Would Rega Apollo be good upgrade from my Rotel ?

admin_exported

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Hi, I'm looking to upgrade my CD player in the near future so having found this forum during a search, I thought I'd ask some advice. My current CD player is a Rotel RCD-02, my amp is a NAD C355BEE and I have Monitor Audio RS6 speakers. I listen to a wide range of music but mostly to Beatles and classic rock like Queen, Led Zeppelin, Genesis, Rush etc. I find the sound a little too bright at times and have decided that my Rotel CD player could do with being upgraded as the amp and speakers are fairly recent additions having only had them a little over a year, I've had the Rotel for about 5 years. I want to spend about £600 and at first I thought of getting a NAD C565 to match my NAD amp but was put off by some not too great reviews, saying it isn't much better than it's cheaper brother, the NAD C545. I have read some great things about the Rega Apollo CD player which currently retails at £475 having come down from £598. How would the Rega gel with the rest of my set up, I spoke to a saleman at a Hi-Fi shop and he suggested it would be an easy change but I was wondering what anyone else thought as he might just be telling me what I want to hear to get a sale. Finally, would the Rega Apollo be an upgrade or a sideways move, if so, what else should I be looking at?
 

El Hefe

Well-known member
Jun 21, 2008
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Ric,

If I am not mistaken, your ROTEL CDP can decode HDCD right? FYI, the Rega Apollo does not decode HDCD. On the question whether its an upgrade, I would say yes to the Rega.

Instead of changing the CDP, have you thought of adding a separate DAC instead? A friend of mine had a Rotel CDP as well and I loaned him my MF X-DAC and it did wonders to the sound quality.

Just a thought though.
 
T

the record spot

Guest
Slightly over budget, but the new Audiolab would be a good one to shortlist. Granted, it's £700, but you get a whole load of functionality thrown in and given the Audiolab 8000CD was around the £600 mark (although it too is now enjoying a discount as with the rest of the Audiolab gear).

I think some folk think the Audiolab gear may be a touch bright sounding, but assuming your amp balances that out - which it may do - you could be on to a good combination.

I listen to the same type of music as you and tend to want something that's got plenty of detail and good bottom end to go with it, but without being overly bassy/boomy.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Thanks for the reply EL Hefe, I hadn't thought of adding a DAC, would the Rotel and DAC be better than replacing the Rotel with the Rega Apollo? I had noticed that the Rotel supports HDCD but I don't even know what HDCD is
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Thanks for the suggestion the record spot, I'll look into the Audiolab
you mention but I didn't really want to stretch the budget that far
unless it offers even more than the Rega and it fits better with my
system
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Following on from the record spot's suggestion about the new Audiolab 8200 I have had a look at some online reviews (I had a look in this month's What Hi-Fi and there is a review in there too) and it does seem like a cracking payer but maybe slightly lean and bright for me. Then I looked at the Audiolab 8000 which can be had for around £300 now but again I want a more warm sounding player than the Audiolab seems to be.

El Hefe suggested adding a DAC to my Rotel and I've found that the Cambridge Audio Dacmagic is a good choice for a little over £200.

Does anyone else think that keeping the Rotel and adding the DAC would be better than going for a new player like the Rega Apollo or should I just go for the Rega as planned?

I've looked into HDCD and it's not something I'm bothered about so that's not a good enough reason to keep hold of the Rotel unless adding the DAC will sound better than the Rega.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
the arcam rdac has been getting good review maybe worth a look. the dac is a good idea as you can use it with computer based music if you wish to
 

Ronald Archiebald

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Jun 24, 2010
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Ric969,

The Rega Apollo would be a notable improvement to the Rotel RCD-02. I have had the Rotel combo - RA-02, RCD-02 & RT-02.

The amp is superb but the cd player is just too clinical sounding for my taste. I have personally never found Rotel cd players particularly endearing.

Ronald
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Thanks Ronald, just what I wanted to hear


Pauladamss, I've had a look at the Arcam rDAC you mentioned and it appears to be a good option but I'm only really interested in improving the sound quality of my Hi-Fi, I don't listen to music on the computer and haven't got any MP3s so I think I'm going to forget about adding a DAC and concentrate on a better CD player.
 

smbmetal

Well-known member
Sep 8, 2007
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I've had rotel products for a number of years but I've never heard any of their CD players, neither have I heard any Rega Apollo players either! No help there then!

In my opinion don't discount an Arcam cd player. Yes I'm biased of course having owned two! I think the Arcam players work well with Rotel amps and I'm still really pleased with my CD 92T despite it's age. I think if you can hold of an Arcam CD192 you'll have a fantastic player, shame Arcam don't make it anymore. One of my favourite things about Arcam players is the CD text! Yes, I know easily pleased! Good luck though in whatever you choose :)
 
T

the record spot

Guest
Ric969:Following on from the record spot's suggestion about the new Audiolab 8200 I have had a look at some online reviews (I had a look in this month's What Hi-Fi and there is a review in there too) and it does seem like a cracking payer but maybe slightly lean and bright for me. Then I looked at the Audiolab 8000 which can be had for around £300 now but again I want a more warm sounding player than the Audiolab seems to be.

Not sure if this helps, but what you probably want more is balance. Focusing on the supposed "lean" or "bright" nature of the Audiolab (supposedly) is overlooking what it might bring to the party with the speaker and amp combination you have.

My setup was transformed by the Sansui amp I now use. Previously, the stereo sounded accurate, but uninvolving. Adding the 717 brought a sense of scale and balance to the proceedings and while I still listen for hours as I did before, it's many times more satisfying. However, on their own, the Marantz CDP could be called "thin" or lean sounding, while the 752 speaker with its mesh dome metal tweeter would be most people's idea of a complete turn off.

I wouldn't write it off as an option, but try and get a home demo to see how it compares with your system. See if you can find a friendly dealer perhaps?
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Thanks for the suggestions, ideally I'd like to demo the players at home but the main thing is getting a new player past the wife so bringing home lots of different kit might not be so easy.

Trouble is, if I get the Rega, she's going to know I've changed players because the Rega is a top loader! I managed to bring in my NAD amp last year under her radar but it's not going to be so easy with the CD player
 

Sabby

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Jul 22, 2009
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Ric969:
Thanks for the suggestions, ideally I'd like to demo the players at home but the main thing is getting a new player past the wife so bringing home lots of different kit might not be so easy.

Trouble is, if I get the Rega, she's going to know I've changed players because the Rega is a top loader! I managed to bring in my NAD amp last year under her radar but it's not going to be so easy with the CD player


I feel your pain man! I also have the same problem, managing to sneak in a CD player or amp, if same colour and approx same size, isn't too difficult, but changing speakers is definitely not on.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
if you go to rega-synergy they are more than happy to send you an apollo for a weeks home trial
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Thanks, I'll check it out


I'm starting to look into the DAC idea as it will be easy to add without the wife noticing


How much of an improvement to sound quality will adding a DAC bring or should I just forget the DAC and go for a new player instead?

Which option will bring the biggest improvement in sound quality?
 

Cold Roses

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Sep 23, 2009
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I'm glad you've not discounted the DAC idea after all. Even if you don't ever see yourself transferring all of your music from your CDs to the computer, streaming services like Spotify are great (and improving all the time), plus there are various other sources you can hook up to the right DAC. Getting a DAC will be a good way of improving the sound of your CD player and future proofing yourself a little.

Seeing as you've been considering a Rega CD player, you may have seen that Rega have a new DAC coming out (supposedly later this month), which will be around the same price as the Apollo (£500). If you search the forum you'll find a recent thread on it. The Rega DAC incorporates an enhanced version of the Rega Saturn DAC circuit and also borrows elements from the top of the range Rega Isis. I don't believe there have been demos of the Rega DAC yet, though if it lives up to expectations it'll sound great. You may well find that your Rotel used as a transport with the forthcoming Rega DAC will deliver a superior sound over the Apollo. Obviously an audition would be required. I'm planning to audition the Rega DAC when it's out and am hoping it will take my Apollo closer to the Saturn, whilst at the same time giving me access to the music on my computer.

By the way, I absolutely love my Apollo and I'm sure you wouldn't be disappointed if you did buy one. Someone else has mentioned the new Audiolab, based on the reviews and functionality of the DAC, I'd be auditioning that too if I was you. I appreciate you're not convinced it delivers the right sound, based on reviews, but an audition can't hurt.

By the way, love the fact that people are having to sneak hi-fi purchases past their partners. I was wondering whether I'd be able to get a new amp into the house without my girlfriend noticing. Though have decided that honesty is the best policy, if and when I buy a new amp. The Dac is coming first though.
 

El Hefe

Well-known member
Jun 21, 2008
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18,895
Ric,

It all boils down to what you like. My personal experience with a DAC has been good. My previous set up was a Marantz CD6002 linked to a Musical Fidelity X-DAC. The X-DAC improved on the Marantz overall sound quality. But, when I purchased the Rega Apollo, I found that the Rega (hooked up directly to my amplifier) outperformed the Marantz+MF X-DAC. Hence, I now only use the X-DAC to decode HDCD.

IMHO, a DAC is only good if its a model that is better than the CD player onboard DAC. I would not think a GBP 2000 CD player will benefit from a GBP 300 DAC. Get my drift?:)

Even now that I have upgraded the Rega to an MF X-Ray V3, I still use the X-DAC for my HDCD collection but for normal CDs, its a direct hook up to the amplifier from the X-Ray.

If you have the chance to demo the unit, try to compae the standalone Rega with your Rotel+DAC.

Recommended DAC would be from Musical Fidelity M1 DAC (GBP 399), ARCAM rDAC (not sure the price) and Rega (I think about GBP 500)
 

tenergy

New member
Dec 17, 2009
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Spoiler alert: Biased Rega-head here.

Get the Apollo. Your five years with the Rotel is time enough, and I'm sure your fiscal responsibility side would be happy when we tell you that five years constitutes a sufficient enough period to consider the subject RCD-02 as "fully depreciated". I have no doubt that you enjoyed subject Rotel, but wait until you get your hands on the Apollo. Have mine and have no complaints whatsoever.

In fairness, I have yet to hear the Rega DAC, so that may be worth considering as well. Costs a wee bit dearer than my Dacmagic though so I wonder if the step up in performance would be justifiable enough. Enjoy the hunt!
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Thanks for all the suggestions, a lot to chew over and keep me busy but I've still got another 6 days until pay day
 

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