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Rotel RA-12 - what is the verdict on that one?

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Hi folks,

 

TL;DR: Any owners of the Rotel RA-12 who can share feedback on it? Specially if you're matching them with B&W 685s.

 

Those of you in NSW: hope you're doing ok in the storm.

 

I've been going back and forth between amp options to match the B&W 685 S2 I've set my sights on. So far I've looked at:

  • Arcam FMJ A19 + standalone DAC
  • Marantz PM6005
  • Rotel RA-10 + standalone DAC
  • Rotel RA-11
  • Rotel RA-12
At this entry-level I'm operating at ($2k total), 50-70% of the budget should go towards the speakers, since that's where I'll get the most ROI. For that reason, I've ruled out the Arcam and Rotel RA-10, simply because with those options too much of the budget goes to the DAC, which is the 2nd least important part (after cables). 
 
However, I've found on eBay a Rotel RA-12 at a decent price ($739). It has built in DAC, 60w per channel...well enough to drive the 685s. However, I can't seem to find many reviews on it and the What HiFi review was a bit mixed. Anyone here using the RA-12 that has some feedback to share?

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Have you heard the rotel with the b&ws?

 

No, haven't heard them together and I'm having difficulties finding anyone in Sydney who sells both Rotel and B&W. Was hoping that The Hifi Trader in Newtown would have them since they carry Rotel amps, but they don't seem to sell B&W, same with Sydney Hifi in Castle Hill. Apollo Hifi & Len Wallis both have the B&W speakers, but not the Rotel amps. 

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Try Lifestyle Store at North Parramatta, they should have both.

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Try Lifestyle Store at North Parramatta, they should have both.

 

Mate, thank you. Just gave them a call and it was a partial success. They have the RA-12, but only the 686s in the showroom to listen to. 

 

I've listened to the 685s and liked them. I wonder how much of a gamble it would be to listen to the Rotel amp with the 686s and use that as a proxy for how well the amp would sound with the 685s?

 

Lifestyle Store does however have some nice speaker options in the same price range: KEF Q300, Dynaudio 2/6 and Dynaudio 2/7. I have a sneaking suspicion that I'll like something else while in store and end up coming home with something completely different from my original B&W plan  :)

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I have the RA-12 connected to a pair of B&W PM1 speakers. I initially had them hooked up to some B&W CM5s then upgraded.

I bought the Rotel off eBay during one of their 15% off Sunday sales so picked it up for less than $700. The seller was one of the Melbourne audio stores.

The CM5's I bought on SNA at a great price (thanks bebop) but saw the PM1s on gumtree at basically half price a few months later so grabbed them. The CM5s are now boxed up waiting for me to buy a house so I can have a 2nd system (they could be waiting a while).

I've since purchased a 2nd hand RCD-12 from gumtree (perfect condition) and an RT-12 from another melbourne audio store which was on sale.

Yes, I didn't listen to the "package" before purchasing but more than happy with the result. However I'm no audio expert.....

Just saying if you're willing to shop around and wait for 2nd hand stuff to pop up, you can grab some bargains.

I've seen a couple of pairs of CM5's appear for sale here in recent time so you might want to consider 2nd hand (I think there's a set in Sydney still for sale?) as possibly an upgrade to the 685s.

Edited by 943

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