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The main audio configuration of the showroom that housed the Rotel RSX-1550 was built to highlight how this A/V receiver performed in a home theater. Jim Wicklund, the co-owner of Premiere Home Entertainment, had the room setup to emulate a professional movie theater’s sound experience as accurately as possible. The room was around 12 feet wide and 15 feet long, with a Stewart Firehawk 102” movie screen at the opposite end of the room. A Marantz DLP projector was set up to display the crystal-clear images emanating from the Marantz BD8002 Blu-Ray player that was hooked up to the projector.
The RSX-1550 was sitting in the middle of the showroom’s main A/V rack to the left of the room, directly under the Furman Elite 15 power conditioner, the BD8002 CD/DVD player and the Marantz VC 6001 DVD changer. This DVD changer comes equipped to handle SACDs, divX playback, MP3 discs and it features 24-bit/192 khz audio DAC. This DVD player also contains an RCA analog out, one digital optical out and a 5.1 channel audio out, which would demonstrate how the RSX-1550 would handle digital audio signals from the DVD player as well as showcasing the equipped main speakers in this configuration, Canton’s GLE-409 floor standing speakers.
The Canton speakers were situated about five feet from the walls of the room and are around 4 feet tall apiece. The room was also equipped with the Canton GLE-455 as the center speaker. These speakers all complimented each other and were well calibrated to insure that the demo of the Rotel RSX-1550 was accurate. HDMI cables were used to send the audio signal and the up-scaled video signal to the RSX-1550. Kimber cables were used primarily for the speaker connections. The power consumption of the RSX-1550 is a fairly hefty 450 watts and the receiver requires 115 volts going through it at any one time to send audio signals to the speaker system, so a power conditioner should be considered if you are thinking about purchasing the Rotel RSX-1550. Otherwise your system might suffer from too much unconditioned and ‘dirty’ power flowing to your speakers, causing unwanted distortion levels, which might damage your speaker setup.
The Velodyne DLS-3750R subwoofer was situated at the left of this room. It contains a 10” driver which pushes 175 watts of power. I’ve always liked the DLS line of subwoofers from Velodyne due to the Digital Signal Processor. Because of their all-digital design, the DLS-3750 R is made to deliver compact and precise low-end with a more direct and powerful impact than most subwoofers in the same price range. The importance of including a high-caliber subwoofer as a major part of your own home theater’s audio system cannot be overstated, mostly if you want to hear loud sound effects such as bombs exploding, machine-gun fire and car crashes exact and as powerful as sound effects technicians want you to hear them.
Music and Movies
To truly feel what type of power the Rotel RSX-1550 could disperse to the Canton GLE-409’s, I needed an action clip from a movie that featured a LOT of explosions in surround sound to make sure that the RSX-1550 could decode DTS and other surround modes with no problem, while still delivering huge low-end to the subwoofer included in this audio set-up. I selected a scene from the movie “Fantastic Four” (20th Century Fox 2005) in which the set of superheroes are standing on a broken, shattered concrete road at the Golden Gate Bridge and a major fireball is hurtling towards them at the speed of light. The fireball turns out to be a meteor heading directly to the bridge and when hit, all hell breaks out as the meteor impact explosion caused the audio system’s main subwoofer to explode with a very loud bang that sent a low-end shudder throughout the room.
The RSX-1550 handled processing the correct audio signal with ease. Even during the bombastic moment when the meteor hit the bridge, I could easily discern what each character was saying to each other with great clarity. The Rotel had no problem decoding the signal to hear the low-end of the explosions and the much more delicate sound of the movie’s dialog track. The room seemed to come alive with the sonic impact of the ensuing action onscreen after the meteor hit the bridge and the Fantastic Four leapt into action, flying over the ocean in pursuit of whatever super power was responsible for sending the monolithic meteor into the bridge, hoping to kill everyone standing on it. As the movie’s musical soundtrack broke into full gallop, the RSX-1550 filled the room with highly powered, yet intricate orchestration from the symphony, slowly building into a high crescendo as the superheroes began to face their main foes.