TheFlash

A tale of two high end Rotel CD players (including the one that got away)

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Super Wammer

I have vintage Rotel Michi RHC-10 pasive pre RHB-10 power and RHQ-10 phono which doesn't quite look as smart as this stock pure porn shot:

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The one that got away: What a man needs is obviously a matching RHCD-10.

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They're as rare as rocking horse droppings which is why I bid up to £400 for one described as having "intermittent" problems reading discs (that will be a backside-covering no-comeback description then). No idea how high I could have pushed the eventual sale price but it went at £410. In 2015 a mint one in Portugal went for £1100. It's superbly over-engineered like the rest of the Michi line, with two outboard transformers. At its heart is the Burr-Brown PCM-63P DAC (well, two actually) and PMD-100 filter; the mechanism is a Philips CDM 9 PRO. The more prosaic looking RCD-990 which followed this dropped some of the extreme engineering but kept the same DAC and mechanism.

I've been keeping an eye out for an RCD-991 which kept the highly regarded PCM-63P DAC; uses a more reliable Sony drive mechanism; adds balanced outputs; and intriguingly also has variable dither settings. See  HiFiChoice Review here www.rotel.com/sites/default/files/RCD-991%20Hifi%20Choice%20Sept99.pdf for the importance of this.

I am pleased to report that my absolutely mint one arrived this morning, triple-boxed and from Germany, complete with equally mint remote and original double box. I've only had a brief listen, using Dither 4, and am very pleased; proper listening and dither experimentation to come. I'm actually more relieved than pleased! Advertised as "for parts or not working" and asking €585?? I checked: "yes it's working and absolutely mint, we just can't provide a warranty due to its age". I offered a low ball €450 and it was accepted.

It looks and feels like a new player, and a superbly well-built one at that. Actual photos follow:

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Great score, dude.

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Posted (edited)

Always liked Rotel gear, I've owned some of the amps and enjoyed them.

That CD player looks sublime. I bet you're pleased with your find...

:^

Edited by parcelmonkey
Grammar issues
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Super Wammer

Delighted.

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i am using a nice rotel 965bx into a teac dac . so silent and smooth running and big display as well as sounding good 

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Super Wammer

It looks mint, Nigel. Nice one!  

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Super Wammer

Incidentally, it’s interesting how Burr Brown DACs have such a great rep for SQ.  My Krell had a pair, fully balanced, and Naim use discontinued models in their super high-end streamer because they love the sound. 

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Well done Flash. I'm a big fan of Rotel CDPs. That AE version looks like my bag. Triffic! 

Try and look for a RCD975. Like the Michi, they are as rare as hens teeth, but they punch well above their price tag.

:^

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Super Wammer
8 minutes ago, plasticpenguin said:

Well done Flash. I'm a big fan of Rotel CDPs. That AE version looks like my bag. Triffic! 

Try and look for a RCD975. Like the Michi, they are as rare as hens teeth, but they punch well above their price tag.

:^

Nice... but I'm not sure why I'd want a 975 unless you're going to tell me it's even better than the 991!

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, TheFlash said:

Nice... but I'm not sure why I'd want a 975 unless you're going to tell me it's even better than the 991!

Or put another way. It's easily a match for the older 10 series.

EDIT - Rotel do have a away of producing great amps and CDPs and then some real plumbs.

Edited by plasticpenguin
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I had an RCD 971 back in the late 90’s. Chose it over some favoured rivals and glad I did. It was a fantastic HDCD player and had a brief listen to the one you have and if only funds allowed 💭

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Super Wammer

I don’t recall adjustable dither appearing anywhere else on a ‘normal’ CD player, so it’ll be interesting what your hear and what Rotel explain in the handbook. 

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Super Wammer
6 hours ago, Nopiano said:

I don’t recall adjustable dither appearing anywhere else on a ‘normal’ CD player, so it’ll be interesting what your hear and what Rotel explain in the handbook. 

See link from my original post re HiFiChoice review (below) and extract from User Manual. Just for you! I will of course report back.

On 23/03/2019 at 12:13, TheFlash said:

See  HiFiChoice Review here www.rotel.com/sites/default/files/RCD-991%20Hifi%20Choice%20Sept99.pdf for the importance of this.

User manual extract:

DITHER Button (front panel only) 6
DITHER Display 3

Dither is a very small amount of digital noise added to a signal to improve a CD player’s overall sound quality. Proper types and amounts of dither can improve a digital-to-analog converter’s linearity, particularly during very soft (low-level) musical passages.
Dither’s precise effects vary depending on: the exact dither type and level chosen, D/A converter type, other system characteristics, and the type of music being played.
The RCD-991 allows you to choose different types and levels of dither. The effects may vary but careful listening will reveal what selection is best for your system and musical taste.
Select different dither types by sequentially pushing the DITHER button. The DITHER DISPLAY will change to indicate the kind of dither then being generated. Remember that dither-induced sonic differences are subtle and that there is no wrong setting for your RCD-991. Experiment to find the most pleasing dither selection.
The DITHER DISPLAY, located to left of the main DISPLAY, shows a single digit indicating the types of dither provided by the RCD-991 as follows:

  • A blank dither setting indicates that dither is off.
  • Dither settings from 0 through 6 are seven progressively higher levels of ultrasonic noise-shaped dither. The 0 setting provides minimum amplitude dither which corrects quantization errors only. The 1-6 settings add increasing levels of ultrasonic (30-80 kHz) weighted dither designed to smooth out non-linearity errors in multi-bit D/A converters. The 1 setting indicates the least amount of noise shaped dither; the 6 setting indicates the highest level.
  • A dither setting of 7 is minimum amplitude triangular PDF dither. This low level broadband dither is not weighted towards the ultrasonic range and is intended to correct quantization errors only. It has a similar effect as the 0 setting, but with a different type of noise.

I hope that's clear!

Although there is no button on the remote control to switch dither setting, I'm pleased to report that it does remember whatever setting has been chosen, even when fully powered down.

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This brings so many memories from early 2000s when I used to work in a HiFi shop. We had 10 series there and used them with various speakers but one memorable moment was introduction of Nautilus 801 from B&W which we did in the local theatre - that was really really good.

There's another interesting CD from Rotel, drive and DAC RDP/RDD 980; colleague had this at home and was claiming it's better than RCD 991. Don't remember the results of comparison (we've had few as I had Luxman D-700s, other colleague Accuphase DP-55 and our friend Pioneer PD-95) but always liked how it sounded at his place.

There was also one smaller power amp in the 10 series and active preamplifier if I remember correctly.

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Super Wammer
1 hour ago, hexx said:

This brings so many memories from early 2000s when I used to work in a HiFi shop. We had 10 series there and used them with various speakers but one memorable moment was introduction of Nautilus 801 from B&W which we did in the local theatre - that was really really good.

There's another interesting CD from Rotel, drive and DAC RDP/RDD 980; colleague had this at home and was claiming it's better than RCD 991. Don't remember the results of comparison (we've had few as I had Luxman D-700s, other colleague Accuphase DP-55 and our friend Pioneer PD-95) but always liked how it sounded at his place.

There was also one smaller power amp in the 10 series and active preamplifier if I remember correctly.

Glad to be of service... remember though that nostalgia's not what it used to be. 🤔

Yes, indeed, the smaller power amp was the RHB-05 and the active pre is the RHA-10; I've seen neither for sale since I bought my RHB-10/RHC-10. I'm not convinced the latter is of a quality which does the RHB-10 justice, though it will do for now.

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