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I’ve encountered some great amplifiers over the years, but few have left the enduring impression that the Rotel RB-1090 did back in 2000. A looming and intimidating object, it weighed in at a spine-fracturing 100 pounds and stood an imposing 10 inches tall. Armored in a battle-ready black enclosure it was a powerhouse rated at 380Wpc of Class AB power and capable of 1kW peaks at 2 ohms. Its transformer was the size of a spaghetti pot, allowing it to laugh off difficult loads. It pursued deep bass like a high-voltage posse from hell, leaving even the lowest sensitivity speakers trembling in its wake. Yet it wasn’t all brute force. It could also tap dance around delicate transients and low-level musical cues with ease. Why the trip down memory lane? Well, the legacy of that big amp was never far from my mind as I delved into listening sessions with Rotel’s latest high-power integrated amp, the RA-1592. Would it summon favorable comparisons?
The $2499 RA-1592 is actually based on two current Rotel separates, the RC-1590 preamp and RB-1582 mk2 amplifier. It operates in Class AB mode and outputs a hefty 200Wpc into 8 ohms. Although it bears some physical resemblance to the smaller RA-1570 integrated, the RA-1592’s output capability is much greater and it has a much higher damping factor. Per Rotel tradition, the heart of the amp section sports a rugged power supply with an oversized toroidal transformer, coupled to select T-network, slit-foil capacitors...Continue reading here
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