Processors

Rotel RSP-1069 7.1 Surround Sound Processor

ARTICLE INDEX

Introduction

Rotel made some interesting choices with their RSP-1069. There is an obvious attention to build quality, the processor is heavy, solid and uses quality components throughout. However it is missing some key features found on many processors today, most obvious is the lack of room correction. There are no balanced inputs/outputs and HDMI 1.1 only (current version is 1.3). Whether this actually matters, is dependant upon your requirements. In my personal system there were no problems due to these limitations.

Rotel RSP-1069 SSP

Specifications

  • Codecs: DD, DD-EX, DTS, DTS-ES, DTS 96/24, DTS ES 96/24, 192k LCPM, HDCD, DVD-A
  • MFR Audio Frequency Response: 10 Hz - 120 kHz, +/- 3 dB (Analog bypass)
  • MFR Audio Frequency Response: 10 Hz – 95 kHz, +/- 3 dB (Digital input)
  • MFR Video Frequency Response: 3 Hz - 10 MHz, +/- 3 dB (Composite and S-Video)
  • MFR Video Frequency Response: 3 Hz – 100 MHz, +/- 3 dB (Component Video)
  • Audio Inputs: 3 Coaxial, 4 Optical, 8 Analog Stereo, 1 Analog Multi-channel (7.1 with Bass Management)
  • Video Inputs: 4 HDMI (ver. 1.1) 3 Component, 3 Composite, 3 S-Video
  • Audio Outputs: 1 Coaxial, 1 Optical, 3 Analog Stereo
  • Video Outputs: 1 HDMI, 1 Component, 3 Composite, 3 S-Video
  • Pre-Outs: 10 at 1v (Dual Center Outputs, Dual Subwoofer Outputs)
  • RS232 Port
  • 4 independent Zones
  • Dimensions: 4.8" H x 17.0" W x 13.4" D
  • Weight: 19.8 Pounds
  • MSRP: $2,199 USA
  • Rotel

Build Quality

This unit is attractively styled, with a clean uncluttered front, despite having 19 buttons and a volume control. The two-line display keeps information at a minimum and the display is easy to read from ten feet away. There are no front panel inputs. Inside the unit there is a Texas Instruments Aureus™ DSP processor and Burr Brown 24 bit/192kHz DACs. Rotel fit this unit with a hefty power supply and has packaged it all inside a well constructed case. The unit is heavier and produces almost as much heat as my Marantz receiver, all without any on board amplifiers. This does require you make room for ample ventilation (Rotel recommends four inch clearance at the sides and top. I did run the unit inside my closed cabinet without issue with four inches of air space at the top and on one side only.

The substantial outputs on the back include 10 analog preouts for the main zone. You have your normal 8 plus a second center and a second subwoofer. There are three additional zones with analog video and audio. The unit will not convert digital signals to the analog zones, so you most also connect analog feeds from those units if you want to use them for another zone. Fortunately the RSP-1069's high level of customization makes this easy.

Rotel RSP-1069 SSP Rear Panel

Compromises

Throughout the course of my review I found two shortcomings with this otherwise excellent unit. First, there is no room correction. No microphone input, no internal equalizer no auto speaker calibration. This may be a problem for some users. For custom installers or advanced users this is not a problem as they should have high quality calibration equipment. The second shortcoming is that the unit only has HDMI 1.1 and will not be able to be upgraded to 1.3b. Is this really a problem? That will depend on who you ask. The biggest potential drawback is that HDMI 1.1 does not decode Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master HD. This means you need a DVD player capable of decoding those codecs and sending the information to the Processor. The other noted issue is that HDMI 1.3 supports the (not yet used) Deep Color improvements. And a small issue is that you need at least HDMI 1.2 to send SACD over HDMI.

Rotel's website has this to say about HDMI 1.1 vs 1.3 and high definition audio formats:
"There seems to be plenty of misunderstanding about Rotel's ability to handle these new audio codecs due to the employment of HDMI 1.1 chipsets in our RSX-1058 surround receiver and RSP-1069 pre/processor. It is important to note that both Dolby and DTS recommend that the HD audio decoding be done in the HD disc player, which also provides access to other options such as additional Internet-streamed content for the movie being played. Once decoded by the player, the audio signal is output via multi-channel LPCM to HDMI input provided on the RSX-1058 and RSP-1069. Not all players support internal decoding, so you should confirm this on your particular unit. You should also know that a great many Blu-ray discs do not use either of these new codecs, offering instead a completely uncompressed LCPM as the high resolution option, which is of course accepted by our latest units."