ROTEL RB-991 Amplifiers

RB-991

3 Channel THX Power Amplifier - 200 Watts

User Reviews (42)

Showing 1-10 of 42  
Gerret   Audio Enthusiast [Apr 07, 2016]

This amp does exactly what I expected. I have switched away from Adcom amps to Rotel a while back. Innocently I started with an RB 981. This is a great amp and more powerful than the specs would suggest. I liked the sound and wanted more of th same. A short while ago I was able to get a late model RB 1080. That was a rude awakening. The sound became bright, harsh in a similar sound stage. Even upgrading the internal fussed or changing the power cord did not help. After a few weeks of frustration I sold the RB 1080. The RB 891 was just more musical.
Enter the RB 991, it provides simply more off everything I liked about the RB 981. It has the same musicality, same open space and yes, just enough more power I was looking for for the transients that could have sounded compressed with the RB 981.

The amp is driving a pair of Magnepan MG12s and is combined with an RC 995. No complaints! I kept the RB 981 and am now running it with a Rotel RTC 965. This is also a great sounding combo.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
John   Audio Enthusiast [Mar 02, 2003]
Strength:

Great high end, good mid. Lots of power. Looks great. Does not run too hot.

Weakness:

Slightly weak bass, not as tight as the 990. If I'd never heard the 990 I probably would not have added this.

I purchased the 991 to compare with the RB990 which I currently own. The 990 has great punch, while staying tight for bass and mid bass. I always felt that the high end was not as good. I am driving B&W CDM 9NT's. (Great speakers). I use a Rotel 1070 CD player and Rotel RSX1055 receiver. My plan was to sell the amp that I liked less. When I hooked up the 991 I found that the high end was much better. However the bass no longer had the tight controlled sound of the 990. I was totally confused at this point. Just for the fun of it I decided to try bi-amping. I use the 991 for the high and the 990 for the bass. This has worked out really well. The sound is much tighter all around. The only problem I have now is the expense of keeping both amps. The internal amp in the RSX1055 is OK. It just lacks the strength that two 400 watt amps deliver.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
JohnArnold   AudioPhile [Dec 26, 2002]
Strength:

POWER!!!, control, authority, resolution, soundstaging, detail, musicality.

Weakness:

A bit closed in at low volumes- needs a bit of juice to really shine.

Yes there are better amps out there but I guarantee they are all 3-4 times the price of the big Rotel and that most of them glow in the dark. This has got to be the best buy audiophile high powered amp on the market.

Similar Products Used: NAD, Cyrus, Musical Fidelity.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
mshaw25   Audio Enthusiast [Sep 06, 2002]
Strength:

Resolution of detail and separation of instruments, recommended by Stereophile magazine, 8-99. Low-level dynamic articulation. 200 watts per channel into 8 ohms (300 wpc into 4 ohms)of THX Ultra power, very clean. Tight bass, neutral midrange. 1.2kVA toroidal transformer, Black Gate and Wima capacitors, etc. Quality throughout. Dead quiet, no hum at zero volume. Compares favorably with amps in the $3000 to $5000 range. Should rate higher than a 5.

Weakness:

I want to listen to my CDs and LPs too late into the night. I am not getting enough sleep.

I was lucky enough to find this wonderful amplifier on eBay with the original box, manual, and receipt, still under warranty :). I ordered two pair of 1m Silver Serpent interconnects from Bettercables and hooked everything up with a used Adcom GFP 565 preamplifier (using bypass for the shortest circuit path), a Denon DCM-370 HDCD CD player, and a Technics SL-1700 turntable. The sound is superb. Excellent detail and the midrange and voices are outstanding. Great compliment to my Klipsch Legend KLF-30 speakers, toned down the brightness, no listening fatigue.

Similar Products Used: Harman Kardon AVR-85, Denon AVR-3802, Amp Two, JVC, Sony, Technics, . . .
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
jaosn523   Audio Enthusiast [Mar 08, 2002]
Strength:

JUICE. DYNAMICS. NOT HARSH FOR SS

Weakness:

Not the last word in macro or micro dynamics at LOW volumes. This dissappears with a turn of the knob.

This thing in a word - DYNAMICS. Plenty of juice ready ON DEMAND. My speakers are inefficient (86 db Dynaudios) and this thing can drive them with aplomb. As with the 1080, though (see stereophile''s review), a little volume helps brings out the best (side note my preamp - a NAD C160 could also be robbing me of a little detail, etc., and I have not auditioned different preamps). The power obviously helps bring out the shocking amount of bass my speakers possess. The amp, like my speakers, likes CHOICE equipment. The crap wires will not due. When my cables (JPS ultraconductors) broke in, it was AUDIBLY NOTICEABLE. The amp is a gem.

Similar Products Used: Heard high end adcom and cary, jolida stuff.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Rocket   Audio Enthusiast [Jan 19, 2000]
Strength:

Reasonable price, thunderous bass, detailed sound, good for home cinema and music

Weakness:

None in the price range

I have lived with this Amp for six months now and have not been concerned with any element of its operation or musicality. My audio system has become more focussed on Home Theatre (I am planning to replace my ageing Onkyo TX-SV727 with the TX-SV777 soon.

I trialled several amps as above in the Rotel's price range and this amp beat them all to death. Sure, in a side by side comparison with the MF offering there were differences but I believe these were all down to the sonic character of the amps. The MF is a high quality hi end product and had a smoother character a bit like valves but was a bit edgy with HT stuff.

I like all kinds of music and not being super rich, prefer the combination of a good Receiver with external power amps to get something better for the money. The Rotel has given me an immediate and cost effective means of getting something that is listenable, detailed, well engineered and non fatiguing.

My speakers are B&W Matrix 805's and Matrix HTM for the front and Boston VRS-Pro for the rear. Average sized listening room. For a handful of dollars and about a quarter of the price of the MF this amp has given neutral tonal character, unlimited power and good depth and width to the soundstage.

I'm sure a Krell combination would deliver the ultimate from my speakers but at what cost?

A truly magnificent product, reasonably priced and obviously as is typical of Rotel (which I had not owned before) every cent has gone into the quality of the components and the resultant sound quality.

I am so impressed that when I get the Onkyo 777 I intend to purchase a Rotel RB-993 to round off the package.

5 stars alround as well as five stars for the dealer - Len Wallis Audio of Lane Cove New South Wales.

Similar Products Used: Musical Fidelity XA-200 monoblocs, Onkyo Receiver, various amps in the same price range from Denon, ME, etc.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Bill   Audio Enthusiast [Mar 01, 2000]
Strength:

Sounds fine. Quiet and dynamic.

Weakness:

Transformer buzz

This amplifier sounds unlimited using K-Horns. It has no problem 'cracking' the speaker diaphrams (or maybe it is my ear drums). Background mechanical buzz by transformer ruins the quiet noise floor. Had been impressed by reviews with the fine intermodulation graphs (see August 1999 of Stereophile). I was considering a Zero feedback Class A tube, but with the chaotic impedance (see November 1986 if Audio) of the K-horn I decided for plenty of control feedback.

Too bad I've returned it to the dealer twice to have the transformer buzz repaired. Each time they deny that it buzzes. Thus I must rate it poorly.

OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
2
Vanden Poel Frederic   Audio Enthusiast [Apr 13, 2000]
Strength:

ease of driving difficult speakers, lots of power, tight controlled bass, clarity, detail, price

Weakness:

break in time

In January I bought a pair of nautilus 803 speakers which I auditioned on a Rotel RB-1090 amp. While I really liked the amp (impressive bass control, very easy on my ears even at extreme volumes and long listening sessions ... we listened 2x 4 hours), in Belgium it is a little overpriced and I didn't find place at the time to put a unit of that height in my chain.

I auditioned it's little brother (the RB-991) at home, which was a major upstep from my Sony TA-VA8ES integrated 5.1 amp (which I just sold second hand). The Sony worked well with my old front speakers (now used for surrounds - celestion ditton 33), but have some difficulties with a 3 ohm dip on my N803 speakers.

Now that my N803 and Rotel 991 are far beyond their break-in time, I can really hear fundamental differences, as I had to demonstrate my old 8ES today and had been using familiar recordings :

- better controlled bass, making my Klipsh KSW-300 sub a bit redundant (and therefore always switched off for stereo replay)

- more open mid and treble, better clarity

As I just sold the 8ES, I decided to buy another 991 to bi-amp my N803 for hifi, and to drive my rear speakers in home theatre. The Sony TA-VA8ES is certainly not a bad amp for it's purpose, but underdimensioned for the B&W nautilus.

When I have my second 991, I'll need to reconnect the interconnect and replug the 4mm speaker plugs when I switch between stereo and surround, but as I only watch +- 2 dvd movies each week, I can live with this little discomfort.

I have seen 5ch amps which double their power in stereo mode, but this is still fundamentally no bi-amping configuration.

Here's my configuration :

front : B&W nautilus 803
center : B&W matrix HTM
rear : celestion ditton 33
sub : klipsh ksw 300

amps : 2x rotel RB-991, 1x velleman K4010 (diy kit built as a subwoofer experiment, but now used to drive my center speaker)

sony sdp-ep9es surround processor
rotel rc 995 pre-amp
rotel rcd 971 hdcd player
qed qnect 4 (preamp - amp)
monitor silver edition 1 (processor -> preamp)
vd hul the first (cd player -> preamp)
qed qudos speaker cable (n803) + monitor thx (celestion)

I highly recommend this amp !!

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Stephen   Audio Enthusiast [Apr 04, 2001]
Strength:

Resolution of inner detail, impact, smoothness

Weakness:

Gets hot

I usually wait at least 3 months before posting a review here but this amp is bringing me so much pleasure so quickly that I'm compelled to review it now; after one day :)

I just switched from the Rotel 1070 130W amp that I purchased new less than 3 months ago. I'd been coveting the 991 all along but it was much costlier and a little large for my rack (still is but I don't care). The 1070 is a fine amp - great detail, and replacing my NAD C340 it vastly improved the bass impact of my system - but I wanted the extra watts and the seperate power for each channel.

It turned out my dealer had a demo 991 for $600 total out of my pocket and I couldn't resist, boy am I happy.

After one day of use I am hearing and feeling both the subtle details and the dynamic impact of the music to a greater degree than I ever have in my home. The amp is providing this while still remaining smooth and grain free. Everything feels like it's got 3 dimensional texture and depth. Cello strings sound absolutely gripping and female voices (Sarah McLachlan, Natalie Merchant and Diana Krall) sound sweet..... like they're dripping with emotion. Drums and cymbals have wonderful attack and decay. My room feels like it's filled with the feeling of what's playing.

I demoed Krell KAV300iL integrated and while it had amazing grip and impact it was barely more than I'm hearing with the Rotel and it added what felt like a cool electronic sheen to the music (my girlfriend who was with me at the demo said tha she felt cold while the Krell played) Oh yeah, and it retails for 3.5x more than the 991 (and almost 6x what I paid for the Rotel). The best amplification/sound I've heard was from some 200 watt Audio Research monoblocks but they cost $14,000 and were paired with 20k of cd player and preamp. I couldn't even fit it all in my room much less afford it.

I'm really so pleased. Another nice thing is that it took the 1070 about a week of constant playing to smooth out but this unit was either well burned at my dealers shop or it's just smoother to begin with.

So, without any visible sign that it was a demo and with a full warranty, I am the very happy owner of what I feel is a high end amp for a great price. I imagine that I would be pleased even at the $1000 list.

One last thing. The dealer I got this and my other Rotel gear from - Jim at Synergistic Sound - has provided me with exceptional service and great prices and I can't recommend him highly enough.

Gear:

Rotel 995 preamp (Will be upgrading to tubed preamp)
Rotel 971 cd player
Rotel 991 amp
Paradigm Studio 20's v2 (Will be switching/upgrading to speakers with soft dome tweeters)
Music Metre Signature II shotgun biwire speaker cable
Music Metre Signature and Silver IC's

Similar Products Used: Rotel 1070, various Accurus and NAD, Krell, Audio Research
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Niklas Eriksson   Audio Enthusiast [Feb 25, 2000]

I'm using this amplifier to drive my 18-inch subwoofers (two JBL 4645B) and I'm very pleased with its performance. The bass responce is very tight and accurate regardless whether I use the amplifier for home theater purposes or just using it when listening to music. An excellent amplifier for a reasonable price.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 42  

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