Mercedes Stockists

Gallop Autoparts
3 Pemimpin Drive #02-05, Lip Hing Industrial Building Singapore 576147
Tel : (65) 6258 7203 Fax : (65) 6258 7395
Email : web: http://www.gallopaut.../contactus.aspx
Monday - Friday : 9am - 6pm Saturday : 9am - 1pm (Shop Open Sat but they don’t sell parts as Sat is their days stock take etc) Sunday & Public Holidays : Closed
Min Ghee Auto Pte Ltd
8, Jalan Lembah Kallang, #01-01 Min Ghee Building, S339564
Tel: (65) 6298 3888 (15 Lines) • Fax:(65) 6297 0863 •
Email: web:
Mercedes Benz Department
Mr Ong Hai Choon
Tel No.: (65) 6298 9627 Fax No.: (65) 6294 1450
Goldenlink Auto Oversea enquiries Email :
Kaki Bukit Branch 1 Kaki Bukit Road 1 01-43 Enterprise One S(415394)
Tel: 6749 9323
Waterloo Street Branch
Blk 261 Waterloo Street #01-30 Singapore 180261
Tel:6337 1133 6337 1134
Sin Min Autocare Branch Block 176 Sin Ming Drive #02-19 Sin Ming Autocare Singapore 575721
Tel:6553 1101 6553 1201
Surpass Auto Parts Supplies Pte Ltd
Mr Lim
KB Industrial Building #01-33 10 Kaki Bukit Road 1 (S)416175
Tel: 67476016
Hup Soon Tat Auto Trading 
Blk 685 RACE COURSE ROAD #01-334 S(210-685) 
Tel:62947100 / 62947600

Premier Auto Parts Pte Ltd
Blk 32 Sin Ming Drive #01-335 Singapore 575706
Tel: 6458 7833
Tye Soon Limited
3C Toh Guan Road East Tye Soon Building S608832
Tel : (65) 6567 8101 (Sales)
Email :
Another Town Office branch at: (Majority Merc Original Parts, not so much OEM parts)
Blk 261, Waterloo Street #01-31/37 Waterloo Centre, Singapore 180261
Tel: 6336 6439
Chua Auto Supply
138 Owen Road
Tel: 63920758
Eng Soon Auto Pte Ltd (Only sell OEM parts)
1090,1092,1094 Serangoon Road, Spore 328192
Tel: 6291 7775

Min Hoe Auto Supply Co at 

572 Serangoon Road 
Singapore 218187

Tel:+65 62922857

Fax:+65 62956625


Wonder Woman - movie review

Wonder Woman - movie review

When you compare the fortunes of the studios that base their movies on Marvel versus DC comics, you see a rather different series of outcomes.

Barring a couple of less than sterling box office outings by the Wolverine / X Men series, the Marvel Universe has been consistently making good money, and they have been garnering some good reviews in the process.

However, on the other side, in the DC Universe, the last movie that had good reviews was the Dark Knight, and that was a long time back in the movie making world.

You would think that Superman and Batman are sure bets, given their popularity with comic readers. So it was a surprise that the movies based on these superheroes fared rather poorly, especially the newer Batman vs Superman outing. The common theme is Zack Snyder. He made 300 and Watchmen, and that made him famous enough for the studios to handle the responsibility of bringing Batman and Superman to life. However his directing has been dark, onerous and it does not help that Ben Affleck is a bulky but slow Batman, and the angst filled stories have been difficult hard to digest.

So it was with a great relief when I read that the studios were going with a different director for Wonder Woman (WW). Patty Jenkins did Monster, and that effort garnered Charlize Theron an Oscar. So we know she can do complex shows with lots of emotion. But can she handle one of the most iconic superheroes, and probably the most popular woman in pop culture?

Firstly the casting has been perfect. Gal Gadot is Wonder Woman. As much as Christopher Reeve was the definitive Superman, Gal has done something which many women could not: she has managed to persuade us that someone other than Lynda Carter could step into that outfit and make us believe a princess of the Amazonian tribe lives amongst us. No doubt, her experiences as an instructor in the Israeli Army made her quite believable as a soldier. She wields the sword and shield with great aplomb, and the physical training has paid off.

Now make no mistake, we do not have a MMA champ trying to look lady-like. Here is a Miss Universe, who can kick ass, whilst looking fabulous in an evening gown, even one with a sword sticking out of the back.

She is at once tough, caring and yet vulnerable and innocent. You can see the guys all watching with great interest as she first steps onto the WWI battlefield and fends off the Krauts, inspiring the Allied forces to win on a battlefield which has been at a stalemate for a year, costing millions of lives. Yet in the final scene, she can look vulnerable, and I am sure there was a tear or two amongst both men and women in the audience during the final farewell.

Not often will a female superstar, who looks good, and fights well, will appeal to both members of the sex in the viewing public.

But a great Wonder Woman also needs a man who can match her on screen. Honestly I thought George Clooney in his younger days or a Gregory Peck might have made a good match, and I wonder if Chris 'Star Trek' Pine could do the same. But he surprised me and did well as the romantic interest, who only locked lips with Miss Israel, but added a certain dimension to the show, making us think about what we think of war and mankind. Not bad for a superhero flick.

As for the plot, well it could have been tighter, and the 141 minute runtime was a tad long if you ask me. There is plenty of action, with humor interspersed in between, giving a certain lightness missing from the past DC outings. The leads have excellent chemistry and the setting helps.

Are there things I didn't like? YES! Firstly the CGI was disappointing for such an expensive production. Come one, the CGI from the 1996 Jurassic Park looked better. It didn't help that there was a trailer from the latest Transformer just before the show began. That movie franchise showcases how good CGI can make the interaction between humans and CGI objects look seamless, even in daylight. Here, in the fight sequences, especially those at night at the airport, look really fake, especially the movements of Wonder Woman. Certain scenes felt forced, like the attempt at her cuddling a baby, the woman's rights parts and the fish out of water stuff.

Surround and action fans will be pleased. The surrounds and bass are active throughout the movie and this should be a solid demo disc when the Blu Ray comes out.

But all in all, a solid outing and I hope this effort persuades DC to ditch Zack.


Air Force One - movie review

I have been following the aftermath of the US elections and I decided to pop this old movie into the player. The feel of the movie totally a 90s one with the music, the acting and even the dialogue. There's a certain "Die Hard in the Sky" feel about it, and Harrison Ford was a young and handsome man back then.

Gary Oldman was a tour de force - playing the villain great alacrity and yet, between takes, he was a riot of fun, resulting in the crew calling the movie "Air Force Fun".
This movie had the elements of the best actioners - good plot, tight  editing, and chemistry between the actors. The action was well executed and despite the music and dialogue, it's still a riot of fun. 
Incidentally Harrison Ford was regarded as the guy who most movie goers want as the next president, and that sort of contrast with the current POTUS. In the movie, you see a whole bunch of people throwing themselves in harm's way to protect the president, and some of them sacrificing their lives in the process. I really wonder if the very same officers and other men will do the same for Trump..
There have been other films where the president is under attack, in peril, etc, but this one gives the most food for thought. I wonder if we can remain objective if our family is being threatened, and do we really expect our leaders to fight back in such conflicts.
The recent movies like "Olympus Has Fallen" has cool action scenes, but the acting leaves a lot to be desired. Even now, Harrison looks the part. 

The soundfield isn't as good as the latest releases, but it does quite well and stands up to the test of time. Recommended as a rental at least or if you like the Die Hard genre or Harrison Ford, this is a keeper. 

Intouchable – movie review

I have always had an affinity for French movies. The French language lends itself to humor, most often dosed with a bit of sarcasm. If it’s served with great wit and timing, by actors with a good chemistry, that’s the recipe for a great movie.

True stories are often a good basis for a movie, and this one actually has a pretty standard plot, borrowing elements from “Scent of a Woman”, Bucket List and other such movies. But the part which elevates this movie to greater heights is the cast. The two protagonists play off each other very well.

They couldn’t be any more different. The rich white man, tetraplegic after a sporting accident, eccentric, and demanding. The black man, with a poor background, an immigrant from Africa, fresh out of the prison, on welfare and bitter about society and everything else.

He turns up for an interview to be the helper for this man and they strike it off enough for the tetraplegic to give this man a trial of one month, despite the better advice of his lawyer, who has the black man all figured out.

There are a few standard vignettes and scenes of two men getting to know each other. A bit of Pretty Woman as the black man is introduced to a ridiculously large mansion and the trapping of wealth. But I can’t tell you how much difference a good pairing makes to the success of a movie and the two certainly hit it off. You even get some romance thrown in, and well, you do want to pick up a pen and write a nice good old styled letter to someone after the show.

You will find funny scenes; some moving ones, and the tight plot keeps it moving nicely.

Now the interesting thing about the show is that despite not having a single explosion or bomb, it manages to impress soundwise too. The surround channels get well used as the two go around Paris, and the bass does get some workout when they drive around. Finally the dialogue is great, and the music used will test your front channels. I decided to get an album of Earth, Wind and Fire after the show.

Highly recommended.

Summer Wars - movie review

Summer Wars Review

How can one place Summer Wars?

Think of a movie that allows elements of a hacking nerd vs a huge virus, with a sprinkling of romance and plenty of a motley family naturally imbibed with lots of quirks. I guess that you have elements of  The Royal Tenenbaums mixed with some Ghost in the Shell to make one of the finest anime ever made, I kid not. 

Kenji is a super maths nerdy wizard who gets roped into impersonating his crush’ boyfriend and gets dragged to meet her great grandmother for her 90th birthday. Along the way, he meets all the quirky members of her extended family, each with their own hang-ups, and foibles, some small and others larger than you expect.

In his spare time, he manages part of a virtual world known as Oz, and he inadvertently helps to facilitate the spread of a AI program which threatens to take down the entire internet, and send a wayward asteroid probe on top of the family home.

When I first bought the disc, I figured I had acquired some disc on summer battles ala the bloody classroom brawls found in Battle Royale, but I guess I should have done more homework first. Yet, I emerged from watching it with a great warm feeling, that my time was well spent.

This was a movie about family first, the ties, and the energy of the matriarch, who held the family together, and always had the right concept to handling difficult situations. This was the most important theme, and the hacking wars, good versus evil, plus the tinge of romance were the supporting story lines. 

Sure, there were elements borrowed from a variety of movies, and director Mamoru Hosoda unabashed borrowed heavily from many movies about hacking, viruses and the pervasiveness of the internet. Yet the story becomes totally his, and he infuses each of the characters with strong traits. In particular, the main characters work well, not because they are perfect, or that they are total losers, but each has redeeming qualities, and we can see ourselves in them. 

It might be an anime, and one that was Japanese, but the elements of flaws and strengths make the theme universal. The pacing is also spot on despite it’s length, and you are brought from the first act, where the internet and Oz is introduced, into the second where the two young protagonists meet, then onto the family setting, leading into how the Oz melts down and finally the big battle.

Surround fans will also get a good workout, but this movie has little of the blockbuster bass, and instead uses the surrounds to paint that image of a rural Ueda setting. You will hear crickets and lots of ambient noises which help to bring you into the movie.

Most fans will be familiar with the Ghost in the Shell series, and of course the work of the director of Spirited Away, but with this effort, Mamoru Hosoda, who also made The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, will now join the heralded ranks of the top anime makers of all time.

Highly recommended. 

Guardians Of The Galaxy Volume 2 – movie review

Guardians Of The Galaxy Volume 2 – movie review

Ensemble movies are all the rage now, and so are comic book based ones.
If you look at the top ten movies of last year, you will see that short list dominated by movies that combine these elements.

The first franchise was also the movie that propelled Chris Pratt from a relatively unknown and rather pudgy TV actor into an A list action actor, who is moving from one blockbuster to the next.

Guardians Of The Galaxy (GOTG) itself was itself a sleeper super hit. Coming out of nowhere to blast into the stratosphere of awesomeness in the middle of much larger comic franchises, which were also hitting their stride. So what does the second movie in this franchise have to offer?

Well it does subscribe to the bigger, badder and louder style that bears some similarity to the Fast and Furious series, but one big difference is how you can tease out a reasonable story amidst the mayhem and like the best of the action movies it has humor and romance thrown in. My gold standard of this genre is “Raiders Of the Lost Ark”, and a swashbuckling, devil may care Harrison Ford whipped, swished, kissed and leapt onto the big screen and into our hearts.

Here Chris Pratt isn’t Harrison, but he does try hard and manages to combine that magical concoction of being a superhero of sorts with the right added amount of comic relief, and a little sizzle with Zoe Saldana thrown in. There is genuine chemistry between the cast members, and they look like they are really having fun whilst blasting away the space monsters and villains.

Like the best blockbusters, despite a plethora of action to keep the fans appetite for blasts and booms happy, there is also a good plot, and we find out more about each character, both the bright as well as the dark side. And it’s often the latter which pulls the fans in. Movie goers enjoy seeing that these action heroes are not perfect and have little secrets beneath the veneer of superhero-ness. Kurt Russell adds a new dimension as Peter Quill’s father ego, whilst the turn of Mickey Rooker also adds more depth to his arrow whistling personality.

Little Groot is a hoot, and each character gets more meat in turn, which giving plenty of space (pun intended) for further development. 

We also see a few faces turning up near the end, which suggests that the ensemble will be expanded ala The Expendables. This series is destined for even more greatness.

For those home theatre fans, I would say that this one is a no brainer when the Blu Ray disc comes out. Run out and pre-book yours. The surround action, as well as the bass are all demo quality.

Finally the standout of the movie is often not the action, not the acting, nor the CGI, but the soundtrack. And this is what makes GOTG what it is. Volume 2.

GOTG would have been just another action movie in space based on a comic book, but it was significantly elevated to the status of stardom by the awesome 60&70s soundtrack, and that wonderful Sony Walkman. In GOTG 2, the music again adds that extra bit which makes it just that bit more wonderful and propels this movie into one of the best of the year. No doubt it’s early days yet in 2017, but I will put my money where my mouth is and venture to vote that this movie will be one of the biggest hits and most enjoyable movies of 2017. It’s no Oscar award contender, but it will certainly be one of the movies that I will take out of my collection and watch over and over again. I will certainly take out my old cassettes and play that funky music many times over.

Highly recommended.  

Car options from 100 to 140k

I have grouped my suggestions into four price ranges.
These are just some ideas, covering sedans, MPVs, SUVs and hatchbacks that you want.


The new Kia K3 will come in under 100k and has a solid conti feel.
The Mazda 3 is a fine car, although the outgoing Corolla is the epitome of reliability. However you may feel that after the Volvo it will be very hard to return to a Jap or Thai made car. The interior feel, the level of safety etc is quite different.

The Honda HRV from Kah Motors is a very dependable, spacious car, and being made in Japan, it offers a lot for not too much money. 5 star safety rating too. However it's still a Jap car and once more the feel is different.
You can also wait for the 2017 Corolla.
Only the Mazda brand offers a conti feel, and likewise, Kia actually feels very solid too. 


Now at this budget, there are much more choices of cars with a nicer feel. The outgoing Camry is spacious and dependable. The Mazda 6 will carry your family and more. Solid feel, and drives well too. Plus it's pretty fuel economical and has a conti feel. 
You could opt for another Volvo V40, it is a safe car, and as an outgoing model, they are more likely to offer discounts on it. 
But do check on things like the loan quantum, how hard is it to get a service booking, etc


Now this is where it gets really interesting. 

My choices will be either a Parallel Import Toyota Harrier SUV or the Mercedes B180.
For reliability, luxury and decent fuel consumption, the Harrier is very impressive. Plus it's spacious, and there are many on the road, so getting spares isn't hard. The main issue is that it's a PI car, so you need to do some homework. Thankfully, one of our friends is a PI and can sort this out without the perils.

The B180 offers a lot for the money.
It's safe, has been around since 2011 without much fuss, good fuel economy too, and has more space than a Merc E class! So putting the entire family in is easy. If someone is less mobile or you need to transport kids or parents, it's a piece of cake. There are many functions and other reasons which make it attractive, so read on for more info:

Read The Manual Of Your New Ride

In days gone by, one could truly hope into a new car, gun the motor, and make tire tracks into the sunset. 
However in the modern day and age, even the most basic cars come with some electronics, some form of gadgets and even the most haughty salesman from Toyota will need to spend a few minutes tell you about the basic functions.
( I recall going to the yard to pick up my Corolla myself, the man tossed me my keys, and that was it - good luck and good bye) 

However that would be missing out on a significant part of the car driving experience. Yes, you can put the car into auto, press on the pedal and go, but these days there are so many more functions, and you will get a lot more out of the car if you spend a little time to learn some of these functions. 

Of course, you could pick up the phone call or text your rep, or ask in a forum and get some replies, but IMO, part of the joy of owning a car is to explore the functions and pick up one nice surprise after another. Perhaps it's because I am new to Merc, so each function is new, and also my last car was from a different era, where the only thing auto was the gearbox. But it has been part of my joy to learn stuff like the different driving modes, try them out and store the settings. Even the budget entry models have learning functions, and a capacity to store your settings under the "I" mode. There are also other surprises like the air filter, which is capable of filtering out PM 2.5 particles, and you can drive in the fresh air mode without sucking in fumes from the nearby cars (of course if there's a huge truck in front of you spewing black fumes, be smart and switch to recirculating air). 

On the other hand, a repeat buyer, or a busy businessman buying a three point star could want to go on with his/her new ride and bark orders at his rep whenever he finds something wrong, or just drive into the workshop and demand instant solutions for a car which he/her paid a lot for. 

So the answer I feel is somewhere in between. You don't not need to be a geek or techie, and pore over the manual many times, nor do we want to drive 'blind'. If we regard learning the functions as a chore, it will be so. If not it can be a whole lot of fun. I recall the day I got my ride, and we took pics, had a laugh and of course paid scant attention to the rep, who was valiantly trying to explain the functions. So yes, the Merc rep does have a checklist of functions he has to go through, and I have posted about that car collection process before. I am pretty sure the rep would have touched on this "I" mode, but I think I might have lost focus then.

In the same vein, I do spend some time reading the manual of my new hifi or oven, just enough to make sure it doesn't blow up and I get to enjoy all the various functions. I guess you could say I am a geek / techie at heart.

As always YMMV - your mileage may vary. But since it's already our ride, why not enjoy it to the fullest. 

 I have no financial interest or other interests in any of the items / events I write about.

It's all about speaker positioning in getting the best sound for your home theatre system

A little reminder on the balance we have to face in our domestic settings.
The best surround effects we can achieve is dependant on the balance between WAF at one end of the spectrum, and the best position / speakers that money can buy.
So once we have decided on what our wallets can afford, followed by what our wives can tolerate, (especially those using living rooms as a HT setup), then we work within those parameters. We will then need to understand that the sound will be compromised, and that we can live with that, and no Audyssey or other auto-eq magic can fix that.
So for example, if a sofa MUST be located dead centre or right against the wall, we need to understand what we can achieve.
Or if the rear surround speaker Must be in the ceiling, then again, the sound will travel from the top to the sides to the fronts in an uneven fashion.

In planning for a new system, either spend money hiring a pro, or save and plan on some elbow grease.
Which means that you need to do the calibration manually, or at least buy an AVR with the latest auto-EQ, eg Denon and Marantz use the latest Audyssey XT32, which isn't found on some of the other brands.

So for a start, understand the ideal speaker positions, and see how your domestic settings allows you to get as close to this as possible. Then see how you can run those cables. If you are doing some major reno, you can cut into the ceiling, or run some trunking, which is cheaper but not as aesthetically pleasing.
Or use the reflective speakers.

Where you site the sub is again a compromise between the best position obtained via the sub crawl and calibration, or the spot your wife dictates.

Once we have understood the paradigm, then we can plan to improve what we can, within the parameters that our wives and renovation allows.

Finally, in any HT, the centre channel is the most important, and even if you use satellites, if you can get a bigger centre, it will reward your movie experience as much as, if not more than buying the biggest baddest sub in town.

Just posting a summary of some discussions with a few readers.

I wish you all the best in your renovations for your new HT setup, cheers.

Iron Fist Netflix Season One Review

The Marvel universe has been expanding, and you see a lot more characters being added. 

The Iron Fist is about a person Danny Rand who learns the Iron Fist from Kun Lun, and the first season is an origins one, with the thread of how he gets his power and how he came to be intertwined with a love interest in the form of the lovely Jessica Henwick, and a plot about how the evil Hand empire tries to take over his dad's company.

With Marvel fans keen to see superheroes who are less than perfect, who do not have the same superdoper powers at the highest level ala DC's Superman or even Spiderman, this man with a troubled past should perform well. And indeed there are quite a few fans of this serious made up of 13 episodes.

However, their choice of lead actor and actresses leaves a lot to be desired. A movie with a kungfu background should at least try to get some real action in, and unfortunately the fight scenes are underwhelming, as neither of them know kungfu. Anyone with a tiny bit of martial arts training will feel infuriated at the slow action, and the actors are so far away that the blows or weapons might as well be a mile away.

The protagonist is one weak, impulsive and easily manipulated person who is also a one trick pony. He also can't conjure up the Iron First without  considerable hesitation and effort, so you might as well be watching an old man trying to pee. 

This could have been a real actioner, and I know of at least half a dozen leads, even Hollywood actors who could have been better Danny Rands. If you include Asian / Hong Kong stars, even if you chose a B list one like Andy On from Taiwan, you would be far better off. 

Highlights include good acting from the supporting cast, Rosario Dawson, Tom Pelphrey and the ice queen Carrie-Anne Moss do well. But the lead Finn Jones was a poor choice. Jessica Henwick does well in the acting side but as she isn't a real pugilist, the role could have been offered to many other actress who could have extended their acting chops, while really chopping away with a blade.

This one is only for the die hard Marvel fans. 

Rotel RAP-1580 Amplified Processor Review

Rotel is a brand associated with good solid engineering, and is often seen in the company of good stereo equipment, and in some countries, is often marketed with B&W speakers.

Despite moving their manufacturing base to China a few years back, the quality has not suffered.

I have used many of their power amps, and these amplifiers give true power that matches their ratings and more, with plenty of drive and quality.

I have often wonder how it would sound if we could strap one of these power amplifiers onto a Rotel processor, and see how all that power can be directed by a decent 'brain'...

The last processor from Rotel was the well regarded RSP 1098, and many are still in service. So getting my hands on this model was a very inviting prospect. 

Some links :

From the Manufacturer Website:

And the technical blurb:

RAP-1580 is the ideal home theater solution for those who don’t have space for separate components, yet still desire uncompromising performance. It is an ultra-high-performance multichannel, integrated amplifier with surround processing that brings music and movies to life in a startlingly vivid way. Sporting the latest HDMI2.0a hardware and Dolby Atmos 7.1.4 processing, its amplifier section is built upon a powerful linear design with 7 x 100 watts per channel, all channels driven into 8 ohms, anchored by a massive Rotel-made toroidal transformer. While it may be compared to ordinary AVRs, it really is in a class by itself. Please hook it up to your best speakers in stereo and listen for yourself. RAP-1580 utilizes high performance Wolfson 24bit/192kHz DACs for all channels. These low noise, audiophile quality DACs are supported with premium-grade audio parts in circuits tuned by Rotel’s acoustic engineering team in the U.K. Inputs include 8 x HDMI video inputs with 2 x HDMI video outputs all supporting 4K video, with 3 of these inputs and both outputs enabled with HDCP 2.2. There is a seven-inch TFT display on the front panel to provide easy adjustments to all audio and video parameters without the need to turn on the television or video projection system. This makes it ideal for set-ups when the equipment rack is located separately from the video display. A full suite of integration features are also on board. Other features include a front panel HDMI input with 4K video pass-through, front panel iPod USB input with 2.1A charging and integrated APTX enabled Bluetooth technology for higher fidelity. The RAP-1580 also includes a PC-USB input supporting 24 bit / 192kHz audio, a MM phono stage input, CD input, XLR balanced input, Tuner input, AUX analog input and multichannel input. Rack mount ears are included. Rotel's RAP-1580 is simple to operate, powerful, flexible and refined. It is a state-of-the-art single chassis audio/video component that outperforms most separates. In an age of deflationary pricing, RAP-1580 lets you step customers UP to a higher quality experience. 


  • 6 Wolfson WM8740 24-bit / 192KHz HiFi DACs 
  • Analog BYPASS mode for analog inputs passes audio directly to output w/ no DSP processing 
  • 10 band parametric PEQ
  • 7 rear panel and 1 front panel HDMI 2.0a inputs capable of 4K video pass-through
  • 2 HDMI 4K video outputs (one with ARC)
  • HDMI Bypass when in standby allowing the HDMI from source to TV when RSP in standby mode 
  • OSD setup and status on front TFT and HDMI out
  • PC-USB supporting 24-bit/192kHz audio
  • Front panel USB input supporting iOS devices with 2.1A charging
  • Phono stage input (MM)
  • CD, Tuner and Aux analog inputs
  • Multi Channel input
  • XLR Balanced input
  • Bluetooth with aptX 
  • 3 source independent 12V trigger outputs
  • Wired IR Remote input
  • RS-232 interface for automation system control
  • IP Network interface for automation system control
  • 2 IR Output connectors for IR pass-through
  • 4U cabinet • Finishes - Silver and Black
  • Dimensions (W x H x D) 431 x 192 x 470 mm , 17 x 7 5/9 x 18 1/2 in
  • Weight (net) 22.8 kg / 50.27 lbs 

I am glad that the dealer helped me to move this behemoth into place, because it's one heavy unit! This harkens to the days when amps were real heavyweights, and not the flyweight ones we see these days from many manufacturers. You can tell they did not compromise on the power amplifier section. 

There are plenty of inputs, and this is a HDMI 2.0a equipped amp, with true 4k support. It has sweet DACs, and will process Atmos and DTS X, so it's bang up to date on the sound formats.

However, when we say up to date, that's a relative term, because you will soon realise that the menu and user interface hails from a different era. I have the Marantz Reference Series SR 12 AVR, and this was the most musical AVR in 2004. The interface is very similar to that, and it makes you wonder what kind of video chip and CPU does it use. 

It's clunky, and sluggish, and even worse, buyers should be aware that there is no auto EQ built in. For those of you who have gotten used to or expect the same press button auto-setup that come with Japanese brand AVRs equipped with Audyssey, well, there is none. Nadda.. everything is manual. The test tone is also a rudimentary device.

So it will be a rather big culture shock if you have been using a modern AVR, but if you have just come into the AVR scene after being away for a decade, it might be less of a problem. 

You will definitely need a tape measure and a SPL meter for starters, then maybe a UMIK microphone and some additional software if you really want to bring out the best of this amp. 

Oh and yes, it's an "amplified processor", so there's no tuner built in. In addition, if you are looking for mod-cons like Airplay, Internet Radio, Streaming etc, you are out of luck. You do have Bluetooth though if that's any comfort. 

You get 3 HDMI inputs which are HDCP 2.2 compatible, so not all of them are. There's a USB port in the front for your iPod / iPhone, plus a type B USB port so you can hook up a computer and play digital music through the very impressive Wolfson DACs. 

Now let's see about that remote.. 

Wait, haven't I seen that somewhere before? Hey, it's a dead ringer for the Oppo remote! But no, you can't use it on your Oppo, and AFAIK, there's no learning function. 

Now it's not all doom and gloom, just move on to the real meat, and that's the power amp section.

With 40 000 uF of capacitance powering 7 channels, a toroidal transformer, and plenty of choice audiophile parts, you can see the pedigree of this amp. It can drive 4 ohm speakers, and Patrick Butler from B&W USA has measure it as 170W times 7 into 4ohms. Not shabby at all. Unlike more budget AVRs, the power does not sag and it can deliver the true specs. This is where the money has gone to.

However the flexibility of use leaves a lot to be desired. You cannot assign the different internal amps freely, and the various speaker configurations are very limited. 

In many other amps, you can use the internal amps to drive the ceiling speakers and add a power amp to drive the fronts and centre. Here, you add an external amp to drive those Atmos / DTS X channels and you use the internal amps or add more amps to drive the important front three channels. A real waste and reflects poor design. I suspect it is due to the limitations of the CPU.

Setting it up took a lot more effort, and it's a good thing that I have the gear and patience, so it's taken me more than a week before I can do some critical listening.

So with all the pros and cons, how does it sound?

I slipped in an old THX equipped classic, "Aliens" with the unforgettable Bill Paxton, who had so many memorable scenes and his famous "Game Over Man" line. Then I watched a recent Atmos equipped hit, "Deepwater Horizon". 

My setup is listed here:

The front three are rather power hungry 4 ohm design speakers, and will provide a stern examination of any amplifier. Dynaudios have shut down my old THX - select AVRs, and I was indeed concerned if that may happen here. 

Happily the amp was up to the task. Even when I set the speakers to full range. The volume dial had to be turned up a lot more, but it was ticking along fine. It's not too hot, and certainly did not scald like the Onkyo amps.

In HT, there is not a lot of different between the Rotel and other major makes. But the sonic signature is decidedly neutral. Not as warm as say a Marantz, but less bright than an Onkyo or Pioneer amp. This is of course a generalisation, and you should do a careful audition. Steering is crisp, and if you close your eyes, you will not be too aware it's a Rotel and not some other AVR. 

This middle of the road style of sound will benefit it's partnership with almost any brand of speakers, and the unfatiguable depth, control and bass will help the amp keep a tight rein on the bass cones of most speakers.

Add a subwoofer or two and you will be able to fill most homes. 

As for music, you will enjoy the benefit of the Rotel sonic quality, and the amp shines in music as well as home theatre. Depending on your partnering equipment, you can consider using the built in DACs for lower budget gear. That will give the sound a nice step up. I decided that the sound from my Marantz NA 11 used as a DAC was still superior, but that piece of gear costs as much as this amp.

The Rotel can drive the Dynaudio Confidence 1 ( very nicely, and it allows the bass to come through, with a good soundstage. In comparison to my Marantz PM 11 stereo amp, it loses out, in detail, smoothness and depth, but again, that amp costs a lot more than this Rotel. 

In small homes, you will not miss a floorstander, and the Confidence 1 was singing confidently (pun intended), with a good bass line and rhythm. 

So where does it put this amp?

If it was priced at 2000 USD, you can run out and grab one. Even sans the processor section, as a seven channel power amp, it will be a pretty impressive unit. 

However, at 4000 USD SRP, that places it in an awkward position. That's around the selling price of my old SR 12 when it was being sold as a run out unit, and there were not as many takers because despite it's musical pedigree, 4000 clams is a lot of money. Most HT hobbyists will buy a regular AVR in the 1-2000 range, and add a power amplifier to increase dynamics and use the internal amps to power the ceiling channels.

However if you are in the market for a premium processor that has amplification built in, such as the Arcam, or perhaps a Marantz AV 8802 processor, you may want to take a look at this. Those who are willing to spend a bit more to enjoy better sound, and do not mind getting down to do their own calibration, or can afford to hire someone to do it for them, should give this amp an audition.


Solid power amp section

Neutral sound makes partnering speakers easy


Lousy interface
No auto-Eq

 I have no financial interest or other interests in any of the items / events I write about.

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