Stereo Minimalist Looking at a New Rotel & B&W System [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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12-11-2005, 08:52 PM
A few years ago, I Ebayed my Vandersteen 2Ces, packed up, and moved across the US. I am ready to buy a new system and need some advice. My budget is in the $1000 - $2000 range. My priorities are range, fidelity, and no frills, in a modestly sized tower speaker. This is for use in a medium-sized 12ft X 30 ft condo living room. I will use this for music and movies, and I would rather have clean stereo than mediocre surround at my current budget.

My choice so far is the following:
Rotel RA-02 40W Integrated Amplifier $499
B&W DM603 S3 speakers $1000

I was able to demo the B&W speakers, but no store in my area has the amp on demo. I have great confidence in the Rotel brand, and the RA-02 is bare bones which I love.

My questions:
1) B&W suggests 25W – 150W for the 603s. Is the 40W Rotel adequate, or should I go with another one of the higher powered options that Rotel offers?
2) Is line-level output the best option if I would like to add a subwoofer later, and does the Rotel have that capability?
3) If anyone has any other speaker/amp combos, I am all ears.

Any input is greatly appreciated!

12-12-2005, 03:16 PM
the 40 watts you're getting from the rotel should be more than enough to make the B&W get SERIOUSLY loud and still have enough headroom to prevent the sound becoming compressed at higher listening levels.
I auditioned the Rotel and the B&Ws 602 S3, and what they offer is an extremely clean presentation. lots of detail, lots of midrange clarity and a SLIGHT hint of harshness in the trebble. However i felt they lacked bass.
The rotel has somewhat of an accurate but uninvolving presentation. It is an EXCELLENT amp for the price, and it really depends on what you like. It doesn't offer the boom, bang and warmth of the competing NADs, but on the other hand it offers clarity, which the NAD lacks. If you want both of these, where we're talking about significantly higher buck counts...
Yes, the rotel does indeed have a preamp out that u could use to drive a powered subwoofer.

12-12-2005, 04:04 PM
For speaker suggestions, you might want to peruse this thread. (

Kaboom did an excellent job of describing the sonic characteristics of both Rotel and Nad. The RA02 and C320bee are highly regarded and neither would be a bad choice. You should also consider the Cambridge Audio Azur 540a or 640a as a viable alternative.

The 603 is a solid contender is this price range, although I hope you realize it sounds completely different from your Vandy's. If you're looking for something more in-line with the 2ce's, you might prefer something from Sonus Faber or even Magnepan. You mentioned you've auditioned the B&W's, so I'm guessing this change of pace is by design. Needless to say, at your price point, you have a veritable cornucopia of excellent options.

Hope this helps.