ROTEL RCD-990 CD Players

RCD-990

(See reviews)

User Reviews (13)

Showing 1-10 of 13  
Karlotta   Audiophile [Jan 01, 2000]
Strength:

resolution of detail, soundstaging, pace and rhythm,

Weakness:

ergonomics, slow to respond to commands, cheesy remote

The Rotel RCD 990 has been in my system for 3 years. I was lucky to get one at all. I snuck it out of the store! Not really. This player is rugged and the drawer platter mechanism closes with the authority of a Lexus. Then the clamp stabilizes the disc and the music begins.

The sound is detailed, resolving, but never bright. It is well suited to classical music, as it's dynamics and pace and rhythm excel truly. And when you get the feeling to upgrade, buy an outboard DAC or upsampling DAC like Bel Canto DAC 1 and enjoy the music even more.

Similar Products Used: Rotel RCD 991, Arcam Alpha 9
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Craig Eastwood   an Audiophile [Jun 05, 1997]

This player is amazing. I auditioned competitive players from Rega, Linn, Naim, and Marantz. The Rotel had a more natural sound then all but the Naim. It was more detailed and had better staging than all of the other players, including the Naim. At $1500, it cannot be beat. In fact, I'd say that it's the best player on the market for under $3500.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Nick   an Audiophile [Jun 17, 1999]

I have had this player for nearly 2.5 years now. It is just awesome. I had auditioned many CD players before this one and was never really happy for one reason or another. This was a little more expensive than the others but well worth it. Many people have criticized its looks but personally I find it is one of the best looking CD players around, it looks like a tank and is built like one. I only wish it had a dither button like the RCD-991 that has replaced it. You have to go through a series of steps to change the dither on this machine. Other than that, it's nearly perfect, sonically speaking. From what I know, the only difference between this machine and the RCD-991 is the transport mechanism. There were no more CDM9-Pro units left to continue making the 990 so Rotel switched to a cheaper transport (don't know which one) but also dropped the price. The two machines probably sound identical, but the 990 would have to be a better transport if used with a separate DAC. It is one of the few audio pieces to be considered an instant collectible because of its limited production run, reasonable price and most important, its sound quality.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Tom B   Audio Enthusiast [Feb 10, 2000]
Strength:

Clear, detailed, natural and dynamic sound.

Weakness:

None

Not much more I can add to what has already been said about the RCD-990 CD Player.

I found one owned by a gentleman who never really used it because he preferred his $5000 DVD player. So it was basically new. The player was absolutely spotless, the remote still had the plastic film on protecting the face and the box and manual looked like they had never been touched.

I had read all the reviews that are displayed below before buying this player, so I had very very high expectations.
I have to say I was not disapointed one single bit. It was even better than I imagined it would be.

I recommend if you find one used you buy it immediately.
Do not haggle on the price, or some one may steal it out from under you.

Similar Products Used: RCD 930AX 940BX 950BX 970BX
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Jack   an Audiophile [Jul 23, 1997]

I agree with the comments above-the only CD-player i liked better, was the Maridian 508.20, that was a little smoother, but at twice the price. I don't think you can get better for less than $3000. Good luck finding one now tho, only a couple(if any)left-and a long waiting list

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Robert Poole   an Audiophile [Jul 22, 1997]

I, too, auditioned many single-box CD-players for a budged-minded audiophile setup. I tried the Micromega Stage 2 and 3, the Linn Mimik and Karik, and a few others.
The RCD-990 is incredibly solidly built; the entire chassis is over engineered, as is the power supply. A Philips pro-drive serves as the CD mechanism. (See below.) The unit has TOSlink (optical) and RCA digital outs, in addition to RCA analog outputs and balanced analog outputs.

The unit can decode HDCD encoded CD's (I have two in my collection, one of which is a Dick Dale album).

In doing an A/B comparison with the Micromega Stage 2, the Rotel blew it away. The RCD-990 had strong, tight bass, and a better sense of timing. In comparisons with the Linn Mimik, the Rotel had cleaner, clearer female vocals, and more "oomph" in dynamic passages. (This was a point of contention with the salesman at the hi-fi store I did the A/B comparisons at. However, he's Linn biased, and did concede that the two units are fairly comparable, and both excellent buys for the money. The Mimik retails for about $100 or $200 more in USD.)

The Karik was audibly superior as a stand-alone CD player, though the difference was marginal, and the Karik cost more than twice what the RCD-990 cost.

The RCD-990 is the only one of the bunch that handles HDCD discs.

I feel that the RCD-990 was the best $1500 I ever spent on any piece of musical equipment. It's one of the few pieces of equipment I probably won't get rid of, now or in the forseeable future.

And why should I? The Philips pro-drive used in the RCD-990 is no longer in production! So this unit is a collector's item. Rotel is busily working on a replacement which will incorporate a newer drive mechanism. I fear they'll use a cheaper part, which will degrade the sound quality of the system. If you can find one of these, either new or used, or even a floor demo, snatch it up!

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Charles Purvis Kelly, Jr.   a Casual Listener [Aug 04, 1997]

The Rotel RCD-990 Compact Disc Player was the player that I listened to the night I was auditioning the Krell KAV-300i integrated amplifier, and I must say that it sounded every bit as good as "Stereophile" and everyone else on this site who is fortunate enough own one says it is.
So, then what is my overall take on this player?

Well, while it delivers a sound quality that is definitely good enough to merit it five stars, it does have a couple of operating quirks that I find really annoying:

(1). "You have to wait for the player to cycle up before you cue up specific tracks anywhere on the CD" (a long and drawn out process in my opinion).

(2). "Once a track is more than one minute into its playing cycle, you cannot change over to other tracks anytime you wish to do so" (you have to hit the "STOP" button and start over (which goes back to quirk # 1.)).

My analysis: While this is the best sounding player that Rotel has ever manufactured, and one of the best sounding cd players currently available, based on the quirks I just stated above, if I were looking to buy a high-end cd player that is priced in the $1,500.00 to $3,000.00 range, I would bypass the Rotel RCD-990 and would buy a Sony XA7ES (if I could get either a demo machine or a new one below retail, that is). I just hope Rotel would devote a little more attention to the problems I just stated above in the next model of this player. If, and when they do that, this player would be a killer.

Sound quality merits five stars, but I'll subtract one for operating quirks.

Four Stars.

Suggested Retail Price: Approximately $1,500.00.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
Jack G   an Audiophile [Aug 04, 1997]

Jsut a quick response to Mr. kelly's post. The player is a little quirky-slow to change tracks, but one can *definitely* change to other tracks even past one minute into the song. In fact, I do it alot when judging other parts of my system(new amp). You must have done something wrong, or else the one you tried was defective.I'm surprised the salesperson didn't question that(maybe not, since I think I know which store you listened at)) I noticed noone mentioned the fact that one can change the dither on this machine-a very nice touch, and one that is unique. In absolute terms, I'ld give it a 4 star rating, but considering its low price(must pay $3K or more to better), I give it an extra star

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Jeremy Jackson   an Audiophile [Jul 31, 1997]

I normally don't like Rotel products, they have a certain harshness that I don't like, but I must say, this Cd player is incredible. Flawless delivery, unparalleled soundstage, I agree with everyone else who said that this is the best player for under $3000. I agree with Ben, however that the onIy downside to this product is that it takes long to skip tracks. Well anyway, I'd recommend this player to anyone looking for an audiophile cd player, regardless of price!

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
BEN S   an Audiophile [Jul 28, 1997]

Rotel RCD990-- $1500 retail
I heard this unit hooked up to a Krell KAV300i integrated and a pair of Genesis 400 speakers with MITerminator 2 Biwire speaker cables and MIT MH330 plus interconnects.

To make a very, very long story short, I must say I was extremely impressed. I went into the store doubting that any player under $3000 could sound any better than the Wadia I had recently heard, but the Rotel proved me wrong(and to think, for only $1.5K!). I noticed very little difference between the two units until I listened to some tracks off the Bob Marley's Legend album. I noticed that the bass was more defined, and the mids were a touch smoother. Now, I can't say that it was a very significant increase in sound quality from the $3000 Wadia, but for any player I've heard under that amount, it most certainly was. I liked the tonal balance, very neutral, and clarity was very impressive. My only complaint is that it took so long to change tracks when I pressed the skip button, it would keep playing for 10 to 15 seconds before it changed. Ah well, not enough to change a five star rating to a four! Incredible unit. I loved it.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Showing 1-10 of 13  

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