- Written by Jared Rachwalski
- Published on 08 October 2009
First thing I did was to swap out the RSP-1069 so I could do a direct comparison. Using the Cowboy Junkies Whites Off Earth Now played through my HTPC I was unable to detect any sonic differences between the two units. Both were able to convey the sense of space and the dynamic range of the recording. Try as I might, I could not detect anything that was different. This is not a bad thing, as the RSP-1069 is a fantastic processor for music.
Playing the SD DVD Kung-Fu Hustle from an Oppo 981HD presented no discernible difference from the 1069, and again this is a good thing. The 1080p video Planet Earth in x.264 format played from my HTPC also showed no noticeable difference in either audio or video over the 1069. The video portion is the one area that could have improved. The difference was slight when comparing the Oppo's up-conversion to the Rotel's, but noticeable once detected. The Rotel softened the picture just slightly, and blacks were slightly better when bypassing the Rotel's scaler. The issues were hard to detect and if you did not know what you were looking for you would not notice any. Ignorance is bliss in this hobby sometimes. The good news is that the processor passed 1080p material without any processing. It should also be noted that this processor will not pass the HDMI signal when turned off.
For comparative analog audio I put the processor up against a Marantz PM-8003 integrated amplifier. The Marantz was used as a pre-amp only and amplification came from the Rotel RMB-1085. Source for this test was a Onix XCD-88 HDCD player playing Lateralus By Tool. This disc is a torture test for dynamics and control with intense drum-work laid over electric guitar and solid bass lines. At normal (loud) volumes the difference was not worth mentioning. At louder levels, ok, very-loud levels, the Rotel had a slight upper-hand with mid-bass control, noticeable with the kick-drum and bass-lines. It was at soft volumes that the difference was clear. The Marantz kept its warm and lush tone yet the Rotel seemed to lose its impact and sounded flat compared to the Marantz.