Rotel/Yammie Review

phoneisbusyphoneisbusy Posts: 875
edited December 2003 in 2 Channel Audio
Rotel/Yammie Review

Hi, this is a very belated review of some gear I got from the Club Polk folks. It's not very
detailed or critical, more a summary of my impressions.


Yamaha C-40 Preamp WoodyJacobs
RB-956AX 6 channel amplifier poweramp criverjr
Lexicon CP-1 processor. Friend-loaner
Pioneer PD504 25 cd changer (mint) Work $75 cdn
Celestion Mk5 bookshelf left over from old rig

This is my first time using separates. Hooked everything up in eager anticipation to hearing what
separates can do. Initially it was the Rotel using 4 channels bridged into two with the Lexicon
and Pioneer changer.

Loaded up the player and played Vince Guaraldi as the first cd... WTH?!? It sounded like my
cheap Pioneer receiver! Much disappointment! :( Shaking my head, I left it playing and did
some puttering in the work shop. Came back a couple of hours later and huh!?!?! It was now
on an opera cd and it sounded sweet! Stop, restart Vince again. Much better!! :) With the
old receiver, everything was dull and flat but with the amp and CP1 it had more depth the mid
and highs seemed more defined. With the Rotel, there were details in the music that I hadn't
really noticed. Just to be sure I wasn't imagining things, I hooked up the old receiver to the
cd player and speakers. Definitely a difference. With the Rotel and pre, the cymbals from the
drums were very distinct and crisp. With the receiver, they sorta blended in with the piano.

Okay! Is this what people are talking about when they espouse the benefits of separates? Can an
amp and preamp make that much a diff? I guess so. To be fair, the retail for the Rotel and CP1
would likely be more then double the cost of the old receiver but for $380 cdn spent on the used
equipment market, I'd be hard pressed to find something comparable in the new or used receiver
market in my area. Again, to be fair, the value comes from the Club Polk folks letting their
equipment go for less then market value.

Why did it take a couple of hours for the sound quality to improve? I dunno... My only theory is
that the Celestions had be in storage for a few months since my rug rat infestation discovered
wires. Maybe they needed a bit of a break in period again?

Shortly thereafter Woody offered up a Yammie c-40 pre on the market. For $35, it wasn't a big
hit on the pocket book if things didn't work out. It arrived last week and it was hooked up
in place of the CP1. The CP1 works fine, nothing wrong with it at all. I just thought it had
too many settings to tweak for listening to 2-ch stereo. That and you could only control the
volume from the remote.

The yammie preamp sounds similar to the CP1, however, I notice the treble is brighter and bit more
pronounced for my taste. I find that I had to dial the treeble back a bit for my taste. Still I
like it a lot. Only a few dials and a set of buttons to select my input source. Sounds better then
my cheap receiver. It's comparable then my HT rig for stereo but then again, I spent more money
on it.

One day, I'd like to hook the RT12's up the the Rotel and see what I'm missing. I've gotten some
interesting suggestions on how to hook up the 12's (Bridge 4 into 2 channels to power the mid/woofers
and use the remaining two channels to power the tweeters). Maybe when the stereo cabinet is done and
I'm moving the equipment around.


Better sound quality then money spent on a comparably priced receiver.

Nice intro into separates. Makes a nice bedroom or rec room 2 ch. rig.

Wife likes the fact that there is no remote and less buttons.

The Rotel amp would be killer hooked up to a Audigy 2 or Terratec card and good speakers
(although I just can't seem to bring my self to dedicate it to the computer).

Curiousity about separates satisfied for now.


Power up thump on the Rotel makes me wince. My solution. Leave it on. Turn off the pre and CD players only.

It's like drugs. The first hit is free or cheap. It's the followups that start adding up.

A separate HT preamp is pricey. I think I'd like another RB-956AX for more wattage. I know wattage
isn't everything but this is an addiction ya know. :)

Wife wonders why I need "TWO" systems.

Not enough room in the stereo cabinet and living room for the HT and 2 ch. rig.

I'm in no man's land on what to get next.

In summary, I've very happy with the purchases. The folks here were a pleasure to deal with
and the transactions went smoothly.

That's all for now.


Time is the best teacher. Unfortunately it kills all its students.
Post edited by phoneisbusy on


  • ohskigodohskigod Posts: 6,483
    edited November 2003
    glad you like the rotel. i have the rb-976 i got from a 6th ave electronics store in NJ (floor model) was the best money i ever spent on my system. it is a very versatile amp (6 channels, that could be bridged into three, just like the rb-956)

    and i agree that the power up thump is about the only thing that sucks about it. mine does the same thing.
    Theater - Polk 9500 surround bar. simple elegant win
    2 Channel -
    Anthem Pre 2l, Jolida JD100 CD player, CAL Sigma DAC, Carver m4.0, Polk LSi9 w external modified Crossovers (thanks Trey!)
  • organorgan Posts: 5,022
    edited December 2003
    Very nice review Dave. Yeah, seperates do sound that much better than receivers. There are receivers out there that will sound very close to seperates but they're very pricey.

    The improvement in sound quality you heard after the first few hours is very strange. I never heard that before with new or used equipments. Glad to hear you're enjoying your toys. I like to switch equipmens and live with a certain set up for a while just for fun.

    I'm almost finised school for the winter and I'm planning to do a face off with my Rotel and NAD pre amps. I found enough difference in their build quality, parts and sound that a comparison should be very interesting. I will include lots of nude pics of both pre amps. It should keep me busy for a while because all I do on my Christmas break is smoke pot and listen to music.

    CD Player: Original CD-A8T
    Receiver: Harman/Kardon HK3390
    Speakers: Polk Audio RT1000p
    "I would rather have a cup of tone than an ocean of power" **Dr. Harvey Rosenberg**
  • phoneisbusyphoneisbusy Posts: 875
    edited December 2003
    Pot and opera. Organ, that's one interesting combination. ;)
    Remind me to send you Goreski's 3rd Symphony someday.
    I'd bet that would make for one interesting afternoon.


    Time is the best teacher. Unfortunately it kills all its students.
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