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noob's picture
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Rotel RA-1520 vs. Primare I22

I'm planning to purchase new amplifier and cannot decide between Rotel RA-1520 and Primare I22.

For the foreseeable future, new amplifier will be used in combination with B&W 686 speakers (reviews say  these guys 'like' power) and mostly digital sources (computer + airport express).

Later, plan is to get some external DAC and replace 686 with something from B&W CM series, but for now this is distant future.

Considering that I'm primarily listening music, not components :), which of these two amplifiers would you suggest?

Unfortunately, there is no option for me comparing them "live".

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RE: Rotel RA-1520 vs. Primare I22

The Primare costs almost twice as much as the Rotel. Why these two options?

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RE: Rotel RA-1520 vs. Primare I22

No, I22  is similarily priced to Rotel where I live. Rotel is around 1k euros, I22 is 200 more. I32 is twice that price.

Why these two? They fit in budget at aronud 1k euros, both have "good" reviews, and they are nicely built and goodlooking  which I also find very important Smile

 

 

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RE: Rotel RA-1520 vs. Primare I22

ive heard rotel is very good with bw speakers

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RE: Rotel RA-1520 vs. Primare I22

also ive learnt not to be to bothered about amp power. my last system was 125 watt per channel mono blocs which drove my bw cm1 speakers well , but now so does my 50/60 watt cr603

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RE: Rotel RA-1520 vs. Primare I22

also ive learnt not to be to bothered about amp power. my last system was 125 watt per channel mono blocs which drove my bw cm1 speakers well , but now so does my 50/60 watt cr603

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RE: Rotel RA-1520 vs. Primare I22

I would not recommend the RA-1520 it is seriously over priced and if you are a listener of music it is not a very musical amp to my ears. How it got that 5star review is beyond me, in terms of doing the hi-fi thing it is not even average - its a lifeless listen, has a narrow stage and lacks depth and the ability to shift drivers to deliver the harmonics from a decent speaker.- lacks timbre, fine detail.

I've owned one for a year now, tried every wire configuration various interconnects, left it on for days, unplugged it from the mains, driven it hard and have come to the conclusion this is not a good amp - there are better out there. Not once has this amp made me look up and say wow, in fact its driving me away from listening to music.

At this time I'm listening to 'Lionel Loueke's Heritage'  - african jazz,.... yep you heard me right, it does not sound too bad actually, as I sit here, but its confined between my speakers and its a wall of sound.

I don't know the Primare sound, but honestly the 1520 is not at all musical its actually a pretty fatiguing amp.

Anonymous
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RE: Rotel RA-1520 vs. Primare I22

I recently upgraded and my auditioning list included the Primare I22, the Rotel 1520 as well as the B&W CM5 speakers. I also listen to mostly of digital sources. So my starting situation was quite similar to the OPs. Compared to some of the guys here, I'm a hifi-novice and thought I'd go a with a 'safe' B&W - Rotel combo. Here're my experiences, but my advice is always to listen yourself if it all possible. Also throw in some stuff out of left field as you might be pleasantly surprised.

 

Home Situation: Overdue upgrade to a disintegrating 90s set.  5*7 meter lounge. Floorstanders not an option due to room layout. Next to new speakers I wanted an intergrated amp along with a DAC. I set my Amp + DAC + Speaker Budget at €3- €4k. Went to two local stores, I brought along my audiophile and classical music loving dad for a second opinion, as my wife isn’t much interested in sound quality - “as long as you don’t buy big ugly boxes” is the brief I got.

 

For amps we tested the Rotel 1520, (The RA-12 wasn’t available that day) Musical Fidelity M3i, Unison Unico Primo, a NAD with DAC (don’t recall model), and the Primare I22. The NAD was a bit loud, the Unico Primo a bit warm but second choice. We thought the 1520 and M3i were a bit messy in lower frequencies and rhythm sections and I can subscribe to the 1520’s ‘narrow’ sound of poster above. The choice for the Primare was a really a no brainer as not only it sounded best to us, it also has going for it: the (optional) onboard DAC, programmable inputs + default and max volume, Class D energy efficiency and its slick but sturdy minimalist looks. To us the I22 really sounds and appears like something out of a higher price class.

 

As for speakers, I’d seriously consider some alternatives to the B&W CM series when you’re upgrading from your 686s. We were able to audition the CM5 but found it lifeless and non-musical, probably geared towards home cinema setups. [The CM9 floorstanders might be a better option though – a friend owns them as part of a surround setup and I liked their staging in stereo mode]. After reading the review here, I had my sights on PM1s before listening, but was surprised how small a sound they had, with their tiny woofer - our room would be too big and we’d definitely need an expensive musical subwoofer. The Dynaudio Focus 160 ended up as our second favorite. The GX50 sounded great, but we thought it would be too small, so we went for the larger GX100 as we really liked the gold series ribbon tweeter and the GX100’s larger woofer gave the sound more depth and reach.

 

We ended up buying at the lower end of the budget range (after getting a nice bundle discount) and are totally loving the system. Listening to my favorite recordings is giving me goosebumps again . :rockout: I have to say that this crisp system can be a bit unforgiving to poorly recorded music and I expected a little bit more from the DAC module’s sound quality compared to the DACs in the Sonos / CD player, but the connectivity options of the DAC board is well word the extra though.

 

Hope this is of some help to you!

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RE: Rotel RA-1520 vs. Primare I22

I don't think that B&W 686 and ROTEL RA-1520 is a good combination . the Rotel don't have enough power to move such a low sensitivity speakers . look for other combination maybe the B&W 685 will be better for your needs . the Rotel RA1520 is a good amp but before you buy it try to listen to others such as Roksan Kandy k2 ,Rega Brio-R and  Audiolab 8200A . from my experience don't base your choice on reviews go and listen to as much options as you can, you will be surprise to find out  that a personal taste is so much different from magazines recommendations . 

 

Hi Fi : Proac Studio 140MK2 > Rotel RC 1580 > Rotel RB 1582 > Rotel RCD 1520 > B&W P7 >Tellurium Q & WireWorld cables   

 

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RE: Rotel RA-1520 vs. Primare I22

My first post didn't show up, so my apologies if this will be double post.

Thank you for your response, this is info I was looking for :)..thanks to other guys too.

Primare was my first choice, but what start me thinking about Rotel is absence of bass and treble controls in Primare. I know

hifi purists consider these controls as signal-messing-overhead, but I have slight inclination towards treble(bright?) sound, in fact on all of my sistems I am listening music with treble on. Therefore my dilemma, and I still don't know what to do :)

Before anyone suggest, I don't like idea of changing speakers as a method of treble control :)

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RE: Rotel RA-1520 vs. Primare I22

look bellow

Hi Fi : Proac Studio 140MK2 > Rotel RC 1580 > Rotel RB 1582 > Rotel RCD 1520 > B&W P7 >Tellurium Q & WireWorld cables   

 

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RE: Rotel RA-1520 vs. Primare I22

noob wrote:

My first post didn't show up, so my apologies if this will be double post.

Thank you for your response, this is info I was looking for :)..thanks to other guys too.

Primare was my first choice, but what start me thinking about Rotel is absence of bass and treble controls in Primare. I know

hifi purists consider these controls as signal-messing-overhead, but I have slight inclination towards treble(bright?) sound, in fact on all of my sistems I am listening music with treble on. Therefore my dilemma, and I still don't know what to do :)

Before anyone suggest, I don't like idea of changing speakers as a method of treble control Smile

 

 

I used to listen with treble and bass on many years   same as you than I suddenly  understood that something is wrong here ... I put it of and forced

myself to listen on pure direct mode ( bass and treble- off ) than i realized that this " games" on treble and bass have a strong negative

effects on the sound . I bought the Roksan Kandy K2 ( no bass and treble control ! ) and than I realy strating to listen to music as it should 

be : neutral and natural .

 

 

Hi Fi : Proac Studio 140MK2 > Rotel RC 1580 > Rotel RB 1582 > Rotel RCD 1520 > B&W P7 >Tellurium Q & WireWorld cables   

 

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RE: Rotel RA-1520 vs. Primare I22

I never heard an i22, only the i32 connected to some Magneplanar electrostatics and it was a hell of a great sound. 

 

Honestly if the Rotel is priced around the i22, it is a bit overpriced. I didn't like it very much, found it a bit dull and overtly warm but it wasn't in the best place to listen to hi-fi and can't recall the speakers used. In the same place I much prefered the Audiolab 8200A with Monitor Audio RX6. Actually this suprised me very much as no one seems to give much credit to the Audiolab. Or maybe the MAs helped...

 

But everything comes to personal taste as always, so you should try to listen to them both and preferably at home with your speakers.

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RE: Rotel RA-1520 vs. Primare I22

You could also have a look at Marantz PM-KI Pearl Lite , it has optional bass, mid and treble adjustments.

Anonymous
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RE: Rotel RA-1520 vs. Primare I22

Perhaps digitial tonal controls are an option. I don't know about what software you use, but Sonos has an equalizer in the apps.   This avoids the tampering with the analog signal too.

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RE: Rotel RA-1520 vs. Primare I22

+1 for the marantz pearl lite - i think you would like it very much.

I agree Isaac69 - defeating tone controls gives you the best sound quality - but what took you so long.

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