used Rotel vs HK, Denon, Onkyo

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  • stjoenewt
    Junior Member
    • Jul 2003
    • 26

    used Rotel vs HK, Denon, Onkyo

    I am looking to get into HT and with my budget, am limited to $1K for a receiver. That would mean an HK AVR525, Denon AVR2803/3803, or Onkyo SR800. the Rotel RSX1055 is slightly out of reach, but with the introduction of the 1098, I may be able to pick up a used one on Audiogon.com. OK Rotel owners, how would a used 1055 compare against the strong points of the above mentioned brands. HK owners seem to like Logic7 and the bass management capabilities, can Rotel match them? Denon seems to be able to do HT the best, what about the 1055? Onkyo seems to be between the HK and Denon as far as amps, musical playback, and connections. Also, is Rotel quality good enough to consider a used unit and what other features does the 1055 have that would make it a better choice? :?




    Mike
    Mike
  • Andrew Pratt
    Moderator Emeritus
    • Aug 2000
    • 16507

    #2
    I know at least one Rotel 1055 that might be available if a certian moderator decides to upgrade to the 1098

    As for the 1055 stacking up against the Denon's etc take a look around the board and you'll see there's a lot of us current Rotel owners that have moved on from the HK's, Denon's, Pioneers etc of the world to better sound from Rotel. I myself have owned two HK receivers, two Denon's, a Sony receiver, Sony pre amp, Rotel pre amps (2) and now the 1055 and its a very solid receiver. I'm using mine as a pre amp but its internal amps are excellent as well and put out honest power unlike most receivers (read this page)




    Comment

    • Danbry39
      Moderator Emeritus
      • Sep 2002
      • 1584

      #3
      I originally wrote out a long diatribe based on personal experiences, but decided that might cross the boundaries of good taste as far as being overly negative. Let's just say that I currently own Rotel, Onkyo, HK, and Denon products. I've had some great gear, well maybe not always great, from each of these companies, but if I personally had to make a choice between a well cared for, used 1055 and the other receivers you listed, I'd choose the Rotel, hands down for their sound and, as Andrew mentioned, "honest" power ratings. Oh, and I like the way they look too. Seriously, it would be a personal no brainer.

      I don't think the Rotel warranty is transferable, so you need to consider this in your decision. Thus, if you buy a used Rotel, you have to make sure it doesn't have any of the problems some users have experienced, such as popping.

      If you decide to not choose Rotel, and again this is only my opinion, I would (in descending order) consider the HK 525(especially if you will now or at some point in the future go with a 7.1 system), followed pretty closely by the Denon 3803, then the Onkyo 800.

      I would need to audition all options pretty thoroughly, hopefully in house, before making a decision.

      You mention HT. Are you also interested in two channel sound as that would be a major factor for me personally. Also, what speakers do you own and how much power do they require? That could be a factor in which receiver to use as well.

      I will say this. You're doing it the right way by asking the questions now rather than after the purchase, which someone in this thread stupidly ops: (Clue: not you or Andrew) did before. I'd take a close look at Andrew's link and focus a lot on the power ratings of certain receivers with all five channels driven simultaneously as a good tool.




      Keith
      Keith

      Comment

      • Jsapp
        Junior Member
        • Jun 2003
        • 28

        #4
        I'd look at it this way.

        If you don't already have enough speakers for 7.1 and your budget is already constrained (meaning you can't afford more speakers) then any advantage the HK or Denon has is gone(both have extra amps). This is just my personal opinion but I don't think the Onkypo is in the same class. I had the same choces to make. I managed to stretch my budget to the 1055 but if I had not my choice would have been the NAD T752/T762, Denon 3803 and HK525.

        I don't see anything with a used 1055 if you WANT one. I did.

        As for Home Theatre I think the Denon and HK have a lot of bells and whistles that were not important to me but may be to others. The 1055 does have a few setup shortcomings the others do not. I'd like to be able to set crossovers for stereo vs Dloby, I'd like to be able to set crossovers for differnt speakers. I'd like to be able to set levels without the test tones. Little things like that. If bells and whistles and HT performance matter (and they cetainly do depending on situation) think seriously about the 3803 and 525 as not only do you get the bells but warranty. If you want 90% of rotel performance at a cheaper price you really need to test the NAD out. I thought it really sounded great.

        Dlealer support pused me towards the Rotel but if the Rotel dealer sold NAD I'd probaly have and NAD

        Comment

        • Andrew Pratt
          Moderator Emeritus
          • Aug 2000
          • 16507

          #5
          NAD can sound good but they've had a lot of quality control issues the last few years. Although the warrenty might not be trasferable I would be willing to bet that Rotel wouldn't turn a customer away if they had a problem. I know of at least one person here that had warrenty work done on his 1066 that he technically didn't buy.




          Comment

          • stjoenewt
            Junior Member
            • Jul 2003
            • 26

            #6
            Thanks for all your prompt advise.

            I would be using the receiver for both music and HT, probably 40% music and 60% HT. That was one of the reasons for looking into Rotel. From what I read, they seem to do music better. That also led to HK, which would be clearly in front if not for the reported fan noise. Does the 1055 do the video conversion like the Denon? This isn't of great importance now, but probably will be in a little while, as I add components.

            As far as my speakers go, they are Aura's, of which I am not particularly proud. I made a poor decision on the spur of the moment. They are 6 ohm and I think they would do better with cleaner power over what I have now. My room size is approximately 20 X 20, so I think 75 watts would be enough, but it needs to be clean enough to minimize distortion. Also, I only have a 5.1 set-up now. When a higher percentage of material is encoded for 6.1, I will consider adding more speakers, but for that is in the future.

            When I said a used Rotel, I was thinking of trying to get one from a local dealer that might have a trade in, at least then I would have some assistance if anything went amiss.

            Again, thanks for your time and suggestions.




            Mike
            Mike

            Comment

            • Andrew Pratt
              Moderator Emeritus
              • Aug 2000
              • 16507

              #7
              While there's not that much encoded in true 6.1 both the EX, ES and Rotels own XS processing can generate a rear channel from regular 5.1 mixes. I've found in my room the 6th channel was a welcome addition and given your rooms width going with two rears would likely be even better at creating a seamless surround field.
              As for video conversion the Rotel doesn't do it but that's not a loss IMO since video conversion usually means a loss in quality...its always best to run dedicated lines to the display if possible in what ever video type they offer. I generally stick to that but I admit to using an composite to s-video adapter for my VCR...its not great but its very cheap (under $10) and for a VCR who cares about video quality




              Comment

              • stjoenewt
                Junior Member
                • Jul 2003
                • 26

                #8
                Thanks for your reply Andrew.

                I noticed you made a good point in a reply on another thread. Sound tracks are alway present in movies, so doesn't that make music reproduction equally important for movies? I hadn't really thought about that facet.

                I suspect, like some others, I am getting caught up in features and ignoring some basic needs for sound reproduction of all types.

                BTW, assuming I would add speakers for 7.1 at some time, I would at the same time need to add amps. If I chose to add a 5 channel amp, could I set the 1055 to use it's internal amps for the rear surrounds? Or perhaps about another room? :?:




                Mike
                Mike

                Comment

                • stjoenewt
                  Junior Member
                  • Jul 2003
                  • 26

                  #9
                  Thanks for your reply Andrew.

                  I noticed you made a good point in a reply on another thread. Sound tracks are alway present in movies, so doesn't that make music reproduction equally important for movies? I hadn't really thought about that facet.

                  I suspect, like some others, I am getting caught up in features and ignoring some basic needs for sound reproduction of all types.

                  BTW, assuming I would add speakers for 7.1 at some time, I would at the same time need to add amps. If I chose to add a 5 channel amp, could I set the 1055 to use it's internal amps for the rear surrounds? Or perhaps speakers in another room? :?:




                  Mike
                  Mike

                  Comment

                  • Danbry39
                    Moderator Emeritus
                    • Sep 2002
                    • 1584

                    #10
                    The amps can be set to power the rear speakers, but I don't think they can be assigned to power another room. Not so sure on the second part as I don't own the receiver.

                    Are the Aura's the linaeum speakers like the RCA's sold at Radio Shack? If so, many consider these particular drivers a real bargain, very smooth and sweet sounding for the price, but with very little low end. If they're like I'm thinking they are, they might eventually fit in nicely as rears or surrounds due to their smoothness and the way they disperse sound. I'm just guessing that their sensitivity would be in the 87-89 decibel level, but this is purely speculation on my part. If they are, you'll be able to get quite a bit of sound out of them, but may not be able to drive them to extremely loud levels, but what's "extremely loud" varies from person to person. Also, do you have a sub, as that could relieve quite a bit of the load off of the Auras.

                    By the way, if I were you, I would keep in contact with Andrew if you should decide to go the Rotel route and should he decide to upgrade to the new Rotel pre-pro. You can bet that his receiver will not only be in tip-top condition, but that he will have upgraded it with the latest firmware and will have performed the bass management fix on the resisters.




                    Keith
                    Keith

                    Comment

                    • Andrew Pratt
                      Moderator Emeritus
                      • Aug 2000
                      • 16507

                      #11
                      I noticed you made a good point in a reply on another thread. Sound tracks are alway present in movies, so doesn't that make music reproduction equally important for movies? I hadn't really thought about that facet.
                      Right the subtle ambience and dialog is every bit as important as the loud special effects etc.

                      I suspect, like some others, I am getting caught up in features and ignoring some basic needs for sound reproduction of all types.
                      Features are what sells new products but in the end you'll only ever up using maybe one or two of them.

                      BTW, assuming I would add speakers for 7.1 at some time, I would at the same time need to add amps. If I chose to add a 5 channel amp, could I set the 1055 to use it's internal amps for the rear surrounds? Or perhaps speakers in another room?
                      Yes you can use the 1055's for the rear channels but not the second zone.

                      By the way, if I were you, I would keep in contact with Andrew if you should decide to go the Rotel route and should he decide to upgrade to the new Rotel pre-pro. You can bet that his receiver will not only be in tip-top condition, but that he will have upgraded it with the latest firmware and will have performed the bass management fix on the resisters.
                      Right I have done the firmware upgrades and installed the bass management fix (there's now a toggle switch on the back to engage or dis-engage the bass redirect). I should know shortly if I'm going to upgrade or not so drop me line if you're interested.




                      Comment

                      • stjoenewt
                        Junior Member
                        • Jul 2003
                        • 26

                        #12
                        Danbry39 -

                        The Aura's are the "Line Source" models, not sure if that's the same ones Radio Shack sells. They don't sound bad, but I feel I could have done better. I have Towers for fronts, bookshelves for rears, a center, and a subwoofer. The towers can handle some bass but the subwoofer is better. My speaker upgrade plan is to replace the front mains and center, then use the existing ones for surrounds. This is why I am interested in 7.1 down the road. Your guess on sesitivity was right on. They are listed as 88dB. But I still think 75 good watts will provide enough volume. At least until the kids move out.

                        I do think they will sound better if I get a better amp driving them. My current set-up is an older pro logic unit combined with an older stereo receiver. No ability to set crossovers or direct the bass. I feel replacing those pieces and sending the bass to the subwoofer will improve the overall performance, hence my search for a receiver.

                        Andrew -

                        I may well be interested after some auditioning. I don't know your timetable, but I probably won't be ready to move for several months. Need to save up some more $$$'s and do more auditioning.

                        Again, thanks for everyone's assistance. I hope I have as much fun using this gear as I am shopping. BTW, I find I have busted my budget multiple times. It started at $500 for a receiver. Is that a common malady?




                        Mike
                        Mike

                        Comment

                        • Andrew Pratt
                          Moderator Emeritus
                          • Aug 2000
                          • 16507

                          #13
                          Is that a common malady?
                          :sos:

                          Oh yes its very common...luckly I'm immune to it :angel:

                          .
                          .
                          .
                          .
                          .
                          .
                          .
                          Yeah right :twisted:




                          Comment

                          • Danbry39
                            Moderator Emeritus
                            • Sep 2002
                            • 1584

                            #14
                            I do think they will sound better if I get a better amp driving them. My current set-up is an older pro logic unit combined with an older stereo receiver. No ability to set crossovers or direct the bass. I feel replacing those pieces and sending the bass to the subwoofer will improve the overall performance, hence my search for a receiver.
                            Oh yes, I can pretty safely say that the system you're using will improve a LOT when you eventually get the Rotel, redirect the bass to your sub, and get new speakers. Keep in touch with Club Rotel and here's to hoping that you post in other areas of HTGuide. :^x




                            Keith
                            Keith

                            Comment

                            • mickyboy
                              Junior Member
                              • Jan 2003
                              • 27

                              #15
                              hi all i could do with some advice and am in a slightly simular position,

                              i have 3802, bw cdm1nts, nad 541 cd player, tosh dvd , lcr60,600s3 for surrounds, as regards av the above is fine, but 2 channel sterio espcially with older cds is a bit bright for my liking, better quality recordings are better but not wonderfull.

                              i have tried rotel powers 985mk1 and rb981 the 985 gave more grunt in av but not more musicality with 2 channel, the 981 was slightly better re vocals , i sold 891, then had chance to obtain brand new rotel rc 972 pre.

                              tried 972+985mk1 +nad541 still musicality was not much better,

                              i asked 2 dealers who stock bw, hk,denon,pioneer, rotel, better av amp than 3802 for sterio suggestions with cdms, hk5550 was suggested because it can deliver a higher current than 3802, another said pioneer 2011 is better all rounder, i have not demoed any of these by the way.


                              so you members that have tried /demoed / the newer rotels say 1066/1075/1055 are these (smoother sounding) than lets say the older power amps or pre amps combinations,

                              or is the fact that my modest nad541 cd player might be the culprit re overbright sound.

                              your advise would be welcome as i am skint and have no idea at the mo how to improve musicality of my system, thank you

                              Comment

                              • gd
                                Senior Member
                                • Jan 2003
                                • 583

                                #16
                                Originally posted by mickyboy
                                i am skint
                                ???????????????????????????????????????????

                                Originally posted by mickyboy
                                tried 972+985mk1 +nad541 still musicality was not much better
                                My 900-series Rotel integrated + CD player is highly musical to me, but if the 972/985 combo is not doing it for you, it's unlikely you'll find a significant change in the 1066/55/65 products... it sounds like you might be looking for a fairly different sonic experience, and an outboard tube preamp coupled with that 985 may deliver the goods... Rogue and Cary make good ones in the US$1500 range.

                                A Marantz AV receiver can be expected to lend some 'warmth' to music, whether used as an analog pre or as a DAC from your NAD player.

                                And yes, the other option is to try another CDP... and again, Rotel makes good ones... but maybe that 'warmth' you seek might be found in a Rega or an Ah! Njoe Tjoeb player.

                                And those are just my impressions... you're apparently seeking a specific experience which only you can assess by trying some different options.
                                .
                                greg (gd to you)
                                .
                                Without music to decorate it, time is just a bunch of boring
                                production deadlines or dates by which bills must be paid.

                                Frank Zappa

                                Comment

                                • Andrew Pratt
                                  Moderator Emeritus
                                  • Aug 2000
                                  • 16507

                                  #17
                                  Mikeyboy you should probably start a new thread so we can get into specifics there. When you do please fill in some of the details about the room and speakers you're using so we can more easily help come to a solution for you.




                                  Comment

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