Beautiful ROTEL RA-985BX Two Channel Integrated Power Amplifier with Rotel Remote that Works Flawlessly. It is in Superb Cosmetic Condition and Delivers 100 Clean, Sublime Watts per Channel with Tons of Headroom – MSRP $800
When Joe Atkins assumed control of Bowers & Wilkins (B&W), one of the first things he did as the Chairman was to acquire Rotel, which until that time had been an excellent but somewhat obscure Japanese mid-fi component company began in 1966 by Tomiko Tachikawa. At that time, Rotel was certainly a respected manufacturer in the audio industry field but was certainly not the worldwide success that they are today. In fact, the quality of their organization and manufacturing capabilities were known mostly just to Audio Industry insiders. They were originally known more for their OEM work on other brand names like Harman-Kardon, H.H. Scott and Marantz. Even on Wikipedia, the history of Rotel ranks only a few sentences and their 30 years of pre-B&W ownership history is hard to find online. Things changed quickly in the mid to late 1980’s when Rotel built their landmark quality budget amplifier (the 820B) as well as their work on manufacturing many early seminal Adcom products – in particular the Nelson Pass designed GFA-535 / 545 / 555 power amp series as well as many of Adcom’s preamps of that era. These were huge successes, and are still loved to this day. While not many know that Rotel actually built those sonically sweet and durable Adcom amplifiers, their success put Rotel permanently on the audio industry map and definitely caught Joe Atkins attention. Immediately after being acquired by B&W, Rotel began an ascension through the tightly packed and highly competitive field of mid-fi audio component brands like Yamaha, Sony, NAD, Denon, Onkyo, etc. to where they are now – a clear step ahead of those brands. Rotel was always considered a high value brand, and it shows in both build quality and sonic signature. Since their acquisition by Bowers & Wilkins they now enjoy world wide distribution and unparalleled success.
This Rotel RA-985BX two channel amplifier is beautifully designed not just from an aesthetic sense, but also a functional standpoint. Rotel is prized for their highly refined and musical sonic signature, high dynamics and very clean and crisp presentation. It’s also no secret that Rotel amplifiers match up beautifully with B&W speakers, the most successful speaker brand in the world. On every point this Rotel RA-985BX amplifier delivers the goods. The amp runs relatively cool even when pushed hard, and it is a treat to have a quality amplifier that also has a remote control.
Cosmetically and functionally, this amp is about as good as it gets. All functions and switching is flawless, and it sounds crisp and buttery smooth with a clean, sonically neutral and highly dynamic sound signature which is the hallmark of Rotel amplifiers. Cosmetically there are really no major flaws, even on close inspection. No mushed corners, no edge dings, no corrosion, no dented panels, not a single significant scratch, all lights work, all switches work, terminations have almost no wear whatsoever. The only things that could be considered a blemish is an area about 2.5” long on the top plate on the right hand side where there is a slight change in gloss from the rest of the surface. It is very subtle and I tried rubbing with warm water and it is still there. It is possible that a solvent may remove it, but I am apprehensive on using anything but water. It may also be an anomaly during the factory painting process. Other than that, there are four extremely feint and tiny pin-point marks on the anodized aluminum surface that wraps over the front onto the top – these are microscopic and you have to be within inches to see them. As you can see from the photos, this amp has been meticulously maintained and looks gorgeous.
The Owners Manual is available for free from the Rotel web site at this link:
ROTEL RA-985BX IINTEGRATED AMPLIFIER SPECIFICATIONS:
* Continuous Power Output 100 watts rms (20-20 kHz,