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Digital Drive: REVIEW: Rotel RCD 1070 CD Player/Recorder by Hifi Steve

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REVIEW: Rotel RCD 1070 CD Player/Recorder

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Model: RCD 1070
Category: CD Player/Recorder
Suggested Retail Price: $800
Description: Rotel's new flag ship one box CD player
Manufacturer URL: Rotel
Model Picture: View

Review by Hifi Steve ( A ) on February 19, 2002 at 08:36:15
IP Address: 24.103.121.11
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Review – Rotel RCD-1070
Rotel has long been known for making budget hifi that sounds great. It should come as no surprise then, that Rotel’s new flag ship CD/HDCD player, the RCD-1070 is a stunning performer. Recently I was hunting for a player to replace my Arcam Alpha 6, that although an award winner in its day in the $1000 range, was starting to show its age. To that end I auditioned Arcam’s much vaunted product range at that time, including the Alpha 7SE, Alpha 8, and Alpha 9. As well I brought home the Rotel 971 for audition. After extended listening sessions with the 971 it was clearly superior to the 7SE. Although I did not take the Alpha 8 home I believe that the 971 was superior to it as well. It was definitely inferior to the Alpha 9 but the 9 was out of my budget so I decided to purchase the Rotel 971. I lived with the 971 happily for the next two months, my only concern with it being a slight lack of bass performance compared the to Alpha range.
Then the brand new RCD-1070 arrived at the dealer. I knew the 971 was being discontinued but I didn’t think it would happen quite that fast. Now I was in a bit of a quandary; should I trade in the 971 at a slight loss while it is still worth a lot? I decided to take the RCD-1070 home for a listen to see what, if any, improvements Rotel had made over their previous product line.
Well let me tell you strait away the RCD-1070 is a far better CD player than the 971. In fact it outperforms the older model in every way possible. Gone is the bass shy performance of the 971. Here instead is powerful and sometimes surprisingly deep bass. The midrange has detail and bite but a naturalness that sounds, well, like a great turntable. The high end is slightly laid back, never forward or bright, but rather sweet and detailed. The overall presentation is full bodied but extremely detailed. To be cliché I’m hearing things I’ve never heard before.
On Holly Cole’s Girl Talk CD, the singer’s voice was silky smooth with lots of echo and air around it. The stand up bass was deep with very nice edges. The piano was full bodied and rich, sounding very real. On the song Cruisin’, the echo around the standing bass slapping was just amazing. I was struck by how real it sounded. And, I’ve never before heard so clearly the humming and grunting of David Piltch during his standing bass solo on My Baby Just Cares for me.
On Naim Audio’s recording of Could You Believe, by Antonio Forcione and Sabina Sciubba, Sabina's voice was natural and powerful. The guitar was full bodied with delicious leading edges around the strings. Moving to The Lemon Song on Zeppelin 2, I was struck by how great John Paul Jones’s playing was. Just a great song that was very enjoying to listen to on this player. Listening to Miles Davis, Kind of Blue, So What took on new dimensions for me. This great performance by the jazz master never sounded better to me. The cymbals were laid back and natural with new clarity in the mid range. The guitars on Supertramp’s Give a Little Bit sounded amazingly real. The soundstage was deep with individual instruments readily discernable.
Make no mistake this is a storming CD player and a stunning accomplishment at this price range. For the first time I truly feel like my system has a great front end, and I have auditioned some very expensive players here at home before. It reminds me of really great analogue sound. If you are in the market for a player in this price range, run, don’t walk, to your nearest Rotel dealer and give it a listen.
Oh and one last thing, this player has now received 5 star reviews in both HiFi Choice and What HiFi.


Product Weakness: Nada at this price.
Product Strengths: Detail, detail, detail. Drive, powerful bass, and deep sounstage. Great performance for the price.


Associated Equipment for this Review:
Amplifier: Cyrus 2 with PSX power supply
Preamplifier (or None if Integrated): None
Sources (CDP/Turntable): Linn Sondek, Rotel RCD 971, Arcam Alpha range
Speakers: Mission 753's (flag ship 5 driver model)
Cables/Interconnects: Audioquest Crystal and Vandenhul D-102 Mk III
Music Used (Genre/Selections): Jazz, Rock, Classical, Punk
Room Size (LxWxH): 18' 5" x 12' 4" x 8'
Time Period/Length of Audition: 2 Weeks
Type of Audition/Review: Product Owner




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Topic - REVIEW: Rotel RCD 1070 CD Player/Recorder - Hifi Steve 08:36:15 02/19/02 ( 8)