Rotel RSP-1572 Surround Sound Preamp/Processor

As home theater has become ever more digitally sophisticated, A/V separate components, specifically preamp-processors, have become thinner on the ground as many smaller, separates-oriented manufacturers drop away. While A/V receivers today steal much of the limelight (and dollars), separates soldier on, mostly from the major-brand makers, each of which offers a flagship pre-pro. So too do a handful of low-volume, high-end makers offering very expensive models.

Rotel is one of a very few to occupy the middle ground with a separates line dedicated to both performance and value, and priced for people who might still have to think about it. The RSP-1572, the firm’s most recent pre-pro, is the company’s marquee A/V component.


Unboxing the RSP-1572 is a satisfying experience, thanks to classy packaging materials and the reassuring heft of the component itself. I placed the unit atop my rack, plugged in my HDMI cables from sources and TV, and hooked up RCA interconnects to my ?7 x 150-watt power amplifier and SVS PC 12-Plus subwoofer. The Rotel has lots of 3D-ready version 1.4 HDMI inputs — six — and dual HDMI outputs. It also provides no fewer than 10 preamp outputs: the usual 7.1, plus “Center 2” and “Subwoofer 2” jacks, both of which simply parallel their primaries.

Rotel does not include any automatic setup, calibration, or equalization features, so setup is purely a manual procedure. A simple textual onscreen menu guides the process, which was straightforward and accurate, though there are quite a few options, including “CB/VH” outputs that can be configured either?for front-height speakers (for Dolby PLIIz playback) or for center-back use in a 6/7.1-channel layout. I went with the front-height option. The RSP-1572 also has an “Advanced” setup page where you can assign a different speaker-crossover arrangement for each speaker/ pair for Dolby, DTS, and stereo signals — an excellent refinement.