|Rotel RDV-1060 DVD-A/V Player|
|Home Theater Video Players DVD Players|
|Written by Brian Kahn|
|Friday, 01 October 2004|
Page 1 of 2
The RDV-1060 is Rotel’s latest and greatest contribution to the world of DVD-Audio/Video disc players. As Rotel has a 40-year history of producing solid, good bang-for-the-buck gear, I was quite curious to see the DVD player they felt was worth $899, a price tag solidly above the run-of-the-mill players yet significantly lower than most other high-end players. With Rotel, it is always possible that they can make an $899 DVD-Audio/Video player that smokes $3,000 units from other companies. It was with these high expectations that I broke open the Rotel RDV-1060’s carton and started plugging in cables.
Upon first look, I immediately noticed the revised and much improved industrial styling of the RDV-1060 over past Rotel components. The faceplate is thick, silver brushed aluminum, framed with nicely finished black aluminum fins on the edges. This is a drastic departure from the more utilitarian black face plates on prior Rotel products.
The player itself is standard in size, measuring 17 inches wide by three-and-five-eighths inches high and 13.25 inches deep, weighing in at 11.2 pounds. While the weight isn’t close to the 22 pounds for the Pioneer DV-38A I had previously reviewed, it is much more than the typical DVD player that averages around five pounds. A good-sized portion of that additional weight is due to chassis reinforcement. It works as the chassis is much more rigid than the last Rotel transport I owned. The rigid chassis helps ensure a stable platform for an accurate reading of the discs. More accurate disc reading reduces the necessity of error correction and improves overall sound quality. The Rotel plays just about every format, except the soon to be forgotten about SACD. The formats it recognizes include DVD-Video, DVD-Audio, CD, CD-R, CD-RW, CD-V, SVCD and MP3 discs.
The audio section of the RDV-1060 is well thought out and is the performance area that clearly sets it apart from the other players in the Rotel line. The digital audio signal, unless sent to the digital outputs, is converted to Cirrus Logic/Crystal 24-bit/192kHz DACs. The analog signal is then sent through not one but two op amps in succession. Rotel utilizes highly-regarded op amps from both Analog Devices and Burr Brown.
The digital video signal is decoded by a 12-bit/54mHz bit video DAC, manufactured by ESS Technology. 12-bit processing makes a visible improvement over the older 10-bit chips and is now the standard for higher-end DVD players. The unit’s video processing capabilities also feature a progressive scan output that is much more than an afterthought. The video processor is not made by Faroudja, the brand found in many mid- or high-priced units. It is not clear if this decision was made for performance, political or price reasons. My best guess is price and, at $899, I wasn’t really wishing for more in terms of video output from the player.
The progressive scan circuitry allows the user the option of choosing various settings with respect to the reverse 3:2 pull-down. The user can set the unit to video, film or one of the automatic modes. The traditional automatic mode looks for flags embedded in the signal to determine which mode should be utilized. The Rotel chip set goes a step further with a “smart” automatic option that not only looks for the embedded flags but also provides analysis of the video signal as well.
The RDV-1060 has all the normal connection options. On the video side, there are composite, S-video and component video, both interlaced and progressive. There is also a SCART connection for those in other parts of the world. The unit’s audio connections include 5.1 analog outputs, stereo analog outputs, digital coaxial and digital optical outputs. There is no direct digital audio connection for DVD-Audio of the type found on some higher-end Denon DVD-Receiver combos and all of Meridian’s electronics.
The back panel also boasts features that will greatly ease the integration of the RDV-1060 into a custom install. There are 12-volt trigger and IR inputs and an RS-232-capable RJ-45 control port. The Rotel also features a discrete command set that will be a boon to the programmers of the system’s control panel. Discrete commands mean, for example, that instead of hitting power, hoping that the unit turns on rather than off, there are separate on and off command signals.
The front panel has an informative display above the disc tray. The display shows not only the typical chapter and time but also the type of disc, sampling rate, audio format and which channels are in use. I was impressed by this feature, no question. I connected the rear panel 5.1 analog outputs to my Krell processor with Monster Cable M550iHR six-channel interconnect cables. The video connection was from the Rotel’s component outputs to the Krell, with Monster Cable’s THX Ultra Component Video 1000 cables.
The Rotel manual is very informative and walks the user through each step, explaining what each setting really does. The bass management and speaker delay settings are clearly explained, as well as the fact that they only work on the Dolby Digital and DTS analog outputs. Lastly, I plugged my Xantech IR relay into the rear panel’s IR input jack.