Not even a ridiculous parking ticket in downtown Brooklyn could deter me on a glorious sunny day from previewing the new Rotel Diamond Series which pays tribute to the Japanese manufacturer’s 60th anniversary.
Rotel and McIntosh Group invited myself and Chris Boylan to preview the new components at Cafe Kitsune on Bond Street, and while it wasn’t the most formal presentation, we left rather convinced that the new Rotel Diamond Series are very well designed components that offer more than just a taste of the vaunted Rotel Michi Series that we reviewed in 2021.
The Rotel Michi X3 is a very formidable piece of audio engineering and one of the best sounding integrated amplifiers we’ve been fortunate to review over the past 3 years. The biggest negative is the price — which keeps on climbing due to supply chain issues and inflation.
The new Rotel Diamond Series RA-6000 Integrated Amplifier is $4,499 USD which makes it $1,000 less expensive than the Michi X3. The build quality of the new integrated amplifier is superb and we both left agreeing that the silver finish is stunning.
I could hear the similarities in regard to its almost effortless delivery of power to a pair of Sonus faber Olympica Nova Wall Loudspeakers that retail for $9,000 USD per pair.
Cafe Kitsune mounted the rather large Italian speakers near the ceiling in the bar area; they are usually connected to a Rotel Michi X5 and Pro-Ject turntable. The location of the loudspeakers was a bit high in relation to our listening positions at the bar but both Chris and I felt that the RA-6000 drove them with very little difficulty and we could both feel the low end impact across the room.
The Olympica Nova Wall are usually sold with McIntosh amplification or the Michi X3 or X5 so it was impressive to listen to the RA-6000 drive them so well; the midrange had excellent resolution and detail but it was impossible to really gauge the depth and width of the soundstage based on how they were mounted to the wall.
The RA-6000 does integrate aspects of the Michi X3 but it’s clearly not the same product and nor does it have the same features set. We were really happy to see a MM phono stage included; which makes logical sense considering how many Pro-Ject turntables are sold with Rotel systems now.
The RA-6000 Integrated Amplifier delivers 350 watts of output power into 4-ohm speaker loads leveraging technical and performance designs from the brand’s flagship Michi series models.
The RA-6000 is the beneficiary of Michi circuits design, acoustic components, and power supply engineering methods, further featuring upgrades found in Rotel’s recent MKII models.
An array of source inputs ensures connection to modern and legacy audio sources including coaxial (3), optical (3), analog (3), PC-USB supporting MQA, Bluetooth with aptX HD for high performance wireless streaming, XLR Balanced, iOS USB for Apple devices.
The second part of the Rotel Diamond Series is the $2,299 USD Rotel DT-6000 DAC Transport; The unit includes a PC-USB input supporting MQA and DSD audio playback and renders PCM 32-bit/384kHz music files through the coaxial and optical inputs supporting music streamers and media players with the included tray loading CD mechanism providing playback flexibility.
There is a rather long design development story in regard to the DT-6000 that convinced us that Rotel’s development team went back and forth for over a year trying every possible DAC chip before settling on a heavily modified version of the DAC referenced below.
Their initial enthusiasm for the ESS Sabre was met with a level of disappointment when it didn’t deliver the overall sonic performance they were looking for in such an expensive CD player/DAC.
Rotel went back to the drawing board until they felt ESS got it correct.
The focal point of the DT-6000 is the 8-channel ESS Sabre ES9028PRO Digital to Analog converter configured to dedicate 4 Mono DACs each to the left and right channels. Redundant signal processing of the digital data streams extracts nuances of audio with exacting clarity and detail with an exceptionally low noise floor.
The DAC feeds custom engineered fully balanced differential output filters with sonic components critically tuned for life-like reproduction of the audio.
The DT-6000 is powered by an in-house manufactured shielded toroidal transformer with high efficiency slit foil smoothing capacitors reducing stray emissions and delivering independent, isolated, low noise power to all critical circuits, further reducing noise and distortion.
For more information: rotel.com