|Rotel RSX-1550 AV Receiver|
|Home Theater AV Receivers AV Receivers|
|Written by Robert Mead|
|Wednesday, 11 March 2009|
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I next choose a clip from the outdoor adventure movie “Adrenaline Rush” (Image Entertainment 2002) which was first released as an Imax exclusive. The sequence featured a group of snowboarders and skiers attempting to ski and snowboard down a 150-foot snow covered cliff all at the same time. The movie’s sound mix included actual human heartbeats that pulsated during the trip down the cliff. As the group of adventure-seekers moved to the edge of the huge cliff, the heartbeats stopped and were replaced by the sound of five people flinging themselves over the 100-foot cliff to feel a true adrenaline rush as they were sent hurtling through the air. The RSX-1550 filled the room with the captivating sounds of the wind and the group of adventurer’s cries of excitement as they all landed with a loud thud upon the soft snow after falling about 100 feet from the cliff. How these people actually performed this trick without killing themselves is beyond me.
The audio interlacing between the natural sound effects of the mountainside’s wind and the movie soundtrack’s swirling musical score was without fault, and the bass that the RSX-1550 was dispersing to the loudspeakers was adroit and rhythmic without conveying any distortion. As the volume was increased during this demo, the Rotel A/V receiver was able to push the higher levels of low-end to the Velodyne DLS-3750R subwoofer with aplomb. I was even able to aurally detect the exact moment that the skier’s landed upon the harder surface of the ice when hitting the end of the ski run at speeds of 60 miles per hour and above, an accurate test of audio delineation from the Rotel receiver.
The last movie clip I check out was from the Jason Statham car chase movie, “The Transporter” (20th Century Fox 2002). The fast-paced sequence was the scene in which Statham is trying his best to fend off a group of heavily armored villains attempting to decimate his two-story house with him and his impromptu girlfriend still in it. The scene starts off quietly, with Statham telling his girl to stay down right before the attackers outside unleash a barrage of bullets and grenades that would level a small town into oblivion. As the house’s windows were shattered and the wood building posts were splintered into a hundred pieces, the sound effects coming out of the RSX-1550 thundered against my eardrums with a dynamic sonic blast, yet was never too overpowering for the Canton speakers to take. The Rotel receiver was able to push the audio system without causing any distortion or sound blur in the process.
While the RSX-1550 a/v receiver delivers a powerful wallop to the listener during playback of a movie’s sound effects and dialogue, the a/v system could rank higher on the technical side of audio components when it comes to up-scaling the mid-range signals during the more musical side of a film’s soundtrack. I noticed that the clarity and precision that other audio manufacturers incorporate into their A/V receivers, such as Marantz, was somewhat missing in the RSX-1550 during music reproduction of the movie soundtracks.
Additionally, the setup function is somewhat simplistic and may seem utilitarian compared to receivers in a similar price range. Those who are used to being spoiled by extensive menu functions will be disappointed here. The menu is plain text on a dark background. There’s no room calibration tool either, such as an automatic mic-driven equalization tool. You have to set all the levels manually. The Rotel RSX-1550 also forgoes an Ethernet connection, so don’t expect any streaming capabilities or menu accessibility through your home network.
The design team at Rotel have been doing a great job of bringing top-quality audio components to the mainstream in recent years, and with the Rotel RSX-1550, they are continuing with this same attention in developing excellent a/v equipment for the masses at a decent price. This a/v receiver could be a cornerstone to any audiophile’s home theater set-up as well as being included as a more minor part of someone’s complete audio configuration. The value of incorporating the attention to detail that Rotel’s designers are known for really brings up the overall quality of the RSX-1550. The engineers that continually evaluate audio reproduction really paid off from what I experienced during my time with the RSX-1550.
The way that this receiver integrated with the Canton GLE-409’s, the GLE-455 center channel speaker and the Velodyne DLS-3750 R subwoofer was completely seamless. This A/V receiver is solidly built and offers an extra sheen of sophistication when aligned alongside the rest of your audio components. At a retail price point of $1,999, the Rotel RSX-1550 is well positioned for a portion of the audiophile market that’s looking for a piece of equipment designed for replicating the movie theater experience.
Special thanks goes to Premiere Home Entertainment, a Las Vegas based home entertainment company specializing in the design and installation of home theater, home automation, and home integration systems. They are located at 2300 N. Rainbow Blvd., Suite 119 in Las Vegas.