Rotel RSX-1055 AV Receiver Reviewed

Rotel RSX-1055 AV Receiver Reviewed

Our reviewer found the RSX-1055 to be "one elegant and downright sexy 45-pound package." It features Dolby Pro Logic II, Dolby Digital EX and DTS-ES decoding for 6.1 and 7.1 soundtracks. Setup was easy. When listening to CDs, "the occasional ambient effect really added to the surround effects"

Rotel_rsx-1055_receiver_review.gifWhen you're young, your life is governed by a system of rules. Among these numerous childhood directives is the respectable and noble tenet, "If you can't say something nice about someone, don't say anything at all." As a child gets older, rules become more difficult to enforce and, for many people, this one goes right out the window. Whether it's during a work evaluation, water cooler gossip session, or even a magazine product review (err...), you'll often find that gripes and complaints come easy, but compliments and encouraging words often go unspoken.

Additional Resources
Read more Rotel Reviews here...
Read dozens of high performance AV Receiver reviews from Rotel, Sunfire, NAD, Emotiva and many others here.

Consequently, it should come as no surprise that Rotel is a company you don't hear much about. Why? Rotel components are solid, dependable and hard to fault, that's why. And where's the fun in that? The fun begins when you experience Rotel's newest A/V receiver, the RSX-1055.

Rotel has been building quality equipment for 40 years, and the RSX-1055 is part of their latest crop of uncompromising components. The RSX-1055 is a full-featured, digital surround sound processor, A/V control center, AM/FM tuner and (75 watts x 5 channel) power amplifier, all in one package. More to the point, it's all of those things in one elegant and downright sexy 45-pound package. Now that 6.1 and 7.1 recordings are making their way into music and movies, it's only natural that you crave a processor that can handle the extra channels. The RSX-1055 only has 5 channels of amplification, but it does offer Dolby Pro Logic II, Dolby Digital EX and DTS-ES decoding for 6.1 and 7.1 soundtracks. To capitalize on the decoding, all you need is a separate 2- channel amplifier, but more on that in a minute.

Unique Features - The RSX-1055 has all the bells and whistles you'd expect from a high-end A/V receiver, as well as some nice additions you might not expect. In addition to the standard fare, the RSX1055 sports the aforementioned multi-channel decoding capability, wideband component video switching, outputs for an independent second zone, an adjustable subwoofer crossover as well as upgradeable microprocessor software for future upgrades.

On the subject of component video switching, the RSX-1055 is a mixed bag. On the one hand, it's refreshing to see two sets of component video inputs capable of handing a progressive DVD and/or HDTV signal without degrading the picture. This functionality greatly simplifies things when it comes time to connect your video hardware to your television or projector. On the other hand, the RSX-1055's onscreen menus are only accessible through the composite or S-Video monitor output. This means you have to use yet another wire, but more importantly, it means that you'll have to toggle the input on your television or projector to access the RSX-1055's on-screen menus. This may be nitpicking, but it's quickly becoming a pet peeve of mine as the industry moves away from S-Video and composite-based sources.

Anyone looking to use a new receiver to drive a multi-zone installation, will be happy to know the RSX-1055 can be set up for multi- room listening. To use this functionality, you'll need a pair of speakers in the remote zone, an amplifier to power them and an infrared repeater system. Once connected, the RSX-1055 will let you listen to any analog source component connected to the unit with independent control of that component as well as volume. Note, however, that you can only listen to analog source components; source components connected via digital inputs only are not available in the second zone.

Installation/Setup/Ease Of Use - "You had me at hello." I'm not prone to quoting Jerry Maguire, but it's appropriate in this case. The Rotel RSX-1055 had me from the moment I took it out of the box. When you look at this unit's black case, classy, brushed aluminum faceplate and sleek, purple power LED, it really raises your expectations for equipment aesthetics. Why can't every piece of gear look this good?

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After admiring the receiver's looks for a few minutes, I moved on to the user manual. Excellent. What a refreshing change to see a clear and concise manual that contains several excellent drawings explaining setup and configuration options. For international buyers, there is also a separate manual, which has been translated into several languages. There is also a third manual dedicated to the supplied RR-969 learning remote.

The hefty remote took some getting used to but, in the end, I found it to be one of the better supplied remotes I've seen. The remote is almost entirely backlit and the most frequently used buttons are exactly where they should be. The remote also has a velvety feel to it, again reminding me of Rotel's quality workmanship. As a matter of fact, the look and feel of the RSX-1055 is first-class all the way. I especially liked the slow and steady feel of the large, central volume control. Since a relationship can't be based on looks alone, it was time to turn this Rotel on and see how it performed.

As mentioned earlier, the RSX-1055 can handle just about every sound format under the sun.  With this review, I had the pleasure of my first experience with Dolby's Pro Logic II decoding.  Two-channel CD music and non-5.1 DVD soundtracks were given a more open, enveloping sound with convincing surround effects. While the bulk of the sound remained up front, the occasional ambient effect really added to the surround experience. More importantly, this simulated surround sound never drew attention to itself or sounded fake. Put simply, Dolby's Pro Logic II decoding is definitely something I'll require in future processor upgrades.

For 6.1 and 7.1 soundtracks, the RSX-1055 features what Rotel calls XS, or Rotel eXtended Surround. Rotel XS automatically ensures proper decoding whenever center-surround speakers are in use. I did not have the opportunity to play with center-surrounds, during my evaluation period, but that notwithstanding, nothing about the unit's decoding capabilities suggested it would have any problem with the extra channel(s). Be sure to remember that even though the RSX-1055 will decode 6.1 and 7.1 signals, it only has amplification for five channels. If you plan to use the RSX-1055 in an extended surround setup, a recommended configuration would be to use the RSX-1055 to power your center channel and four surrounds and use a separate two-channel amplifier to drive your mains.

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Overall, the RSX-1055 is a very musical receiver. While multi-channel movie soundtracks like The Fast and the Furious had plenty of punch, I was most impressed with the Rotel's ability to deliver detailed music with no discernible coloration. The haunting guitar on Alice in Chains' Jar of Flies sounded wonderfully warm and focused. The Rotel has a very transparent quality and it works hard to ensure that it's not the weak link in your system's performance chain.

The RSX-1055 also includes a bass re-direct feature that will keep your subwoofer active. If you don't want this enhancement, you can navigate through the system menu and deactivate the subwoofer.

The RSX-1055 is a unit that is capable of reproducing five channels of music at a sustained output power by virtue of its enormous power supply. This endows the RSX-1055 with a deep and wide soundstage that is sure to please both music and movie lovers alike.

Final Take
A lot of people talk about "the point of diminishing returns." In other words, at what point does increased spending on hardware stop delivering an equivalent increase in performance? There is a clear difference between a $300 and $600 receiver; the sound quality is arguably twice as good. However, does a $1,200 receiver sound twice as good as a $600 receiver? This is where things get dicey and subjective.

Having listened to several $500 and $600 receivers recently, I can safely say that if you've been using a receiver in this price range, the Rotel RSX-1055 is worth the upgrade. Its stellar build quality, warm musical sound, 7.1 decoding capability and excellent warranty make the RSX-1055 a clear winner. There, see? It isn't so hard to offer a compliment after all. In fact, Rotel makes it easy.

Additional Resources
• Read more Rotel Reviews here...
• Read dozens of high performance AV Receiver reviews from Rotel, Sunfire, NAD, Emotiva and many others here.

Rotel RSX-1055 A/V Receiver
Dolby Digital EX, Pro Logic II decoding
DTS Neo:6 and DTS-ES 6.1 discrete decoding
Wideband component video inputs (2)
Multi-zone outputs and control
Learning remote control
Dimensions: 17" W x 16.4" H x 17.4" D
Weight: 45 lbs.
Warranty: 5 years
MSRP: $1,299


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