Rotel RCD-1072 Listening Tests
Before I began my critical listening tests, I played around with both units to ensure they were functioning correctly. On the RA-1062, I initially found that setting the master volume level to zero and adjusting the balance knob slightly to the left from center, I heard music coming out of the right speaker from a few feet away. Increasing the master volume and varying the balance control also changed the tonal relationship of the speaker. It was obvious that my review sample had a weird crosstalk or balance pot issue thus I contacted Rotel Engineering and they promptly figured out my problem. It turned out I had a preproduction review sample that had incorrect balance and volume control wiring that was corrected in production. I verified this with the new review sample they sent me a few weeks later and found the crosstalk issue was fully resolved.
I moved on to the RCD-1072 and discovered an elevated noise floor when the master volume level of the RA-1062 was set about 1/3 of the way up. This was surprising considering the excellent quality DAC's and components used in this CD player, thus I once again contacted Rotel. The factory informed me that the noise was sourced from a combination of the noise levels of the DAC and the output/filter op-amps of the player when tested. However they claimed the noise should not affect the playback of the audio signal as it is still significantly lower than the audio signal.
I tend to agree for the most part that it did not affect my real world listening tests, but argued the point that it could cause grief to unwary audiophiles with keen ears, and revealing systems in acoustically controlled rooms. Rotel went the extra mile and added a muting transistor that mutes the DAC and opamps when not in use whenever the disc is stopped or paused (a common practice with many CD players). The second review sample they sent me did not exhibit the noise problem and I was now happily ready to engage into my critical listening tests.
After a few I quick listening sessions of familiar source material, I quickly realized this Rotel combo was all about performance. My reference speakers as well as the Dynaudio bookshelf speakers I had on hand during this review were effortlessly driven by the RA-1062. I would characterize the sonic signature of this package as bold, dynamic, lively and with a somewhat forward, but not bright, tonal characteristic. Bass was tight and authorative, especially on the Dynaudios, as evident in music from Steely Dan's " Two Against Nature " CD. The more I cranked the volume control, the more my adrenal rushed and the happier my speakers seemed to be driven by quality amplification. Now that I developed a good understanding of how the RA-1062 could drive reasonably efficient small speakers, I was curious to see how it would handle my 4 ohm, less efficient, floorstanding RBH Sound 1266-LSE towers. I usually frown upon driving these speakers with less than 150wpc given their 87dB sensitivity and 4 ohm impedance, but since the RA-1062 seemed to be built to drive harder than speced, I figured I would give it a try. I was pleasantly surprised to hear the Rotel drive these speakers without incident. This was a good indication to me that the robust power supply and multiple output devices to source high current and maintain a low output impedance was paying off. Never would I have imagined a $600 amplifier would deliver power with such poise and conviction as the Rotel RA-1062 seemed to do effortlessly.
The RA-1062 and RCD-1072 did a bang up job for low listening levels too. I found the "Contour" settings on the RA-1062 particularly useful at low listening levels but mostly preferred adding no tonal bias to this already fine sounding amplifier. I spent a bulk of my listening sessions enjoying some of my favorite quality recordings which indicated to me that I enjoyed listening to the Rotel combo so much that I wanted to feed it the best possible source to squeeze out all of its performance.