Rotel's RAP-1580 Dolby Atmos processor
Rotel’s RAP 1580 is said to deliver separates-like performance in a single processor chassis.

When new audio technologies launch, big box store brands are the first to adopt. Venerable hi-fi brands usually come along later making sure they’ve refined things. Therefore it should come as no surprise that Rotel Electronics today announced their first surround processor, the RAP-1580, capable of supporting Dolby Atmos and DTS:X.

Rotel says that the RAP-1580 is the ideal home theater solution for those who don’t have space for separate components, yet still desire uncompromising separates-like 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, says Doug Henderson, U.S. President of The B&W Group through a press release. “This is our finest home theater product yet—while it resembles a ‘receiver’, it really is in a class by itself.”

The RAP-1580 has all the important features for the ultimate home theater. The RAP-1580 will support a full Dolby Atmos and DTS-X 7.1.4 configuration. The processor’s amplification section is a class A/B design with 7 x 100 watts per channel. Rotel says that rating is with all channels driven into 8 ohms thanks to a massive Rotel-made toroidal transformer. We appreciate Rotel giving specs with all channels driven as opposed to competing brands that only list power with two channels driven.

Should you chose to add your own amplification at a later time, you can do so easily. The RAP-1580 has 14 pre-outs including dual center and dual subwoofer outputs.

The RAP-1580 utilizes high performance Wolfson 24bit/192kHz Digital-to-Analog Converters for all channels. Rotel says 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.

Rotel RAP-1580 Rear View
Rotel RAP-1580 Rear View

On the video side, Rotel’s RAP-1580 features the latest HDMI2.0a hardware. There are 8 x HDMI video inputs with 2 x HDMI video outputs all supporting 4K/UHD video with the first three HDMI inputs enabled with HDCP 2.2. The remaining four HDMI inputs are only HDMI 1.4. At this price-point, it is a bit disappointing that all inputs aren’t HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2 compliant.

While Rotel didn’t indicate if the dual HDMI outputs were parallel or independently switched we assume that the HDMI ports are run in parallel because there is no indication on the RAP-1580’s back panel that it supports multiple zones.

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 or custom integration features is on-board.

Other features include a front panel HDMI input with 4K/UHD video pass-through, front panel iPod USB input with 2.1A charging and integrated aptX codec for near CD-quality streaming over Bluetooth. The RAP-1580 also includes a PC-USB input supporting 24 bit/192kHz audio, a quality MM phono stage input, CD input, XLR balanced input, Tuner input, 3 AUX analog inputs and multichannel input.

We should note that the inclusion of a native PC-USB input is a bit of a rarity that eliminates the need for a separate USB DAC for the processor. Most entry level and even most high end receivers or processors don’t have a USB DAC as part of the feature set.

Custom installers can use the unit’s RS-232 input for integrating the processor into home automation environments. There are three 12v trigger outputs for added flexibility.  Rotel’s initial information did not specify if IP control was available.

Henderson concludes, “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 stereo or surround sound, it is a serious audio component.”

Rotel’s RAP-1580 is slated to launch in April with a suggested retail price of $3,800.

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