Rotel RB-1582 review

This powerful, well-built unit gets on with the job without drawing attention to itself Tested at £1095.00

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

A likeable, fully featured performer that delivers much for the money


  • +

    Unobtrusive character

  • +

    powerful sound

  • +

    build and finish


  • -

    Slight shortfalls in transparency and agility

Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.

In the UK, Rotel is best known for its long-running success with budget amplifiers. But the Japanese company is no slouch at higher price points. There's a feeling of real quality about this product, and the strong impression is that it's seriously built to last.

Our only real complaint is that the supplied handset doesn't match the quality of the main unit in either feel or ergonomics.

With its 200 Watt per channel power rating, the RB-1582 power amplifier (pictured beneath the RC-1580 preamp, above) is capable of high volumes without a struggle.

It's a real workhorse that just gets on with the job of driving a speaker without complaint or hardening up when pushed. There's a fair bit of speed on offer, too, not always a given with high-power amps.

Understated, yet enjoyable listen
In combination with the RC-1580, the power amp delivers an understated yet enjoyable sound. There's not quite the transparency or timing precision of similarly priced alternatives from the likes of Cyrus, but there remains enough of both to keep us listening.

As you would expect, there's no trouble delivering the massive dynamics swings of The Dark Knight OST. Low frequencies are thumped out with control and venom, and scale and authority are both top class, too.

Given something smaller-scale and challenging, such as Nina Simone's Feeling Good, this pair pleases with its delicacy and drive. The midrange is expressive, while the highs are a neat combination of bite, insight and refinement.

Read all our power amp Best Buys

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What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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