From the start, Rotel’s flagship RSX-1067 A/V receiver sounded clearer, more three-dimensional, and more accurate than most comparably priced AVRs I’ve heard. How did Rotel pack so much sonic goodness into a $2199, 7.1-channel package?
The answer, Rotel would say, involves careful attention paid to parts and build-quality, plus a singleminded focus on performance. In the interest of keepings things simple, the RSX-1067 omits potentially desirable features you might find in competing receivers, such as autosetup/ room EQ functions, or support for i.LINK and HDMI inputs. But once you hear the RSX-1067 in action, the benefits of its simpler-isbetter approach become crystal clear.
On films, the RSX-1067’s precise surround sound steering, authoritative dynamics, and overall finesse were impressive. The RSX-1067 places listeners inside an almost holographic hemisphere of sound that evokes visceral, emotional responses. In War of the Worlds, for example, alien tripods are sometimes heard before they are seen, and the Rotel scares the bejibbers out of viewers by announcing their arrival through ominous, spatially specific sound effects. The Rotel also does a fine job with the film’s ear-splitting explosions, making dynamic contrasts stand out in sharp relief (quality of power makes a big difference here).
On music, the RSX-1067 comes into its own, with transparent, threedimensional sound that invites listeners to explore subtle inner details in music. I tried driving full-range speakers with the RSX-1067 and was struck by its open-sounding midrange and delicate, extended treble response. At first, I thought the Rotel’s bass might be too lightly balanced, but further listening convinced me its bass was ample, though taut and very well-controlled. Listen to the deep, incisive drum thwacks on the “Gaia” track from James Taylor’s Hourglass SACD [Sony], and you’ll see how pure and potent the Rotel’s bass can be.
The RSX-1067’s universal remote is powerful and flexible, but not entirely intuitive, because functions of certain buttons vary depending upon whether they are pressed for a long or short period of time. This isn’t a bad system, but it isn’t easy to master, and can lead to confusion: “Did I not press the button long enough, or is the remote broken?” In all other respects, however, the user interface proved very effective.
If sound quality is your top priority, put Rotel’s RSX-1067 on your short list. It’s one of the best sounding AVRs on the market, and one of very few that can please hard core audiophiles. That’s saying a ton.