Rotel RSX-1560 Review Bristol RI
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Rotel RSX-1560 Review
July 20, 2009 By Geoffrey Morrison
Well, it looks huge. Maybe not huge, but certainly hefty.
And yet at 38 pounds, it’s not.
There must be some kind of magic in there doing something.
Don’t Call it Digital
Inside the RSX-1560 is a 7-channel Class-D amplifier, and a pretty powerful one at that. Rated at 100-watts per channel into 8 ohms, Rotel claims an even more impressive 200 watts into 4 ohms. Amplifiers should double their wattage when you halve the impedance, but most don’t. Most companies don’t volunteer this rating.
A Class-D amplifier, unlike a more traditional Class-A or A/B amplifier, switches its transistors on and off at a very fast rate. By not having the transistors “on” all the time, the theory is that there is less energy wasted as heat. Less wasted heat means fewer heat sinks and assorted equipment, resulting in a lighter and more efficient product overall, hence the 38 pounds. That’s not to say it doesn’t generate heat. Like just about all modern electronics, make sure the RSX-1560 has room to breathe.
Silver is the new Black (But there’s black too)
With the new 15 Series, Rotel has a new aesthetic to their line, as you see here. The brushed metal finish is classy and appears very high end.
Setup can be done on the front screen, or via your TV. The setup menu itself isn’t much to look at, but it has all the setup features you need, and, perhaps more importantly, the OSD is output via HDMI (you’d be amazed on how many receivers it isn’t). It’s after setup where there’s a stumbling block.
Perhaps it’s Apple’s fault, but I have an expectation that I can plug in a product, pick up the remote and be able to use or at least figure out 90 to 100 percent of its features without reading the manual.
Seeing as this is exactly how most consumers will interact with the product, I don’t feel this is the least bit unreasonable. With the RSX-1560, I almost had to get the manual just to figure out how to get sound out of it. Which is, you know, the whole point of a receiver.
In other words, you should definitely have your custom installer set this up for you (and Rotel expects you probably will).
The biggest issue is the remote. The, shall we say, “husky” remote is very 1980’s, save the blue backlighting. I had some issues with the remote, but Rotel claims to have fixed this going forward. The buttons aren't exactly laid out in the most logical fashion, but then I feel this is the case with most receiver remotes. The RSX-1560 can be controlled with RS-232, so you have plenty of options to use something else.
Thankfully though, everything else about the receiver makes up for the ergonomic nightmares.
There is a fullness to the sound of the RSX-1560 that is welcome in my house; a solidness in the midrange that gives movies and music a real punch, with plenty of power in reserve to make transients really pop. One of my favorite tracks to test this is Paco De Lucía’s “La Barrosa” o...