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Thread: Adcom vs. Rotel

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    Adcom vs. Rotel

    Who has experience listening to both manufactures? I have read a lot of posts recommending the Rotel amps. If you have had experience with both manufactures, what was the most discernible differnece?

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    Neither company seems to be strong on a good preamp. Although Adcom got good press with their GFP-750 and Rotel is a good value with their surround preamps.

    Which amp to choose I would say depends on your listening habits and what you are looking for. I found there sounds different. Adcom has a big bass sound and tends to not have as clean response especially at high volume. Adcom would be great if your primary listening is rock and pop. Rotel I haven't had the opportunity to push like I have the Adcom but what I have heard tends to sound polite and a bit slowed down. The Rotel seem to make music I was familiar with lack in it's usual impact and somehow sound slower or lack enthusiasm. I personally do not like that type of delivery and would avoid ever owning any Rotel.

    The systems I've heard have been complete Adcom or Rotel so my generalizations may not hold true with different preamps. I can say that I have tried different preamps with the Adcom and the power amp seemed to be able to play louder but it still had a graininess at higher volumes and I'm not talking about close to clipping. On the plus side my Adcom 5200 drives a pair of Dynaudio 60's without breaking a sweat.

    I know this don't sound flattering of either but either is better than a receiver. I also tend to be more of a critical listener than the average. I'm not sure what you are looking for but I think your best value in the Adcom/Rotel price would be a good integrated by one of the British manufacturers like Arcam or Creek. Maybe Musical Fidelity, they seem to get good press but I haven't heard them. PS Audio also has a line of integrated like amps out called Control Amps that look very cutting edge and interesting. Krell has an integrated at $2,500.00 that would blow either Adcom or Rotel away by a long shot. In my opinion of course.

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    Thanks for your response. I currently own an Adcom GFA 535 with an Adcom GTP-400 preamp, which drive a pair of Paradigm studio 40s coupled with a Paradigm PS10 subwoofer. I was looking to upgrade and was looking at the old Adcom GFA 555 MKII. Really the 535 has enough power for the studio 40s for the room the system is located in. I was thinking of switching to a NAD HT integrated system, but the problems NAD has have been having with quality is shying me away. If I was to purchase an integrated amp, I want something basic. None of the cheap thrills everyone puts on their systems (i.e. hall, stadium, etc). Now I am swaying back to 2-channel and keep the music somewhat pure.

    For music, I listen to anything from rock to jazz. The reason for the post was it seems a large majority like the Rotel equipment. I was just curious to find an amp/preamp that performs well over a broad range of music without killing the budget.

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    Adcom

    Quote Originally Posted by wfontenot
    Thanks for your response. I currently own an Adcom GFA 535 with an Adcom GTP-400 preamp, which drive a pair of Paradigm studio 40s coupled with a Paradigm PS10 subwoofer. I was looking to upgrade and was looking at the old Adcom GFA 555 MKII. Really the 535 has enough power for the studio 40s for the room the system is located in. I was thinking of switching to a NAD HT integrated system, but the problems NAD has have been having with quality is shying me away. If I was to purchase an integrated amp, I want something basic. None of the cheap thrills everyone puts on their systems (i.e. hall, stadium, etc). Now I am swaying back to 2-channel and keep the music somewhat pure.

    For music, I listen to anything from rock to jazz. The reason for the post was it seems a large majority like the Rotel equipment. I was just curious to find an amp/preamp that performs well over a broad range of music without killing the budget.

    I really do not understand if you are useing Adcom then how come you want to switch over to Nad, Beleive me it is not a wise decission.

    bappy.

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    I have some older Adcom and Rotel equipment, and a newer Rotel RA-1070 integrated. I try to avoid generalizations about how manufacturer's equipment sounds, as to me it seems to change both over time, and even model to model. My old Rotel 980 power amp sounds very much like my Adcom power amps...sort of a bright, very detailed, but fast delivery, not as warm as my NAD amps. Completely the opposite of the description Mr. Peabody gave.
    My newer Rotel is a very nice, neutral presentation, much different than what I expected, I woudn't say it's warm, just not as sizzling bright as the older one. It replaced an older Arcam Alpha 8 integrated, and I have to admit, I like it much better than the Arcam which to me had that warm, laid back sound a lot of people older than me seem to be very fond. It was good for easy listening, and especially female vocals but for some classical and hard rock music it just wasn't quite my thing (but I thought was the cat's ass at the time).
    There's really a ton of options out there. I listened to some PS Audio, Creek, Parasound, NAD, Arcam, and a bunch of other equipment when I was shopping. You have no idea how many different brands there are. By far my favorite was Parasound, with Rotel finishing 2nd, but the price of the Rotel was a bit easier to swallow. PS Audio was my least favorite, didn't like them at all, but I've got friends who swear by them.
    I'd agree with Mr. Peabody's assessment about Adcom's pre-amps...to me they've always been average at best. I think Rotel makes a better pre, but nothing world class. But then, again, I think both these companies strenghts are in the bang-for-the-buck category to be fair.
    Both of my Adcom amps and my Rotel power amp have taken ungodly amounts of punishment without issue, at least they appear to be built tough.
    To be honest, I would describe both Rotel and Adcom pre's as being versatile without killing the budget, I'm sure either would do you fine. Not the last word in refinement, but good sound at a good price. There's better gear out there if you're willing to pay a bit more. I highly recommend Parasound.

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    I don't believe Rotel or NAD would be an upgrade from what you have now. The 5500 would give you more power and it was more accurate than the 5400. I have the 125x2 version and can't keep the model numbers straight.

    What budget do you have to work with? If you want HT the Rotel RSP-1066 & 1068 are the best in that price range. Another option is the new Arcam HT receiver, I think it's in the $2k range. The sound quality of the Arcam receivers have always surpassed what you would expect from a receiver. I'd prefer the Arcam receiver over the Rotel separates. Arcam has to provide the latest software but they are minimalists by design as much as possible. I've been impressed by them. To get good HT and two channel it does cost. That's why the most popular set up is a receiver and connecting to a power amp. It's popular but I don't recommend it because your 2 channel sound is still limited by the poor receiver preamp. Brands like Krell and PS Audio offer integrated amps with a feature that allows you to connect a HT receiver or preamp front channels into it and use the power section as a slave. This allows you to have a great 2 channel system and use whatever for HT.

    Another consideration to improve your sound quality is what you are using for a source. In the Adcom system I have I was using a Denon cd player and recently put a Conrad Johnson solid state DAC in place of the Denon inboard DAC and it made a dramatic improvement in overall sound. You could look at getting a better cd player or looking for a DAC. You might be able to pick up a pretty nice DAC on the used market.

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    Bryston amps

    On a differnt thread I just advised another member to consider a used Bryston. If you shop carefully you can find a used Bryston 4B 200W channel for about $500. From what I've heard this will put an Adcom or a Rotel a distant second.

    And as I said in the other thread you usually get some of the left over 20 year transferrable warranty, a company that supports its products with what appears to be less than cost service and upgrades and some bragging rights to boot.

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    Yeah, Bryston is one of the great names in Audio. Not everyone likes them, but my next stereo system includes a Bryston...Bryston owners are usually fairly delicate with their gear too...I think a used Bryston very well could be a good step up on entry levelish Adcom/Rotel gear.

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    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wfontenot
    Who has experience listening to both manufactures? I have read a lot of posts recommending the Rotel amps. If you have had experience with both manufactures, what was the most discernible differnece?
    If your looking for an amp that's a step above either Adcom or Rotel, I know where you can get a lightly used Musical Fidelity amp at a great price. Hint-hint...
    Audio;
    Ming Da MC34-AB 75wpc
    PS Audio Classic 250. 500wpc into 4 ohms.
    PS Audio 4.5 preamp,
    Marantz 6170 TT Shure M97e cart.
    Arcam Alpha 9 CD.- 24 bit dCS Ring DAC.
    Magnepan 3.6r speakers Oak/black,

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    Quote Originally Posted by hermanv
    On a differnt thread I just advised another member to consider a used Bryston. If you shop carefully you can find a used Bryston 4B 200W channel for about $500. From what I've heard this will put an Adcom or a Rotel a distant second.

    And as I said in the other thread you usually get some of the left over 20 year transferrable warranty, a company that supports its products with what appears to be less than cost service and upgrades and some bragging rights to boot.
    What would you recommend for a pre-amp?

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    Kexodusc

    What cd player and speakers did you run with the Alpha 8? I know that unit had a loudness and tone controls but it's still hard to imagine anyone coming away thinking it's warm and layed back. Most of the Arcam systems I've heard though has been with Arcam's cd players and either Dynaudio or Martin Logan speakers. I had the Alpha 10 integrated with an Alpha 9 cdp for a short period and I haven't heard anything faster yet. On James Newton Howard & Friends.the kick drums snapped to the point of being startling. I currently use an Arcam FMJ 3-channel for HT and it blends with and keeps up with my Krell in the system very nicely.

    The Rotel I've heard have driven B&W and Hale. The system with the Hale didn't seem to be able to drive those speakers very well so it didn't sound very well to me. With the B&W is where I walked away with the same James Newton Howard cd sounding like the boys playing in their sleep. The same B&W's didn't give that presentation driven by some Denon gear so I assumed it was the Rotel that was lagging. But it could be that Rotel may not be as consistent with a set sound like other manufacturers. I'm sure other variables like cables and room environment could play a role in the sound as well.

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    Mr. Peabody

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    What cd player and speakers did you run with the Alpha 8? I know that unit had a loudness and tone controls but it's still hard to imagine anyone coming away thinking it's warm and layed back. Most of the Arcam systems I've heard though has been with Arcam's cd players and either Dynaudio or Martin Logan speakers. I had the Alpha 10 integrated with an Alpha 9 cdp for a short period and I haven't heard anything faster yet. On James Newton Howard & Friends.the kick drums snapped to the point of being startling. I currently use an Arcam FMJ 3-channel for HT and it blends with and keeps up with my Krell in the system very nicely.
    I used a Arcam CD72T. I still have the player, great player, but over-priced in my opinion...I have a less expensive japanese brand player (which I won't name) that does 99% as good a job and was half the price...well, only with the digital outs...the analog out isn't as good. The Arcam serves only in my 2-channel system in my studio, the other one is upstairs.
    For speakers I used Wharfedale Emeralds for the most part with the Arcam, and then later Studio 40's briefly...The Studio's are a bit on the bright side, the Emeralds aren't. When my vifa/scan-speak monitors arrived I knew very fast that they were a lot better than the other speakers and I felt I could finally benefit from a better amp so I decided to go shopping for a better unit. That turned out to be a Rotel.

    I won't slam Arcam at all as they are one of my favorite brands, and I don't say warm and laid back in a negative tone at all. I have too many friends that prefer gear I would describe as warm, so I know there's definitely some personal preference involved.

    Keep in mind everything is relative. Compared to the sound my older Adcoms and Rotels seem to have that Arcam unit was definitely warm. My new Rotel has a noticeably different tonality to it than the older power amp.

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    There are many Adcom amplifiers for sale any where....

    If you take a look to Audiogon and Ebay, you will see a lot of Adcom for sale. They are low priced compared with Rotel which are hard to find and high priced. Does it say something to you? Most people prefer Rotel over Adcom. Also, if you go to read reviews, Rotel most of the time is close to five starts, all models. Adcom, uhhhh. 4 starts or less. All this talk by itself.
    Good Luck,
    Jorge

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    Quote Originally Posted by dvjorge
    If you take a look to Audiogon and Ebay, you will see a lot of Adcom for sale. They are low priced compared with Rotel which are hard to find and high priced. Does it say something to you? Most people prefer Rotel over Adcom. Also, if you go to read reviews, Rotel most of the time is close to five starts, all models. Adcom, uhhhh. 4 starts or less. All this talk by itself.
    Good Luck,
    Jorge
    Although I understand your post, there is one thing I disagree. Adcom was more available to the mass market than Rotel. You could purchase Adcom at Ultimate Electronics, etc. The point I am trying to make is, Adcom was and/or still is in the larger box stores that us mail mailings and advertisement to get customers to enter the store. I believe Rotel is a different story. So yes, ebay does have a lot of Adcom equipment for sale, but how many more units did Adcom sell of Rotel? This could be like comparing a Porsche to an Audi. That is my $.02.

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    If you were to go to Europe or Asia, the figures would be considerably reversed...Adcom is domestic...made in USA plain and simple. They'd benefit from a huge price advantage, probably more attractive to many buyers. How many Ford's do you see in Toyota's back yard?
    The quantity of 2nd hand gear might suggest more people bought Adcom because nobody WANTED Rotel...which is also rediculous.
    I'm a proud owner of products by both manufacturers, can't say I've had a problem with either. My Adcom GFA-535II's are getting on in years too...My Rotel RB-980 works as well as it ever has. Can't say I prefer one to the other...both are nice units.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    If you were to go to Europe or Asia, the figures would be considerably reversed...Adcom is domestic...made in USA plain and simple. They'd benefit from a huge price advantage, probably more attractive to many buyers. How many Ford's do you see in Toyota's back yard?
    The quantity of 2nd hand gear might suggest more people bought Adcom because nobody WANTED Rotel...which is also rediculous.
    I'm a proud owner of products by both manufacturers, can't say I've had a problem with either. My Adcom GFA-535II's are getting on in years too...My Rotel RB-980 works as well as it ever has. Can't say I prefer one to the other...both are nice units.
    My statement of there is more used Adcom gear than Rotel was not of the thought process that no one wanted Rotel gear. It is merely the fact you would probably have to visit a small A/V store rather than a box store like Ultimate Electronics. A lot of buyers are educated by the sales person and they are only going to educate the buyer on the gear they sell. They are not going to tell the buyer if they drive across town to a small shopping center that you will find high end gear at a little shop hidden in the corner. To be honest, until I started visiting this site I had forgotten about Rotel gear. My point was having the merchandise readily available to average joe, in a shopping plaza near average joes wife's favorite retail store, will produce more sales than having it in a less commerical area. At least that has been my experience with higher end A/V stores, you just have to search for them!

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    Adcom vs Godzilla

    Coming back to the original question, I wouldn't think going from Adcom to Rotel or NAD would be an upgrade. All three are competitors of each other. You might get a change in the sound you are used to but nothing worth the expense. To make it worth the expense and effort you have to go to the next level of gear. Give a listen to the Bryston, Classe', McIntosh or Krell. Watch for that great deal. Anthem is another brand that I thought sounded good and not quite as expensive as the other brands I mentioned. They aren't brute force like Krell or Bryston but they had a nice sound.

    I don't know if it is still there but www.spearitsound.com had a 5500 for $499.00 on the "demo" link. They usually have some good buys on there from time to time. They had a couple Classe power amps priced good too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wfontenot
    My statement of there is more used Adcom gear than Rotel was not of the thought process that no one wanted Rotel gear. It is merely the fact you would probably have to visit a small A/V store rather than a box store like Ultimate Electronics. A lot of buyers are educated by the sales person and they are only going to educate the buyer on the gear they sell. They are not going to tell the buyer if they drive across town to a small shopping center that you will find high end gear at a little shop hidden in the corner. To be honest, until I started visiting this site I had forgotten about Rotel gear. My point was having the merchandise readily available to average joe, in a shopping plaza near average joes wife's favorite retail store, will produce more sales than having it in a less commerical area. At least that has been my experience with higher end A/V stores, you just have to search for them!
    I agree with your statement, I was more responding to the same poster you were.

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    Nad, Rotel, and Adcom have different sound.....

    I am familiar with all these brands, and I find they sound different. So, if you choose an amplifier according with your personal taste, you can feel the difference between them. I personally prefer Rotel over Classe. I was running the Classe CP-101 for two weeks and took it back to the dealer. Is Classe high end? Yes, it is. Does that mean everybody like Classe? Not, it doesn't. In spite most people consider Nad, Rotel, Parasound, Adcom in the same league, it doesn't mean they sound the same. IMO, you can improve from Rotel to Nad ,to put an example, if you go with your personal taste. They sound different.
    Jorge

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    What Adcom pres and amps have you listened to? The 565 monos and pre are the best audio bang for the buck I've ever heard. The sound is pristine and my system can hold it's own with any of the aforementioned. I also have a Rotel 1070 as I am getting one of my 565 fixed finally hopefully. The Rotel is a nice amp but in no way has the soundstage or detail of the adcoms and has much more bass and is way bright compared to the adcom monos. Listen to your ears - not the salesmans mouth or Tom Dick and Harry and you'll be fine.

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    I've had a little more time with the Rotel and have let it warm up for a few days. It sounds a bit better. It takes some getting used to the brightness. Don't get me wrong, it sounds great for $700 - even for $1000 but it isn't Class A sound and if you need to hear those vocals coming at you like a bowling ball hitting a strike, and need to know where the bass player is standing etc. they won't reveal in super detail and the soundstage is not as encompassing as a nice Class A amp. I hear the 1090 is real nice though. So now I dream of 1090s and Brystons for a while. And then every once in a while there is the wet dream of finding a quick fix for my mono block but this one is receding into Narnia. Then work on the O'l Lady a bit. Anything is a win over a pair of monos with women. Anyway - that's my 2 cents to the world. "Good night and Good Luck!"

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    I used to own the Adcom GFA5800 200 watt power amp and all I can say is the sound quality was very disappointing. I have not heard the Rotel but feedback from people indicate that it is not a high achiever either. I used to own two Parasound HCA-2200II and these amps were a disappointment . It was slightly less worse than the Adcom. My comments are not meant to disparage the manufacturer's product but that is exactly how it sounded.

    There are other good amps out there besides Rotel and Adcom. Suggestions like Bryston and Musical Fidelity are good recommendations. May I recommend an amp that might surprise you for it's price. It is the Odyssey Khartago or Strato amp, http://www.odysseyaudio.com/. I'm quite sure you'll have no regrets getting this amp. You'll be surprise how good it sound. I did an A/B comparison with my Parasound amp and the Odyssey blew it away. You may be able to find a use one for a good price.
    Last edited by caesar148; 03-22-2007 at 01:17 PM.

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