RMB-1565 5-Channel Power Amplifier $2299
RSP-1570 Home Theatre Surround Processor $3799
A great-looking high-end audio/visual setup with thundering great capabilities.
Why would you consider a separate pre/power setup when there are so many great integrated receivers available on the market?
It comes down to the same reasons you’d purchase a 2-box hi-fi amp: the sensitive digital/analogue section is kept well away from the noisy power amplifier and its strong magnetic fields, therefore improving performance.
That’s the theory anyway, and it certainly has merit, although constant research is undertaken to improve shielding of power transformers and power supplies contained within more common or garden HT receivers and amplifiers.
I like the two-box route to audio/visual bliss. Historically the most coveted and costliest amplifier components have been the separate pre and power amp, so along with any sonic benefits there is definitely a certain snob value surrounding them.
Rotel has a new range of components featuring the latest high definition audio chip-sets, so us Blu-ray aficionados have another alternative while out shopping for toys. The RSP-1570 Preamp/Processor and RMB-1565 are an upmarket duo and as stylish as they are in their silver livery, boast features and performance that has them in a higher echelon than your run of the mill HT receiver.
It’s the RMB-1565 that really leads the innovation charge here; this class-d equipped device is rated at 100 x 5, but does so consuming precious little heat and power.
At 6kg it is lighter than the 1570 preamp by almost 4 kilograms, and this is due to the design not needing hefty transformers and bulky heat sinks.
The RSP-1570 has the latest DTS and Dolby Digital HD decoding onboard, and any analogue sources can be transcoded to HDMI for easy connectivity. Its video processor is fully compatible with HDMI version 1.3, meaning it’ll handle 1080P/24hz and “Deep Colour”/XVYCC video formats. Perhaps shouting its capabilities from the rooftops as a custom install device, Rotel have equipped the RSP-1570 with extensive multi-zone options, bi-directional RS232 and 12v triggers galore.
I had planned on using Rotel’s custom setup software, but major computer issues meant it was impossible – it looked very impressive though. Luckily the 1570 is easy to set up using the on-board GUI, and although missing a microphone calibration system I had the job done within 20 minutes.
Starting the demo with I Am Legend on Blu-ray, the Rotel duo made a very good impression with excellent Dolby TrueHD steering and thundering dynamics. The Rotel’s ability to retrieve detail from the soundtrack was quite exceptional, echoes and the distant sound of bloodthirsty zombies made for a potent surround sound experience.
This ability to decipher detail was also evident on my Bladerunner Blu-ray, the end scene being a particular highlight with its heightened ambience courtesy of the Rotel combo.
Quibbles are few, but I’d have liked to see some form of internet audio streaming on board. However, adding something like a Squeezebox Duet/Transporter or Linn Sneaky DS would probably be far more sophisticated than any on board effort.
Summing up, Rotel have stuck to their task and produced an excellent high-end alternative to the common-garden HT receiver. It’s a job well done. GARY PEARCE