Advice for secondhand integrates: Rotel RA-1570, RA-12, Cambridge CX-A61

CGMe

Active member
Feb 18, 2022
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Hi there!

Currently my setup is as follows:
  • Vincent SV-129 Integrated amp
  • Vincent PHO-300 phono amp
  • Pro-Ject Debut Carbon EVO turntable
  • Marantz DR700 CD-player
  • Google Chromecast Audio for streaming
  • KEF Q-50 speakers

Everything for now is connected with entry level Audioquest cables and 'price-apporiate' speaker cables. No net filters. I've heard improvements on systems with better cables and net filters, but I'm realistic enough to assume the level of my current setup wouldn't really benefit from them at the moment.

I'm looking to upgrade my system, allbeit step-by-step. I've just ordered a secondhand Bluesound Node 2i to replace the Google Chromecast. I recently upgraded my speakers from vintage KEF Chorale SP1016 to Q-50's which, to me, was a big improvement combined with the Vincent amp. Much, much better soundstage and the highs are so much clearer without getting harsh (which I really like). Next up will be replacing the amplifier, for which I could do with a bit of advice. Since I'm mainly aiming at getting secondhand equipment my choices are somewhat limited, but also quite diverse...

The options I'm looking at at the moment:
  • Rotel RA-12
  • Rotel RA-1570
  • Cambridge CX-A61
The challenge is that they're all advertised in different directions not really close to my home, so I'd really only want to hit the road for a listen after having made an well considered, educated guess. Both the RA-1570 and CX-A61 are similarly priced at around €750. The RA-12 is just under €400. They all might have room for negotiations.

The amp I can find the most information on is the Cambridge CX-A61, and that get's good reviews, but I'm curious where the other two stand in terms of performance. Pricewise (new) the RA-12 would sit below the CX-A61, the RA-1570 above. I just really don't know how they would compare sonically. Then there's the matter that I can find a lot more about Rotel's A-12, not so much on the RA-12, which might also add that amp into the equasion?

Really hope you guys can give me some insight and sound advice on this (pun intended).

PS.
Something that might have influence on advice; after the amp my KEF's next in line for upgrading. Recently heard a set of Focal Chora 816's which I really liked.
 

CGMe

Active member
Feb 18, 2022
7
1
25
Just as a follow-up: I happened to stumble upon a great deal for a secondhand Peachtree Nova which I really liked for its looks.

After having used it for a few weeks I had to draw the conclusion that it really wasn't any better than my old Vincent amp. In fact, it sounded worse on both my KEF iQ50's and my Focal Chorus 714v's. What I did like however was the modern features it had: a remote and a built-in dac (which sounded better than the Bluesound Node 2i DAC). Out with the Peachtree and back to the Vincent for now.

Choices have shifted a bit as well, since availability of (secondhand) black Rotel equipment is scarce. I know sound quality is wat matters most with audio equipment, but I really would like to avoid getting the silver stuff.

In short:
  • The Rotel RA-12 is off the list
  • The RA-1570 / 1572mk2 are still on the list, but aren't often offered secondhand in black
  • Cambridge CXA61/81 are on the list
  • Cambridge Azur 851A is new on the list
If I go the Cambridge route I might also save on for either a matching CXN v2 or 851N, depending what's available and affordable (for me).
 
Just as a follow-up: I happened to stumble upon a great deal for a secondhand Peachtree Nova which I really liked for its looks.

After having used it for a few weeks I had to draw the conclusion that it really wasn't any better than my old Vincent amp. In fact, it sounded worse on both my KEF iQ50's and my Focal Chorus 714v's. What I did like however was the modern features it had: a remote and a built-in dac (which sounded better than the Bluesound Node 2i DAC). Out with the Peachtree and back to the Vincent for now.

Choices have shifted a bit as well, since availability of (secondhand) black Rotel equipment is scarce. I know sound quality is wat matters most with audio equipment, but I really would like to avoid getting the silver stuff.

In short:
  • The Rotel RA-12 is off the list
  • The RA-1570 / 1572mk2 are still on the list, but aren't often offered secondhand in black
  • Cambridge CXA61/81 are on the list
  • Cambridge Azur 851A is new on the list
If I go the Cambridge route I might also save on for either a matching CXN v2 or 851N, depending what's available and affordable (for me).
the 1572 or possibly the 851A although neither are common in black
 
Last edited:

CGMe

Active member
Feb 18, 2022
7
1
25
Update: the Peachtree has been sold and just closed an excellent deal for a Cambride Azur 851e and 851w pre/power amp combo. In black. It will be 2 weeks before I can go pick them up, but I'm really stoked and can't wait to hear the difference with my Vincent.

Holding on to the Focals for a while as well (planned to sell them), since I'm curious what they sound like with the Cambridge set. Next step will possibly be a pair of KEF Q750s or Q950's. Due to my room layout rear ported speakers are a no-go and heard good things about the Q floorstanders.
 
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CGMe

Active member
Feb 18, 2022
7
1
25
I've read that the R's are better performers than the Q's, but the problem is that they have back firing ports. My living room isn't symmetrical and have 1 speaker in front of a wall and the other has about 3 meters of space behind it.

Advice from a local hifi dealer is to look at either closed, front or down firing ported speakers.

Perhaps some Wharfedale EVO 4.3/4.4 would be a good match as well.
 

nopiano

Well-known member
I've read that the R's are better performers than the Q's, but the problem is that they have back firing ports. My living room isn't symmetrical and have 1 speaker in front of a wall and the other has about 3 meters of space behind it.

Advice from a local hifi dealer is to look at either closed, front or down firing ported speakers.

Perhaps some Wharfedale EVO 4.3/4.4 would be a good match as well.
Ah, I see. Regardless of the ports, the boundary reinforcement will be dramatically different in such a contrasting positions.

Personal experience suggests that the front -v- rear port is bit of a Hifi myth, as a rear port isn’t depending on a wall it’s merely making any unwanted noises less obvious.

Despite my current speakers being ported I tend to like sealed boxes for ease of placement. But I realise they’re rare these days. ATC are a favourite but aren’t cheap.
 

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