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Amp/Preamp Asylum: REVIEW: Rotel RMB-1066 Amplifier (SS) by bondmanp

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REVIEW: Rotel RMB-1066 Amplifier (SS)

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Model: RMB-1066
Category: Amplifier (SS)
Suggested Retail Price: $699.00
Description: SS 6 Channel Amplifier 6 X 60 Watts RMS; Bridgeable
Manufacturer URL: Rotel
Manufacturer URL: Rotel

Review by bondmanp ( A ) on November 07, 2002 at 11:27:48
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for the RMB-1066

I purchased this amp, the RMB-1066, to power the L/C/R channels of my Pioneer Elite VSX-24TX receiver. My evaluation is primarily a comparison vs. the amp section of the Pioneer. I know this may be of limited use to many of you, but it's my only frame of reference. I am slowly improving my system.

This amp is run in bridged, 3-channel mode, which is rated at 150 watts RMS X 3. My speakers are Vandersteen 1C, with a VCC-1 center, and a Def Tech PF-15 subwoofer. Interconnects are Monster Z and Reference. Speaker cable is entry-level Kimber. The rest of my system is listed under my Moniker in Inmate Systems.

Music preferences include classical, some acoustic jazz, modern folk-rock, alternative, thrash-metal, industrial and ska.

Overall, there was a noticeable improvement in some areas over the Pioneer. Dynamics got a modest boost, as well as detail. Stereo imaging improved, especially with regard to width, and to a lesser degree, hieght. It could be due to other system/room factors, but depth is somewhat flat, as it was with the Pioneer. The sound is a bit less compressed at high volume, although there is still considerable blurring of individual instruments at these higher volumes. The sound is to the warm side of neutral, similar in this regard to the Pioneer. "Air" is improved, and there is also less grain than with the Pioneer. Noise and hum are not audible. Vocals, female and male, are very natural and uncolored.

On Tory Amos' album "Under the Pink", every breath was clearly defined, and the range of Amos' voice was presented full force in a front-of-the-hall way. Detail was outstanding, with plenty of wood to the cello in "Pretty Good Year". Piano hammer-strikes were often very apparent. Her voice generally was anchored firmly in the center and about 4 to 5 feet off the floor. On some peaks, her voice did get a bit hard, but never chesty or boomy. Dynamics were outstanding on Danny Elfman's "Songs for a Darkened Theater" - a collection of his earlier film theme works. Brass had a good amount of bite, but no excessive sharpness.

I can't comment on bass from the amp, since I do not run it full range. Above 80Hz, the bass seems well defined and quick, very musical.

The amp has performed flawlessly and never gets more than slightly warm to the touch. Build quality is excellent.

Ultimately, I still want more from my L/C/R amp, and I will eventually look for a higher-end 3-channel amp and move the Rotel to the rear channels. However, for the money, I feel this amp offers great flexibility and value.

Product Weakness: Not the ultimate in current muscle, can be a little congested when pushed very hard.
Product Strengths: Smooth, warm sound, imaging at low to moderate volume, soundstage, quiet, clean, reliable, well-built, inexpensive, flexible design

Associated Equipment for this Review:
Amplifier: Pioneer Elite VSX-24TX A/V Receiver
Preamplifier (or None if Integrated): none
Sources (CDP/Turntable): Thorens TD-166 MkII/Shure M91HE. Old Teac CDP
Speakers: Vandersteen 1C, VCC-1 Center
Cables/Interconnects: Monster Z and Reference ICs, Kimber basic speaker cable
Music Used (Genre/Selections): Classical, Modern folk-rock (Tori Amos, Suzanne Vega), Alternative, thrash-metal, Industrial (NIN, Skinny Puppy), Ska
Room Size (LxWxH): 26' x 10' x 6'
Room Comments/Treatments: Odd-shaped finished basement in need of acoustic treatment
Time Period/Length of Audition: Purchased and in use since May 2002.
Other (Power Conditioner etc.): Basic Monster Power Center
Type of Audition/Review: Product Owner

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Topic - REVIEW: Rotel RMB-1066 Amplifier (SS) - bondmanp 11:27:48 11/7/02 ( 2)