Rotel's New Multi-channel Processor
The RSP-1066 is a flexible, configurable controller, providing surround decoding and processing with outputs of up to 7.1-channel configurations. The 1066 offers Dolby Digital, dts/ES/ES Discrete, and Dolby Pro Logic II, as well as dts Neo:6, and a range of proprietary surround programs for film and music. The RSP-1066 decodes HDCD stereo recordings, and MP3 recordings, making it one of the few home-theater controllers with these capabilities.
In designing the electronics of the RSP-1066, Rotel devoted considerable attention to both digital and analog technologies, with the hope of creating one of the most sonically satisfying multi-channel preamps available. Precision digital filtering and combined with DSP processors from Crystal Semiconductor insure accurate, low-noise processing of digital signals. The 1066 boasts a high-current, multi-regulated, ultra-low-noise power supply based around a Rotel-designed power transformer, with meticulously designed analog stages employing selected passive components and wideband, wide-dynamic-range active elements. Whether used for music or film, in digital or analog mode, the RSP-1066 should satisfy the most demanding home theater fans.
The lowdown: the RSP-1066’s bass-management system provides for adjustable crossover settings (40-120 Hz, in 20 Hz increments), an invaluable aid in fine-tuning the critical blend between subwoofer and satellite speakers. Inputs include positions for five A/V and three audio-only sources, plus five digital-audio inputs—as well as a 6.1-chanel analog discrete input, for a DVD-Audio/SACD (or future format) player. The unit sports eight independent audio outputs for use with full 7.1-channel systems.
The RSP-1066 also provides an independent remote-zone output that can be controlled from the preamp’s front panel, as well as via a remote infrared or wall-panel controller, with volume adjustment of the remote zone from the RSP-1066’s front panel. This feature enables a separate audio program in a remote part of the home without the need for an extra preamp. It also has 12 volt trigger outputs to control related pieces of equipment in the system: power amps, motorized screen and window shades, or a projector lift.
The RSP-1066 incorporates what the manufacturer describes as "studio-quality video circuitry, delivering all the convenience of integrated video switching without fear of signal degradation." Wide-band-compatible component-video switching is provided for two sources; video inputs include composite and S-Video. An RS-232 serial port enables external control, as via a third-party touch-panel. The serial port also makes possible potential future software updates for the Rotel’s surround-sound and operating system processors. The RSP-1066 comes supplied with a programmable total-system remote control. Available now, the RSP-1066 retails for $1499.
Rotel has also introduced some new multichannel power amplifiers, including the compact RMB-1048, with eight fully independent channels, each capable of 40 watts with 8Ω loads (65 watts x 8 into 4Ω). The RMB-1048 is ideal for powering multichannel systems employing high-efficiency speakers. It's also perfect for use in “whole-house” applications; buffered daisy-chain outputs allow system expansion with minimal cabling. One RMB-1048 amplifier can power a complete 6.1/7.1-channel system, or can be used to supplement a front-channels amp, with channels dedicated to four or more surround-channel and back-surround speakers. Unused channels can supply power to one or more remote rooms.
The RMB-148 features front-panel level controls for easy system calibration, and auto-on/off capability in response to either signal-sensing or 12-volt trigger stimulus. An internal link can chain a single stereo (or mono) input source to some or all channels/pairs, while a broad input-sensitivity range ensures optimal dynamic range from virtually any source component or controller. Proprietary Rotel power transformer and power supply designs helped bring this product to market at a surprisingly low price: only $799. One hundred bucks per channel is a bargain in anyone's book.