AVRev on Twitter AVRev on Twitter AVRev.com RSS Feed AVRev Email


FPSS slide image

Wireworld Digital Cables Review

Wireworld has been making audiophile grade cables for decades now, and the company’s products have been on my “to investigate” list for several years. This is for a number ...

FPSS slide image

Marantz HD-AMP1 Integrated Amplifier & DSD DAC Review

Marantz has been on a serious winning streak with their recent line of SACD players/DAC combos, streamers, receivers, home theater line, and stand alone DAC models. Especially the HD-DAC1 DSD DAC headphone ...

FPSS slide image

Audioengine HD6 Powered Speakers Review

Audioengine has left very tangible imprint on the high end and computer audio markets. Their products allow ordinary people, who aspire to better sound, to connect a source directly to a loudspeaker with ...

FPSS slide image

JL Audio Dominion d108 Subwoofer Review

JL Audio, based in Miramar, FL, is without question one of the handful of top tier subwoofer manufacturers in the world. Some of the best-sounding and lavish systems I've heard had JL ...

FPSS slide image

SVS SoundPath RCA and Ultra Speaker Cables Review

SVS is known for making excellent high-end stereo and home theater speakers that are priced so attractively, most folks do a double take to make sure they got the price right. Their subwoofers ...

FPSS slide image

Rogue RP-5 Preamplifier Review

Rogue Audio, based in Pennsylvania, deserves iconic status alongside other legendary American makers of tubed home audio products. They've made steady progress in product design, understand customer relations, dispense completely with any ...

FPSS slide image

Rotel RB-1590 Power Amplifier Review

I’ve been familiar with the legendary Rotel brand since childhood. My father would often take me along when he would frequent hifi shops and I remember their components on display alongside ...

FPSS slide image

ZenWave Cables and SurgeX ZenWave Edition Review

Cable manufacturer ZenWave Audio, out of Lafayette, CO, is headed up by Dave Cahoon, a passionate audiophile who has been on a mission to build the highest quality products, at the fairest price, ...

FPSS slide image

REDGUM BLACK RGi35ENR Integrated Amplifier Review

REDGUM Audio has been producing beautiful looking and high value audiophile amplifiers in the state of Victoria, Australia for the past twenty-one years. REDGUM has never produced cookie cutter products. Their designs, as ...

FPSS slide image

Linear Tube Audio MicroZOTL 2.0 Headphone Amp & Preamp Review

Linear Tube Audio, formed in 2015, is based out of Washington DC, where they hand builds tube components in their workshop. The firm is headed up by Mark Schneider, a highly experienced product design ...

FPSS slide image

iFi Micro iUSB 3.0 & Gemini USB Cable Reviews

iFi, the U.K. based high end audio company, has fleshed out their product line over the past few years at a pace that is impressive by any measure. iFi was founded as ...

FPSS slide image

Marantz M-CR611 Network CD Receiver Review

There has never been a time in high-end audio where customers have demanded plug and play devices that can accommodate a slew of sources like the current market. Ironically, early on, the home ...

Rotel RB-1590 Power Amplifier Review  Print E-mail
Home Theater Power Amplifiers Stereo Amplifiers
Written by Andre Marc   
Monday, 01 February 2016
Article Index
Rotel RB-1590 Power Amplifier Review 

I’ve been familiar with the legendary Rotel brand since childhood. My father would often take me along when he would frequent hifi shops and I remember their components on display alongside other now classic manufacturers products. Rotel has a long and storied history and they are going as strong as ever today with a full suite of products that cater to every market, including home theater, distributed audio, and purist two channel audiophile components.

Rotel is part of the B&W Group, located stateside in North Reading, MA, which owns Classe electronics and the legendary Bowers & Wilkins speaker brand. My first pair of “high end” speakers were indeed B&W monitors. The company is totally committed to each brand, and they have large dealer network and offer high quality customer technical support.

It has been a number of years since I have had Rotel product in my system, and it was with great enthusiasm that I accepted an offer to review their flagship power amplifier, the RB-1590. Very impressive on paper, the RB-1590 offers 350 watts per channel of Class A/B power.

Internally, the RB-1590 sports twin massive toroidal transformers custom made by Rotel. The transformers are part of a massive robust power supply that includes British made BHC capacitors, Rotel’s circuit topography has been laid out in a true monoblock design, for channel separation and noise reduction. Around back you you will find XLR balanced and RCA input connections, two pair of 5-way speaker binding posts, and 12-volt trigger control. For peace of mind there is thermal protection circuitry, as well as over current, over voltage protection circuitry, The RB-1590 retails for $2999.

Unpacking the RB-1590 was a task. The amplifier weighs in just under 90 Lbs! The black casework is immaculate, and even more impressive for a sub $3000 component. Layout and connector quality around back are first rate as well. The front panel simply has a power on/power off switch, which gives the amp a bit of a cool menacing look.


Set Up & Listening

The RB-1590 was set up in my larger system in a 20 x 25 room with high ceilings. I used no special tweaks aside from discarding the accompanying power cord and using the recently reviewed ZenWave Audio PL-11. The RB-1590 drove Bryston Mini T speakers, and briefly, Harbeth Compact 7ES-3’s, with a Rogue RP-5 tubed preamp, Bryston BDP-2 file player, and Simaudio 280D DAC in the chain. The signal cables were also ZenWave. Everything was plugged into the Bryston BIT-15 power conditioner. The amp was stationed on the bottom shelf of a Salamander rack.

A quick disclaimer. I had, in the past, somewhat of a bias against high powered amps. My thinking was that more output stages, more parts, and massive power supplies were great for drive and SPL’s, but lacked nuance and delicacy. My feelings changed some time ago when realized good designers were giving you the best of both worlds, and that there were no absolutes. I had auditioned a series of high powered top class amps and was dazzled not only by the ease with which they drove various speaker, but by their musical qualities as well. End disclaimer.

I was very eager to get the Rotel broken in and warmed up as I had wanted to see how it would compare to my 50 wpc tubed Audio Research VS55, and a 120/240 wpc (4 Ohms/8 Ohms) Simaudio 760A. After a generous warm up, the first thing I noticed about the RB-1590’s presentation is how very deep the soundstage was. The music seemed to stretch back very far behind the speakers and spatial cues were easy to understand. A highly impressive start, as soundstage depth is more important to me as a listener than soundstage width. This is a personal preference.


Flat Panel HDTVs Front Projectors Rear Projection TV
Loudspeakers Subwoofers AV Receivers
Blu-ray Players Power Amplifiers Preamplifiers
Media Servers Remotes Video Processors
AC Power Furniture/Racks Accessories
search reviews:  
Advanced search  
This Month on MHT
MHT Feature
  home theater news  |  equipment reviews 
  blu-ray reviews  |  dvd  |  theatrical reviews  
  music download reviews  |  music disc reviews
  contact  |  about-us  |  careers   |  brands 
  RSS   |  AVRev Forums
  front page  |  virtual tours  |  dealer locator
  how to features  |   lifestyle & design articles
  Want Your Home Theater Featured on MHT?
   CE Partners: HDD  |  HDF  |  VGT  |  SD  |  DVD
  Advertise with Us | Specs | Disclaimer | Sponsors
  privacy policy | cookie policy | terms of use
  909 N. Sepulveda Blvd. El Segundo, CA 90245
  Ads: 310.280.4476 | Contact Us
  Content: 310.280.4575 | Mike Flacy