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Rotel just released their new RCD-1570 CD Player, which is a slight tweak to the existing RCD-1520 model (if you consider adding XLR outputs a "slight" upgrade). Rotel makes some excellent products. We've reviewed several of their amplifiers and such in the past and we continue to have an affinity for how they design and manufacture their A/V and hi-fi components. Their look has changed throughout the years, but their quality seems to be very consistent (and by that, we mean it remains a good value).

For those who have jumped fully into the world of home theater and high-resolution audio, Rotel’s RCD-1570 might not be a big deal. But for those of us with extensive audio collections already on disc, the pursuit of perfection is always just one tweak or DAC away. Rotel has been developing CD players since 1982 when they were invented. That's a long time to develop the skills to do something really well. The RCD-1570 represents Rotel's CD player for the new 15 series, and it focuses on subtle refinements designed to reveal even more of the nuances hidden in the digital "pits" (or bits) of a CD. As you can imagine, lots of us still have a sizable collection of CDs, so it's nice to know that we haven't been forgotten in the pursuit of progressive audio playback devices.

Next to the addition of balanced XLR outputs, the biggest update to the RCD-1570 has got to be the use of the Wolfson WM8740 digital filter/stereo DAC (digital-to-analog converter). Like many technologies, this one has come down in price low enough to bring a professional-only device to consumer electronics. The WM8740 was originally made for high-resolution sources, but it processes digital signals at up to 24-bits in length at sampling rates from 8kHz to 192kHz.

Before you start spouting the limited word and bit rates of CD, Rotel contends that this high-speed DAC (and the whole subsystem it's integrated into) adds reserve capability to ensure proper reproduction under all circumstances. They also correctly point out that the DAC is almost the sole link between the stored digital bits and the analogue realm in which we listen. The point of conversion is about the most important aspect of a CD player. The Wolfson WM8740 has two digital filter modes to allow the choice of roll-off characteristics, while flexible connections permit adding additional filter modes. All of this combined, Rotel says, brings CDs to life in ways never before experienced.

We'll hold them to that.

While the RCD-1520 had a slot-loading disc transport, the RCD-1570 continues the trend. While Rotel gives some technical reasons for the inclusion of this technology, the aesthetics certainly can't be beat and give the RCD-1570 a truly modern look and feel.

As we mentioned, the other huge update to the RCD-1570 is the inclusion of balanced XLR connections. These double-ended (dual differential) rear panel connectors more fully integrate the RCD-1570 with Rotel's preamps and amplifiers, providing better noise-rejecting characteristics. The high quality RCA connectors provide a solution for products with single-ended inputs.

Rotel also commented that they use circuit components (resistors, capacitors and inductors) that are chosen only after and extensive and positive correlation to sound quality is established. I'd hate to be the guy doing the A-B testing on those! Once integrated into a circuit board, everything is powered by an oversized custom Rotel-designed toroidal power transformer that feeds precise rectifiers, tight-tolerance voltage regulators, and advanced Slit-Foil low-ESR storage capacitors.

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