ROTEL RA-01 Integrated Amplifiers

ROTEL RA-01 Integrated Amplifiers 

DESCRIPTION

40 watts x 2 into 8 ohms 6 inputs, including MM phono and one tape loop Two sets of speaker outputs Headphone jack Defeatable tone control Balance control Pre-outs 12 volt trigger output Detachable IEC power cord No remote control

USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-8 of 8  
[Aug 16, 2017]
Ben
Audio Enthusiast

I tested the RA-01 against an older Cyrus One and Musical Fidelity B1 I happened to have around, using a MacBook Pro feeding a Cambridge Audio Dacmagic Plus as source and B&W DM2 Series II Speakers. I was expecting the modern RA-01 to win easily but it was the older amps that won out. It was obviously more powerful than the Cyrus, but so much less musical; almost as if compression was being used. The Cyrus sounded much cleaner, more open and natural, the MF B1 warmer, softer and sweeter. Perhaps results would be different with more modern speakers, but the DM2 SIIs are very revealing in my experience. The RA-01 is well built, powerful sounding, but a bit charmless and mechanical.

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
4
[Jul 12, 2014]
John Lawrence
Audio Enthusiast

I bought the RA-01 with the RCD-02. I added some Quad 11 speakers to the system and Chord cables. I have to say the system for what is really a budget one, is mighty good. I suspect that if there is a weak link now it is the CD player. The problem is that now I want to try and upgrade and I don't know where you start, without spending silly money. I have been tols to start upgrading the electronics and then the speakers. I listen to classical music mainly and prefer monitor speakers. There are loads of highly-rated speakers between $ 750 and $1500. As for amps Creek, Arcam a and Musical Fidelity spring to mind or perhaps Naim, which is a touch pricier.. It is all about the law of diminishing returns

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jan 25, 2013]
Charles
Audio Enthusiast

This review is for an RA-02. Basically its the same as the RA-01, but with a remote.

I bought mine used from a local stereo store. It looked brand new to me and the sales person said someone traded it in. He asked if I wanted to hear it, so I said sure.

Holy cow it sounded amazing! He played it through a pair of Sonus Faber speakers that I didn't think would be able to be driven by such a small amplifier. At home I was using a Harmon Kardon DPR 2005 receiver with a pair of Paradigm Studio 20s with an older NAD 502 CD player. I couldn't believe the difference between the two amps. The salesperson said that even though the RA-02 was rated at 40 wpc it is generally under-rated and can drive current easily through large speakers. My HK is supposed to be 120 watts per channel but it doesn't sound anywhere near as good as this little Rotel amp with 40 watts! I no longer trust in numbers on sales brochures and will listen with my ears instead from now on!!

The other thing is that I picked this Rotel up for $300 which people might think is high, but I paid over $1200 for my HK when it was new and their sound quality isn't even close!!!!! The store said if I didn't like the Rotel I could take it back, so I didn't have much to lose, but I definitely won't be returning it. I've learned my lesson and am enjoying music the way I should have been all these years!

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jul 19, 2009]
Nathan03
AudioPhile

Please forgive my English, I am French...
I have been using this Rotel for nearly 6 years now and I am still keen on it. An amazing amplifyer which deliver a very powerful, clean, clear sound. I have been listing to it connected to Wharfedale Emerald 93 and I have never regretted it. The only weakness is very dry bass but this is what I like. I also tried a more recent amp, the RA-05 and I prefered my RA 01. Definitively a must-buy and a GREAT amp !

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jul 15, 2009]
rolle
Audio Enthusiast

I have used this Rotel RA-01 integrated amplifier for years now and it never failed to please me. It deliver an open powerful sound even through my B&W 705's, despite these speakers maybee deserve more power. The RA-01 is best for normal listening and sounds good even at low level volym but tends to sound less good at party level. I have also replaced the powercord to Supra LoRad 2.5 and earthed that (Swedish ground). This replacement gave me more insight of the bassline in the music and the sound from the speakers also became more lifelike and 'relaxed'. I'm listening cd, radio, cassette and sometime vinyl. Perhaps vinyl don't sound as good as the other. A good turntable can judge that, which I haven't. This big little ONE gives me all of the enjoyment of music.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jun 17, 2008]
Sylvester The Cat
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:


Very clean sounding amp. that will present the music as it is with no additional fireworks of it's own.
Well build, good looking, great facilities and headphone amplifier.
Powerful enough for mid sized rooms, sounds more powerfull than the 40 watts it delivers.
Great value for money.

Weakness:


No remote control.
Treble could be a bit smoother but at this price level, excellent!

The RA 01 is a great little amplifier that allows very high quality sound to be had for a very modest price.

As with all Rotel products, it's solidly build and rather heavy, always a good sign, indicatiing a decent power supply.

The amplifier looks quite attractive, both in black or silver and it has tone controls that can be by passed if more purity in sound is required.

The amplifier sounds a lot more powerful than the 40 watts RMS it's rated at, with a sound that is clean, clear and uncoloured ( when tone controls are bypassed).

One word that can describe this amp. is "honest".

Compared to similarly priced products ( NAD, Cambridge Audio and others), the Rotel comes closer in giving the listener a taste of what High End is about.

Not that the RA 01 is a 'High End' product per se, but it's the closest you'll get to High End at this price level and without spending serious money.

I use it with a pair of Dynaudio Audience 52 that, at 4 ohm and 86 dB, are quite a demanding load, but not to the little Rotel! It will go to very decent SPL while remaining stable, unfussed and in control of the speakers.

Given good recordings, it will reward you with deep bass and very listenable treble, while the midrange is well projected, if anything a little forward, but never offending.

When listening to an amplifier like the RA 01 and enjoying music with it, makes one wonder if there is really sensible to pay prices 5 or 10 times more, for products that are only marginally better..

Enen though, this amplifier can be described as "an all rounder", I suspect, it will be very popular with listeners of Classical Music because of it's uncoloured presentation that suits most acoustic instruments, including piano.

Give it the best speakers you can afford and enjoy the music with it.

Brilliant.

Similar Products Used:


Densen DM 10
Meridian 556
PS Audio pre and power amps
Quad 405

.. and many others that came and went.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jun 14, 2006]
brektek
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Price, build quality, sound, headphone capability and phono capability.

Weakness:

Lack of remote control, but I knew that when I bought the unit. I feel that it needs to be mated with the right components.

I was after a particular sound that I cannot describe because I do not seem to have the discerning ear that an audiophile should possess. I have tried NAD and Cambridge Audio products, but for some reason I could not attain the clarity I was looking for. I understand that people go crazy for NAD and swear their products are the greatest. However, I have always been disappointed by the build quality and sound.
I bought the Rotel RA-01 for $245 and first mated it with a cambridge audio 300 cd player and paradigm atom speakers. The sound was nice but not what I was looking for. I like to use headphones (Sennheiser 555) and my setup was basically fine. Nothing to complain about. I ended up replacing my Cambride audio cd player with a REGA Planet 2000. WOW !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! what a difference. The RA-01 and the Rega Cd player just mated like two lovers in the moonlight. They made beautiful music together. I also, purchased a set of JM labs FOCAL 706s speakers and the sound is awesome. Just plain awesome. I am listening to my CD collection all over again. Anyhow, I cannot see myself changing my lineup.
As far as cabeling I have come to the conclusion that all the overpriced speaker wires and connects are just snake oil. I purchase a used pair analysis plus interconnect for $30 and bought some low end Tara labs speaker wire and my system rocks.

Similar Products Used:

NAD, rotel, denon, B & W, paradigm, rega, JM Labs Focal, cambridge audio.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jun 03, 2004]
pbirkett
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

+ Bass - Deep, punchy and fast + Lively, exciting sound which flows well + Superb value for money + High quality components + Looks great

Weakness:

- Not the smoothest player in town - Lacks remote control

I bought this integrated amplifier to replace a Cambridge Audio A500 back in 2002, and have never regretted this decision. The amplifier is solidly built for the money, it is slimline design, but is heavier than it looks and seems very well put together for this price. Mine is a silver model, which looks very good when clean, but does get dirty easily. A look inside the amp reveals high quality parts for an amp of its price range, big hefty heatsinks and a torroidal transformer ensuring a low noise floor and clean sound. I have found that the amplifier does not seem to respond to aftermarket power cables, maybe this is down to the fact it has a very good power supply in it already. Dont waste your money! The 40 watt per channel rating can be somewhat misleading to beginners - it sounds as though it lacks power on paper, but it can power virtually any loudspeaker to reasonable levels (in most cases, 100+ decibels). I have personally tested Wharfedale Diamond 8.2, B&W DM602 S3, KEF Q1, Quad 11L and my current speakers, Mission M51 through this amp, and none of them posed it any problems. I have even read that this amp was able to power KEF reference speakers with little problem (and they are huge speakers). Another thing that has one wondering about its power is its punchy bass. This was one of the selling points for me, as I listen to a lot of dance music. This was why I wanted rid of the old Cambridge Audio A500 amp, because it had not much impact and sounded slow. This is not the case with the bass on the Rotel, which is very punchy indeed, and has fast bass which starts and stops quickly with no overhang. It also manages to dig deep, and I get a superb bass response even from my Missions which only claim down to 58 Hz. The overall sound of the amplifier is of a slightly forward, bright nature. It is not very bright though, but probably brighter than usual. I find that it has more detail than equivalent amps of its price range, good soundstaging. I think it can do most music well, but it seems to be particularly in its element when playing rock, pop and dance music. Its essentially quite forgiving too, although it has a clean, punchy sound, it does not over-highlight really bad recordings like some can. If I was to be ultra critical then I would admit that it is not the smoothest sounding amp around, and it is ever so slightly veiled sounding - but it is a really slight effect, one which for me contributes to its forgiving nature, and one which is hardly a major flaw at this price point - in fact, a lot of similarly priced amps sound quite veiled in comparison to this Rotel. Oh, and it does not have a remote control, but one must pay another £100 for that luxury (with the RA-02 model). In fact, this amp really is a superb bargain. I have heard a few amps, some of which are more expensive than this one, and I can definitely say this amp can handily compete with amps costing double what this does. Where it really excels is by simply having visceral punch and a bouncy and musical sound. If you want the ultimate in smoothness and warmth, or want the highest SPL's then look elsewhere, but if you want an amp that simply lets you enjoy music.

Similar Products Used:

Cambridge Audio A500, NAD C320BEE, NAD C370, Pioneer A400, Plinius 8100, and with the exception of the Plinius (which is 6x more expensive), this amp sounds better than all of them.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-8 of 8  

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