Rotel RSX-1067 7.1 Surround Sound Receiver
DD, DD-EX, DTS, DTS-ES, DTS-
Rotel of America
In the world of surround receivers, Rotel has been a long time player.
Receivers from Rotel are usually highly regarded and considered to be of
excellent value. I personally never owned or had an experience with a Rotel
receiver before, so I welcomed the opportunity to review one.
The RSX-1067 reviewed here is the top of the line of the current crop of Rotel receivers. Although it is not inexpensive, at an MSRP of $2200, it is still much less expensive than the top of the line receivers from other major manufacturers. The reason for this is not that the Rotel has less quality or much fewer features. Rotel just likes to give a big bang for the buck.
I was immediately impressed by the look of the receiver once I opened its
box. The combination of silver and black front panel in a unique design is
very eye-catching. Your taste might vary, but to me the RSX-1067ís
appearance is elegant. It possesses the kind of look that gives you an
increased appreciation of your home theater, and also is a nice eyeful for
your friends and guests.
The design of the 1067 front panel is relatively clean. Its LCD display, knobs, and buttons are neatly arranged and attractively laid out. The largest is the volume knob, which is flanked by a myriad of buttons for selecting various functions. Although most of the receiver's functions can be accessed using these front-panel buttons, I would imagine that most consumers will just use the supplied remote control to operate the receiver.
audio/video inputs are provided, not even a headphone jack. To me, the lack
of front panel connectors is not a big deal, since I rarely find the need
for them, but some users might be put off by such an omission.
All the input and output connectors of the RSX-1067 are located on the rear panel. For audio, this receiver can accommodate 7 analog stereo (1 tape-loop), 5 digital (2 optical, 3 coaxial), and 7.1 channel analog inputs with outputs for speakers (7 channels), preamp (10 channels including 2 centers and 2 subwoofers), analog stereo (4, includes one tape output), second zone, and digital (1 Toslink optical and 1 coaxial).
Video switching is provided for 5 composite, 5 S-Video, and 3 component video inputs. Video outputs consist of 5 composite (includes outputs for monitor and second zone), 4 S-Video (includes monitor output), and 1 component video. The component video switching has sufficient bandwidth to accommodate progressive scan and HDTV signals.
On the rear panel, one can also find AM/FM antenna connectors, three 12 V triggers, infrared outputs, RS-232 serial connector, and the main power switch. The power cord of this receiver is detachable. Although it may sound like a lot of connectors, the rear panel of the RSX-1067 doesnít look too crowded. The reason is the receiver has a relatively wide area to house these connectors. The layout and spacing of the speaker terminals are especially nice.
If the outside features as I described above sound excellent, the inside features are even more impressive. First of all, it packs seven channels of 100 W/channel amplification. The power output is specified with all channels driven. If you donít need to use all seven channels in your main setup, you can redirect the front left and right amplifier channels to power second zone speakers.
In terms of surround processing, the RSX-1067 is capable of decoding most 5.1, 6.1, and 7.1 surround formats available today (DD, DTS, DD-EX, DTS-ES, DTS 96/24, DPL II, DPL IIx, DTS Neo:6, MPEG), and also includes some additional surround logics. It also features Rotel XS (eXtra Surround) processing for extended surround performance in a 6.1 or 7.1 system. Rotel XS can work at all times with all multi-channel digital signals and its advantage is to add extended surround effects to rear-surround speaker(s).
The receiver is not THX certified, but it does have processing
THX equalization called Cinema EQ, which can be used to tame
overly bright soundtracks. Completing the RSX-1067 list of extensive
features is an AM/FM tuner with Radio Data System (RDS) and HDCD decoding
The RSX-1067 comes with a full-function learning remote control, the RR-1050, which can operate the receiver plus nine other audio/video components. This remote does not look special, and it is not the most convenient to grab, but I found it to be quite pleasant to use. I like Rotelís idea of hiding the buttons that are not used often underneath the sliding cover, because it makes the remote look simple.
The button layout is quite nice, but could use
some improvements. For example, one-handed operation of the remote could be
easier if the volume and channel rockers, which are used often in
many situations, were placed lower in the button-layout, perhaps near
the sliding cover. This is because of the tendency to use our
thumbs to operate these rockers. With the current layout, an index finger often
has to be used for changing volume or channel, which is less convenient.
The learning functions and the custom-labeling features of the remote worked fine. The remote is equipped with a light sensor to activate the backlighting automatically in a dark or dim room. A button is also provided to activate the backlighting manually, but this manual activation only works in a dim or dark room and is disabled in a bright room.
Setup and Operation
The RSX-1067 can be quite warm during operation, so putting it in well-ventilated location is recommended. There are two fans on the bottom of its chassis (see picture) to help with the cooling, and hence it is wise not to put this receiver on top of another heat-generating component. The fans run relatively quiet, and I did not notice it during normal operation.
setup procedure is explained in the manual very well. As always, the key to
get the most out of a surround receiver is to go through the setup
parameters and adjust them appropriately. The RSX-1067 does have enough
customizable setup features to play around with to arrive with the sound
that will suit oneís taste. Usually with such flexibility comes complexity.
But, I found that setting up and customizing the RSX-1067 was relatively easy
and quite intuitive. This is mainly a result of the receiverís on-screen
display menu system, which is arranged quite logically and relatively easy
to navigate around. I was able to perform most of the setup and
customization without the help of the manual, except maybe to understand
what some of the features actually do.
The bass management of this receiver is quite flexible. Crossover between the satellite speakers and the subwoofer is adjustable from 40 Hz to 200 Hz in seven increments (40, 60, 80, 100, 120, 150, and 200 Hz). The front, center, and surround speakers can be configured with different crossover settings. If that isnít enough, the large or small speaker configuration can also be set up differently for Dolby, DTS, stereo/MPEG, and Music modes. Rotel also recognizes that different modes might require different subwoofer level setting, and hence, a subwoofer level setting is provided for each of those modes to fine tune your setup.
Several setup features found in some high-end receivers today that the RSX-1067 lacks are Auto Calibration and Channel Equalization. For me, the lack of Auto Calibration is not a big deal, as calibration using an SPL meter is not difficult to do and needs to be performed only rarely (you pretty much donít need to do it again once you get it right unless there is a change in your system). Channel Equalization is not totally absent in the RSX-1067, but it is simpler than what you found in some other receivers. Whatís available in the RSX-1067 is Contour Setup to adjust the bass and treble response of each group of speakers in the system.
I didnít use the tuner a lot during my evaluation, but in my opinion the tuner in the RSX-1067 is slightly better than average in reception. It could pull down some of the weak stations that some other receivers failed in my system.
To my eyes, the video switching in the RSX-1067 worked as advertised, with no artifacts and no easily-noticeable picture degradation. The receiver can also convert composite and S-Video signals to component video signals, a feature that I found to be very useful.
Once I had the RSX-1067 up and running, its everyday operation was a breeze. I didnít find any glitches in the operation of the unit during my evaluation. The auto detection of digital signals worked flawlessly.
receiver has a good responsiveness to the commands from its remote control.
And, I liked the fact that I could adjust how rapidly (three settings: slow,
mid, fast) the volume control responded to the input command.
The front-panel display has enough information about the operation status of the receiver, such as the volume level, surround mode, and other settings. The main part of the display has good-size lettering that is easy to read from across a medium-sized room. This display is not dimmable, but it can be turned off if you desire.
The auto-format (DD, DTS, etc.) detection feature of the RSX-1067 worked perfectly during my evaluation, and it locked up to the right format relatively quickly. If you have a 7.1 setup, the receiver will automatically add the XS processing to the 5.1 formats like the standard DD or DTS. The front panel display will read ĎDD+XSí or ĎDTS+XSí when the XS processing is activated.
For my evaluation, I used the RSX-1067 receiver in 7.1 channel
configuration, driving a combination of Onix Rocket RS series speakers
(RS-750, RSC-200, and RS-250) and JM Labs Cache 200 in-walls. Although
several crossover settings were tried, most of the evaluation was done with
an 80 Hz crossover all around between the satellites and the subwoofer. In
stereo applications, I also ran the receiver in bypass mode, so that it drove
the front speakers full range.
Iíll say it upfront that the sound performance of the RSX-1067 was surprisingly good. It was satisfying at all levels, whether use for music listening or for home theater.
Often times, the weakness of a surround receiver is in its stereo music reproduction. But with the RSX-1067, you donít need to worry about it. Its stereo performance was very respectable. If you have full-range front speakers, running it in bypass mode will give you the last bit of clarity that it is capable of delivering. But running stereo through its DSP network should not be a concern either. In fact, it might give you a better result if you run a combination of bookshelf speakers with a subwoofer, because you can control the bass redirection better.
If I could fault anything, the RSX-1067ís tonal balance tipped slightly towards brightness. It was not bright per se; there was only a slight sparkle to its overall sound. Such tonal balance might actually bring life to the music played, but in case it doesnít suit your taste, the RSX-1067 has enough controls to adjust the results to your liking. Human vocals might not be as lush as with the playback through my dedicated stereo preamp and amplifier, but nevertheless, it was quite natural. In any case, no hard edges in the sound.
Image and soundstage presentation of this receiver were
sufficiently realistic. Overall image presentation was neutral to slightly
forward towards the listener. The bass was well defined and had sufficient
impact. The RSX-1067 possessed a musical quality that was quite satisfying
for stereo applications.
For home theater, the RSX-1067 was just superb. Its capability to deliver a sense of impact and immediacy convincingly with whatever program materials thrown at it was nothing short of excellent. The surround envelopment and ambience sound conveyed were full and realistic. Dialog was also delivered with great clarity and was full bodied. The RSX-1067 surround steering seemed to be smooth and accurate. The amplifier section also seemed to have enough reserve power to handle demanding program materials. During my evaluation I didnít notice distortion due to lack of power, even when it played at relatively loud level in my 16' by 24' by 8' room.
When I put this receiver in my rack for this evaluation, I had to disassemble my separate component setup, and I thought I would miss it (the kind of feeling that I believe every reviewer has to endure while reviewing products). But boy, I was totally wrong! I enjoyed the RSX-1067 as much as my separate-component setup. Not only did the Rotel RSX-1067 fill in my system nicely, it also got me to rethink about my stance of not using a receiver in my setup. It was true that I got a slightly better sound with my separates, but the receiver was easier to handle because it only needed one rack space (instead of at least two with separates) and had fewer cables to connect. Throw in the potential cost savings, and with sound performance as good as the RSX-1067 delivered, basically I had almost nothing to sacrifice.
The top of the line RSX-1067 receiver is a solid performer that
lives up to Rotel's reputation. Not only does this receiver deliver a high level of
performance, but it is also an excellent value. It doesnít pack all the bells
and whistles that most high-end receivers are equipped with today, but
for the thing that matters most, which is producing high-quality surround
sound for music and movies, this receiver passes with flying colors. For
those of you who are still considering whether to go with a high-end
receiver or a separate-component system, let me tell you this: the Rotel RSX-1067
is a receiver that can make you forget about separates. Thatís how good it
is. Highly recommended!
- Yongki Go -
Associated Equipment for Review:
CD playback: Shanling CD-S100
DVD playback: Toshiba SD-4700
Preamplifier: Adcom GFP-750, Lexicon DC-1, Meridian 565
Amplifier: Sherbourn 7/2100A
Speakers: NHT Evolution T6, Onix Rocket RS-750, Onix Rocket RSC-200, Onix Rocket RS-250, JM Labs Cache 200 inwalls
Cables: MIT Terminator 4 interconnects, MIT Terminator 2 speaker cables, Cardas Crosslink speaker cables, Audioquest GR8 speaker cables.