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  1. #1

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    Default Review: Rotel RB1090 vs Rotel RB1091 monoblocks

    My opinion of the two Rotels....

    Overall Sonic Presentation/Soundstage:
    The Rotel 1090 was a little warmer while the 1091 monos felt somewhat leaner... but what drew my attention was the improved soundstage depth that the 1090 provided. The 1091 was deep and wide, but not to the same degree. The 1090 was so good at presenting the subtleties of the song that it was easier to discern where the singer was relative to the drums towards the back.
    Score:
    1090 - 90
    1091 - 85

    Vocal Presentation:
    The Vocals on the 1090 was better defined to my ears - and more controlled. There wasnt as much sibilance (or artificial sibilance as I'd like to call it) as there was when the 1091 was playing through the BW 802D. The vocals came out nice and resolute. Right down the middle, floating at about a 5-6 ft height... just right there as if Dave Matthews was singing right in the room.
    Score:
    1090 - 95
    1091 - 85

    Highs:
    Both were very resolute and transparent with regards to the top end. However, I felt that the 1090 had better control of the high's energy. Sibilance was down to a minimum while the 1091 monos presented a more "non-controlled" top end where sibilance ran a bit rampant - or atleast more than I would've liked. The 1091 may seem a little airier, but I think this is artificial. The 1090 was 98% of its way there but I felt that the last 2% is negligible considering the 1091 was a good 75% of the 1090 in terms of upper end control/sibilance control.
    1090 - 90
    1091 - 88

    Midrange:
    The midrange was almost the same, both amps pumped out with great dynamics. Both easily tackled transient loads and it was hard to discern which had better midrange with these ears. Both amps were able to present acoustic guitar in its rawest form, sharp plucks with a sense of clarity as each string was strum. It was a great experience.
    1090 - 90
    1091 - 90

    Bass:
    Astounding bass from both amps. It was hard for me to pick which did the bass better, although both had me checking the BW sub to make sure it was off. There was tremendous bass with a ton of delicacy. Very well done on the part of both amps.
    1090 - 95
    1091 - 95

    Relative Rating:
    RB1090 - 92 (relative average)
    RB1091 - 88.6

    I just put the scores up to show a more tangible difference between the two amps. It's not meant to scale up to anything else I've heard in comparison... I just picked arbitrary numbers to quantitatively represent what I heard.

    Final Comments:
    If nothing at all, this review should point to you that through my ears, the 1090 was definitely playing with greater synergy coupled with the BW802D than did the RB1091 monoblocks. Oh, and I must add, as much as I love my Summits, the BW802D are SERIOUS contenders! These speakers are very nice... very nice. Just a little pricey at $12K but I wouldnt mind getting a pair if I had the extra cash as a second reference system - maybe in a few years.

    Next up, RB1090 vs Krell 400xi....
    Last edited by Joey_V; 04-13-2006 at 01:26 AM.
    Joey's College Gear:
    Current Gear:
    SB3 -> PS Audio DAC III -> Cary Audio SLP-98Phono Tube PreAmp w/ Sylvania NOS 6sn7 tubes -> Plinius SA102 Class A amp -> Martin Logan SUMMIT/Strata Mini -> :D
    Old Gear:
    Martin Logan Vantage (4.75/5)-ML Mosaic (4.25/5)-Onix Ref1 (3.7/5)-Sonus Faber Concerto (3.5/5)-SF Concertino (3/5)-Axiom M22ti (2.75/5)-Polk LSi9 (3.75/5)-LSi7 (3.25/5)-HK AVR330-Rotel RC1070/RB1070/RB1090-SVS 25-31PC+ sub
    RUSH Med School 2008!!:D

  2. #2

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    Nice review, looking forward to the next one.
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."

  3. #3

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    I know this is not exactly audio related but some of the 1091-92 plus points can go to compactness, weight, heat, and power consumption.

    If only they were priced closer to the 1080. :)

  4. #4

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    Thanks for the review - awesome review indeed!

    Unfortunately, they are getting rid of the 1090 from what I heard. My dealer's giving a 25% discount on their last remaining pieces.

    I am indeed looking forward to the 1090 vs. Krell 400Xi review - and you can bet that I'll be arguing against that :D
    Distant Dream - A New Beginning
    www.distantdream.com
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  5. #5

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    btw ... the 802D's are incredible indeed.
    Distant Dream - A New Beginning
    www.distantdream.com
    (Now also available on iTunes)

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by crazy
    btw ... the 802D's are incredible indeed.
    Hear hear...

    Regarding the 1090 vs Krell....
    Oh... I know you'll argue D. You crazy man you!
    Joey's College Gear:
    Current Gear:
    SB3 -> PS Audio DAC III -> Cary Audio SLP-98Phono Tube PreAmp w/ Sylvania NOS 6sn7 tubes -> Plinius SA102 Class A amp -> Martin Logan SUMMIT/Strata Mini -> :D
    Old Gear:
    Martin Logan Vantage (4.75/5)-ML Mosaic (4.25/5)-Onix Ref1 (3.7/5)-Sonus Faber Concerto (3.5/5)-SF Concertino (3/5)-Axiom M22ti (2.75/5)-Polk LSi9 (3.75/5)-LSi7 (3.25/5)-HK AVR330-Rotel RC1070/RB1070/RB1090-SVS 25-31PC+ sub
    RUSH Med School 2008!!:D

  7. #7

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    Interesting review. It suprises me that you found the mono's to be the lesser of the 2. Usually that's not the case. But, they're your ears and it was a good read. Looking forward to the next comparo.

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30; Eastern Electric Mini Max; Adcom GDA600; MIT S3/Z Pc; SDA 1C; Squeezebox; Tubes add soul!

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by heiney9
    Interesting review. It suprises me that you found the mono's to be the lesser of the 2. Usually that's not the case. But, they're your ears and it was a good read. Looking forward to the next comparo.

    H9
    Actually, there have been other reviews who found the same thing..... and favored the 1090.

    http://www.htguide.com/forum/showthread.php4?t=19400
    http://www.htguide.com/forum/showthread.php4?t=19375
    MoonSpin also said (on htguide):
    Nice review, put into words! I compared the RB-1092 and the RB-1090 at home around mid March and your review comes very close to how I felt with those two amps. You've done a much better job at describing things than I could into words as it got comfusing for me to put into words. Thanks for sharing. I feel very lucky to have my RB-1090 as I enjoy it very much, it's a great Rotel amp.

    ---

    H9, it's not just me... it's almost general consensus.
    Joey's College Gear:
    Current Gear:
    SB3 -> PS Audio DAC III -> Cary Audio SLP-98Phono Tube PreAmp w/ Sylvania NOS 6sn7 tubes -> Plinius SA102 Class A amp -> Martin Logan SUMMIT/Strata Mini -> :D
    Old Gear:
    Martin Logan Vantage (4.75/5)-ML Mosaic (4.25/5)-Onix Ref1 (3.7/5)-Sonus Faber Concerto (3.5/5)-SF Concertino (3/5)-Axiom M22ti (2.75/5)-Polk LSi9 (3.75/5)-LSi7 (3.25/5)-HK AVR330-Rotel RC1070/RB1070/RB1090-SVS 25-31PC+ sub
    RUSH Med School 2008!!:D

  9. #9

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    I forgot the 1091 is the "new digital" amp. Now I can see why this would/could be. I understand now ;) .

    H9

  10. #10
    Stronzo
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    Fun stuff... too bad this sounds like it was done in store..

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zero
    Fun stuff... too bad this sounds like it was done in store..
    Sean-ster,

    You cant expect me to have both amps in my home and the 802D and 50K worth of room treatments.

    It was a good thing this was done in store because the room was faaaaar better than anything I can muster up and the electronics top to bottom was far superior.

    In fact, I doubt I could EVER have a room that well geared towards 2 channel listening - no way. Not even when I graduate MD.
    Joey's College Gear:
    Current Gear:
    SB3 -> PS Audio DAC III -> Cary Audio SLP-98Phono Tube PreAmp w/ Sylvania NOS 6sn7 tubes -> Plinius SA102 Class A amp -> Martin Logan SUMMIT/Strata Mini -> :D
    Old Gear:
    Martin Logan Vantage (4.75/5)-ML Mosaic (4.25/5)-Onix Ref1 (3.7/5)-Sonus Faber Concerto (3.5/5)-SF Concertino (3/5)-Axiom M22ti (2.75/5)-Polk LSi9 (3.75/5)-LSi7 (3.25/5)-HK AVR330-Rotel RC1070/RB1070/RB1090-SVS 25-31PC+ sub
    RUSH Med School 2008!!:D

  12. #12
    Stronzo
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    Giving you a hard time as usual..


    btw: I expect your room not only to be treated, but acoustically suspended!

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zero
    Giving you a hard time as usual..


    btw: I expect your room not only to be treated, but acoustically suspended!
    YIKES!!
    Joey's College Gear:
    Current Gear:
    SB3 -> PS Audio DAC III -> Cary Audio SLP-98Phono Tube PreAmp w/ Sylvania NOS 6sn7 tubes -> Plinius SA102 Class A amp -> Martin Logan SUMMIT/Strata Mini -> :D
    Old Gear:
    Martin Logan Vantage (4.75/5)-ML Mosaic (4.25/5)-Onix Ref1 (3.7/5)-Sonus Faber Concerto (3.5/5)-SF Concertino (3/5)-Axiom M22ti (2.75/5)-Polk LSi9 (3.75/5)-LSi7 (3.25/5)-HK AVR330-Rotel RC1070/RB1070/RB1090-SVS 25-31PC+ sub
    RUSH Med School 2008!!:D

  14. #14

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    I'm not shocked...used to have a 990 and from what I have heard they have not improved on it yet. I have NOT heard the new digital Rotel amps, though. Based on my Bel Canto I know digital can be wonderful, but Bel Canto is a pretty big step up from Rotel (no offense to Rotel owners, it is great stuff for the $$).
    Steve Carlson
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    Polk Monitor 10B speakers, retired but not forgotten

  15. #15

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    Joey, nice review. Any chance this was at Audio Consultants on Randolph? I've given some of their high-end B&W's a listen with McIntosh stuff--not sure what models, but it sure sounded sweet.

  16. #16

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    This was at Barretts Home Audio on Randall Rd. near Carpentersville.

    Audio Consultants... I havent been there yet... I still have to visit Glenn Poor and ogle at their Wilsons/Halcro offerings.
    Joey's College Gear:
    Current Gear:
    SB3 -> PS Audio DAC III -> Cary Audio SLP-98Phono Tube PreAmp w/ Sylvania NOS 6sn7 tubes -> Plinius SA102 Class A amp -> Martin Logan SUMMIT/Strata Mini -> :D
    Old Gear:
    Martin Logan Vantage (4.75/5)-ML Mosaic (4.25/5)-Onix Ref1 (3.7/5)-Sonus Faber Concerto (3.5/5)-SF Concertino (3/5)-Axiom M22ti (2.75/5)-Polk LSi9 (3.75/5)-LSi7 (3.25/5)-HK AVR330-Rotel RC1070/RB1070/RB1090-SVS 25-31PC+ sub
    RUSH Med School 2008!!:D

  17. #17

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    I have recently replaced my Rotel RB-1070 with a RB-1092 and am very pleased with the design & audio output. My shelf could not accomodate the hefty 1090; one reason why I chose the 1092. Plus, as the unit gets in its music time it seems to open up - better soundstage, crisp, clean highs & mids, tight bass. For $2100, this was a end-all purchse for me. My pre is the RC-1090 & speakers are B&W 804N and ASW800 sub. Musical bliss.
    Strictly 2 channel
    Rotel RC-1550 pre
    Rotel RB-1582 amp
    Catcables Kingcats ICs
    APC S-20 line conditioner
    B&W N804 mains
    B&W ASW800 sub
    Rotel RCC-1055 changer
    Denon DVD 1000

    Listening Room:
    McIntosh C2300 preamp
    McIntosh MC452 amp
    McIntosh MCD-500 SACD player
    AQ Colorado XLR ICs
    AQ Columbia ICs
    APC H-15 line conditioner
    Sonus faber Auditor M speakers w/stands
    REL B1 subwoofer
    Rega P9 w/Lyra Delos
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    Zu power cables & XLRs

  18. #18

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    I listened to the NEW "D" series-200w. Was NOT impressed. They couldn't drive me out of the listening room or say "uncle". My Carver M-400 ( rebuilt by Rolland Barr ) Kicked it's ass pretty well. I bought a RB-1090 demo with 2 yrs. warranty left. Every thing in review IS correct about vocal clarity and sound stage. Best 1,300.00 I've spent in a long time.

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