Plenty of punch
By Michael Jones
Rotel RCD-1070 CD player. $1699
Since the early 1980s Rotel has produced a steady stream of fine-sounding CD players and amplifiers, usually aimed at the audiophile on a budget. Thinking through what I remember of their amps and CD players over the past 15 years, I can’t think of one that I’d rate worse than “good”, with several of their amps and CD players being very good to excellent.
For 2003 Rotel have split their hi-fi line in to two parts. The “Euro” or “02” series is mainly small and finished in silver. AudioEnz reviewed a Rotel Euro system in February 2003.
The second part of Rotel is the 10-Series, incorporating both hi-fi and some excellent home theatre equipment (AudioEnz has reviewed the 1066 preamp-processor and two multi-channel power amps, the 1075 and 1095).
But this is the first hi-fi component in the 10-Series we’ve looked at. It won’t be the last.
All of the 10-Series components come in a very “butch” look, with solid and heavy casework and handles on the side. This is quite a difference from the Euro Series. The current model in the 10-Series are all in black, although I understand this is changing shortly to a silver centre panel with black outer (see picture).
The disc draw of the 1070 is centred, with transport controls on the right below a display, and ancillary controls to the left.
Many audiophile firms pay a lot of attention to the power supply of their products – with good reason. With the RCD-1070 Rotel use a toroid transformer and claim high quality rectifiers, tight tolerance voltage regulators and low-ESR storage capacitors. The analog stage also uses parts chosen for sound quality.
Digitally, the Rotel uses an 8x oversampling Burr Brown IC, which provides digital filtration, HDCD decoding and digital-to analog conversion.
This is an excellent CD player at a very good price.
On the superb Live album by Alison Krauss + Union Station, the crowd sounds at the beginning was full of subtlety, rather than a homogenised noise. There was also a sense of depth to the soundstage. Later, on the CD, the guitars were full of subtle detail.
Steely Dan’s Rikki Don’t Lose That Number showed the Rotel to be a little more “forward” balanced than the Marantz CD7300 or the Arcam CD62T. The sound was never harsh or “in your face”, just balanced a little more forward than the other CD players under test.
One of my favourite hi-fi test pieces has the advantage of also buying an album of fantastic jazz trio music: Revelations by Cyrus Chestnut. The album really showed off the strengths of the Rotel 1070. The dynamics were superb, both large scale and small scale (or microdynamics). The bass was always very solid and powerful and pitched very well.
Seventies R&B singer Bill Withers has been on high rotation here recently with his compilation CD Lean On Me. On this CD the Rotel showed a pacey and exciting sound, with an emphasis on the R&B rhythms. Again, the sound was slightly forward compared to the other players, but never harsh.
Rotel’s run of good sounding hi-fi continues with the RCD-1070. A solid sound with a hint of forwardness, the Rotel combines subtlety with plenty of pace and timing.