Rotel launches Tribute hi-fi products designed by Ken Ishiwata

Rotel launches Tribute hi-fi products designed by Ken Ishiwata
(Image credit: Rotel)

Rotel has launched a special edition of its entry-level CD player and integrated amplifier, redesigned in collaboration with the late audio legend Ken Ishiwata.

The Rotel A11 Tribute and CD 11 Tribute feature significant changes to internal components, as well as alterations to their chassis designed to increase resonance dampening, in accordance with Ishiwata's vision.

The former Marantz engineer and brand ambassador passed away before before the final touches were made, but Rotel had agreed his specifications and he had overseen the build of the first prototypes.

His friend and fellow audio designer Karl-Heinz Fink was able to to step in and complete the work to a standard which both he and Rotel believe fulfills Ishiwata's vision of providing great audio at an affordable price.

Rotel launches Tribute hi-fi products designed by Ken Ishiwata

(Image credit: Rotel)

Changes to the Rotel A11 for the Tribute edition include the replacement of all ten capacitors and two resistors to offer higher performance in the signal path of the amplifier stage.

Six capacitors were upgraded in the pre-amp, representing more than half of the components in the path, as well as all of the capacitors in the volume stage. Rotel has also added further insulation and custom dampening materials to the Class AB amp's mechanical chassis to reduce ringing.

The CD11 Tribute has received similar treatment. Again, the chassis has been reinforced with custom dampening to reduce internal vibrations, with material added to the top cover to smother the ringing effect.

Internally, the DAC has seen eight capacitor changes and one resistor change. The power supply has been overhauled with all nine capacitors switched and other components improved.

The aim of the CD 11 (£399, $599, €449, AU$649) and A11 (£499, $799, €599, AU$1099) Tribute models is a presentation with significantly greater detail, rhythmic sense and resolution than their predecessors.

The two products will ship to the UK in September in a choice of black or silver finishes, with a Japanese inscription on the chassis which translates as 'respect'. They'll be available to buy in the rest of Europe from October.


Dan Sung

Dan is a staff writer at What Hi-Fi? and his job is with product reviews as well as news, feature and advice articles too. He works across both the hi-fi and AV parts of the site and magazine and has a particular interest in home cinema. Dan joined What Hi-Fi? in 2019 and has worked in tech journalism for over a decade, writing for Tech Digest, Pocket-lint, MSN Tech and Wareable as well as freelancing for T3, Metro and the Independent. Dan has a keen interest in playing and watching football. He has also written about it for the Observer and FourFourTwo and ghost authored John Toshack's autobiography, Toshack's Way.