- Written by Brian Alvarez
- Published on 25 February 2010
Let's get the obvious out of the way: the RSX-1560 is gorgeous. The aluminum front fascia with the seductive curved corners and blue lit power button scream (in a polite and refined manner) sophistication. It's beautiful in a way few consumer electronics manage to be.
In terms of construction it's a very heavy unit, with exceptionally nice binding posts and gold plated connectors. There's nary a wiggle in any of the connectors, and a peek inside reveals very tidy and minimal wiring. All boards are cleanly mounted and well organized. The rather flimsy and thin top cover of the unit does not suit the rest of the casework, but thin top covers seems the norm in receivers.
The back panel is very logically laid out with the rugged binding posts in a horizontal plane along the bottom of the receiver. I personally love this arrangement, as it makes it extremely easy to use spade connectors. The quality of the gold plating on the connectors is stunning, I'd bet money they are polished after plating, the surface is that smooth and reflective. RCA connecters from heavy cables illicit no movement from inputs or outputs on the Rotel. All connectors are very firmly attached to the casework which is not always the case even in other receivers at this price range or higher.
While the outer appearance of the RSX-1560 leaves many rivals in the dust, the same cannot be said of the GUI. Setup can be accomplished through the very legible dot matrix display, but it's easiest and quickest to do so via the on-screen GUI. The GUI works through all video outputs including HDMI. Unfortunately, it's a strictly white on black text affair, limited to 480p video, sort of like looking at a window of DOS commands on an old computer. It does the job, but it isn't very attractive. They could have done better at this price.
My own thoughts on high end audio gear have changed drastically in the last few years. I was of the opinion they could be forgiven ergonomic foibles, aesthetic limitations, and features if the audio performance made up for it. I've since come to feel high end products should actually excel in all areas of performance. Less Lotus Exige and more BMW M3. I truly wish the Rotel had a gorgeous and well designed GUI.