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Rotel C8

8-channel multi-zone amplifier

Item # 440C8

Use this potent multi-zone amplifier as the lifeline of your custom-installed whole-home audio system.

Use this potent multi-zone amplifier as the lifeline of your custom-installed whole-home audio system.

Item # 440C8

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About the Rotel C8

Archer A.

Premium multi-channel sound from Rotel

Looking for an awesome amplifier to power your multi-room sound system? Rotel's C8 is worth considering. This potent eight-channel Class AB amplifier gives you four independent output zones, four pairs of matrixed inputs, and plenty of clean power for your speakers. Thanks to Rotel's proprietary amplifier design and the C8's beefy power supply, you can rest assured that your speakers are in good hands. 

Premium multi-channel sound from Rotel

Looking for an awesome amplifier to power your multi-room sound system? Rotel's C8 is worth considering. This potent eight-channel Class AB amplifier gives you four independent output zones, four pairs of matrixed inputs, and plenty of clean power for your speakers. Thanks to Rotel's proprietary amplifier design and the C8's beefy power supply, you can rest assured that your speakers are in good hands. 

Oversized power supply for maximum performance

Rotel aren't strangers to building high-performance amplifiers. In fact, they design a lot of their internal components and circuits in-house. The C8 uses a custom-designed oversized toroidal transformer for clean, stable power. There are also bulk storage smoothing capacitors that give the C8 fine control over bass frequencies.

Distribute sound and keep track of your inputs

This amp has some cool ways to distribute signal throughout your home. There are four analog RCA inputs on the back panel that are matrixed to all zones. That means you can assign the inputs independently (for example, input A assigned to Zone 1), or you can have any input play through any zone or zones. Even cooler, there's a Priority Zone PA Override option that lets you send important announcements from your PA system across all zones simultaneously.

While that might sound like a lot to keep track of, the front panel display makes juggling zones and sources easy. The C8's intuitive menu lets you label each input and zone to help you keep track of what's connected. You can also adjust the volume of each zone and make individual bass and treble adjustments.


Product highlights:

  • 8-channel multi-zone Class AB amplifier
  • 50 watts per channel into 8 ohms (20-20,000 Hz) at 0.1% THD with all channels driven
  • 70 watts per channel into 4 ohms (140 watts per channel when bridged)
  • oversized toroidal transformer custom-designed for clean power
  • frequency response: 10-100,000 Hz (± 0.5 dB)
  • signal-to-noise ratio: 100 dB
  • detachable power cord
  • rack-mounting hardware included
  • four pairs of unbalanced stereo RCA inputs
  • all inputs are matrixed across all zones
  • one pair of unbalanced stereo RCA line outputs for feeding signal to another amplifier
  • 3.5mm 12-volt trigger in/out for power control by external components
  • RS-232 port allows integration with compatible home automation products
  • Ethernet port for network connection, software updates, and integration with home audio products
Rear-panel features:
  • bridge switches on the rear panel for bridging channels together
  • input "A" can be set to stereo or mono by using the rear-panel switch
    • when set to "mono", the left and right signals are combined and each speaker using input A as a source receives a mono signal
Front-panel features:
  • front-panel display shows selected source, volume level, settings, and more
    • menu navigation and setting selection via function buttons on the right-hand side of the front panel
  • labeled zone buttons for turning speaker zones on and off
Dimensions and warranty:

What's in the box:

  • 8-Channel distribution amplifier
  • 6.5' AC power cord
  • 4 Phoenix-style speaker connector blocks (pre-installed)
  • 39" Mono-minijack cable
  • 2 Rack-mount brackets
  • 6 Screws (flat and lock washers attached)
  • Owner's Manual on Thumbdrive
  • Quick Installation Guide
  • Important Safety Instructions
  • Warranty Card
  • Rack Mounting Instructions

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More details on the Rotel C8

Stacey B.

Product Research


8-Channel Class AB Amplifier: The Rotel C8 is an 8-channel/4-Zone distribution amplifier that employs a Class AB amplifier design for full dynamic range and high performance. Critical evaluation of the circuit design and meticulous selection of each acoustic audio components ensures accuracy, power and efficiency all coupled with an unsurpassed build quality ensuring this amplifier proudly wears the Rotel name.

  • Custom Toroidal Transformer: The C8 utilizes a highly regulated power supply incorporating a Rotel custom-designed toroidal power transformer. This low impedance power supply has ample power reserves, which enables the amplifier to easily reproduce the most demanding audio signals. The oversized in-house manufactured toroidal transformer drives sixteen high current output devices fed by an array of bulk storage smoothing capacitors ensuring deep, agile and controlled bass energy while maintaining rhythm and timing of all genres of music.
  • Symmetrical Circuit Traces: The amplifier'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.


  • The C8's power output is rated at 50 watts per channel with all channels driven. Rotel has chosen to specify the power output in this way because, in Rotel's experience, it gives the truest value of the receiver or amplifier's power capability.
  • When comparing specifications for different amplifiers, you should be aware that power output is often specified in other ways, so you may not be comparing "apples-to-apples". For example, the power output may be quoted with only one channel or two channels driven (not all channels), giving a higher maximum figure.
  • Be aware that the C8 is capable of high power levels, in excess of 50 watts respectively per channel. Make sure that your speakers can handle the power of the amplifier. If in doubt about your speakers, ask your Crutchfield advisor.

Operation Modes: The Rotel C8 can be operated in Normal or Bridged Mode. Normal Mode provides left & right stereo playback from a pair of speakers in up to 4 Zones. Bridge Mode combines amplifier channels to deliver left & right stereo playback from a pair of speaker in up to 2 Zones. In Bridge Mode, two amplifier channels are combined (Zone 1 & 2 and/or Zone 3 & 4). When bridged only Input A is used for Zone 1/2 and only Input C is used for Zone 3/4 (Input B and Input D are not available in Bridge Mode).

  • Normal Mode: 50 watts x 8 channels (with all channels driven into 8-ohms @ 20-20kHz and 0.1% THD)
  • Bridged Mode: 140 watts x 4 channels (with all channels driven into 8-ohms @ 20-20kHz and 0.1% THD)

Note: Make sure to follow the Normal and Bridged wiring diagram in the Owner's Manual for optimum performance, as well as prevent damage to the amplifier and your speakers.

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. Further, Rotel's Class AB amplifiers don’t use output inductors because they decrease control and, consequently, sound quality.
  • 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. 

4 Stereo RCA Inputs: The Rotel C8 distribution amplifier includes 4 analog audio stereo RCA inputs that are available to all 4 Zones through its internal matrix-switching. The 4 analog audio stereo RCA inputs are labeled Input, A, Input B, Input C, and Input D. You can play the same or different source inputs in each Zone.

  • Input Configuration: You can configure which Inputs can playback in which Zones. Selecting "Matrix" allows a particular Input to be available to all Zones. Or, you can assign a particular Zone to an Input, so only that Input can playback in that specific Zone.
  • Mono Mode: For Input A only, you can combine the left and right audio input signals to provide a mono signal at the Zone outputs.

Line-Level Output: The line-level stereo RCA output can be used to pass an unprocessed input signal to another audio component; for example to "daisy-chain" an additional amplifier to drive an additional set of speakers. Only the input signal connected to the amplifier's Input A connectors is available on the line-level outputs. You can link or "daisy-chain" a maximum of 8 amplifiers.

  • The Mono switch does not affect the line-level output.
  • Input B, C, and D audio signals are not available on the line-level outputs.

4 Zone Speaker Outputs: The Rotel C8 has 4 pairs of speaker outputs; one pair for each Zone (labeled Zone 1, Zone 2, Zone 3, and Zone 4). Each of the 4 pairs of speaker outputs consist of detachable phoenix connector blocks with 4 secure-locking terminals for the connection of the positive and negative speaker leads from a pair of loudspeakers. The phoenix-style connectors will accommodate 18AWG to 14AWG speaker wire. The amp offers independent source, volume, and tone controls for each Zone independently.

  • Source Input: You can select playback of the same or different Source Inputs in each Zone. Select from Input A, Input B, Input C, or Input D for a particular Zone.
  • Volume Level: You have independent control of the volume level (0-96) and max volume (0-96) for each of the 4 Zones.
  • Tone Controls: You can adjust Bass, Treble, and Balance for each of the 4 Zones. Bass (100Hz) & Treble (10kHz) is adjustable from -10 to +10dB, while balance is adjustable from L10 to R10.

Front-Panel Display & Controls: The Rotel C8 distribution amplifier features a front-panel display with front-panel controls for simple operation. The front-panel LCD and controls combine to provide operation and display of source inputs, independent volume, plus bass & treble, as well as other settings.

  • Display Dimmer: The front-panel display's brightness level can be set to High (default), Medium High, Medium Low, and Low to suit your preference and the ambient light in your room.
  • Display On/Off: You can configure whether the front-panel display is always on, or will turn off after a set period of time. The front-panel display will always be backlit when the unit is powered on for the first time and when you are using the front-panel controls. If you don't want the front-panel display to remain on continuously, then you can set it to automatically turn-off after 5 or 10 seconds.

Tone Control: Bass (100Hz) and Treble 10kHz from -10 to +10 dB.

Custom Control Integration: The Rotel C8 distribution amplifier offers custom control integration via IP, RS232, or 12V.

  • RJ45 Jack: The amplifier can be attached to your network its RJ45 (LAN) jack. The network connection allows IP control for integration with automation systems (sold separately), as well as software updates. .
  • RS232 Port: The amplifier an be controlled via RS232 for integration with automation systems (sold separately), using its RS232 port and straight DB-9 Male-to-Female cable (sold separately). .
  • 12-Volt Trigger In/Out: The Rotel C8 is outfitted with a 12V Trigger input (3.5mm) and output (3.5mm). These 12V triggers can be used to link other components in your system that also offer 12V triggers, so they turn on and off with one another.

Auto Standby: The amp can be configured to automatically power off if there is no audio or operation in a zone. If the audio signal on all active zones stops and no changes are made to the unit within a specified period, the unit will automatically go into Standby mode. Auto Standby settings include 20 minutes (default), 1 hour, 2 hours, 5 hours, 12 hours, or Off.

Detachable AC Power Cord: The Rotel C8 comes with a detachable 6.5' AC power cord (3-prong IEC) that plugs into the back of the power amp and into an AC wall outlet or surge protector/line-conditioner (sold separately - see Accessories Tab).

Mounting Options: The Rotel C8 distribution amplifier can be tabletop mounted or rack mounted. Its 2U height chassis does not require top or bottom clearance spacing for ultra-efficient rack mounting (all rack mounting hardware is included).

  • The amplifier will generate heat as part of its normal operation. The heat sinks and ventilation openings of the amplifier are designed to dissipate this heat. The amplifier requires 20" of clearance around the back side of the chassis. Reasonable airflow in the equipment rack is required to prevent the amplifier from overheating.
  • Remember the weight of the unit when you select an installation location. If you are not using the included rack ears make sure that the shelf or cabinet used can support the unit. The amplifier should be installed in or on furniture designed specifically for 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.

Cooling Fans: The C8 amplifier includes 2 cooling fans to help exhaust the heat generated by the power supply and amplifier modules. These fans will operate when internal thermostat sensors detect cooling is required. The fan speed with increase as needed when the unit temperature increases as detected by the internal sensors.

Protection Circuitry: The Rotel C8 features thermal and over-current protection circuits that protect against potential damage in the event of extreme or faulty operating conditions. Unlike many other designs, these protection circuits are independent of the audio signal and have no impact on sonic performance. Instead, the protection circuits monitors the temperature of the output devices and the current they are handling and shuts down the amplifier if operating conditions exceed safe limits.

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Get more power and digital inputs

The Rotel C8+ offers these features:
  • 100 watts per channel into 8 ohms
  • 150 watts per channel into 4 ohms
  • two optical digital and two coaxial digital inputs
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