The new Rotel A12 integrated amplifier is part of the Japanese brand’s new range, and on paper appears to sit between the A10 integrated amp and A14 integrated amp. But upon closer inspection, it is actually more like an affordable version of the A14 than a revamped version of the A10.
From the outside, it looks like a classic Rotel product in terms of shape and aesthetic. The housing is 9cm tall with an understated aluminium finish available in either silver or black. The front panel features a large volume dial on the right-hand side, as well as a row of buttons for selecting your source and speakers. In the centre is an elegant blue LCD screen which displays the selected functions. It also has a menu for adjusting the balance or tone (bass and treble). Tone adjustment can be disabled using the ‘Tone Bypass’ function.
On the back panel of the Rotel A12 amp are 5 analogue inputs, including one MM phono input and one pre-out. On top of this are 2 optical inputs, 2 coaxial inputs and one USB/PC input. And on the front panel is a 3.5mm jack input for MP3 players, another mini jack output for headphones, and a USB/Apple iOS input. It also has wireless connection capability (Bluetooth aptX) via its DAC. The speaker terminals are of a high quality and this amp accepts all good cables as well as banana connectors. Franck
The A12 integrated amplifier is capable of delivering 60W per channel, under 8 Ohms. When it comes to power supply, Rotel has spared no expense. Rotel manufactures its toroidal transformers itself, by using high tolerance thresholds and carefully selected materials. These transformers deliver dynamic sound quality, even with speakers that can be challenging in terms of load. This means it has the advantage of working well with a broad range of speakers: 2 or 3-way, bookshelf or tower, ranging from €500 to €2000.
The Rotel A12 has to be one of the best integrated amps the brand has released in years! Not only do its numerous options and functions (phono, DAC, Bluetooth, headphone output, USB, etc.) make it the Swiss army knife of integrated amplifiers, it also offers musicality and performances well beyond what you would expect from an amp of its range. The sound quality it delivers when playing HD and CD tracks is generally very hard to find at this price. It is highly realistic and neutral, with a wide open sound stage that never fails to impress, even on high quality recordings.
Power: 60W per channel/8ohms
Harmonic distortion: 0.03%
Frequency response: 10-40 kHz
Line signal-to-noise ratio: 100 dB
Line input sensitivity: 220 mV
Damping factor: 180
Minimum impedance: 4 ohms
Analogue input: 4
Output: 1 x pre-out
A/D converter: Wolfson Premium 24-bits/192kHz
1 x USB Audio Class 1 (up to 24/96)
1 x USB Audio Class 2 (up to 24/192)
Coax input: 2 x LPCM (up to 24-bit/192kHz)
Optical input: 2 x LPCM (up to 24-bit/192kHz)
Phono input: MM
Phono input impedance: 47 Kohms
Phono input sensitivity: 2.5 mV
Signal-to-phono-noise ratio: 90 dB
Dimensions: 430 x 9.3 x 345 mm
Weight: 8 kg