|Rotel RSP-1570 7.1 Processor/Preamplifier|
|Home Theater Preamplifiers AV Preamps|
|Written by Robert Mead|
|Tuesday, 07 April 2009|
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The audio configuration that was already installed in Premiere Home Entertainment’s third main showroom was built to feature pure 2-channel sound emanating from the Rotel RSP-1570 as well as the attached black Rotel RMB 1575 power amplifier and the Rotel RDV-1093 DVD/CD player. The speaker system I would be listening to came from the B&W CM9 line of floor standing speakers, and these speakers happened to be only one or two weeks old, so I knew I was not going to hear the perfect tones of a speaker system that had a lot of ‘break-in’ time. Since a major element in any 2-channel listening experience comes from the main audio source of the system’s sound, I took a long look at the RDV-1093 DVD/CD player see if this unit could had the capability of delivering true and clean stereo to the B&W speakers. I was pleased to note that the player’s signal to noise ratio was a low 65 decibels and that the frequency response of the CD playback was rated at 2 Hz to 20 kHz, insuring that all of the audio I would be hearing would come through loud and clear.
I also examined the attached Rotel RMB-1575 five-channel power amplifier and I was taken aback by the ultra-sleek and powerful design of this power amp. While the amplifier only weighs a light 11 pounds and is about 17 inches in height, the power this unit conjures up by its looks alone is fairly overwhelming. The total power output of the amp is a fairly strong 250 watts per channel, and when all channels are driven the output goes up to a very strong 500 watts per channel, more than enough voltage to demonstrate the capabilities of the RSP-1570 that this power amp would deliver all of its clean power to. Rotel is quick to point out that the RMB-1575 has a clear specification that all the channels in this power amplifier are driven at a clean 8 ohms, and the amp is designed for delivering power to a larger room’s audio system, so I would not suggest that this power amplifier should be purchased for someone’s bedroom. But if you are looking for a unit that can displace pure power to a media room, the audio configuration highlighted would be more than sufficient.
When it comes to accentuating any sound system’s true sonic capabilities, B&W’s loudspeaker CM9 product line is up to the challenge. These floor-standing speakers have a height of more than 40 inches tall and weigh a hefty 58 pounds apiece and have an elegant look to them, helped along with that sophisticated look by incorporating real wood veneers into the cabinet design of these immaculate speakers. Looking further into the technical details of this speaker, I noticed that the size of the Nautilus tube loaded aluminum tweeters that are a main element of these speakers are fairly small when it comes to the average tweeter size of most loudspeaker systems. Hopefully, that design element would not cause too much high-end coloration of the audio signals when the demonstration started, but I had some doubts.
Looking closely at the two woofers situated at the bottom of these speaker units, I noticed the large size of the twin Kevlar cones which would drive the low-end audio to the 15x10 foot showroom, so any doubts about this speaker system’s ability to deliver quality bass frequencies to my discerning ears were alleviated. The two CM9’s were positioned about two feet away from the showroom’s walls and they were set at a nice 70-degree angle, towards the main listening area of the room in which I was sitting comfortably on the sofa against the main wall directly opposite to the audio system.
Music and Movies
The RSP-1570 7.1 was designed to decode almost every surround mode on the market today, and this unit is able to disperse that decoded surround sound with true agility during any home theater viewing experience. The sound clarity emanating from this sound processor when it comes to delivering substantial low-end audio impact during a movie’s action sequences as bombs explode and houses are blown apart is definitely a highlight of this processor / preamplifier. A movie’s dialogue that is sometimes lost amid some loud sound effects in other receivers are not a problem with the RSP-1570. And during the quieter moments of a movie’s non-action sequences, this processor / preamplifier is able to disperse the more subdued sound effects of waves on a beach and the wind blowing through palm trees with great acuity.
But the main reason I was in the showroom that day was to experience pure 2-channel stereo as it was meant to be heard: with great clarity and substance, which is what the engineers at Rotel are striving for with every new component that they design. So I began this demonstration by inserting a CD of Steely Dan’s 1980 release entitled “Gaucho” into the CD tray of the Rotel RDV-1093 so I could experience pure 2-channel stereo for myself. “Gaucho” was recorded during the last gasp of the 1970’s, a decade in which Steely Dan saw their greatest success, both sales-wise and critically, but this CD was not appreciated by the press or by Steely Dan’s once-vast audience at the time of its release. I figured this multi instrument-drenched CD would be a good example of the RSP-1570’s ability to really highlight the musical soundtrack that such a heavily orchestrated CD such as “Gaucho” brings to the audio soundstage.
The first song up on the CD was entitled “Babylon Sisters.” This tune starts out very lightly, with just a few notes from Donald Fagen’s electric piano filling the showroom with his fluid piano playing, but the delicate musical nuance that flowed through the B&W loudspeakers was palpable even before the percussion from session drummer Steve Gadd cut through as his drums entered the song. The crisp vocal tones from Fagen were smooth and strong as the song continued to play along, and then the sharp guitar notes came through the speakers systems loud and clear, but never obtrusive. Even though there was never a sub-woofer attached to the Rotel RSP-1570, the low-end audio sounded full and driving, never for an instant needing any enhancement to the bass at all during this song.