Interviews

Interview: Daren Orth, Chief Technology Officer at Rotel

Daren Orth, Rotel

Daren Orth is Chief Technology Officer at Rotel and supervisor of all product engineering and development projects. A hi-fi enthusiast with over 25 years of experience in the field of software and firmware design, Orth collaborates with the brand’s team of engineers to preserve Rotel’s heritage by proposing exceptionally efficient products.

How would you describe the Rotel sound?
Rotel follows our Balanced Design Concept, which is a philosophy bringing together the fields of engineering, electronics and physics. This process involves carefully selecting components for all critical circuit areas, followed by countless hours of listening sessions, acoustic tuning and precise bench testing carried out by our UK-based acoustic engineering team. The results of this meticulous process is an accurate, faithful reproduction of the original recording, deserving of proudly representing the Rotel brand.

What are the principal improvements offered by the new 14 Series?
The 14 Series includes many acoustic improvements and added features for the various methods of listening to music, from classic vinyl and internet-based streaming, to local media storage and wireless Bluetooth. Leveraging design elements from the 15 Series models, the 14 Series takes advantage of technologies including APT-X Bluetooth wireless streaming, high-resolution PC-USB audio (with DSD/DoP supported on the Rotel A14), updated circuit board designs, a new graphics card, power supply improvements, a hairline brushed aluminum front panel and more. The resulting products provide more acoustic detail, a larger soundstage and a more accurate sound representation in all 14 Series models.

Why have you chosen DTS Play-Fi technology for the new Rotel T-14 tuner?
DTS Play-Fi includes the hardware and software platform for internet radio, all popular streaming providers and DLNA, as well as Apple and Android local content streaming up to 24 bit/196kHz. The platform also supports Airplay, opening up additional streaming options for iOS-based devices. DTS Play-Fi continues to expand their library of supported services and is aggressively making additional improvements to the platform. The Play-Fi ecosystem also provides interoperability with all other Play-Fi-enabled products for multi-zone streaming, all with the convenience of their app.

The analog tuner is a traditional product for Rotel. Can you tell us why?
Rotel has been designing and manufacturing tuners for over four decades, including the RT-320, launched in the early 1970s. This tradition continues today with the T11 providing a solution to off-air radio, both in analog and digital transmission formats. Many markets are shifting from FM to DAB and DAB+–reclaiming valuable frequency bandwidth–and the Rotel T-11 provides an optimal path for consumers.

The Rotel A-10 amplifier has been a major success. Why do you think that is?
The Rotel A-10 represents the very essence of traditional hi-fi as an analog, 40-watt, Class AB Integrated amplifier that boldly does not include digital inputs or a remote control. I equate the experience of using the A10 to play a classic vinyl to that of spending time with an old friend. The A10’s “no compromises” performance and attractive mechanical design are well beyond the norm for its modest price point, all of which contributes to the ongoing success of this model in the new series.

What hi-fi products do you use at home ?
My position at Rotel provides me with opportunities to install and audition many models at home, from the big stacks of separates, like the RC-1590 and RB-1590 2x350W, to the 14 Series integrated amplifiers. When the urge for a bit more power is felt, I am found drifting to my RA-1592 driving Bower & Wilkins CM10s.

This post is also available in: French

About the author

Tristan Jacquel

Tristan est rédacteur chez Son-Vidéo.com. Passionné de musique, d'acoustique et de high-tech, il réalise notamment les tests matériels pour notre blog.

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