Awards 2012 Product of the Year - Stereo amplifiersWrite your own review
- A punchy, entertaining sound with lots of insight
- fluid midrange performance
- good build
- No remote control
For about as long as we can remember Rotel has done a fine line in budget amplifiers. In recent years its products may have been overshadowed by the likes of Marantz and Yamaha, but they always remained strong performers.
So the Rotel RA-10 is not so much a return to form – it’s more a reminder that the company can still turn out class-leading kit.
Rotel RA-10: Tech specs
Rotel’s budget amplifier formula remains unchanged. This is a slim unit that’s generally well-equipped – including a headphone output, moving-magnet phono stage and twin speaker outputs – but there is one glaring omission.
As with the RA-10’s predecessor, the RA04SE, there’s no remote control – and nor is it available as an optional extra. No, you’ll have to get out of your seat to operate the RA-10. But do we mind? Not so much when the amplifier sounds this good, no.
Rotel RA-10: Sound quality
The sound is very much in the classic Rotel mould: the RA-10's 40W per channel power output is around par for the course, but its impressive dynamic punch and control certainly isn’t.
This is an engaging and entertaining amp that delivers a full dose of excitement from the likes of Jay-Z’s Blueprint 3.
There’s plenty of attack and a firm grasp of rhythms, but all this brio is coupled to a lovely midrange performance that captures the emotion in voices beautifully.
The RA-10 isn’t quite as smooth sounding as its Marantz PM6004 rival (and previous Award winner) when it comes to the high frequencies, but the treble remains well behaved and has plenty of bite.
Rotel RA-10: Verdict
This amp enters a tough area of the market. It’s up against some established and formidably talented rivals. However, it’s also a superbly balanced design that delivers insight and excitement well beyond the standards expected at this level.