|Rotel RCD-06 SE CD Player Review|
|Home Theater Audio Sources CD Players|
|Written by Todd Whitesel|
|Thursday, 29 October 2009|
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The bug struck me late 2003. I was at a bookstore looking through magazines when a cover lured me in with its display of speakers and amps and CD players – the components of the year as judged by that audio publication. Thumbing through it, I was astonished by the number of manufacturers represented that I had never heard of. My jaw also dropped looking at the price tags of much of the featured equipment. Certainly it would be sweet to have 50K (or more) to drop on a system but my budget was more modest. I bought the mag, took it home and studied it for probably two months, getting familiar with the various players in the audiophile world. I remember among the editors' budget recommendations was a CD player from Rotel – the RCD-1072 – that was praised for offering a real taste of the high end. I wasn't sure what that even meant, but I liked the 1072's silver chassis and overall design and filed the model and maker in my memory for future exploration.
The RCD-06 SE is the successor to Rotel's RCD-06 – a well-regarded single-disc player. Like the RCD-06, the SE is also a single-disc player that reads CDs, CD-Rs and CD-RWs. The RCD-06 SE sports a new Wolfson WM8740 DAC, replacing the Burr Brown unit found in the RCD-06. The WM8740 is also being used in several other Rotel products and was chosen by Robert Burn, Rotel's U.K. technical director, for its ability to reveal the emotion in the music. Rotel has also improved the circuitry and internal components, with upgraded filter and buffer stages, low-noise resistor feeds to the DAC, and selected input and output coupling capacitors.
Although the look is still Rotel industrial, the RCD-06 SE is housed in a sleek silver body, minus the black handles found on earlier Rotel models. The CD drawer is front and center, to the right of the unit's lighted display. Its faceplate features a power button on the left and six push buttons on the right, beneath the display, for all standard commands. Set up is a breeze. The RCD-06 SE sports analog RCA stereo and digital coaxial connections. A detachable power cord makes it easy to pop in another cord of your choice.
The supplied remote control has everything needed for quick action, and though it's housed in the plastic-du-jour, Rotel has color-coded commands and track numbers to make it a bit easier for thumbs and fingers to find the desired buttons.
Smooth and quiet operation are two characteristics desired in any compact disc player, and that's what you get with the RCD-06 SE. The transport is not stone silent, but unless you're 4 inches away from the unit you'll hear nothing but music. The player's response via the remote control was immediate and never took multiple button pushing to make it fly right. Disc information loads in about 2 seconds, with the first track taking off in the same timeframe.
Right away I was struck by the player's clean and detailed sound. Given the right amplification source it's well-rounded and engaging with weighty sound-staging. Paired with my Grant Fidelity A-348 integrated tube amplifier, the RCD-06 SE was clean, punchy and quick. I wondered, though, how it would deliver matched with one of its Rotel siblings.