Need advice on Amp, New Rotel vs Older Bryston, Krell, or McIntosh

Shanafee

Active member
Apr 20, 2022
6
1
25
Hello fellow forum-ers,

Brand new to the community here, excited to start the journey haha. I wanted to get some insight on which amp I should purchase. I just bought a Rotel RC-1572 MKII because I love the feature of it being able to automatically turn on when it detects a signal. I use a SONOS Port as my source streaming Tidal, so having that feature and being able to walk in the door and play directly from my phone is valuable to me.

Speakers are B&W CM9 S2's, Audioquest cabling, Furman 15 PFi power conditioner.

Here's the question:

I am looking to pair an amplifier with it. I was debating buying a new Rotel RB-1582 MKii, which seems to be the obvious choice, but was thinking that there might be a better option out there from a higher end brand on the second hand market.

If I'm looking to spend around $2K, I want to know that I am making a good decision and getting the best musical quality I can from my component. What I was considering was a Krell KAV 250, Bryston 4B SST, or an older McIntosh. Given these other amps are older, is this something worth looking at or should I just keep it simple and pair it with the Rotel? And are new Amps from a brand like Rotel in the same league as older amps from brands mentioned before due to advancements?

Appreciate your input here.

Best,
Sean
 

Basso

Well-known member
Nov 13, 2021
51
31
70
If you are happy with your current sound then stay with Rotel. Sometimes we change things when we really do not need to. I have just recently come to that conclusion about my own system. I guess that is what this hobby is all about though. If you can get your hands on any of the older style amps to compare before buying then great. If not, then you may find yourself going down a rabbit hole.

I may be clouded in my view though as I would not spend that kind of money on a used amp (if that is what you mean). I know many would and be happy but that is not for me.

I personally would stick with what you have or get the updated version if it sounds better.
 

Shanafee

Active member
Apr 20, 2022
6
1
25
If you are happy with your current sound then stay with Rotel. Sometimes we change things when we really do not need to. I have just recently come to that conclusion about my own system. I guess that is what this hobby is all about though. If you can get your hands on any of the older style amps to compare before buying then great. If not, then you may find yourself going down a rabbit hole.

I may be clouded in my view though as I would not spend that kind of money on a used amp (if that is what you mean). I know many would and be happy but that is not for me.

I personally would stick with what you have or get the updated version if it sounds better.
Thank you, Basso. That's helpful. I definitely don't want to be going down a rabbit hole haha and might be over thinking it.
 

nopiano

Well-known member
There’s a certain appeal of the US amplifiers of the past from McIntosh and Krell etc. I owned a (relatively) modest Krell KAV-300i for twenty years and loved it, but I’m not sure how well they can be serviced now. if you’re in the USA then you will know that better than many of us resident in the UK.

Advancements in amplifiers have mostly been in streamlining production for Far East assembly and economies of scale. Over here you can get a Rotel integrated amp with 200 wpc and peak power of over 1Kilowatt, for £2,200. That was scarcely possible 20 or 30years ago at any price. Likewise ClassD designs from Hypex and Purifi bringing almost perfect sound for under £2,000.

Your challenge is finding something you like with your speakers. What have you heard that made you choose them?
 

Shanafee

Active member
Apr 20, 2022
6
1
25
There’s a certain appeal of the US amplifiers of the past from McIntosh and Krell etc. I owned a (relatively) modest Krell KAV-300i for twenty years and loved it, but I’m not sure how well they can be serviced now. if you’re in the USA then you will know that better than many of us resident in the UK.

Advancements in amplifiers have mostly been in streamlining production for Far East assembly and economies of scale. Over here you can get a Rotel integrated amp with 200 wpc and peak power of over 1Kilowatt, for £2,200. That was scarcely possible 20 or 30years ago at any price. Likewise ClassD designs from Hypex and Purifi bringing almost perfect sound for under £2,000.

Your challenge is finding something you like with your speakers. What have you heard that made you choose them?
I worked for a summer in college briefly at an audio store during the time when the B&W CM10 S2's were somewhat new and McIntosh Components were sort of the flagship of the store (2013-2014 I think). The owners of the store instilled this notion in me that McIntosh gear is the end all be all and that B&W is the best speaker company out there. I loved the look of the CM10's, especially in white, so I made a promise to myself that one day I would have those speakers with a Mac Amp.

Since B&W had so much notoriety, I was happy that I didn't have to worry about shopping for other brands and comparing. It seemed it would save me headache and I never would think they would have the brightness issue I clearly hear now with some gear paired to it.

I ended up buying the Bryston 4B SST and was disappointed with the pairing. I could hear faint white noise from the speakers when there was no volume and a faint hum coming from the amp when it was powered on (maybe this is attributed to the amps age?). Also found that the bass wasn't nearly as tight as the Rotel and that the mid range was sort of muffled. On top of that the highs were way too bright. Luckily the guy is allowing me to return the amp.

So Long story short, I am going to be going with the Rotel RB 1582 MKII since I know it sounds good with the speakers and matches my Preamp.

One issue I had was that the gain on the Rotel amp or output of Rotel preamp was not as high. I have to get the volume of the preamp up to 70 plus to get decent volume when paired with RB 1582, where as the Bryston I was rocking away at 60 plus. It's weird to think that I could run out of volume well before the amp runs out of gas.

I find this strange since these two components are designed to be together. Can anyone shed light on that?

Thanks again for all the feedback!
 

Tinman1952

Well-known member
May 19, 2021
1,414
835
2,070
One issue I had was that the gain on the Rotel amp or output of Rotel preamp was not as high. I have to get the volume of the preamp up to 70 plus to get decent volume when paired with RB 1582, where as the Bryston I was rocking away at 60 plus.
You have to remember that volume controls ATTENUATE the signal (lower the volume)they do not increase it. Plus there are so many variables between different products: input sensitivity, potentiometer or digitally controlled resisitor ladder etc.... you should not judge by where the volume control numbers are......
 

Shanafee

Active member
Apr 20, 2022
6
1
25
You have to remember that volume controls ATTENUATE the signal (lower the volume)they do not increase it. Plus there are so many variables between different products: input sensitivity, potentiometer or digitally controlled resisitor ladder etc.... you should not judge by where the volume control numbers are......
So basically I shouldn't worry that a volume of 70-80 on the Rotel's only leaves a 20-25% margin for me to play with? Is the volume control not linear?
 

nopiano

Well-known member
I find this strange since these two components are designed to be together. Can anyone shed light on that?
That’s because historically Bowers & Wilkins were the UK importers of Rotel. I’m not sure how much truth there is in actually being designed together, but with that brand available they were often demonstrated together at shows, and stocked by the same dealers in many cases.

Rotel have invariably made fine sounding amps at modest prices, and they still do.


Edit: just realised you meant the pre and power amps. Sorry! Previous answer above is right, it’s about gain not power. Just enjoy!
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
That’s because historically Bowers & Wilkins were the UK importers of Rotel. I’m not sure how much truth there is in actually being designed together, but with that brand available they were often demonstrated together at shows, and stocked by the same dealers in many cases.

Rotel have invariably made fine sounding amps at modest prices, and they still do.


Edit: just realised you meant the pre and power amps. Sorry! Previous answer above is right, it’s about gain not power. Just enjoy!
When I contacted Rotel/B&W about a replacement part for my old Rotel, I asked them about the set-up between the brands. They shared the same building back then. Whether they still do or not I'm not sure.
 
May 20, 2022
1
0
20
Brystons maintain there value very well - you could buy the 3BST and sell it for close to the same amount in a year - so why not audition it for awhile?. Also the 3BST is only 1 generation removed from the current model 3BSST so it also probably has 10-15 years warranty left on it. With regards to Rotel - I've heard great things about the Rotel 1090 but I believe it's about a $1000 used - sorry I can't help you with the models you mentioned.

(Note from moderation - please don't add non-relevant links to your posts, please.)
 
Last edited by a moderator:

A-Line

Well-known member
Feb 3, 2022
53
12
45
Hello fellow forum-ers,

Brand new to the community here, excited to start the journey haha. I wanted to get some insight on which amp I should purchase. I just bought a Rotel RC-1572 MKII because I love the feature of it being able to automatically turn on when it detects a signal. I use a SONOS Port as my source streaming Tidal, so having that feature and being able to walk in the door and play directly from my phone is valuable to me.

Speakers are B&W CM9 S2's, Audioquest cabling, Furman 15 PFi power conditioner.

Here's the question:

I am looking to pair an amplifier with it. I was debating buying a new Rotel RB-1582 MKii, which seems to be the obvious choice, but was thinking that there might be a better option out there from a higher end brand on the second hand market.

If I'm looking to spend around $2K, I want to know that I am making a good decision and getting the best musical quality I can from my component. What I was considering was a Krell KAV 250, Bryston 4B SST, or an older McIntosh. Given these other amps are older, is this something worth looking at or should I just keep it simple and pair it with the Rotel? And are new Amps from a brand like Rotel in the same league as older amps from brands mentioned before due to advancements?

Appreciate your input here.

Best,
Sean
McIntosh amps are great, if you like that sound. They provide a very unique sound that I like very much.
You'll be very limited with only $2K to spend on a used McIntosh amp.
McIntosh will last at least 50 years+ with proper once in a while servicing, and their customer service is excellent too.
I have a McIntosh tube amp and a solid state amp. I also have 2 Revox recievers which also have great amplifiers.

McIntosh amps are far better than Bryston, Krell, or Rotel in my opinion. I would strongly suggest that you audition any potential amp purchase with the rest of your system before you lay your money down.

Good luck with your searches.
 

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