Rotel RAP-1580 Surround Amplified Processor Review Test Bench

Test Bench

Two channels driven continuously into 8-ohm loads:
0.1% distortion at 174.1 watts
1% distortion at 198.3 watts

Five channels driven continuously into 8-ohm loads:
0.1% distortion at 127.0 watts
1% distortion at 159.9 watts

Seven channels driven continuously into 8-ohm loads:
0.1% distortion at 116.6 watts
1% distortion at 137.5 watts

Analog frequency response in Bypass mode:
–0.22 dB at 10 Hz
–0.06 dB at 20 Hz
–0.05 dB at 20 kHz
–0.13 dB at 50 kHz

Analog frequency response with signal processing:
–4.02 dB at 10 Hz
–1.27 dB at 20 Hz
–0.21 dB at 20 kHz
–61.73 dB at 50 kHz


This graph shows that the RAP-1580’s left channel, from CD input to speaker output with two channels driving 8-ohm loads, reaches 0.1% distortion at 174.1 watts and 1% distortion at 198.3 watts. Into 4 ohms, the amplifier reaches 0.1% distortion at 232.8 watts and 1% distortion at 278.2 watts.

Response from the multichannel input to the speaker output measures –0.22 dB at 10 Hz, –0.06 dB at 20 Hz, –0.03 dB at 20 kHz, and –0.12 dB at 50 kHz. THD+N from the CD input to the speaker output was less than 0.015% at 1 kHz when driving 2.83 volts into an 8-ohm load. Crosstalk at 1 kHz driving 2.83 volts into an 8-ohm load was –86.10 dB left to right and –86.03 dB right to left. The signal-to-noise ratio with an 8-ohm load from 10 Hz to 24 kHz with “A” weighting was –99.04 dBrA.

From the Dolby Digital input to the loudspeaker output, the left channel measures –0.30 dB at 20 Hz and –0.11 dB at 20 kHz. The center channel measures –0.31 dB at 20 Hz and –0.12 dB at 20 kHz, and the left surround channel measures –0.30 dB at 20 Hz and –0.11 dB at 20 kHz. From the Dolby Digital input to the line-level output, the LFE channel is +0.07 dB at 20 Hz when referenced to the level at 40 Hz and reaches the upper 3-dB down point at 82 Hz and the upper 6-dB down point at 102 Hz.—MJP

Rotel of America
(978) 664-3820

drny's picture

Clean power with no hesitation of clipping or overheating.
I have a ten inch diamater fan over my Yamaha Receiver and ten inches of clearance, and still I tread lightly when pushing my receiver.
Granted I love to crank it up on Dynamic passages of both music and movies.
Rotel's 1580 seems to be a great alternative for folks like me.
However with HDMI 2.1 just months away, I will wait and see what the market bears this time next year.
By the way, I love the old school aluminum silver model of the 1580.

K.Reid's picture

Dennis Burger over at (former S&V Contributor/Editor Adrienne Maxwell's site) reviewed this unit. Below are my comments. on the tuner = more robust power supply and amplification. That does not justify the absence wifi, ehernet (for streaming internet music) and room correction. Room correction is a critical feature that is needed with the complex surround processing capabilities this unit and Rotel does it buyers a shameful disservice by not licensing Audyssey or Dirac. There is not an argument leadership at Rotel could make to excuse the above exclusions. I refuse to believe Rotel's customers wouldn't appreciate or fork over the extra coin for these features which nowadays are not 'bells and whistles'. Unacceptable for the price, performance notwithstanding.

Mark Fleischmann's picture
This is one of very few AVRs to include a USB jack supporting direct connection of a computer, which in turn would support any kind of music streaming. Some audiophiles prefer to avoid room correction altogether, like the sound of their rooms, and prioritize getting a great sounding amp. This product is clearly for them.
prerich45's picture

That can be handled by HDMI as well. I currently use my PC that way. I also have a DIY 4495SEQ DAC connected to my PC (Windows 10 now recognizes USB Audio 2.0 with the addition of the Creators update).
Room correction can also be handled via a PC through a number of ways Dirac...but costly, Audiolense -costly as well, REW -Free, and MathAudio Room EQ (inexpensive) just to name a few....there's even a Windows apo based solution called APO Equalizer, totally free.

K.Reid's picture

There is merit to the argument that some audiophiles do not favor room correction, but is this product solely built for audiophiles. I would think that Rotel's management would desire to 'cast a wide net' and design a product that would appeal to many potential buyers not just we 'philes'. After all, it is a for profit company. It does not excuse the lack of room correction at this price point. If a 'phile' does not like it, a simple button press or swipe of a finger on the downloaded control app can turn it off. Oh wait, what use would a control app be without WiFi. It is just shameful that Rotel charges this price. No one's room has perfect acoustics and when using Atmos or DTS-X, room correction is needed for the vast majority of users. Period. Prospective buyers would be better off buying separates or cheaper A/V receiver with multi channel pre-outs to connect a standalone multichannel amplifier such as one from say.....Emotiva or Outlaw or Wyred 4 Sound.

Side note: Hope you and Robin Sabin do a Pixel and Bits episode on satellite/sub versus full range speaker use in home theater applications.

schwock5's picture

I feel like in the current environment it's getting very hard to choose a receiver. I'm looking to upgrade soon (more HDMI inputs, atmos/DTS:X, better tech and sound) from a 10 year old receiver that's still crushing 7.1 sound like it's nobody's business! But with such quality products from Yamaha, Pioneer, Denon, and Marantz, it's tough to choose. I like reading these reviews, but it's hard to tell at which price points which receivers are actually providing any better value or better sound for the buck. Also, in this day and age, are separates even worth considering over a receiver? Are there true audio gains in the mid-range tier? For example, one could save $1,000 getting a Marantz 7703 over the new 7704 and use the savings on external amps. Would this deliver better sound then a Marantz 7012 (or even last year's 7011)? With savings on the receiver or last year's model and then purchase a 2-channel amp to provide the full 11 channels needed for Atmos, is there any benefit to spending more on Separates? For this Rotel, how much better is this than a Marantz 7704 + amps bringing it to the same price point?
I'm upgrading from an old Denon 4308. Are receivers 10 years later that much better that i wouldn't be missing much by not going separates? Where's the point of diminishing returns right now?

Warrior24_7's picture

At $3800, certain features must be present to be competitive. Some fool will buy it.

mars2k's picture

I cannot remember the last time I listened to FM at home...and I'm old. Yeah, this receiver is a bit quirky for me. No Atmos on one channel except for every third Wednesday..thats a bit much to take.....however I would give their 1582 processor a chance with separate amps maybe Bryston or some of the new ATI gear

vincentb's picture

$3,800 is steep, I'm not sure it has enough feature for me to entertain getting it... would love to try playing around with it though.

Vincent Bettschart

Jonasandezekiel's picture

Mark, what about those that have two subwoofers? Is there a way to have stereo subs, or do they need to be daisy changed and configured as a mono channel? This looks very enticing, but not having two sub inputs is a problem.

North Bay AVphile's picture

I took the plunge with the Rotel RAP 1580. Upgrading from an Arcam FMJ AVR400. Absence of auto calibration is not a factor, I'm old school when it comes to setup. Audio performance is excellent, using the RAP1580 in a combined Audio and HT setup where the Left/Right main speakers are driven by Pass Labs X250.8 2-channel amp. Pros: High performance audio with excellent sound quality (B&W 803D3s, HTM2D3 center, 2 pairs B&W SCSM as surrounds and rear speakers in 7.1 setup). Dual subwoofer outputs (hooray, although they are in parallel) coupled with twin REL G-1 subs. Cons: So far, only one. There is an apparent bug in the firmware that results in the OSD image flipping upside down (the onscreen setup menus thankfully do not invert). Only cure so far (and this recommendation came from a very responsive Rotel rep; this is apparently a known issue) is to do a cold reboot (corrects the issue sometimes) or do a System Reset and return the unit back to its default specs (which requires one to reenter all of your setup info). Thankfully the setup menus are easy to navigate...just make sure you have recorded your settings before doing the reset. It takes me about 5 minutes to reenter all my settings. Verdict: "The jury is out." Outstanding audio performance with no frills, but early bugs with the OSD have me pondering whether to return the unit and look elsewhere. I very must want a unit with a silver faceplate since this piece of kit rests on a rack along side all silver gear (Pass Labs XP-20 and X250.8), Modwright Oppo 105D and power supply (both in silver), and Shunyata Hydra Triton and DPC-6 A/C conditioners. For what I suspect is purely cost vs. expected sales reasons, very few high quality AV receivers or separates remain available in silver finish. The plague of ubiquitous black boxes is run amok. Some of us actually like to display the gear we collect.