..Introduction.. When it comes to the world of HiFi Japanese Company Rotel are one of the front runners and have been for many years. They have had a string of well received amplifiers and cd players for as long as I have been interested in HiFi equipment. The Rotel RA04 is without doubt one of their most cherised products of the new millenium. I have had a pretty decent HiFi for a couple of years now and I have decided that I want to improve the overall sound and have been looking at a number of amplifiers, cd players and speakers. I currently have a Sony Amp and CD Player setup with Mission 771 standmounted speakers. As A regular reader of What Hifi Sound and Vision Magazine I am well aware of just how highly they regard this Amplifier. I also regard this amplifier very highly indeed and have had a number of tests at my local Hifi store with a variety of similarily priced cd players and speakers available in the store. ..My Store Tests.. I have probably had four tests since this Amplifier was released in 2005 and have used a variety of different cds across a wide spectrum of musical styles as I wanted to get the best test possible for the setup. I have listened to demos of this amp with the accompanying cd player the rcd 06 which at £350 is £100 more expensive that this Amplifier. I have used the B&W CM1 standmounters with this amp in the demo and found them to be a superb match even though the speakers are £499. One pound off twice what the Amp is. I have also listened to some JM Lab speakers which were around the same price as the B&W speakers. ..The RA04.. The amplifier is almost exactly the same as the RA-05 but the difference is it doesnt include a remote control. This Amp is considered to be a better sounding amplifier because of this as they have spent more attention on the detail of the amplifier. It is a very sleek looking amplifier that has a clear layout which adds to the experience. This is one of the most highly regarded amps in history let alone of the most highly regarded budget amps around. It has a superb build quality to it and has the air of an amplifier twice the price. ..Specification.. Model RA-04 Continuous Power Output (20-20 kHz, < 0.03%, 8 ohms) 40 watts/ch Total Harmonic Distortion (20Hz-20kHz) < 0.03% at rated power, 1/2 power or 1 watt Intermodulation Distortion (60 Hz : 7 kHz, 4:1) < 0.03% at rated power, 1/2 power or 1 watt Frequency Response - Phono Input 20Hz-15kHz ± 3dB Line Level Inputs 10Hz-40kHz ± 1dB Damping Factor (20-20,000 Hz, 8 ohms) 180 Input Sensitivity / Impedance - Phono Input 2.5mV / 47 kOhms 2.5mV / 47 kOhms Line Level Inputs 150 mV / 24 kOhms 150 mV / 24 kOhms Input Overload - Phono Input 180mV Line Level Inputs 5V Premp Output / Impedance 1V / 470 Ohms Tone Controls - Bass / Treble ±6 dB at 100Hz / 10kHz Signal to Noise Ratio (IHF "A" weighted) - Phono Input 80 dB Line Level Inputs 100 dB Power Requirements - European Version 230V, 50 Hz Power Consumption 220 W, 36 W - Idle Dimensions (W, H, D) 437 x 72 x 342 mm Panel Height 80 mm Weight (net) 5.9 kg Available Finishes Silver / Black 12 volt Trigger Yes Remote Control No Inputs Phono, CD, Tuner, Aux 1, Aux 2, Media Player Loudspeaker outputs On / Off A, B, A+B Headphone output Yes - 3.5 mm jack ..The Sound.. This is what blew me away about the amplifier when i first heard it, It has a wonderful sound that drips with detail and there's fantastic bass on offer, you will get more clout for more money but at the price you won't find any bass that hits as deep and that is as taught as the bass on tap with this Amplifier. Vocals are reproduced with great detail and individual instruments are very well reproduced with great detail. This amp will go very very loud too without any strain. This amp is so good because it does everything so well and doesnt have a weakness which is very impressive given the price of £250. This amplifier wouldnt raise eyebrows if it was given a price twice that of what it is as it is just that good. I played some Boyz II Men during the demo and the vocals were extremely well handled as well as the music which meant that they were superbly reproduced. Some John Mayer was also played and his guitar work was replayed with superb detail alongside all the backing instruments to give a great overall aural display. ..Overall.. This amplifier is a cracking buy for any hifi enthusiast. It balances good looks with extremely good build quality and with incredible sound for just £250 and it beats all the competition as far up as the £500 mark which in todays market is nothing short of Extraordinary. This amp is fine at running a huge pair of speakers aswell as it is at running smaller standmount speakers. This is one of the great things about the Rotel RA-04. It will handle almost anything you throw at it with aplomb. As this amp is only £250 and you will find some stores selling even cheaper this is an Amp to check out. If you havent heard it you owe it to yourself to hear it. I am going to get one myself very soon.
For great sound, nothing more, nothing less, the RA-04 is reference. It offers identical performance to the RA-05; the only difference is the RA-04 does not include remote control operation. What it does include is Rotels Balanced Design Concept in practice, in the form of high-performance parts and finely honed sound.