• 03-05-2004, 01:39 PM
    Rotel RA985BX I-Amp for my B&W 604 S3s???
    Hey there everybody! I've found a great deal on a Rotel RA985BX integrated amplifier that's rated for 100W X 2. Does anybody out there have any experience pairing this amp with the larger of the Bowers and Wilkins speaks? Right now, I'm just using an old Technics DD/DTS receiver for my 2 channel listening. I'd prefer to get a little more clean power for listening to music. I can't audition the amp before buying... anybody think I should go for it at around $250?

    Thanks for all replies in advance!
  • 03-05-2004, 09:02 PM
    Hmmm. Tough one to put it bluntly. Rotel is certainly noted for their power amps and I would recommend them in a heartbeat. Their integrated's,cd players and preamps are frankly middle of the road to worse much of the time - they're a very inconsistant company because one cd player is a rock solid buy and another is brutal and prices don't indicate which will be which.

    For $250.00 you could pick up a used Sugden($400 Cdn) and this retailed for $2000.00 - Conversely the Rotel retailed for around $800 - there are many others besides Sugden like the Arcam Delta 290(which I traded in) perhaps for $50.00 more than your budget. The Sugden is all handbuilt and simply of higher calibur in all respects except raw power.

    I guess it's not bad but I would be more patient...anything that a 100 watt amp will drive a 50 watt amp will drive just as well - and it's doubtful you'll be able to hear an audibel difference.

    double the watts gives you a 3decibal increas in volume...that is barely audible. It takes 10 times the power to get a perceived doubling of the volume (to your ear). Most amplifiers operte between <1watt - 10watts even at loud levels. The rest is often advertising gimmickry.

    Let's put it this way - I doubt you'll find a better integrated amplifier under 3k than the 25 watt per channel pure class A Sugden A21a - different and better in some areas but I have yet to hear one that is more musically satisfying.

    Also - if you love Rotel - why not consider buying a used Rotel Power amplifer and a used new or used tube preamp?
  • 03-08-2004, 08:12 AM
    RGA, thanks for the great info! This I-Amp was on ebay, and I missed the close, but from what you had to say, I'm not dissapointed. The reason I was considering an integrated is that my Technics HT receiver doesn't have any preouts, and I'm not very patient... I wanted something I could buy and use immediately. I'm eventually going to upgrade my HT receiver, but I'm waiting for some of the features that are only in the flagship models to trickle down to the more affordable ones. In the meantime, I'll take your suggestion into consideration. So, what you're saying is that I'd hear no audible difference between a 25 or 50 W amp and 100 W? I'd need to buy a 500W amp before hearing a difference with a 50W? Are there any tube pre-amps in particular that you'd recommend with a Rotel power amp? Thanks again... Traut
  • 03-08-2004, 12:35 PM
    Well watts can make a difference but not just the watts. A good clear 50 watter will drive most anything very well. A 100 watt receiver may actually sound less loud. I had the top of the line Pioneer Elite A/V receiver with 125watts .00025% THD that didn't play nearly as clear as my 75 Watt Arcam...thus the Arcam could play louder clearer.

    It also depends on how easy your speakers are to drive - if they are 90db or higher and 8 ohms then the Sugden A21a is more than enough.

    There is oviously more than Sugden which is a tiny company and very hard to find used. I'm just using them as an example.

    I just picked up the Marantz 4300 6.1 A/V receiver brand new for the equivelant of $239.00US. It has preouts for all six channels and the sub. Certainly if I was going new I would probably recommend you do this. The power amp section is essentially upgradeable - which is why I chose Marantz over the competition.

    You can do better with integrateds on the used market - but you need to know what you're getting - you need to listen...just buying off EBAY without knowing the sound is a big gamble.