Can't decide - receiver (B&K AVR-505) or separates (Rotel RSP-1066 & RMB-1075?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Hap C, Feb 12, 2003.

  1. Hap C

    Hap C Agent

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    I'm having a very hard time deciding between a receiver, the B&K AVR-505, and roughly comparably priced separates, the Rotel RSP-1066 with RMB-1075 5-channel amp, and thought I'd post to see how others would choose between those two alternatives.

    Quick comments on each. The B&K has more digital inputs, 3 component video inputs, great sound (to my ears, anyway) and I like the remote, which is basically the Home Theater Master MX-700. I have the MX-500 now and like it a lot. The receiver also takes up less rack space.

    The Rotel separates also have great sound (again, to my ears), and the advantages of separates such as upgrading the pre/pro and staying with the amp. The 1066 has fewer digital inputs, and only 2 component video inputs, but I guess I could add a video switcher like the Audio Authority 1154 to cover that latter difference. The remote on the Rotel is OK, but not as nice as the MX-700 supplied with the B&K. No AM/FM tuner on the Rotel (can buy one for an extra $300), but I never listen to the radio on the home theater setup so that is a non-issue for me.

    Both are very nice looking pieces, and they pretty much tie as far as I'm concerned on appearance and esthetics. Support seems to be pretty good on both, from comments in various forums I have visited.

    So, which would you pick, and why? Comments from users of the Rotel combo and/or B&K would be particuarly appreciated, as I expect you will have better insights than someone, like me, who does not own those components.


    Thanks in advance,

    Hap
     
  2. Rich Wenzel

    Rich Wenzel Supporting Actor

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    you can get the 1066/1075 for a little over 2k, you can get the 505 that cheap?

    Rich
     
  3. Hap C

    Hap C Agent

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    I said "roughly" combarable in price. I can get the 505 for about $2400, maybe a bit under that. The Rotel combo is about $2200 to $2300 locally, plus if I would add the Audio Authority 1154 component switcher to the Rotel that would add another $190, and if I add a tuner to the Rotel (which the B&K has) that would add another $300. But the tuner isn't important to me. Other than to set it up, I have never listened to the tuner in my current home theater rig, just DVDs, HDTV, CDs and cable TV. Re the Rotel/B&K, the $ is close enough that it's just not a factor. If I'm going to have this stuff for a few years, who cares about a couple of hundred bucks? I'm interested in the functional and overall pros & cons of the B&K versus the Rotel, but the $ is not enough to make a difference one way or the other.

    Any insights on the B&K or the Rotel? I'd appreciate your comments. Thanks.
     
  4. Levesque

    Levesque Supporting Actor

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    I was in your shoes last summer. Hesitating between Pioneer Elite 49tx and the "trio" Rotel RMB-1095 + RSP-1066 + RB-1050. I went with Rotel, and paid 4100$ CDN for it (around 2800$ US).

    Why? Because now I got 7 channels of pretty good amplification, and only need to change the processor if need be, AND still be with 7 channels of pretty good amplification (that will probably last for years).

    So, if new connections are coming out, or new surround modes, or a new technology, I will only change my processor, because my amps will grow with my system.

    That's only my PERSONAL choice, and everyone are having different priorities and budget. So it's your decision.

    Please don't think I was telling that the Pio Elite was not good. It's an awesome piece of hardware. But, FOR ME, the Rotel "trio" was a better choice, to my ears, to my logic, and to my budget. I don,t intend to start a debate between receiver and separates.
     
  5. Hap C

    Hap C Agent

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    Levesque, I understand your choice, and the ability to upgrade the pre/pro without having to upgrade the amp is definitely a big plus for the Rotel. But, B&K upgrades their software fairly frequently, so you're not out in the cold with them either.

    I wish the Rotel had 3 component video inputs, instead of 2. I have a HD terrestrial receiver, HD cable and prog scan DVD player, and currently need 3 inputs. I guess if I add digital HD recorder of some sort I would need an additional component input. As mentioned before, I could always add the Audio Authority 1154 component video switcher to the Rotel RSP-1066 and get 4 component inputs, but that's not the same as switching the component vid through the processor. With the Audio Authority, from what I have read you have to establish a hierarchy of inputs and then turn the component on and off to get the Audio Authority to switch. A plus for the B&K is that it has 3 component inputs, and would switch everything I have now through the receiver, without an outboard piece like the Audio Authority switcher.

    I'm not concerned about video up-conversion from S or composite to component, which the higher end Pioneers and Denons do, as I have read too much about problems with the upconversion. Also, the only non-component input device I have anymore is a VCR, and I don't mind running another cable to the monitor just for the VCR. Compared to HD, quality is so bad with VCRs that I hardly ever use it anymore.

    I think the sound is excellent on both the B&K and the Rotel. Really, I couldn't hear much difference, so I am considering them equals in that regard. It really is coming down to features, upgradeability, stuff like that.

    Another big factor is that the local Rotel dealer is a great guy, a real class act, and I would be very comfortable buying from him knowing that there would be great support. With B&K, it's either Tweeter locally, or a smaller shop (a bit less expensive) that is a day's drive where the service/etc. is an unknown quality.

    Aarggh!! I usually don't get stuck on a decision like this, but I am really stuck on this one. [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  6. Rich Wenzel

    Rich Wenzel Supporting Actor

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    I didnt think the 505 could be gotten that cheap, i thought it was closer to $3k.

    Levesque you got the 1066/1095/1050 for that little? the 1095 i though lists $2k US, and the combo, even with a discount of just the 1066/1095 should be over $3k...you got a steal and a half.

    All things being equal, I would rather have separates than a receiver. As for 3 component videos, you are better off going straight to the tv anyway. Thats what I do with mine. If your tv only has 2 (like most) then you need to use the switcher, but you could still line one of them to the tv.

    Rich
     
  7. Hap C

    Hap C Agent

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    Rich, thanks for your comments. My TV is a Sony 53XBR300 rear projection, and although it has 3 component inputs only one does HD. The other two are limited bandwith, and won't pass prog scan DVD or HD, just a regular DVD component input. Once you've watched prog scan, it's hard to go backwards to just DVD component without prog scan. Bottom line is that, for HD inputs, I only have one way in to the TV and therefore have to switch externally.

    Re your comment that "all things being equal" you'd rather have separates, I guess I agree to a certain degree. Unfortunately they are not exactly equal here, and that's why I'm stuck on this decision. I'm trying to balance the various functional differences between the B&K and the Rotel stuff, and figure out what would be best to live with in the long term.

    Is anyone out there using the Rotel RSP-1066 with the Audio Authority 1154 component switcher, and if so, what has been your experience? Thanks.
     
  8. Terry Stokes

    Terry Stokes Auditioning

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    Hap C, I'm in a similar boat to you (looking at receivers vs. separates of comparable sound quality and price). I'm drawn more to the Rotel equipment because of a couple of great dealers here locally, and because I honestly think it has the best sound going on stereo music. My problem now is choosing between the Rotel separates, or a Rotel receiver. Have you looked at(listened to) the Rotel 1065 receiver? It has the same feature set as the 1066 pre/pro plus a tuner and five channels of 100w/c amplification. You have to add a stereo amp for the 6.1/7.1 back speakers (which I have already); but at $1800 or less street price, there's room in the budget for the extra amp if/when you need it. To my ears the Rotel receiver sounds every bit as good as the Rotel separates. And since I'm saving for some new B&W CDM 9NT speakers, the several hundred $$ difference between the receiver and the separates gets me into the B&W's that much sooner. Anyway, give the Rotel 1065 a listen.
     
  9. Rich Wenzel

    Rich Wenzel Supporting Actor

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    the processing unit of the 1065 is not the same as the 1066, the rotel receiver that is closest is the 1055

    Tough decision Hap. I agree on the progressive scan, its so much better...

    Rich
     
  10. Hap C

    Hap C Agent

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    Terry, I hadn't considered the Rotel 1065 receiver, as it's not much different from what I have now. I currently use a 2 year old Denon AVR-3300, with 105 wpc and only 2 component video inputs, with a video bandwith of only 27mhz, which probably softens the HD signals from what I have read. The Rotel only has 100 wpc, so that's not an upgrade on power, and I don't know about the video bandwith on the Rotel 1065.

    I do know that the RSP-1066 had low video bandwith, about 10mhz, there were complaints, and now Rotel has a 200mhz video bandwith on the 1066. I emailed them re that, and got a quick response stating that they hadn't updated the web site yet but the specs on what is now being shipped are 200mhz video bandwith. No idea if they upgraded the video bandwith on the 1065 or not, but since it doesn't seem to offer much more than what I currently have in terms of power I haven't explored it. FYI, the B&K receiver has 150 wpc, and unlimited video bandwith. The Rotel 1066/1075 combo has 125 wpc, and 200mhz video bandwith.

    I agree re your comments re Rotel dealers. The local guy I dealt with was just super, and I wouldn't hesitate to buy from him.
     
  11. Hap C

    Hap C Agent

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    Rich, maybe I should have phrased the question as "Flagship receiver v. non-flagship separates - which is better?" The allure of separates, and later easy upgrades to the processor, is tempting, and the Rotel stuff is certainly not the real high end but it sounds fine to me. And the B&K is a great receiver, has some more features and more power, takes up less rack space, and also sounds fine to me.

    Yeah, tough decision but hey, we're not making life and death decisions here, just which pile of electronics to buy. [​IMG]
     
  12. Mark Paquette

    Mark Paquette Supporting Actor

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    Hap C, I feel your pain. I have been trying to figure out the "entry level separates or flagship receiver" question for a couple of months now. I ordered a Rotel 1066/1075 combo from a local dealer and now I'm having second thoughts. I found a killer deal on an AVR507, about $300 more than the Rotel combo. I'm not fond of the Rotel remote at all so I would be replacing that right off the bat which will make the price between these 2 options equal. I've listened to the Rotel stuff a lot, but have only had 1 opportunity to listen to the B&K receiver. There are just no B&K dealers near me.

    It appears the B&K has more bells and whistles and is THX Ultra2 certified (which may or may not matter), has a killer remote, lots of power and B&K seems to have a good record of providing an upgrade path for their receivers, alhtough at a price.

    The Rotel combo would get me into the world of separates and allow me to upgrade just the processor later on. I'm already thinking the new 1098 looks pretty sweet btw.

    I'm still pretty undecided at this point. Maybe I should just flip a damn coin. [​IMG]
     
  13. Hap C

    Hap C Agent

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    Mark,

    Flipping a coin sounds good to me too at this point. [​IMG]

    Your point about the remote is a good one. When you think about it, your interface with the receiver is mainly through the remote. And the Home Theater Master MX-700 that comes with the B&K, is one of the best out there. I have the MX-500 now, same size, shape, etc. but less programability, and it is just excellent, best remote I have ever used. I agree that the Rotel remote is nothing special, not bad, but not in the same league as the MX-700. Also, consider that the MX-700 remote lists for $499. That's a lot of value included in the B&K price. Here's a link to a review of that remote. http://www.remotecentral.com/ Remember also that you can buy the MX-500 for around $125, so you could add that to the Rotel, replacing the Rotel remote, and have a remote that is more than adequate for your needs.

    The main issue I keep returning to is the component video inputs. The B&K has 3, the Rotel 1066 only 2. I need 3 HD component inputs now, so the B&K looks better at first glance, but if I add one more input (likely in the future, say a HD recorder)then the B&K would not have enough inputs either and I'd be forced to do something like the Audio Authority 1154 switcher, which has 4 inputs. But, if I'm going to do that anyway and ignore the inputs on the B&K, then the Rotel 1066 would also be fine.

    Why do the high end manufacturers put 6 composite and another 6 S-Video inputs, which are rarely used, and then skimp on the HD inputs, which their higher end customers actually want and use? I think if the Rotel had 4 component inputs I'd ignore the remote issue and go for it. The new 1098 is supposed to have 3 inputs, same as the B&K. I agree it looks nice, but at the price they are going to charge, around $3K, there are other options, such as the B&K Ref 50, the AVM-20, etc., worth a look. Plus, I don't like the little video screen on the new 1098, so that would knock it out for me.

    Cheers,

    Hap
     
  14. Rich Wenzel

    Rich Wenzel Supporting Actor

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    its looks the the 1098 will have 4 component video ins:

    http://www.rotel.com/products/pdfs/R...elim-sheet.pdf

    as for the remote, i have 2 complaints about it
    the first is that eat its batteries a prodigious rate.
    the second is that the source buttons are not back lit and hid behind a door. rotel said they are fixing that.

    overall, i actually happen to like the remote.

    rich
     
  15. Rich Wenzel

    Rich Wenzel Supporting Actor

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    Hap,

    I would bet good money that the 1065's power is much greater than the Denon's. Denon rates their amps more aggressively than Rotel's.

    Rich
     
  16. Hap C

    Hap C Agent

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    Rich, thanks for the link re the 4 component inputs on the 1098. That is great, but it is an expensive piece. I think that is going to list for about $3,000, figure 10% off so its $2700. At that price, I think I'd look at other brands besides Rotel. Also, I don't like the video screen on the receiver, which is wasted on me as I keep my components in a Salamander rack with the perforated metal door, can't really see them anyway. You're also probably right re the Denon receiver power relative to the Rotel; I expect Rotel is stronger across the frequency range.

    Yesterday I was pretty much decided to get the Rotel combo and the Audio Authority switch. Today I'm leaning towards the B&K 505 and living within the 3 inputs it provides; it has a much better remote, and also has more power, 150 v. 120 for the Rotel 1075, but then again I could just get the Rotel 1095 at 200 watts and use my Home Theater Master MX-500 to take care of those issues. I have never been so undecided about anything. Aarrrrgh! [​IMG]

    Hap
     
  17. Dave Ma

    Dave Ma Stunt Coordinator

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    Lets clear things up. When does B&K upgrade their software? Also how much will it cost you? Now the Rotel does offer software upgrades and they are Free! Also that 150 WPC will be depleted in HT down around 130 for sure. Rotel RMB 1075 is underated at 120WPC and puts out like 131 WPC. Also a serperate AMP is always better then everything crammed into one unit.
    Here is a thought too. Buy the Rotel RSX 1055 and the RMB 1075 combo and save some cash over the RSP 1066 and RMB 1075 combo. The RSX 1055 has the same proceesor in it as the RSP 1066 and now you have a tuner for less money.[​IMG]
    B&K to my knowledge has not even offered software upgrades for the 307 model and when they do it will not be for free like the Rotel.I was told upgrades were around $500 and it will have to be sent out to be done. Rotel can be done from home or at your dealer.Maybe the upgrades out now not sure.
    I was in your shoes and went with the Rotel combo instead of the B&K. IM happy I did[​IMG]
     
  18. Mark Paquette

    Mark Paquette Supporting Actor

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    Hap C

    I ended up going Rotel, 1066/1075 combo. I'm very happy with my decision. 2 channel stereo sounds better than ever. The remote isn't all that bad. I was able to program it to replace all of my existing remotes. Next I just need to work on creating some macro's to make it easy for the wife unit to change inputs, etc. I ultimately decided on the Rotel combo for a couple of reasons:

    1. Sounded great and was cheaper than the 505 or 507.
    2. My listening area is not all that big so 120 watts vs. 150 was not much of an issue.
    3. When it comes time to upgrade I will probably only have to replace the processor. (this was the biggest factor)
    4. My local Rotel dealer gave me a great price on the combo.
    5. Having separates just seem to have a coolness factor not available with a receiver. [​IMG]

    I honestly don't think you'll go wrong either way. They are both great in their own way.
     
  19. Hap C

    Hap C Agent

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    "Also that 150 WPC will be depleted in HT down around 130 for sure. Rotel RMB 1075 is underated at 120WPC and puts out like 131 WPC."

    Dave, thanks for your comments. Can you tell me where you obtained the above quoted information? And I'm not sure what you mean by "depleted in HT". Can you explain what you meant? Thanks.


    Mark, glad you are pleased with the Rotel combo. I may end up there myself, and I agree that the upgrade path of replacing only the processor is a big advantage. Re pricing on the Rotel, if you don't mind my asking, what percentage off list were you able to get? Locally 10% is about all the dealers are offering. Email me if you prefer.

    Regards,

    Hap [​IMG]
     
  20. Rich Wenzel

    Rich Wenzel Supporting Actor

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    i will say it once more, just because its almost unbelievable, i actually like the rotel remote, just those 2 complaints.

    just another thought, have you looked at the sunfire ultimate receiver?

    probably could get that for just over 3...and i bet it beats the other 2 in 2 channel.

    Rich
     

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