Anyone familiar with the Rotel RA-820A integrated amp (circa 1986)?

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  • Sylvian
    Junior Member
    • Dec 2003
    • 3

    Anyone familiar with the Rotel RA-820A integrated amp (circa 1986)?

    s anyone here familiar with the Rotel RA-820A integrated, circa around 1986? It looks just like the more popular RA-840BX, except this has tone controls, and a switch to turn off the tone controls. I'm considering buying an as new condition specimen of this model for about $90US. I originally thought of getting a NAD 3020, and would like to know if anyone can tell me how the Rotel might compare to the classic NAD? (I believe both were about the same price and age and so comparable...). I can also get a Luxman L-1 integrated (circa 1981) for a little bit less money. Is this a better choice, soundwise?

    In a web and usenet search, I can't find a single bit of significant info on either the Rotel or the Luxman, and yet I know the Rotel got a Hi-Fi Choice best buy, so it was reviewed.
  • eelco74
    Senior Member
    • Dec 2002
    • 394

    #2
    The 820 and 840 are of the same range,

    The was a 840BX-3 and a 840-Bx4, the last one I owned for several years.
    The 840 also has switchable tone controls.

    The 820 is a class a/b amp, wich means it will run up to 5 watts in class-A.
    This also means that it runs rather warm (almost even hot) when doing nothing.

    I still have the original brochure, I will try to scan it for you. I might even have an English test review for you. But I have to dig it up.

    I liked it a lot, the sound was warm and very easy to listen to. I drove some very large Transmission line speakers with them, but the 820 is more suited for high quality monitors.

    It still is a pretty good amp. I finally replaced it with a RC-972 pre-amp and a RB-981 Power amp.

    Good luck in choosing...
    Last edited by theSven; 05 September 2023, 12:49 Tuesday. Reason: Update text
    Marantz AV8802, Marantz UD8002, Rotel RB-991 and RB985mkii, Rotel RD960
    Focal/Jmlab Electra 1028S, Electra CC, Electra SW1000S, Cobalt 705
    Pioneer KRL-37V, Epson EH-TW8100, Kinkping CES-180 77"inch

    Comment

    • Sylvian
      Junior Member
      • Dec 2003
      • 3

      #3
      Thank you for the response. I have the original manual that came with the amp (even the original box), so I don't need a scan of that, but thanks anyway. If you have a test review on the RA-820A, that I would appreciate reading, if it were possible to send it. Hi-Fi Choice did a review, but its not available on their site.
      Aren't most solid state home audio amplifiers categorized under Class A/B? You seem to suggest the Rotel runs in Class A a little more so than most other solid state amplifiers (that are not classified as Class A). I'm not sure if the 820-A and your 840-BX4 have a similar sound, as they seem to be a distance apart in engineering. And I say this because I have a Rotel ad that applies the term "audiophile" to the RA820BX3, yet the term is missing in their description of the RA820A. The ad seems to suggest they did not intend for this model to please the audiophile market, but that sounds silly, given the degree of engineering in this amp. So its probably simply referring to the fact that the "BX" model is more "hard-core audiophile", since it completely lacks the tone controls that the "A" model has. But they didn't need to remove the tone controls, if they already included a switch to switch them out. So this design feature was probably to save money and put it into better internal parts; which leads me to believe the 820-BX probably sounds better than the 820-A, even with the latter amp having its tone control circuitry switched off.


      Originally posted by eelco74
      The 820 and 840 are of the same range,

      The was a 840BX-3 and a 840-Bx4, the last one I owned for several years.
      The 840 also has switchable tone controls.

      The 820 is a class a/b amp, wich means it will run up to 5 watts in class-A.
      This also means that it runs rather warm (almost even hot) when doing nothing.

      I still have the original brochure, I will try to scan it for you. I might even have an English test review for you. But I have to dig it up.

      I liked it a lot, the sound was warm and very easy to listen to. I drove some very large Transmission line speakers with them, but the 820 is more suited for high quality monitors.

      It still is a pretty good amp. I finally replaced it with a RC-972 pre-amp and a RB-981 Power amp.

      Good luck in choosing...


      I

      Comment

      • eelco74
        Senior Member
        • Dec 2002
        • 394

        #4
        I have found the brochure, and the shots from the inside tell the story.

        The 820A has no toroidal power supply. But it has a best buy from hifichoice.

        As far as I know the A/B class was on the 8 series. They run very hot. Compared to the RA-931 or 971, since they run pretty cool when on low volume.

        Even my RB-981 runs way cooler. The 840 would toast anything you put on top.

        Oh here is the brochure :

        Image not available
        Last edited by theSven; 05 September 2023, 12:50 Tuesday. Reason: Remove broken image link
        Marantz AV8802, Marantz UD8002, Rotel RB-991 and RB985mkii, Rotel RD960
        Focal/Jmlab Electra 1028S, Electra CC, Electra SW1000S, Cobalt 705
        Pioneer KRL-37V, Epson EH-TW8100, Kinkping CES-180 77"inch

        Comment

        • Sylvian
          Junior Member
          • Dec 2003
          • 3

          #5
          Thanks a lot for scanning the brochure, dude. Its very interesting to me to get any info on this amp. The brochure tells me that my 820A is an upgrade to a previous model, which would be an 820 without the A. I'm not sure what the lack of a toroidial transformer is really telling me, since it still is a great sounding amp nevertheless, and is well built. But I have no doubt the 840BX4 model pictured, with its toroidial transformer and whatever else, is a better sounding model. I think they did a fantastic job with the 820A for its price; it probably beat out similarly priced NAD's at the time, which would have been its main competitor. But if I were giong to buy the 820A at the time, I would have paid the extra bucks to get an 840BX?.

          I just realized there appears to be handwritten original price quotes for each item in the brochure. Is that correct, are these figures in US dollars?
          The RA-820A is listed at $395, which is what my seller said he paid for it. Except he paid $400 in Canadian dollars and bought it new eight or nine years ago. The 840BX4 is listed as selling at $850. That is a huge difference! I did not there was that much of a difference in cost between the two amps. On second thought, I don't think I would have bought the 840BX4 over the 820A....

          Comment

          • eelco74
            Senior Member
            • Dec 2002
            • 394

            #6
            No, the prices are in Dutch guiders, roughly divide them by 2 to get US dollars.

            When I got the 840, I also listened to a NAD amp, but the Rotel was better. I also listened to a Pioneer, the amp was OK, between the NAD and the Rotel. But the CD player sucked, which made the combination not very good.

            So I bougt a 840Bx4 and later on a RCD-820Bx, later replaced by a RCD-975....

            I even found the bill, May 1988....ouch...I am getting old..
            Last edited by theSven; 05 September 2023, 12:50 Tuesday. Reason: Update text
            Marantz AV8802, Marantz UD8002, Rotel RB-991 and RB985mkii, Rotel RD960
            Focal/Jmlab Electra 1028S, Electra CC, Electra SW1000S, Cobalt 705
            Pioneer KRL-37V, Epson EH-TW8100, Kinkping CES-180 77"inch

            Comment

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