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Rotel RC-1590 MKII

Stereo preamplifier with built-in DAC and Bluetooth® (Silver)

Item # 440C15902S

The MkII retains the best parts of the original RC-1590, adding a new DAC and compatibility with high-res MQA files.

The MkII retains the best parts of the original RC-1590, adding a new DAC and compatibility with high-res MQA files.

Item # 440C15902S

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About the Rotel RC-1590 MKII

Eric A.

A capable, high-performance preamp with some upgrades

Rotel's RC-1590 MkII retains everything that makes the original 1590 impressive — starting with two of the company's custom-designed toroidal transformers. One is dedicated to the analog signal pathway, and the other to the digital. It's the kind of detail that lets you know Rotel will go to great lengths to eliminate noise and interference, so you get nothing but gorgeous, uncluttered sound from any component you connect to this preamp.
Rotel RC-1590 MkII preamplifier

Dual custom-made toroidal transformers isolate digital and analog circuit pathways to reduce noise and interference.

A capable, high-performance preamp with some upgrades

Rotel's RC-1590 MkII retains everything that makes the original 1590 impressive — starting with two of the company's custom-designed toroidal transformers. One is dedicated to the analog signal pathway, and the other to the digital. It's the kind of detail that lets you know Rotel will go to great lengths to eliminate noise and interference, so you get nothing but gorgeous, uncluttered sound from any component you connect to this preamp.

But a couple of things have changed: The MkII features a premium Texas Instruments 32-bit/384kHz DAC that converts incoming digital signals to analog with precision and clarity. It's Roon tested and it can now decode audiophile-quality MQA and MQA Studio files.

Convenient connections

The RC-1590 offers an array of analog and digital inputs. There are four analog RCA inputs on the back panel, including a phono stage for connecting a turntable with a moving magnet cartridge. And the balanced XLR input helps you get the best possible sound with a compatible source component, like Rotel's matching RCD-1572 CD player. Two stereo RCA preamp outputs and two stereo XLR outputs let you send the signal to one or more Rotel power amplifiers.

The preamp's premium DAC ensures clear, precise sound from all your digital sources. There are three optical and coaxial inputs, as well as optical and coaxial outputs for passing digital signals to an outboard DAC. A rear-panel USB Type-B port lets you connect a PC, and a USB Type-A port on front panel that handles audio signals from an iPod®, iPhone®, or iPad®.

And there are a wealth of control options, including an IR input, RS-232 port, and dual 12-volt trigger outputs. A proprietary 3.5mm Rotel Link input/output allows connected Rotel products to communicate with each other and be controlled via the Rotel app. An Ethernet port lets you connect the preamp to your home network for software updates and integration with third-party control systems.

About Rotel

Rotel has been crafting high-performance gear for music and home theater enthusiasts since 1961. They focus on creating the best signal path possible, using premium capacitors, transistors, diode bridges, and custom toroidal power supplies to get the most from music and movie soundtracks. Crutchfield is proud to offer a diverse selection of Rotel components including preamps, amplifiers, CD players, and home theater processors.


Product highlights:

  • stereo preamplifier with digital and analog inputs to handle a variety of music sources
  • premium Texas Instruments 32-bit/384kHz digital to analog converter
  • dual custom-built toroidal transformers provide isolated power supplies for analog and digital signal paths
  • frequency response: 10-100,000 Hz (line inputs, ±0.1dB); 20-20,000 Hz (phono input, ±0.2dB); 20-20,000 Hz (digital inputs, ±0.5dB)
  • signal-to-noise ratio: 117 dB (line); 80 dB (phono); 117 dB (digital)
  • total harmonic distortion: 0.002%
  • support for MQA and MQA Studio files
  • Roon tested
  • dimmable front-panel display
  • remote control
  • 4 unbalanced stereo RCA inputs
    • dedicated phono input for turntables with moving magnet cartridges
  • balanced stereo XLR input
  • 3 optical digital and 3 coaxial digital inputs (up to 24-bit/192kHz resolution)
  • USB Type-B input for connecting a computer (PCM up to 32-bit/384kHz resolution)
  • USB Type-A port on front panel handles audio signals from an iPod®, iPhone®, or iPad®
  • dual stereo RCA preamp outputs
  • dual stereo XLR outputs
  • 1 optical digital and 1 coaxial digital audio output
  • dual mono RCA subwoofer outputs
  • front-panel 3.5mm headphone output
  • Rotel Link input/output
    • allows connected Rotel products to communicate with each other and be controlled via the Rotel app
  • 3.5mm IR input
  • dual 3.5mm 12-volt trigger outputs
  • Ethernet port connects the amp to your home network for software updates and integration with 3rd-party control systems
  • RS-232 port for use with home automation control systems, like Crestron
Dimensions and warranty:
  • 17-1/16"W x 5-3/4"H x 15-1/8"D (3U rack spaces; rack ears available separately from the manufacturer)
    • Crutchfield's in-house depth measurements are made with all relevant cables in place
  • weight: 22.3 lbs.
  • warranty: 5 years
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee
  • MFR # ROT1040008

What's in the box:

  • Stereo preamplifier
  • 58" AC power cord
  • Remote control (RR-AX100)
  • 2 "AA" batteries
  • 5' USB-B to USB-A cable
  • 57" Ethernet cable
  • 40 Stereo RCA cable
  • Two 40" Stereo minijack cables
  • Owner's manual on CD-ROM
  • Warranty Information
  • Important Safety Instructions

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More details on the Rotel RC-1590 MKII

Stacey B.

Features & specs

RCA Inputs 4
XLR Inputs 1
3.5mm Inputs 0
Phono Inputs 1
Phono Input Type Moving Magnet
Optical Digital Inputs 3
Coaxial Digital Inputs 3
Digital XLR Inputs 0
USB Type A ---
USB Type B 1
Ethernet Port Yes
RCA Outputs 4
XLR Outputs 4
Optical Digital Outputs 1
Coaxial Digital Outputs 1
Digital XLR Outputs 0
Subwoofer Outputs 2
Discrete Sub Outs No
Headphone Output 3.5mm
Audio Features & Specs
Frequency Response 20-20k
S/N Ratio (Phono) 80
S/N Ratio (Line) 117
THD 0.002
DAC Bit Depth 32-bit
DAC Sample Rate 384 kHz
Home Theater Bypass No
Wireless Features
Bluetooth Built-in
Bluetooth Formats Supported SBC. AAC, aptX
Wi-Fi N/A
Frequency Bands N/A
Apple AirPlay No
DTS Play-Fi No
Chromecast built-in No
Roon Tested
MusicCast No
BluOS No
Music Services
Amazon Music No
Apple Music No
Pandora No
Qobuz No
SiriusXM No
Spotify No
Tidal No
TuneIn No
YouTube Music No
Apple Control App Optional
Android Control App No
Amazon Alexa No
Google Assistant No
12 Volt Trigger Out (2)
IR Control In
RS-232 Yes
Other Specs
Width (Inches) 17.0625
Height (Inches) 5.75
Depth (Inches) 15.125
Parts Warranty 5 Year
Labor Warranty 5 Years
The Rotel RC-1590 MKII replaces these items:

Product Research



High Performance Stereo Preamplifier: The RC-1590 MKII stereo preamplifier has been engineered to the highest audio performance levels and provides an incredible level of sound reproduction. Rotel engineers created this reference quality stereo preamplifier to match with their new RB-1590 stereo power amplifier. Every aspect of component selection and circuit topography was designed and carefully evaluated during multiple listening sessions to ensure the highest fidelity. For example, analog and digital circuits were designed separately, by specialized Rotel teams. Analog inputs are all very low-noise circuitry and include a high performance moving magnet phono stage. The digital inputs are fully isolated and feature a precision 32-bit/384kHz digital-to-annalog converter (DAC).

Balanced Design Concept: Balanced Design Concept is the essential Rotel design philosophy that revolves around three major areas - Parts selection, circuit topology, and critical evaluation. These aspects influence final sound quality significantly and illustrate the holistic Balanced Design Concept approach to Rotel's product development. Thanks to the Balanced Design Concept, Rotel components easily exceed the performance of many mass produced audio products that offer plenty of features but skimp on audio quality, and compare favorably to components that are many times the price. Rotel continues its pursuit of extraordinary audio performance, which elevates the home entertainment experience through their core values of sonic accuracy, reliability, and affordability.

  • Parts Selection: Rotel engineers select premium capacitors which provide better performance across both power and frequency spectrums to produce a more accurate and musical reproduction of the audio signal. High quality power supply capacitors provide a more efficient transfer of energy with fast charging and discharge time to ensure the circuits have the reserve power when needed. At each stage of development, Rotel engineers listen to circuit prototypes and revise the design when they feel they can gain a sonic advantage by using a particular component from another manufacturer or by specifying tighter tolerances. Since Rotel is an independent manufacturer, they are free to source parts from highly respected suppliers around the world to fit their requirements.
  • Circuit Topology: It’s not enough to simply use good parts. Where you put them is equally if not more important. That's why Rotel keeps their circuit paths as short as possible, so there's less chance that spurious emissions and unwanted leakages will corrupt delicate signal nuances. That's also why Rotel often uses more expensive "on-board" relay source switching, rather than routing a signal from a rear-panel input to a front-panel control. Rotel also relies heavily on something called Symmetrical Signal Trace design. This keeps each channel's signal path identical to the others to preserve the imaging and soundstage. Rotel also uses electrically superior "star" grounding techniques to improve performance because star grounding routes all ground connections to a single point to reduce potential loops that might introduce noise or produce hum.
  • Critical Evaluation: Rotel's development team places a lot of importance on critical listening sessions before the final product is sent to market. Rotel electronic and acoustic engineers, both in the UK and Asia, have honed their aural acuity over the course of decades of collective experience to evaluate each stage of product development from working samples, through pre-production and, finally, to verify that final production is the same as the pre-production units. Some sessions evaluate different circuit elements: capacitors, resistors, and active devices such as transistors or operational amplifiers. Others focus on differences in circuit layouts or differences caused by power supply elements. Only after this tuning process is complete with sonic performance confirmed will the product be launched to the market.

Dual Toroidal Transformers: The RC-1590 MKII employs two Rotel custom-built toroidal transformers for maximum efficiency and low magnetic fields, these transformers provide low-noise isolation between the analog and digital signals. They are part of a reference grade power supply consisting of individual analog and digital regulator circuits with custom-made slit-foil capacitors. Slit-foil capacitors have very quick charge/discharge times and low signal loss ensuring tight bass performance.

Symmetrical Circuit Traces: The preamplifier's printed circuit boards (PCB) are designed with Symmetrical Circuit Traces. This ensures that the precise timing of the music is maintained and faithfully recreated. The circuitry uses metal film resistors and polystyrene or polypropylene capacitors in important signal paths. All aspects of this design have been examined to ensure the most faithful music reproduction.

32-Bit/384kHz DAC: Digital source inputs are processed utilizing an audiophile-grade Texas Instruments (TI) 32-bit/384kHz digital-to-analog converter (DAC) with custom engineered, proprietary acoustically tuned external output filter circuits rendering even the finest details with exceptional clarity and exact positing.

MQA (Master Quality Authenticated): MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) is a revolutionary end-to-end technology that captures and delivers master quality audio in a file that's small enough to download and stream. MQA ensures the your will hear your favorite digital audio music soundtracks exactly the way the artist intended you to hear it when it was approved in the studio. Support for MQA requires USB Audio Class 2.0 via USB-B. USB Audio Class 2.0 requires installation of the Windows PC driver on the included USB thumbdrive. MAC computers do not require a driver to support PC-USB Audio Class 1.0 or 2.0.

Roon Tested: The RC-1590 MKII is certified as Roon Tested and compatible with software via the integrated amp's USB-B port when connected to a compatible Windows or Mac computer. Being Roon Tested means that Rotel and Roon have collaborated to ensure you have the best experience using Roon software and the RC-1590 MKII together, so you can just enjoy the music. For the best user experience it is suggested to use USB Audio Class 2.0 when using Roon. USB Audio Class 2.0 requires installation of the Windows PC driver on the included USB thumbdrive. MAC computers do not require a driver to support PC-USB Audio Class 1.0 or 2.0.

Mounting & Placement Options: Rotel recommends installing the RC-1590 MKII stereo preamplifier in furniture designed to house audio components. Such furniture is designed to reduce or suppress vibration which can adversely affect sound quality. Ask your Crutchfield Advisor for advice about component furniture and proper installation of audio components.

Note: The Rotel RC-1590 MKII stereo preamplifier does not support rack-mounting.


Balanced & Unbalanced Analog Connectivity: The Rotel RC-1590 MKII stereo preamplifier is outfitted with balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA inputs and outputs. Balanced XLR connections guard against induced noise and allow long cable runs without compromising sound quality.

  • XLR & RCA Inputs: The Rotel RC-1590 MKII is equipped with one balanced stereo XLR analog audio input and four unbalanced stereo RCA analog audio inputs (including a MM Phono input) for connecting multiple source components. You should choose only one method of analog connection from a source component to the RC-1590 MKII stereo preamplifier. Do not connect both the RCA and XLR outputs of a source component to the RC-1590 MKII at the same time.
  • XLR & RCA Preouts: The RC-1590 MKII features two balanced stereo XLR analog audio preamp outputs and two unbalanced stereo RCA analog audio preamp outputs for connecting an external amplifier(s). The second set of XLR and RCA outputs can be used in custom system configurations to drive a second power amplifier or to supply an audio signal to a special signal processor. Do not connect both the XLR and RCA preouts to the amplifier at the same time. Changes to the settings of the Volume, Balance, & Tone controls will affect the signal from the XLR and RCA preamp outputs.
  • Stereo Line Output: There is also a stereo RCA line output that can be used to send the analog audio to a separate processor device; these outputs bypass the volume encoder and are full-line level output all the time.

MM Phono Input: There is one Phono input which supports the connection of a turntable with a MM (moving magnet) cartridge. There is also a ground terminal for the Phono input to prevent hum and noise.

Digital Audio Inputs/Outputs: The RC-1590 MKII is equipped with a total of six digital audio inputs; including three optical (toslink) digital inputs and three coaxial (RCA) digital inputs. All six digital inputs will support 2ch stereo PCM audio up to 24-bit/192kHz. The RC-1590 MKII even features an optical (toslink) and coaxial (RCA) digital output for connecting an outboard D/A converter or other digital processor.

Note: The digital audio inputs/outputs do not support Dolby Digital, DTS, and other multichannel audio formats.

USB-B Port: The rear-panel USB-B port allows connection to your Windows PC or Mac computer, so you can playback your laptop or desktop music libraries through the RC-1590 MKII preamplifier. The RC-1590 MKII supports both USB Audio Class 1.0 and USB Audio Class 2.0 modes for playback of 2ch stereo PCM and MQA music files up to 32-bit/384kHz.

  • USB Audio Class 1.0: USB Audio Class 1.0 supports playback of 2ch PCM audio up to 96kHz sampling rates (MQA not available). Windows PC and Mac do not require installation of a driver for USB Audio Class 1.0. The unit's factory default setting is USB Audio Class 1.0.
  • USB Audio Class 2.0: USB Audio Class 2.0 supports playback of 2ch PCM and MQA audio up to 384kHz sampling rates. You will need to install a Windows USB Driver from Rotel's website onto your computer for a Windows PC connection. Mac computers will not require a a separate USB driver.

Note: You'll still control search and playback functions, as well as view song/artist/information from your Windows PC or Mac computer (not the RC-1590 MKII).

Front-Panel USB-A Port: The front-panel USB-A port can be connected to an Apple iOS device with Lightning (including iPod touch, iPhone & iPad) connector for music playback through the preamplifier. You'll still control search and playback functions, as well as view song/artist/information from your Apple iOS device (not the RC-1590 MKII). The front-panel USB can also be used to charge your Apple iOS device and other smartphone or tablet devices; it is rated at 5V/2.1A.

Note: USB MSC (mass storage class) devices, such as USB thumbdrives and hard disk drives are not supported.

Bluetooth Audio Streaming w/ aptX: Thanks to built-in Bluetooth, you can wirelessly stream stored music libraries, music apps, and other audio content from your Bluetooth-enabled smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer to the Rotel RC-1590 MKII preamplifier. In addition to Bluetooth's standard SBC codec, the RC-1590 MKII supports Apple's AAC codec and Qualcomm's aptX audio technology. aptX delivers "CD-quality" audio (16-bit/44.1kHz) wirelessly over Bluetooth. Android, Windows 10 and Mac OS all support aptX (Apple iOS does not not support aptX).

Note: You'll still control search and playback functions, as well as view song/artist/information from your Bluetooth enabled source device (not the RC-1590 MKII).

Headphone Output: The front-panel headphone output allows you to connect a set of headphones for private listening. The headphone output consists of a 3.5mm (1/8") jack. Plugging in a set of headphones does not cut off the signal to the preamp outputs. You'll need to manually turn off your connected power amplfier.

Dual Mono Sub Outputs: There are two mono-RCA sub outputs for connecting a powered subwoofer. These mono sub outputs are summed with both the left and right audio signal. They are parallel outputs (not discrete) allowing two powered subs to be connected to the RC-1590 MKII. The dual mono sub outputs are full-range, so you must have a powered subwoofer with its own built-in low-pass filter control.

Detachable AC Power Cord: The detachable 58" AC power cord (IEC 2-prong) plugs into the back of the preamplifier and into an AC wall outlet or surge protector/line conditioner (sold separately - see Accessories Tab).


Front-Panel Display & Controls: The Rotel RC-1590 MKII stereo preamplifier is equipped with a front-panel display and front-panel controls. The front-panel display shows the source selected, volume level, and tone settings. The display also provides access to the setup and configuration menu options of the amplifier. The front-panel display does not support song/artist/album information. Front-panel controls include Power, Source, Volume, and Menu.

IR Remote Control: The included IR remote control provides wireless operation over the RC-1590 MKII stereo preamplifier. It can also operate a Rotel CD player (such as the CD14, sold separately).

Note: The play and search controls on the remote only operate a connected Rotel CD player. They do not support playback and search functions for USB-B, and Apple iOS, and Bluetooth devices.

Tone Controls: Bass & Treble circuits are bypassed at factory default to ensure the purest possible sound. You can choose to adjust the Bass & Treble to increase or decrease low and high frequency sounds. There is also a Balance control that adjust the left-to-right sound output of the connected speakers.

Direct-Path Bypass Mode: Analog signal paths feature a Direct-Path Bypass mode eliminating unnecessary circuits maintaining signal integrity and further eliminating unwanted noise and distortion drawing you even closer and immersing you in the music. 

Rotel Link: The 3.5mm stereo minijack input/output (labeled "Rotel Link") can attach to Rotel network enabled products. This allows the attached Rotel products to communicate with each other and be controlled via the Rotel App (for Apple iOS 6.0+).

IR In: The IR input (3.5mm) receives command codes from industry-standard infrared receivers via a hard-wired connection. This feature is useful when the unit is installed in a cabinet and the front-panel sensor is blocked. Consult your Crutchfield advisor for information on external IR repeater systems (sold separately - see Accessories Tab).

12V Trigger Outputs: The RC-1590 MKII is equipped with two 12-volt trigger outputs (3.5mm) that can be connected to two different components with 12-volt trigger inputs, allowing the components to turn on automatically with the RC-1590 MKII preamplifier.

RS232 Port: The Rotel RC-1590 MKII preamplifier can be controlled via RS232 for integration with automation systems. The RS232 input accepts a standard straight DB-9 Male-to-Female cable.

Ethernet Port: The rear-panel Ethernet (RJ45) jack allows IP control for integration with automation systems. The Ethernet jack also allows software updates to be downloaded from the internet.

Auto Power Modes: The Rotel RC-1590 MKII preamplifier offers Auto Signal Sensing and Auto Standby for automatic on and off.

  • Auto Signal Sensing: Thanks to Automatic Signal Sensing, the integrated turns on automatically when an audio signal is detected at one of its analog or digital inputs.
  • Auto Standby: The RC-1590 MKII can be configured to automatically power off if unused for a specified period (1, 2, 5, or 12 hours). If there is no audio signal or no control within the specified time period, the unit will automatically go into standby mode.

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Customer Q&A

4 questions already asked

is there a app to control this device with android phone,1590 mk11?
[ SCOTT  Jan 03, 2023 ]
1 answer
It looks like the Rotel App is currently only available on iPhone sadly, Scott. If you are ok with slightly less power in a similar quality integrated, consider the Marantz Model 40n, the HEOS app is available on Android phones.
[ Bo  Jan 03, 2023 ]  Staff
Can you rename the inputs on this unit?
[ ROBERT M  Aug 14, 2021 ]
1 answer
I found a copy of an owner's manual for this unit on Rotel's site that does not have any mention of this ability to rename its inputs. While we have not completed our research to fully know, we do not expect its inputs can be renamed based on the manual.
[ JASON  Aug 17, 2021 ]  Staff
can you go from the optical to my tv to get 2 channel sound while watching tvon the 1590 pre amp ?
[ SCOTT  Dec 26, 2022 ]
1 answer
Greetings Scott, and thank you for your question. You absolutely can run optical out of your TV into the Rotel RC-1590.
[ THOMAS  Dec 26, 2022 ]  Staff

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