Anyone use a preamp with 1066 for 2 channel sound??

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  • Akprimroses
    Junior Member
    • Aug 2003
    • 8

    Anyone use a preamp with 1066 for 2 channel sound??

    Greetings Folks,

    I have narrowed my power choices down to three.

    1. Rotel 1066/1075 combo
    2. Musical Fidelity A300 integrated with a Rotel 1055 for HT use.
    3. McCormack DNA-1 and TLC-1 seperates.

    I will use the system 75% 2 channel stereo music, 25% HT. I'm driving 2 Vienna Acoustic Mozart's, 6 ohm, 90 db efficient, 200 watt. I'm told to just give up the idea of using a HT AV receiver for 2 channel music as an idea whose time has not come.

    Does anyone run a separate preamp with their 1066 for stereo sound, and does the 1066 have a "direct" that I can send a separate preamp signal through the 1066 without touching it?

    I spent considerable time looking through past posts regarding the 2 channel sound quality of the 1066. The search engine times out every time I attempt to look beyond a few weeks. If this subject has been beat to death (I can't believe it if it hasn't), I would appreciate any pointers in getting to the post, or perhaps folks can share their 1066 2 channel likes and dislikes. I would be most interested in hearing opinions.

    Thanks!

    Robert
  • Matt Sprouls
    Member
    • Apr 2003
    • 83

    #2
    I think you have that reversed. If you are looking for 2ch performance I would look for a 2ch pre-amp with processor pass-through.
    I know the Conrad Johnson have it not sure about others.

    You would not want a 1066 between your 2ch pre-amp and amp.

    Regards,
    Matt
    Regards,
    Matt

    Comment

    • Danbry39
      Moderator Emeritus
      • Sep 2002
      • 1584

      #3
      Akprimroses,

      First off, welcome to the forum and hope you visit often.

      I too was thinking of using a two-channel preamp with my 1066. I contacted my dealer (imo, the best mid to high-end shop in the Sacramento area) and told him of my interest in improving my two-channel sound. I should note that this was not out of dissatisfaction with the Rotel in this area, but, you know how it goes with upgraditis and all. He told me that he wouldn't advise me to get any two channel preamp under $1500 because that's what it would take to improve significantly enough on the Rotel's sound to justify the cost.

      The only two possibilities I see with his statement are (1) He was trying to maneuver me into spending more money on a costlier piece of equipment (which I doubt in that I told him I had a limit of $1000 and the fact that he's been pretty honest in the past) or (2) that he has a really high opinion of Rotel's two channel capabilities.

      Whether this is true or whether he might have been exaggerating some, I don't know, but I would at least advise you to give the Rotel a good long listen in this regard before deciding a dedicated two channel preamp is needed. You might still make the decision in favor of the preamp, but perhaps Rotel will meet your needs just fine. I've decided that if I add a preamp, it will have to be for features (phono amp, headphone jack, etc.) rather than just for sonic improvements.

      If you don't think that the Rotel is enough, then check out other avenues. At the very least, I'd audition the Rotels in this regard. You might be surprised.

      That said, components from companies such as Musical Fidelity and Rogue have such great reputations that I'd definitely be envious if you went that route and would hope that you'd do a review for all of us here. These are the type preamps where the additional cost might well be worth it.




      Keith
      Keith

      Comment

      • efarstad
        Moderator Emeritus
        • Jun 2001
        • 2231

        #4
        I had a Musical Fidelity A3cr Preamp and Amp...along with my Cambridge Audio D500SE CD Player and Martin Logan SL3's for my 2-channel only rig...connected with CatCables of course!

        The sound was stunning and I especially loved the detail and transparency.

        I sold my MF A3cr preamp and cd player...to help fund my projector purchase...but have kept my MF A3cr amp and use it with my Rotel 1066.

        Quite honestly, the sound and characterstics have not changed too much since removing the MF preamp and replacing it with my 1066. The soundstage is a tad less open and deep, than with my MF preamp, but not so much where I miss it. Perhaps because the Rotel and MF gear both a smooth and I dare say "warm" signature to their sound, with the MF having more "air" around the instruments...just slightly better than the 1066.

        I don't know how else to describe the sound but that's the best words I can come up with...hope it helps!

        E





        The Norwegian A/V Nut!
        E-Cinema

        The Norwegian A/V Nut!
        E-Cinema

        Comment

        • Akprimroses
          Junior Member
          • Aug 2003
          • 8

          #5
          Matt, Dan, E,

          Thank You for the feedback. Indeed I had the setup bassackwards Matt, thanks for the correction. I have spent time reading through these Club Rotel posts from the past few months. I must admit to being impressed with the level of help, honest advice, and kindness extended to folks looking to own or operate Rotel gear.
          Truth be known, I doubt if these rusty old ears could hear the difference between a MF A300 and a 1066 prepro through my loudspeakers. The decision will most likely come down to visual aesthetics, ease of operation, and balls to the wall amp power for those times when the wife is gone and I think I'm 17 again.

          A few more questions regarding the 1066 if I may.

          Can I run a sub with 2 channel music? My VA's go down to 35hz, but it would be nice to have the option to run the Rel Storm III I'm getting for HT use with classical music should I choose to do so.

          Bass management with SACD...

          I'm beginning to believe that SACD and DVD audio might just make it in prime time... eventually. Of course the recording industry will screw up the marketing of the formats for a few years yet. When I start to read Robert Harley and some of the music reviewers in Absolute Sound (a publication I have the utmost respect for) expound on the virtues of both formats (when done right), I see a possible future upgrade to SACD. New titles coming out in the hybrid format are compelling, especially old vintage R&R titles as well as a very good inventory of classical music. This would make sense as us boomers (old farts) tend to have more disposable income and are rediscovering audio after twenty some odd years of building empires and sending the last of the kids off to slay dragons in the big bad world. Mick and the Boys, CCR, the upcoming release of Dylans's Blonde on Blonde and Blood on the Tracks, all in SACD hybrid format, are making it to my short lists. My digital source component will be the last piece to buy, but that's a whole nuther post.

          Anyway... I know I should go read the 5,345 post on the 1066 bass issue, but can anyone sum it up in a sentence or two? Am I limiting my growth path to quality SACD with the use of the 1066?? Should I be aware I may need to acquire additional bass management (Outlaw) if I do go the 1066 route??

          Thanks again,

          Robert

          Comment

          • Andrew Pratt
            Moderator Emeritus
            • Aug 2000
            • 16507

            #6
            Yes you can have your sub active in 2 channel mode. There's a number of ways to do this but it is possible. One way given you have a Rel would be to run speaker level cables to the Rel then run the speaker cables from the sub to the mains. In the Rotel you'd then simply tell it you don't have a sub connected to the rotel which would route all the bass to the mains and thus though the sub. Now this isn't the best method for most people since the crossovers in most subs isn't that great but the Rels are a different breed in that regard. You could connect the Rel directly to the Rotel's LFE output which would work as well providing you're using the latest firmware.

            As for the bass management as long as you have the latest firmware there is no problem with the device inputs. There is an issue with the multi channel inputs that you'd be using for SACD or DVD-A and for that there's a fix where you need to cut two resistors. Rotel will do this for you if you like and your dealer would likely be able to do it as well. Its very easy to do and many of us have done our own instead of shipping it off but if you're buying new you might just have your dealer do it for you. On that note there's a good chance your dealer won't have a clue what you're talking about re the resistor fix so have him read though the FAQ where its outlined in detail.




            Comment

            • Akprimroses
              Junior Member
              • Aug 2003
              • 8

              #7
              Andrew,

              Thank You for taking the time to answer my bass questions. I have no Rotel dealer within 750 miles of my home, so it is wonderful to have knowledgable folks answer some of my questions. I read the FAQ re: the bass management issues and the 1066.

              I must confess to being a bit leary of snipping parts off my components. Might I ask if you know of, or perhaps others can add their experience, anyone who has had their Rotel dealer do this fix for SACD bass management? If I was to have a dealer do this for me I'm sure at first pass they are not going to want to be involved in such a modification. I'm thinking if I purchase a 1066 I can offer to pay full retail, forgoing the usual 10% discount in exchange for the latest firmware, the cable to go with it, and the modification to the two tranistors. If my dealer goes to Rotel (through my urging), is Rotel going to "Bless" this modification. Not to sound downbeat, but any dealer worth their reputation is not going to start snipping away at circut boards based on some FAQ on an internet chat group, at least I hope they won't. Please don't take this inquiry in a negative light, as that is not my intent at all. I am very seriously considering the purchase of a 1066. Perhaps I should contact Rotel myself, but I wish to toss the inquiry out there for responses. This is simply a modification I would never do myself or even have my dealer do without the offical blessing of Rotel. Thanks for your very kind and helpful reponses.

              Cheers,

              Robert

              Comment

              • Andrew Pratt
                Moderator Emeritus
                • Aug 2000
                • 16507

                #8
                I understand your reservation about doing the mod but have your dealer talk to Rotel's tech support and he should be assured its all legit and won't void warrenty so long as they don't seriously mess up other components...which is doubtful given how easy this tweak is to do.




                Comment

                • Akprimroses
                  Junior Member
                  • Aug 2003
                  • 8

                  #9
                  Andrew (and anyone else with an opinion),

                  Please bear with me as I attempt to put this RSP1066 multi channel inputs bass management issue into words I can understand. I am seriously considering the RSP1066 solution and feel I need to understand the issue better.

                  As I understand, and please, anyone, feel free to correct or opine, the multichannel inputs on the RSP1066 "copy" all bass below 100hz and outputs it to the LFE channel. So... if you had your 1066 bass crossover set to 60hz (with the intent and desire to have your "large" mains play frequencies greater than 60hz, this outcome would be defeated and the sub would be bellowing out the 60 to 100hz frequencies, even though the 1066 is set to not send them there. Final result is you end up with both your mains and sub playing all frequencies between 60 and 100hz.

                  If I have this right, why is this an undesirable situation? Is it one of those "control issues"? Does SACD music played through the RSP1066 sound "heavier" as a result of this issue? Can anyone actually hear the difference in music? I could care less in a HT situation, but may have pause with a significant degradation in music quality.

                  Thanks,

                  Robert

                  Comment

                  • will1066
                    Senior Member
                    • Aug 2003
                    • 660

                    #10
                    I'm also toying with the idea of getting a "minimalist" preamp to go along with my 1066, for the same reasons as Danbry/Keith. The 2ch analog from the 1066 is neutral to warm, smooth and detailed. However, I'm addicted to the inner detail and transparency that I get from my, frankly, "budgetphile" Grado SR-60 headphones. I realize it takes a lot more money and effort to get that kind of sound out of a speaker setup, with room acoustics in the way and a big TV between the mains and all, but I want that sound, or at least pursue it, without cans on my head, too.

                    Anyway, keeping this post related to Rotel...

                    Akprimroses: There is no crossover or bass management control over the 1066's multichannel input, although there is a subwoofer trim level control (-10 to +10 dB). Therefore, all your speakers will be treated as full-range, or "Large," even if you have some or all of them set to "Small" in the 1066, and bass management will have to be done in the multichannel audio player. Rotel, for some reason, designed an analog 100-Hz crossover in the multi input that sums bass from all 5 channels below that frequency via the subwoofer. This can of course be a potential problem.

                    Also, it's possible to add a regular preamp that does not have HT pass-through. You would hook up your stereo player, preamp, and amp like always. You would then hook up the 1066's left and right front preouts to one of the preamp's other line-level inputs. The other 1066 preouts go directly to the amplifier stage. Next, you would establish a unity gain setting on the preamp volume control, which you would go to every time you're in HT mode. On passive preamps, it's all the way up on the volume; for active preamps, it's usually the 12 o'clock position. Upon initial setup, have the preamp volume set there and then calibrate the left and right front levels to equal the other channels via the 1066. You're all set.

                    When listening to stereo, the 1066 doesn't even have to be on. When running HT, you would change the input on the preamp and remember to turn the volume control to the unity gain point.

                    Comment

                    • georose
                      Junior Member
                      • Apr 2003
                      • 17

                      #11
                      This is kind of long and rambling but has something to do with Rotel preamp quality: My front left + right (stereo) speakers are tri-amped Linn 5140's with two 85 watt Linn amps for the mid and bass and a Linn Majic integrated for the treble. They have great imaging and soundstage. Prior to this I used a Conrad Johnson Sonograph (solid state) amp + preamp with B&W 805's. I recently purchased a 1055 and my center is a B&W CM C and the 805's are now used for surround sound in the rear (kind of a waste of 2 great speakers). The CJ preamp has always sounded attractively dynamic in the highs but tends to the overly bright side. The Linn Majic is not as dynamic but still overly bright (never could figure out how to adjust the treble equalizer inside the Majic). I wouldn't say either the Linn or CJ units are "state of the art" preamps but they easily fall into the "high end" range. I knew the Rotel sounded very good with my B&W 805's (speculated that it was synergy) but to my surprise the Rotel easily bested the CJ and Linn when used with the tri-amped Linn 5140's. I ended up using the Rotel as my stereo preamp as well as for home theater. A few examples of improvements: Some 80's music that used to sound "tinny" now doesn't and the vocals are more "interesting" yet I don't feel I have lost any treble from my music. Piano notes decay with much more realism and FM sounds just awesome (could also be Rotel tuner but I think it is also the preamp). My stereo music is now more enjoyable then ever with the addition of the Rotel 1055. My comparisons may not be the "last word" and other unknown factors may have been at work but I would definitely compare the Rotel preamp quality carefully before looking for an "upgrade".

                      Comment

                      • Danbry39
                        Moderator Emeritus
                        • Sep 2002
                        • 1584

                        #12
                        Exactly. Well put Georose. I think we almost deceive ourselves with thoughts that more expensive is necessarily better. While I'm sure that many other preamps would best the Rotel's two-channel sound, I'm just not sold that the sonic differences would be that significant to warrant the change. Again, I'd be willing to add a preamp mainly for the fuctions that it might offer. Sonically, I'd really probably have to be sold that the improvement would be enough to justify the expenditure.




                        Keith
                        Keith

                        Comment

                        • will1066
                          Senior Member
                          • Aug 2003
                          • 660

                          #13
                          Georose, that was a good read. I had a chat with my dealer and he said basically what Danbry's dealer said while echoing what many of you have been saying. I told him my system and what I wanted (more detail and clarity) and he recommended better speakers. He said (with much emphasis in his tone, I might add) that it would take much much more expensive electronics to get a significant improvement over Rotel (along with my Arcam CD player). Chalk up another who thinks highly of Rotel!

                          Comment

                          • Akprimroses
                            Junior Member
                            • Aug 2003
                            • 8

                            #14
                            Will,

                            THANK YOU for taking the time to address my inquiry. Reading your post confirmed what I have come to understand regarding the bass management issue's in the 1066. For some reason the search engine here had been crapping out half way through the search for 1066 bass management posts. Anyway... I was able to spend some time going through the various posts and obtain a bit more understanding of the issue.

                            Bill Blank put a nice post up re: his new Denon 2900 with the 1066/1075 combo. I have always appreciated Bill's to the point posts and willingness to share. He has the same VA loudspeaker setup I do and he seemed very pleased with his 1066/1075/2900 combo.

                            I went with the McCormack DNA-1 amp and TLC-1 preamp for stereo sound. I found both used in top shape and believe for stereo use they will do the job I will ask of them. I did get another useful bit of info from your post and that's the fact I will need to have the volume knob on the TLC-1 all the way up for HT receiver calibration when running its L/R through the TLC-1. I intend to send both down to Steve McCormack in the Peoples Republic of California for upgrading when the system is finally together. (Don't you know it, get all the pieces together and working just right, then ship the amp and pre off for upgrades). So whatever receiver I get will have to power all speakers during the upgrades.

                            Now I'm trying to decide on the HT receiver. Top two finalists are the Rotel 1055 and the new Pioneer Elite 55TXi. The MCACC and i-Link features of the Pioneer are very attractive as I expect I will migrate into SACD over the next few years. However, the amps in the 55TXi may have a hard time keeping up with the McCormack when SACD material is played in my quite large room. The Rotel should be able to hold its own in this regard.

                            Another factor to consider in choice is my choice of a high end universal CD player. If I go with the Denon 2900, which provides good base management, I have to mail my 1055 off to Rotel for the "cure" (snip parts and upgrade software).

                            Truth is, I will await Absolute Sound to do the expected review on high end universal players due before the end of the year. They panned the Marantz 8300's music side when it came out. So Marantz comes out with the 8400, with guess what, "new and improved sound quality". They know who their market is.

                            While the Denon 2900 looks promising, I will await a review other than the shameful suck-up no substance review HT mag did of the Denon 2803/2900 combo. The review confirmed my decision not to renew my subscription. The review, given the letter in the front of the mag from Denon's sales manager (which BTW, was the most hypocritical piece of spin I have read) confirms the sad state of who controls the truth in the mag equipment review trade. The almighty buck.

                            Anyway, I'm rambling.... Thanks for taking the time to respond. It was very kind of you.

                            Comment

                            • will1066
                              Senior Member
                              • Aug 2003
                              • 660

                              #15
                              Glad I was helpful, akprimroses, and congrats on the McCormack gear.

                              Not to stray too far off of this forum, the Marantz 8300 or 8400 was on my universal player shortlist along with the Denon 2900. I will have to see the TAS review. I've seen it being given very high marks elsewhere.

                              I too was disappointed with the HT review of the 2900. What would've helped tremendously more was if they hooked it up to the Lexicon combo they've been using for reviewing other universal players. There should be a 2900 review soon on audioholics.

                              Comment

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