Review: Rotel RC-1070 Preamplifier

Category: Preamps

Well this preamplifier was sort of my first taste of mid-fi audio. First off, the looks are definitely fashionable, but not knock your socks off gorgeous. Functionally, it is remote controlled and all knobs are solid and work reliably. Moving to the sound, it was pretty smooth and tubelike sounding. Midrange was smooth and revealing, definitely a good match for the B&W speakers. But the problem I found was that it did not seem to have good control with bass, which in part is due to the RB 1080 amplifier as well. But other than that, I was very impressed with the sound of the budget preamplifier. One mistake is playing two sources at once, the preamp does have a tendency to bleed from source to source, so this can be a problem, but not if you are aware of it. The total harmonic distortion was nearly non existent, it is an extremely quiet preamp. Compared to NAD material, I found the Rotel to be a better match for my B&W speakers. NAD seemed to be a little less revealing in the midrange, but just an overall decent performer. If I were to rate the RC 1070, I would definitely give it a 4 out of 5. It is no dropdead gorgeous preamp, but it is a good bang for buck piece of equipment.

Associated gear
Rotel RB-1080 Amplifier
B&W CDM 7NT speakers
Arcam FMJ CD 23 cd player
Zu Cable Wax Speaker Cable
Zu Cable Oxyfuel interconnects

Similar products
Multiple Receivers, Onkyo, Yamaha, etc
NAD amp/preamp combo

If you are not satisfied with the bass performance, I tend to believe the blame is not with RB-1080 nor with B&W.
I would look at RC-1070 instead. It is nice, but not in the same league with the rest of your equipment.

Rotel RB-1080 has one of the highest damping factors of all power amps -1000 (!). Even if due to speaker connectors/cables damping factor drops tenfold to 100, your Rotel power amp is capable of competently handling even the most demanding speakers. To use authomobile analogy, it handles bass the way BMW 850 handles Alpine autobahn. Effortlessly. RB-1080 is a gem for the money.

Also, consider upgrading stock AC power cables on RB-1080 and FMJ to better one. Even $10 Volex 17604 or 17605 makes a signifficant audible difference. Mains filter such as Rotel RLC 900 ($100-120 used) for digital end and preamp can also make signifficant improvement.

Just my .002
I have RC1070 and 2 RB1050s bi-amping pair of B&W DM601 S3 speakers. Good budget stereo - as someone said "tube like". Not bad for little bit over 2000CAD$.

I think my problem are speakers which distort at higher volumes although I do not listen at high volumes and therefore do not think I should change soon.

Would like to try this electronics on ProAc Tablette mini monitors _ I think it would sound much better.
I recently upgraded from my Denon AVR 881 to the Rotel RC-1070 & RB-1070. My speakers are Polk Audio RT20p - 8 yrs. old. Each speaker has a powered sub (2 8"/speaker) built in with a 150 wat amp. I found once I hooked up the seperates I had to decrease the sub amp volume because the preamp did a good job with bass control. This may not be the best preamp in its class but I would argue that it is a good buy for the money - I paid $1236 with tax for the amp & preamp. Very happy with the Rotel products - plus a 5 yr. warranty too.
i bought a Rotel rc1070 pre-amp,Rotel rb1070 power-amp with a pair of Plk Audio Rti100's about a year ago. i am very satisfied. i play my music through a cheap (but not so nasty) CD/DVD player that has 24bit converter, very basic (this is all i wish to spend at the moment). Because the speakers are Dynamic, ie. bass is power driven i don't miss the bass at all, i have more than i need. my greatest challenge is finding material that is really well recorded, hence re-produced faithfully.
Hi there!!

I am planning to buy the RC-1070 pre and RB-1080 pwr and hook them up with my kef IQ9's. I heard that the RC-1070 pre has a small control over bass, it worries me...will this be a problem in my intended setup? Any comments out there?
I am new in the audio world.

Thank you...
I am currently also running an rb-1080 and am running it with a Nak ca5 pre. No beefs. But for the sake of matching input and output voltages would it better to go with the rc1070 instead. Thanks for your time
I am currently also running an rb-1080 and am running it with a Nak ca5 pre. No beefs. But for the sake of matching input and output voltages would it better to go with the rc1070 instead. Thanks for your time
I just bought an rc - 1070 and can't wait to get it together.
I am running Polk Audios RP2000p with self amplified subs so even if there is a limit for bass on the preamp I don't think there will be a problem.
It's a mid - fi system but stil the best I've ever had.