About the Rotel A11 Tribute
An integrated amp for analog music lovers
An integrated amp for analog music lovers
The Rotel A11 is called "Tribute" because it was developed in cooperation with the late, great audio engineer Ken Ishiwata — it's a tribute to his 40+ years in the industry. It's an integrated amp for analog music lovers, with five RCA inputs, including a phono stage for a turntable with a moving magnet cartridge. The efficient toroidal power supply inside provides a robust 50 watts per channel for one or two pairs of connected speakers. Built-in Bluetooth with high-quality aptX audio coding lets you stream music wirelessly.
My hands-on experience with the Rotel A11 Tribute
When I heard that the legendary Ken Ishiwata had chosen to upgrade the Rotel A11 shortly before his passing, I wondered to myself "why the entry-level model?" Upon taking this integrated amplifier home for a tryout, I think I understand why — because it sets the tone for the rest of the series. When I use an integrated amp, I want it to do a few simple things: give me inputs to connect my sources, provide an easy-to-use interface, and deliver solid power for my speakers. Other than that, I primarily want it to disappear — to get out of the way and let my music shine.
To test how the A11 would meet those challenges, I connected its partner component — the Rotel CD11 Tribute CD player — and my trusty Pro-Ject Debut Carbon turntable. Then I wired up a nice pair of Bowers & Wilkins 606 S2 Anniversary Edition stand-mount speakers and started listening to digital and analog recordings from various decades. I cycled through several very familiar albums from my collection — John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman, Lyle Lovett Live in Texas and Herbie Hancock's Headhunters, to name a few. Each recording sounded like I expected it to, which is a compliment. Romantic ballads laid down in the 1960s should sound different from electrified 70s funk-jazz and both of those should sound different from an eclectic live recording of country-gospel from the 1990s.
Long story short, the A11 let my music sound the way the artist intended. The beefy toroidal transformer inside powered my speakers well — I heard details within each track that can easily get lost — and it helped to provide a sense of spaciousness within the soundstage. And though I prefer to make wired connections to my components most of the time, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that there's a convenient Bluetooth connection with aptX and AAC audio coding for high-quality wireless streaming. Overall, this integrated amp offered a very pleasant introduction to Rotel's no-nonsense approach to great sound.
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.
- 50 watts x 2 channels into 8 ohms (20-20,000 Hz) at 0.03% THD
- Class AB amplification with custom-designed toroidal transformer
- built-in Bluetooth® with high-quality aptX and AAC audio coding
- frequency response: 10-100,000 Hz (line inputs, ±0.5dB); 20-20,000 Hz (phono input, ±0.5dB)
- signal-to-noise ratio: 100 dB (line); 85 dB (phono)
- front-panel volume, balance, and tone controls
- detachable power cord
- remote control
- 5 unbalanced RCA inputs
- dedicated phono input for turntables with moving magnet cartridges
- 3.5mm IR input
- dual 3.5mm 12-volt trigger outputs
- RS-232 port for use with third-party control systems
- RCA preamp output
- front panel 3.5mm headphone output
- A/B speaker outputs with binding posts
Dimensions and warranty:
- 17"W x 3-5/8"H x 13-1/2"D
- weight: 15.1 lbs.
- warranty: 5 years
- MFR # ROT1015008
What's in the box:
- Stereo integrated amplifier
- 58" AC power cord
- Remote control (RR-AX1401)
- 2 "AAA" batteries
- Owner's Manual on CD-ROM
- Warranty Information
- Important Safety Instructions
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Features & specs
|Watts RMS per Channel (8-ohms)||50|
|Watts RMS per Channel (6-ohms)||Not given|
|Watts RMS per Channel (4-ohms)||Not given|
|Minimum Impedance||4 ohms|
|Signal to Noise Ratio||100|
|DAC Bit Depth||N/A|
|DAC Sample Rate||N/A|
|Digital Music Features|
|Built-in DAC (Digital to Analog Converter)||No|
|RCA Line-level Inputs||4|
|XLR Line-level Inputs||No|
|Optical Digital Inputs||No|
|Coaxial Digital Inputs||No|
|Stereo Preamp Outputs||Yes|
|Home Theater Bypass||No|
|Removable Power Cord||IEC 2-prong|
|Apple AirPlay 2||No|
|Dimensions and Warranty|
|Parts Warranty||5 Years|
|Labor Warranty||5 Years|
Robust Class AB 2-Channel Amplifier: The Rotel A11 stereo integrated amplifier features a robust Class AB amplifier design with 50 watts x 2 channels into 8 ohms, @ 20-20kHz, with 0.03% THD.
- The A11'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 A11 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.
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.
Custom Designed Toroidal Transformer: The A11 stereo integrated amplifier has a highly regulated power supply incorporating Rotel's 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. Rotel manufactures its own toroidal transformers in-house to high tolerances using raw materials selected from proven, trusted suppliers. The result is a rugged power supply that won't easily distort the music under dynamic conditions or with difficult speaker loads.
Symmetrical Circuit Traces: The integrated 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
Texas Instruments (TI) DAC: The Rotel A11 stereo integrated amplifier utilizes a Texas Instruments (TI) DAC (digital-to-analog converter) for its Bluetooth audio section that supports "CD-Quality" wireless streaming via aptX. The A11 has no optical digital, coaxial digital, or USB inputs.
Protection Circuitry: The integrated amp has both thermal and over-current protection circuitry that protects the amplifier against damage in the event of extreme or faulty operating conditions. The protection circuits are independent of the audio signal and have no impact on sonic performance. Instead, the protection circuits monitor the temperature of the output devices and shut down the amplifier if temperatures exceed safe limits.
Note: In most cases, the protection circuitry activates because of a fault condition such as shorted speaker wires, or inadequate ventilation leading to an overheating condition. In very rare cases, highly reactive or extremely low impedance speaker loads could cause the protection circuit to engage.
Mounting & Placement Options: The Rotel A11 integrated amp can simply be tabletop mounted (no rack-mount hardware available).
- The A11 generates heat as part of its normal operation. The heat sinks and ventilation openings in the amplifier are designed to dissipate this heat. The ventilation slots in the top cover must be open. There should be at least 4" of clearance around the chassis, and reasonable airflow through the installation location, to prevent the amplifier from overheating.
- Make sure that the shelf or cabinet can support the weight of the amplifier. 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.
Note: The A11's heatsinks provide adequate cooling for most installations. However, when installing the amplifier in a confined space or near other heat-generating components, additional cooling may be desirable. See Accessories Tab for cooling fan options (sold separately).
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 A11 integrated amplifier. In addition to Bluetooth's standard SBC codec and Apple's AAC codec, the A11 supports 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 A11).
Analog Audio Inputs: The Rotel A11 is outfitted with a total of five analog stereo RCA inputs, including one Phono input.
- Line-Level Inputs: There are four stereo RCA line-level inputs for connecting a CD player, tuner, and other external analog audio sources.
- 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.
Note: The A11 has no digital audio inputs.
A & B Speaker Outputs: The integrated amplifier is outfitted two sets of speaker outputs (A & B) for connecting up to two pair of loudspeakers (a total of four speakers). The A & B speaker outputs consist of binding post terminals that will accept bare wire (up to 12AWG), pin-connectors, spade-lugs, and banana plugs (single or dual).
- If only one set of speakers will be used at any given time, the speakers may have an impedance as low as 4 ohms.
- If there are times when both the A and B speakers will be used at the same time, all the speakers should have an impedance of 8 ohms or more.
Stereo Preout: The Rotel A11 has a set of stereo preamp outputs that allows you to output an audio signal to another integrated amplifier or power amplifier which is used to drive more speakers. Changes to the volume, balance, and tone controls of the A11 will affect the signal to the preamp output.
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 speakers. You'll need to manually turn off the speakers from the front-panel or remote control.
Detachable AC Power Cord: The detachable 58" AC power cord (IEC 2-prong) plugs into the back of the integrated amplifier and into an AC wall outlet or surge protector/line conditioner (sold separately - see Accessories Tab).
Front-Panel Display & Controls: The Rotel A11 stereo integrated amplifier 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. Thehe front-panel display does not support song/artist/album information. Front-panel controls include Power, Source, Volume, Speakers A-B, and Menu.
IR Remote Control: The included IR remote control provides wireless operation over the A11 stereo integrated amplifier. 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 connected Bluetooth device.
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.
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 your Crutchfield advisor for information on external IR repeater systems (sold separately - see Accessories Tab).
12V Trigger Outputs: The A11 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 A11 integrated amplifier.
RS232 Port: The Rotel A11 integrated amplifier can be controlled via RS232 for integration with automation systems. The RS232 input accepts a standard straight DB-9 Male-to-Female cable.
Auto Power Modes: The Rotel A11 integrated amp 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 inputs.
- Auto Standby: The A11 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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