhere. While Audiosource has put out one dud preamp (the Preamp One/A), this one is far, far superior, and I would rate it right up there with the Rotel 972 preamp that would have been a great companion to this amp. All in all it was a great way to chuck $329, and I'm keeping it til it passes away, which, from the looks of the build and quality components inside, could be a long, long time. I'm happy as a cherrystone clam.

Similar Products Used: Yamaha M-40, Sony GX67ES, Vantas DPA-S50, AudioSource Preamp/Tuner-2
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
D. Ocampo   AudioPhile [Dec 13, 2004]
Strength:

Balanced Concept design and power reserves.

Weakness:

None at this price point.

I must say that I was very impressed by this amp. I have a Marantz THX Ultra certified 5-channel amp (175 W x 5) for my HT set-up and this Rotel can keep up with it. I got the amp and pre-amp for a steal and I am using it to drive a pair of NHT ST-4 towers (which sound absolutely fantastic by themselves) using canare starquad cables in a bi-wire configuration. Power is not an issue with this amp as the power supply is huge. Everything is crystal clear and very non-fatiguing while still bordering on the bright side of warm.

Similar Products Used: Marantz MM9000 amp, NAD 3140 Integrated amp, Denon PMA-980R Intergrated amp, Denon 1803 Receiver, Yamaha 1150 Receiver, numerous mass-market crap before I was introduced to mid-fi bliss.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Tander98   Audio Enthusiast [Jul 12, 2003]
Strength:

Excellent clarity. Never harsh. Underated power.

Weakness:

Heat after extended higher volume listening.

Compared to my old Kenwood this sounds incredible. At first I used a Caver CT-6 pre-amp, but have upgraded to home theater now and purchased a Rotel RSX-972 receiver. I now use the receiver as a pre-amp for the main channels driving the RB-980BX through Tributaries Silver series interconnects. I am very happy with the sound. It really make my Paradigms sing. All kinds of music is very listenable at all volumes. It does get a little warm at times though.

Similar Products Used: Kenwood 150 WPC, Carver 105 WPC.
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
3
ossi76   Audio Enthusiast [Mar 09, 2003]
Strength:

Great power when used as bridged monos! Excellent soundscape. The price make them a bargain.

Weakness:

May get a little warm, when used as monos at low impedance

In 1998 I was going to replace my Kenwood amp. I decided to buy me some amps that were ready for my Kappa 8.1i. A pair of Rotel 980's should be powerful enough for me told me local audio dealer. Pre amp was also a Rotel. I used the 908's as bridged monos with 360 watt (8 Ohm). They kick the Kappas in every volume! Precise bass, clear highs, great mids! They get a little warm, but they never give up :-) One day I killed one Rotel (was my fault), and I had to use only one. It was like day and night. Lot of power and precision was missing. T

Similar Products Used: Rotel pre amp.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
gjs_cds   Audio Enthusiast [Feb 13, 2003]
Strength:

Clear, quiet, powerful, dynamic, tight and powerful bass.

Weakness:

None, for the price range

A local newspaper reporter was short on cash, and offered to sell me a 980bx amp and 950ax pre-amp for 300 bucks plus my extremely mediocre pioneer H/T receiver. To be blunt, I got a great deal. This Rotel amp was Stereophile Class B recommended (if my memory serves), and deserves every bit of it. Conservatively rated at 125 watts per channel, this amp excels in overall clarity while producing deep tight bass. As a matter of fact, I used this amp to drive a pair of Acoustat 2+2 electrostatics--and they took this extremely challenging 4 ohm load with grace. It *easily* bested the NAD 2200 Power Envelope in all frequency ranges, as well as overall listen-ability and “musicality.” For my money, this is one of the best (if not the best) sub-300 dollar amp that your money can buy at this point. (Used of course, as of 2/13/2003.) If I was in the market for a sub 300 dollar amp, I would look at the Rotel 980, or see if I could get my hands on a Bryston. (The latter would be very unlikely, however.)

Similar Products Used: NAD 2200 Power Envelope.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
afrost   Audio Enthusiast [Oct 31, 2002]
Strength:

sound, construction

Weakness:

none

This amp is so good for the price I paid, I would definately buy this amp again. Solid construction all around.

Similar Products Used: nad
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 19  

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