Rotel Adds Multi-Room Amp, Preamp Surround Processor

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— Rotel expanded its multi-room amplifier selection to three, added a second preamp/surround processor, and announced the immediate availability of HDMI 1.4a firmware upgrades for components equipped with HDMI 1.3 connections.

Here at the CEDIA Expo, the company also said it implemented a running change on its assembly lines to add 1.4a capability to its 1.3-equipped components.

The new amp is the company’s first 1U-high multi-room amp, joining taller 2U and 3U models. The $1,199-suggested RKB-1508 amp, shipping in October, uses Class D technology to deliver 8x65 watts into 8 ohms, 8x100 watts into 4 ohms, or 4x100 watts into 8 ohms. Two pairs of channels have sum-to-mono switches. It comes with an expanding rack mount to fit racks anywhere from 18 inches to 30 inches deep.

Rotel’s other multi-room amps are 6- and 12-channel models.

The new preamp processor is the $3,999-suggested 7.1-channel RSP-1580, a flagship model that in the first quarter of 2011 will join the current 7.1-channel RSP-1570. The new model, shown as a working model, adds HDMI 1.4a ins and outs, an iPod/iPhone-USB input that streams music from the portable devices in digital PCM form, 10- band parametric equalizer, and a variety of performance upgrades. It features four HDMI ins and four HDMI outs.

Though the RSP-150 doesn’t support HDMI 1.4’s audio return channel, the capability will appear next year in all Rotel products that connect to TVs, the company said.

The company also said shipments would begin at the end of September of two networked components unveiled earlier this year. One is the $1,499-suggested RCX-1500 CD-receiver with FM tuner, two-channel amp, Internet radio, iPod/iPhone-controlling USB port and the ability to stream music from a UPnP-equipped PC or network-attached storage (NAS) device.

The other networked device is the $999 RDG-1520 tuner, which offers the same features but excludes amp and CD drive.


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