ROTEL RCD 950 CD Players

RCD 950

User Reviews (21)

Showing 1-10 of 21  
bryndildaddy   Audio Enthusiast [Jul 25, 2007]
Strength:

Build quality, control layout.

Weakness:

Weak mid range, anemic mid-bass.

Having had this unit almost literally fall in my lap, i was very excited regarding Rotel's reputation, and the reviews found on these pages. All for naught.

I totally dug the design and construction of the 950, but the sound was weak. It projected a large soundstage, but inner detailing was weak, mid range tended to splatter at high volumes during intense passages, and mid-bass was relegated to the back of the bus. I switched cables to a pair of Tara Labs interconnects which have a rep for mellowing the harsh, but still the experience was dissapointing.

I passed the Rotel on to a friend with a less discerning ear, and sytem, who seems happy with it. Back to my beloved Adcom.

My reference system:

Adcom 565
B&K 4420
JBL L-212 system
Audioquest and Kimber intercoonects

Similar Products Used: Adcom GCD-575

Nakamachi CD Player 2

California Audio Labs Alpha
OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
2
hcelen   Audio Enthusiast [Oct 15, 2006]
Strength:

Build Quality
Sound
Transport
Digital Out
Bass and Mid sounds

Weakness:

No Display on/off switch (but who cares, really)

I have been using this machine since 1997, and it is the best CD player I have ever owned. And boy, I have owned some good units from Marantz, Teac, Pioneer and Kenwood.
Even after nine years the cd-player still rocks. It has survived sticky fingers and other abuse when my son was a toddler, and I never had to apply serious maintenance.

I have paired the player to Rotel 970 series pre- and power amplifiers and I use Hepta Spring Excellence speakers (find them on the web, they are awesome) with Audioquest interconnects.

Customer Service

Never used

Similar Products Used: Marantz CD-63SE, TEAC VRDS10
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Poss   AudioPhile [Jun 09, 2003]
Strength:

Excellent build quality, still beats 90% of the CD/DVD players out there in stereo playback prowess, excellent CD transport, excellent digital out.

Weakness:

Somewhat slow random track access, dynamics and smoothness leave a wee bit to be desired when compared to the absolute best.

This is a long term review. I had this CD for more than 5 years now and it still runs flawlessly. I simply cannot say enough good things about this unit. The sound is sweet and unfatiguing, the musical presentation is punchy when needed but without the slightest hint of "digititis" and its clarity plus the sheer amount of detail it extracts from every CD still rivals today's best in its class. In all honesty, in a matchup with one of my friend's hi-end Linn Genki (some $1800 and 4 years difference between the two, the Linn being ofcourse more expensive and newer) my old faithfull Rotel left VERY little to be desired (the Genki vas a tad smoother) much to my friend's surprise (not to mention mine). I was thinking of upgrading and the Linn was the player I was looking to get. The direct compairison made me postpone the upgrade. While the Genki is superb (both in sound and build quality) I don't feel the price difference it commends is 100% worth it, not from a sonic point of view anyway. If you can get a decent RCD950 used, JUMP on it. Just bear in mind the model was designed in 1997 so it WON'T play CD-RW media or your MP3 disks. As for your "regular" CD copies or compilations burned on a PC, make sure you "finish" (or close) the disk (aka the burning utility writes the lead-off) and they will play just fine. Finally, with a small kid in the house (would you turn that racket off ??!??! :-) ) , the RCD950/ Accuphase C200/ Grado SR125 combo gets me closer to the music than any other equipment I have lying around.

Similar Products Used: The Linn Genki match equipment: Audio Analogue Puccini, Triangle Zephir II, QED interconects and speaker wire. Other CD playing devices in my household: Sony DAV S500, Sony CDP-CE505, Nakamichi OMS-1
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Al Tharp   Audio Enthusiast [Sep 18, 2002]
Strength:

none

Weakness:

Cannot play or recognize computer "burned" CD's.. stutters and jerks on others.. this is a totally inferior product advertized as "high end" audio... I notice that audio advisor, from whom I bought the unit, no longer carries this line.. beware

Found this player lacking in almost every respect.. my $100 DVD player smokes it's sound..

OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
1
Malcolm   Audio Enthusiast [Apr 28, 2002]
Strength:

Tight bass, simple design, sturdy construction, easy on the ears, numbers don''t rub off the remote buttons, good quality capacitors used for analogue power supply

Weakness:

No display on/off option,

I''ve had the RCD950 for about four years now. Previously as a student, I worked my way through three Technics and two Sony cd players. I A-B''d the 950 against a mid level Marantz, which lacked the tight bass of the Rotel. The 950 is now matched with a recently restored Musical Fidelity A1 and a pair of Micro Grove (locally made) speakers. Have not experienced the static noise problem as mentioned by others, but did notice a few manufacturing modifications with respect to EMC noise reduction. Looks a bit mickey mouse, but I think they''ve got it right in my 950.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Greg Cambridge   Audio Enthusiast [Mar 05, 2000]

Great sound. Creamy and full midrange. It sounds better and is built better (better transport) than the RCD-951. The Marantz sounds terrible after hearing the RCD-950.
A great buy.

Similar Products Used: Marantz 67se, Pioneer PD-65, many others..
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Miles Bainbridge   Audiophile [Oct 10, 2000]
Strength:

Very well-balanced, excellent bass, decent mids and highs.

Weakness:

Highs not completely extended, problems with certain Sony CD's.

I've owned this CD player for over 2 years now. My uncle bought the store demo unit in 1998 when they were phasing this out, and about to replace it with the RCD-951. It's always had very good sound, but when I hooked it up to my Meridian 563 DAC, even my mother (who has very bad hearing) instantly said from the next room that it had a much fuller sound. The Meridian, which has been praised for it's bass, didn't quite have as much as the Rotel's built-in DAC, but the highs are much more extended, and the resolution is higher. The only problem that I've had with the unit is that it doesn't like Sony SBM(Super Bit Mapped) CD's. It will sit there for about five minutes trying to read the CD, and then the display will read "NO DISC". There is a solution for this, which is to open up the machine, and re-seat the top half of the transport mechanism. Sometimes, I feel that the player is somewhat dynamically compromised, especially compared to the Arcam Alpha 7SE, but this may have to do with the fact that the speakers I heard hooked up to the Arcam cost 4 times as much as my own. Also, the Arcam costs $700 vs the Rotel which, when it was available, cost $450. The fact is that the sound of the Rotel is quite good for it's price. Even the Meridian, which, when it was available, cost $1350 is compromised. If the Rotel is the price/performance ratio that we are judging by, I should expect a lot more out of the Meridian. However, judging the Rotel as merely a transport, it pairs with the Meridian breathtakingly. In my old house, I had a room that was perfect for my system, and because I was able to sit farther away from my speakers, I fell in love with my system and my music collection all over again, discovering details that I never knew were there, even after listening with a pair of Stax electrostatic headphones. The game with the Rotel is system, and room matching, as it is with any truly hi-fi product, which the Rotel certainly is.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Michael Smoot   Audio Enthusiast [May 21, 2000]
Strength:

Solid Construction, Simple Front Panel Layout, Price

Weakness:

None

I have owned this player for a little over 3 years now.
It is my "main" CD player. Smooth, clean bass. Very natural
sounding. For the money this unit is very hard to beat, and
it is a beautiful machine.

My "main" system:

Adcom GFA 545II Amplifier (great amp)
Adcom GTP 350 Tuner (the weak link)
Infinity Kappa 6.1 Speakers (yes-they used to make a great speaker)
Sonic Link Silver Pink Interconnects
Monster Speaker Cables (Bi-Wired) MSeries CX4

Similar Products Used: Adcom, Cambridge Audio, Denon, Onkyo, Sherwood
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Dave Thomas   Audio Enthusiast [Dec 23, 1999]
Strength:

almost complete lack of digital graininess, tight, controlled bass, very satisfying sound with the best recordings, good value for the money.

Weakness:

intermittent "static" sound makes unit unlistenable

Bought this a couple of years ago after checking out Stereophile recommended components and doing a bit of listening. When operating correctly and fed good quality cds from the Chesky or JVC XRCD catalogs, the Rotel does a beautiful job of accurately reproducing voice and acoustic instruments. But...I have to say I got a lemon. It's been in the shop three times, with the last to change the entire laser assembly. Problem is without warning, a deafening "static" sound starts up that is so annoying that it renders the unit unlistenable. A solid wack on the side with the palm of my hand sometimes fixes the problem! Sometimes it doesn't. The repair shops have not been able to reproduce the problem although my wife had the brilliant idea of recording the problem, which we've done. Usually moving the unit fixes the problem. I do not think it is a line voltage issue.

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
5
Ravi Inthiran   an Audio Enthusiast [Nov 07, 1998]

I auditioned the RCD-950 against the Marantz CD-63 SE about 1.5 years ago which at that time was Rotel's closest competitor. Both these players were connected to a McCormack TLC-1, DNA-0.5SE, Dynaudio 1.8 speakers and some very expensive ($1K) TARALabs cabling at the hi-fi store (which sold both models). After an extended listening session by switching between both players several times (non-ABX) I found both these players to be of higher musical quality (more detail and not as edgy) compared to the Adcom, Sony and Phillips cd players which I had the chance to listen to at numerous other stores (non-direct comparison). The Marantz was a bit more "forward" and possible more dynamic, probably from displaying a brighter treble and warmer mid-range. There was also a tad more bass detail with the CD-63. Both players had a lot of detail, neither players sounded cold or edgy. The Rotel OTOH was smoother. It also sounded more "integrated" and cohesive. These differences were small, noting that would cause a big complaint from anyone. I would guess that either players would make anyone happy for the price. I settled for the Rotel because I prefer a laid-back/smoother sound. Others might opt for the Marantz.
I recently borrowed an Audio Alchemy DDE v1.1 DAC (I beleive a $400 DAC) from a friend, and noticed an improvement in the bass region, and an added sense of presence and warmth (slight). The Rotel is praised for having a very well built digital-out (by Stereophile Mag) and improved with the addition of the AA DAC.

My current system is as follows (the DAC & tube amps are currently on loan from a friend):

CD Player: Rotel RCD 950
DAC: Audio Alchemy DDE v1.1
Amp: Rotel RA-970BX 60wpc integrated amp or Conrad-Johnson PV4 tube pre-amp & Harman-Kardon Citation 2 60 wpc tube amp
Speakers: B&W 602
Interconnects: TARALabs RSC Prime & Prism 22.
Digital Cable: Monster cable
Speaker Cables; TARALabs Prism 1000 Bi-Wire

The Rotel RCD 950 is highly recommended for the money and I have not had a single problem with the player. Not the final word in cd playback quality, but then again, you're not going to get the world for U$450. 4 star rating overall (4.5 star rating for the money).

Ravi.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
Showing 1-10 of 21  

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