|Rotel RMB-1077 Multi-channel Power Amplifier|
|Home Theater Power Amplifiers Multi-Channel Amplifiers|
|Written by Matthew Evert|
|Saturday, 01 April 2006|
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Television and Movies
After being patient with the amp, allowing it a chance to properly break in over a few days, I popped in Maxwell’s Embrya (Columbia). In “Everwanting To Want You To Want,” I quickly discovered that there was a vast collection of instruments to be identified in the recording that past listening sessions had not informed me about. Despite all the unique instrument sounds quickly entering and leaving the song, the imaging remained solid. The soundstage had a great feeling of openness. The bongos could be found in a precise location just five feet above the left speaker without difficulty. The high end was detailed, with subtle bell sounds from the foreground and cleverly dispersed cricket sounds surrounding the listener. The smooth alto voice of Maxwell, supported by a mix of male and female background singers, dazzled in the midrange. As with any Maxwell track, it is rich in bass, pumping at your chest and feet, and the Rotel RMB 1077 didn’t disappoint. It provided solid impactful bass that had me dancing around my room like a fool.
“I’m You: You Are Me And We Are You” sounds complicated in title, but wait until you hear all the distinct instruments blended together. The liquid-sounding waterfall chimes, the long decay of a wood block being struck and those crazy crickets again dance amongst the treble sounds. There are trumpets, organs, violins, and no party would be complete without a Spanish guitar. I felt the highs were a little rolled-off compared to the performance of the Anthem A5, but still felt the RMB-1077 was very musical and imaged well. The Rotel RMB-1077 did an exemplary job in detail, impact and instrument separation.
Since the RMB-1077 is a multi-channel amp, I opted to try out the Out There SACD (New Jazz) by Eric Dolphy. The multifaceted talents of Dolphy on both the clarinet and the flute are demonstrated throughout this recording. In “Serene,” Dolphy’s playing mesmerized me with his ability to make sounds I never thought possible from a clarinet. The machine gun-like shuttering effects and the rapid progressions from the low to high end of the frequency range were all beautifully captured by the RMB-1077. Forever gone are my memories of the instrument that sounded like a broken clown nose, that only the dorkiest kids in elementary school would play. The clarinet sounds were forward in presentation, but never to the point of being harsh to the listener. The recording, with all its weaknesses, sounded remarkably tight and had great detail. The bass, which typically sounds a bit muffled in this example, had a tight and punchy sound.
The song “17 West” switched focus to the flute as the centerpiece instrument. Details such as quick gasps for breath in between notes and the rattling of the snare wires under the drum could all be pinpointed with ease. As I listened to this track, I could not help but envision the scene in “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy” as Will Ferrell’s character slurps up the vodka through the flute and shoots fireballs out of it while stepping on tables. Somehow, I think Dolphy had a slightly tamer performance when he played the flute at a small club.
After having a spiritual experience watching the summer Olympics two years back in high definition, I could not wait for the winter Olympics this year. Having 1080i video clarity and 5.1 surround sound is the only way to watch sports. I began by watching the women’s Alpine downhill. The beeps of the electronic starter gates and the chatter of the coaches giving last-minute tips as the skiers shot out of the gates filled me with a sense of the reality of the environment. Cowbells and air horns were dispersed in the surrounding corners of the room behind me. The commentators dominated the center channel, while the screeching of the skis across the icy slopes glided from the left to right front speakers smoothly. Although television broadcast isn’t the fidelity standard for which to exclusively evaluate electronics, I felt that this even warranted a look, as it’s what people really watch. The subtle details were captured nicely and had all the necessary impact to bring this event right into your home. The RMB-1077 did a great job providing a clear and impactful experience.
“Last Action Hero” (Columbia/TriStar Home Entertainment) has everything you could ever ask for in an action film. With guns, a high body count, lots of one-liners and Arnold Schwarzenegger, this film is full of surprises. With Arnold, one can safely assume that this film has an abundance of explosions and machine gun fire. Staying true to that statement, the opening scene features a psychotic killer who fires on panicked police and then Jack Slater (Schwarzenegger) appears to save the day (the opposite of his performance as California governor). As Jack makes his entrance, he walks on the roofs of the squad cars up to where the police chief is commanding the scene. The bending and warping of metal and the crushing of glass as he walks sounded real and was placed perfectly in my room. The liquid sounds of the effects as interpreted by the RMB-1077 had clearly brought me into the moment of the movie. The scene where the villain’s truck plays chicken with Jack featured a monstrous series of explosions, then a quiet section of soft dialogue followed by more explosions. The transition from big pounding bass to silence, then back to pounding bass is a lot to ask from many amps, but the RMB-1077 appeared unaffected by the sudden changes in the power demands of the scene. Rotel had exactly these types of situations in mind when they designed this digital amp with the ability to supply lots of power whether in bursts or continuously.