ROTEL RB-981 Amplifiers

RB-981

130 Watt Stereo Power Amplifier

User Reviews (34)

Showing 1-10 of 34  
Nigel   Audio Enthusiast [Jan 27, 2016]

Thought one would add comments after reading the others. Great, wonderful, awesome, incredible fantastic, amazing, all words well worthy of this amp. I have two in mono mode capable of over 350 watts each, but that's only the one side of these amps. Could be used as a welder as I found out after accidental short out. A very high current indeed!! But soundwise they rank well above some of the very expensive "named" so called Audiophile amps. I have tried many believe me! They are very well built indeed, though pre- start relays would have been a good addition speakers tend to get quite a surge, still, all said they are what they are: great amplifiers at great original price no wonder they are hard to find these days, if you do come across one or even better a pair grab them quick. I also have a Rotel rx1630 which is also amazing. Speakers used>>> Monitor gold floor standing, together quite a act!!

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Jg_meyer   AudioPhile [Nov 07, 2015]

I never felt compelled to write a review until I wanted to upgrade. I have had a number of different amps: Adcom, Denon, Onkyo, Kenwood, Marantz and finally settled on the humble Rotel RB 981. A lot of reviews state that it sounds just like an RB 991 or RB 1080. Mine at least does not. I bought a last generation Rotel RB 1080. What I heard was a more clinical, harsher sounding amp. I took me a week of back and forth to admit pot myself that I had made a mistake. The RB 981 just sounded more open and defined, had better bass and musicality. I quickly resold the RB 1080. This is not to say that it was a bad a,p, but no match for the RB 981 in my set up. Thus experience cured me from wanting to replace the now beloved RB 981. If you can find one get it and you won't regret it. I am using it with Magnepan MG 12.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
aa   Audio Enthusiast [Jun 07, 2015]

Using this amp as a replacement while my beloved quad 405-2 in surgery.It has plenty of guts to drive nearly everything-kef 104.2,kappa 100, no problem at all, never sound harsh,always confident,runs cool.Bad points-lack of micro dynamics, dull looks, but overall good amp especialy in this price range.4.5 points from me

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Alan Nonymous   Audio Enthusiast [Mar 11, 2015]

The House of Power
When you ask yourself the question is it worth forking out the cash on this brute you need to condiser what it brings to the table. I have discovered the answer, in the words of the late Mr .Clarkson is POWER POWER AND MORE POWER. What this POWER brings is the ability to convey a tremendous scale and dynamism in all forms of music with the ease assured by it's ability to deliver a rumoured 30 amps of current. I cannot imagine this thing EVER running out of breath - it shows the fort of a great amp, you turn up the wick, it doesn't just "get louder" the realism of the music increases till you feel like it's in the room. It will cure me of my upgraditis for some time I should imagine and despite it's SHOCKING quality banana sockets its astonishing prowess more than compensates and would heartily recomend to any lover rof good fun music !

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
karister99   AudioPhile [Dec 04, 2011]

This is an awesome sounding, excellent power amp with lots of power to spare and great controlled sound. This thing has been paired with the Rotel RC-995 preamp,running some Energy Veritas 2.3i's with a B&W sub and this thing produces sweet music all around. It's very rare you see these things going on sale anymore, I guess people hang on to them due to such great sounding amp and it's great built quality. I had been rotating this amp with others in my rig, always comes back to the awesome sounding Rotel. If one want's to get in to audiophile quality without breaking the bank, jump on one of this if you ever come across and you'll never regret your decision to purchase this solid amp.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Yann   Audio Enthusiast [Aug 14, 2009]

Just bought this on ebay to complement my RA 971 mk2 and Acoustic Energy AE120s.
Oh man what a difference! I've had my system for 8 years, despite the fact that I enjoyed it greatly, I always found it a bit limited on the bass side. The added 8 year old 981 gave it punch and control, a totally new experience on such an old system. Who would believe it.

The problem was that my lovely AE120s were power hungry and the integrated amp struggled to deliver the juice at times... I like it loud at parties.

There you go, 125GBP power amp that rocks my world!

Yann

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Flammen   Audio Enthusiast [Jun 16, 2008]

Well, it´s often emphasized, that this amplifier sounds very good in bridged mode.
Granted - but there´s an even better way of doing it if you can live with a little less on the effect side compared to the bridged mode, namely "pseudo-balanced" mode.
You´ll of cause need two RB 981´, and then you short-fuse one channel on each of the 981´s by the help of a shortfused jack. Then connect each channel of the cable connecting the pre-amplifier to the remaining channel on each of the 981´s - and the power-anplifiers are in pseudo-balanced mode.
The result is an astonizing amount of control because the transistors in one side of this stereo-amplifier now is dedicated to "dampen" the signal when needed. The noise-floor comes down to virtually nothing and the dynamics gets astonising - even copared to the bridged mode.
WARNING: You are never to "pseudo-balance" an amplifier that´s in bridged mode - make sure, that it´s in the normal stereo mode before you try this trick. You can´t do this with a "class a"- or a tube-amplifier either, but you can off cause do it with any "normal" solid state amplifier.
I have listened to my combination of two Pseudobalanced 981´s for years and would´nt dream of switcing them with anything else. Well - not at this price at least...

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
jleonardk   Audio Enthusiast [Dec 30, 2006]

Rotel RB981 Amp ? It's wonderful. Very good build quality. I am now using a Rotel RC972 preamp and the noise level is non existent. With CD in pause and the volume turned up above listening level the speaker output is nill. Hit play and my room comes to life. I have no balance adjust, but no problem Dianna Krall is center stage. The highs are crisp the mids clear and the bass tight. Every instrument sounds natural and the detail is incredible. My speakers are Phase Technology 745ES, the tweeters are precision, lively, never harsh - can listen for hours and not fatigue. I really like Phase Tech speakers. CD's I thought were poor recording quality now sound incredible. If you have this amp and don't like it, then you need to try a better source. There is absolutely nothing bad too report on the RB981.

Customer Service

Excellent

Similar Products Used: Sim Audio, Audio Research, Carver
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
hein88@sbcglobal.net   Audio Enthusiast [Jul 29, 2005]
Strength:

Detail, great bass for the size, never runs hot, reliable, sound,sound,sound

Weakness:

Rotel discontinued it

I love this amp. Its a Rotel classic for sure. I have pushed Infinity Overture 1's,B&W 805's, B&W 801's and Legacy Classics with this amp and I have never been dissapointed. Always true to the music, never bright and never shy with the bass. I recently bridged this amp to drive the HTM4S and I must admit that it sounds better then the Marantz MA 700's. If you can find this amp on E-bay or garage sale, don't hesitate to purchase.

Similar Products Used: Hafler 9085, Marants MA 500, MA700 Rotel 980bx, Adcom 5802
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
krazeboner   Audio Enthusiast [Jul 24, 2005]
Strength:

Full, warm sound. Plenty of power.

Weakness:

None

This amp has been in my system for a little over a year. I picked this amp off Ebay based on previous positive expereince with Rotel products, as well as the endorsement of the midfi shop where I bought my speakers(Paradigm Studio 40s). I have not been dissapointed, to say the least. What I was looking for was an amp that wasn't afraid to give me some low end, and had the power to accurately define both instruments, and where they were within the mix. Boy did this amp deliver. For rock, this amp has been heaven. Guitars sound just as they should, and the bass slides in below and just drives the music. Vocals are laid out well on top. There is enough detail to pick up the nuances of each piece of music, but not so much that it sounds overly-analytical. Chamber music has been stunning as well. Lower-voiced instruments are robust and well defined; mid-voiced instruments have plenty of detail and warmth, and the higher instruments are able to sing without being strained. To my ears, this amp has also been able to handle full-orchesta just as well. Sections are defined both musically and spatially. The dynamic range provided by this amp truely shined here.

Similar Products Used: Carver ???
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 34  

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