ROTEL RC-980 Preamplifiers

RC-980

User Reviews (7)

Showing 1-7 of 7  
clemmtec   Audio Enthusiast [Jun 05, 2010]

I bought this pre amp rotel rc 980 bx form a flea market , I just wanted to try it out with my carver power amp the volume
was high but did not habe a strong bass, I put it aside only later that I hook it up my mark linvinston ml 23
I was blown away by the clear sound that comes out of the speakers.
The highs and lows are very good.
I am still using this pre amp. the speakers are wilson Audio watt puppy.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
hyperpsyched   Audio Enthusiast [Jul 11, 2007]
Strength:

Price on the second market.
Monolithic good looks.

Weakness:

Lacked bass response compared to my other preamps.
Sound stage imaging and depth was also lacking.
Wacky balance controls.

I initially bought the preamp to replace the preamp section of a NAD 306 integrated. This turned out to be a mistake. Not that the sound was bad... it was just lacking something. It was so grating to me that I ended up switching back to the preamp section of the NAD 306 and selling the RC 980.

What was the issue with the preamp? Well, the sound stage of the RC 980 seemed totally flat and somehow pinched. I did not once have that sensation of the speakers disappearing and the music flowing from the speakers and just filling the room. Even the NAD 306 preamp section was able to turn this trick with the right recording. I played around with speaker placement but sound stage and imaging did not improve. I could understand this if I were using some non-Rotel power amps but I am bi-amping with two Rotel RB-03's so there should be no questions concerning compatibility.

Also, the bass response of the RC 980 was seriously lacking. This I realized only after acquiring a second hand NAD 316 preamp from an eBay purchase. Where as the bass response of my speakers using the RC980 seemed anemic, they came alive after switching to the NAD 316. The 316 delivers much better low end punch and the sound stage is much wider and deeper with cd's. Noticeably better than the NAD 306 and certainly better than the RC 980. Hey, all three components are mid-fi audio products at best so I am not expecting holographic imaging here but the 316 gave it a good run. The 316 is just (in my opinion of course) the better preamp. Much less fatiguing. With the NAD 316 the speakers once again seem able to perform their disappearing act and the music often seems independent of the speakers.

Most importantly, I am a vinyl nut and the NAD phono amp is far superior to the Rotel's. This was also the case with the NAD 306's phono section and is the initial reason I stopped using the RC 980. The imaging on both NADs seemed almost holographic, at least with the right record.

So while this may seem more a review for the NAD 316 I think the comparison is valid. Both are only available now on the used market. Both are very simple components with high-end aspirations. No tone controls and only a balance control to offset any power-amp channel issues. Yet, in my very humble and completely unprofessional opinion the RC 980 sounded tiring. I can only recommend the NAD 316 because I have listened to it. Hey, even the preamp section of the NAD 306 sounded better to me. The problem is that the listening experience is so subjective. As evidenced by the other reviews the amp has its fans. I guess you take your chances either way.

Similar Products Used: Rotel RA-712
Rotel RA-921
NAD 1240
NAD 3240PE
NAD 306
OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
3
briano72   Audio Enthusiast [Feb 12, 2006]
Strength:

very clean sound

Weakness:

volume dial is not illuminated

very clean sound. makes my sony ta-e9000es sound like a pile of puke

Similar Products Used: sony ta-e9000es. nad c320bee
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Charles   Audio Enthusiast [Mar 30, 2003]
Strength:

Great value, simple operation

Weakness:

none

I went from a lifetime of receivers to seperates with the purchase of this preamp. I've known the Rotel name for decades, having grown up with a 102 receiver. What appealed to me about the 980 was the simplicity of the front panel. One on-off switch, one big volume control and two source controls - listen and record. Why? That's all I want out off a preamp. No tone controls, no coloration, just get the signal from the source to the amplifier. However, it does have a phono stage, something I couldn't live without! I've had this for years now and have been nothing but thrilled with it. The fact that I don't know it's there is probably the best thing I can say about. As with all Rotel gear, quality is top-notch and perfomance is perfect. Highly recommended.

Similar Products Used: RB-956AX Power Amp, RCD-951 CD Player, Technics SLQ-300 and the original Cambridge Soundworks Ensemble speakers (with two passive subwoofers).
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Lim Hian Keng, Roger   an Audio Enthusiast [Mar 13, 1998]

RC-980 is a typical Rotel products; value for money. It has a torodial transformer, and a superlative phono input. Highly recommended.Rotel has certainly keep up its reputation of best components, affordable price.
The sound produce according to some magazines are laid back...tames good recording. I certainly disagree, the RC-980 brings out the grunge of rock and subtle of acoustic recordings.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
hector   an Audio Enthusiast [Jul 04, 1998]

I bought the 980 pre along with the 980 pwr.amp a few years ago.I would say that the amp is the better of the two.the pre is ok for entry level sound but when I upgraded to a used AR LS1 ,it was like night and day.I THINK THAT THE PREAMP HAS THE MOST INFLUENCE ON SOUND QUALITY.

OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
Jeff Dailey   an Audiophile [Aug 18, 1998]

I just got a Rotel RC980BX. I also just upgraded to a Rotel RB 993 on my main system and had to find something to do with my old Marantz MA 500 monoblocks. I decided to pickup a afordable pre amp and and use it in my office with my B&W 602s. I've got to say it sounds awsome!! Of course my office is a nice small room. And I've got a 12" 100w powered sub under my desk Makes the work day go by fast.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Showing 1-7 of 7  

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