Arcam vs Rotel – Which Brand Is Better?

Norvan Martin

Arcam and Rotel are two renowned and well-respected brands in the audio industry that produce high-quality speakers,  soundbars, subwoofers, and amplifiers. 

In this article, we will cover a general overview of both brands, looking specifically at sound quality, durability, price, and so on. Of course, each brand has different devices at different price points, however, we will compare them as closely as we can.

Arcam is known for its high-quality home theater systems and audio equipment, while Rotel is a well-regarded brand in the home theater and audio industry known for its high-quality home theater systems and audio equipment.

Arcam vs Rotel Comparison Table

CriteriaArcamRotel
Brand ReputationRespected for high-end audio and home theater equipment, known for delivering audiophile-grade performance.Well-known for producing audio and home theater products with a reputation for high-quality sound and build.
Sound QualityEmphasizes audiophile-grade sound reproduction, often incorporating advanced technologies and high-quality components.Known for delivering clear and detailed sound, especially in stereo and multi-channel audio systems.
Build Quality/DesignFeatures sturdy construction with attention to build quality, often with a sleek and modern design aesthetic.Emphasizes robust build quality, typically with a classic and functional design suitable for high-performance audio systems.
Product RangeSpecializes in high-end audio components, including amplifiers, AV receivers, and audio processors.Offers a range of audio components, including amplifiers, preamplifiers, and multi-channel audio processors.
PricingFalls in the mid to high-end price range, reflecting the premium quality and performance of audiophile-grade audio equipment.Varied pricing, providing options for different budgets, with a focus on delivering quality at various price points.
FeaturesKnown for incorporating advanced features, including high-resolution audio support, room correction, and network streaming.Emphasizes features such as robust power amplification, high-quality DACs (Digital-to-Analog Converters), and advanced audio processing.

Before we continue, you can check out similar comparisons in the series:

Pros and Cons of Arcam:

  • Pros: Known for producing high-quality audio components, including amplifiers, receivers, and CD players. Many of their products are well-regarded for their sound quality and build quality.
  • Cons: Some of their products can be expensive, and some users have reported issues with durability.

Pros and Cons of Rotel:

  • Pros: Known for producing high-quality audio components, including amplifiers, receivers, and CD players. Many of their products are well-regarded for their sound quality and build quality.
  • Cons: Some of their products can be expensive, and some users have reported issues with durability.

Quick History

Quick History

A&R Cambridge LTD (Arcam) is a company based in Cambridge Innovation Park, Waterbeach, Cambridgeshire, England. They are well known for their hi-fi equipment manufacturing. The company was created by students of the science and engineering department of Cambridge University in 1976.

Arcam logo

The company products include Amplifiers, AV receivers, Streamers, Speakers etc

Rotel Quick History

A family-owned Japanese manufacturer, Rotel, was founded in 1957 by Tomoki Tachikawa in Tokyo, Japan. The company joined the Bowers & Wilkins (B&W) group to form a strategic alliance in the early 1980s.

Rotel logo

The B&W group established exclusive distribution networks in North America and several European markets. It then established Rotel Europe in the UK in 2000 to consolidate all Rotel sales outside North America. The company is currently run by Peter Kao, nephew to Tomoki.

Sound Quality

Arcam Sound Quality

One of the reasons for the creation of Arcam audios is to give the best sound possible to people, this allows the company to produce products with top notch sound quality.

When using the Arcam SA30 in a cinema hall, you’ll experience all the Sonic smoothness you really want in an audio system. The high, mid and low levels are clear and precise.

Rotel Sound Quality

Rotel uses a Symmetrical Signal Trace design to keep the signal path of every channel identical to preserve the imaging and soundstage.

 Rotel monitor speakers

The design also utilizes electrical superior “star” grounding techniques to reduce noise or hum.  

Features

Arcam Features

Arcam product has many beneficial features that make them surpass or compete with other renowned brands. These features include:

  • Ethernet support
  • Airplay- for streaming of music on iOS devices
  • Google Chromecast- for music streaming on Android devices
  • Wi-Fi 
  • USB port
  • Several input ports such as Coaxial, optical, MC & MM phono, and RCAs  

Rotel Features

Here are the main features of Rotel:

Symmetrical Signal Trace technology
Signal Sense configured through the front display setup menu or on-screen display
Auto Power Off powers off Rotel devices if there are no changes to volume, source or input within a selected period

Build Quality

Arcam Build Quality

Arcam devices are said to be in the middle of the road with their build quality (not bad but not fantastic) i.e they don’t always have a 5-star rating.

Arcam devices are built with a full metal jacket (FMJ). They are built using both steel and aluminum. The aluminum covers the front panel while the steel covers the chassis. This makes some of the devices look like tanks which some customers don’t find attractive but it makes the devices durable

Rotel Build Quality

The build quality of Rotel devices can generally be said to be average.

rotel speakers center floorstanding and subwoofer

The company is very selective about its choice of raw components and ensures the circuit design is meticulous making it one of the best performance manufacturers.

Ease of Use

Arcam Ease Of Use

Arcam devices are easy to use for people with or without smartphones, the mobile app is compatible for both iOS and Android device users to control the sounds from the comfort of their phones.

People without smartphones can control Arcam devices with the use of remote control. Arcam devices also have a well-labelled and soft button at the front for easy access and control.

Rotel Ease Of Use

Rotel amplifiers and speakers are generally easy to use, especially if you utilize simple features such as the simple input options.

On the other hand, the replacement remote control systems can be very complex to use as they utilize complex programming features.

The connection and placement process is easy, though.

Cost

Arcam Cost

Arcam devices seem kind of expensive but affordable.

Below are the price ranges of Arcam devices

  • Amplifier- $500-$2500
  • AV Receiver- $2000-$7000
  • Streamer- $500-$1500
  • Speaker- $300-$1500

Rotel Cost

Here’s a range of prices for Rotel amps and speakers:

  • Amplifiers: $500 – $6000
  • Speakers: $50 – $200

Space Requirements

Arcam Space Requirement

Arcam devices are very portable and handy. They consume less space.

FMJ A18 has a dimension of w×d×h (432×275×85) and has a weight of 7.2kg

Rotel Space Requirements

Rotel amplifiers are built to maximize space utilization with a compact design and shallow depth. You can, therefore, easily place them near your TV without compromising your view of the TV.

The speakers, on the other hand, can be so demanding in terms of space despite Rotel making some average compact ones too.

Remote Controls

Arcam Remote Control

Arcam devices have a remote control that works for more than 1 device. You’ll be able to control both devices eg (sound bar+Tv. They work in a range of 15 metres. 

Rotel Remote Controls

Rotel remote controls come with specific buttons for all the features. The remote is built as sturdy as the amp is.

Rotel also works with many different types of remotes and control systems such as Universal Remote, RTI, Logitech, Crestron, and many others. This gives you additional flexibility as you can still control your Rotel products even when your factory remote control is damaged.

You can, however, replace your original Rotel remote with a genuine OEM replacement remote control similar to the original one from Remotes.com. You can also access the full ROTEL Remote Control Codes to help you understand the functionality of your ROTEL remote control.  

Connectivity Options

Arcam Connectivity Option

Arcam devices have several connectivity options. They can be connected both with wired connectors and wirelessly.

WiFi and Ethernet are available for wireless connection while USB, coaxial and RCA are available for wired connection.

Rotel Connectivity Options

    • USB
    • XLR inputs
    • RCA analog inputs
    • Optical digital 1, 2 and 3
    • Coaxial digital 1, 2 and 3
    • Bluetooth aptX dongle
    • MM Phono
    • AUX
    • Line level inputs
    • Video 1-8
  • Phono input

Power Range

Arcam Power Range

The device’s performance and capacity determine the rate at which Arcam devices consume power. Nevertheless, Arcam devices consume less power than some brands.  They have a power consumption in the range of 300 watts to 400 watts. An example is the FMJ A18 with a power consumption range of 350 watts.

Rotel Power Range

  • Speakers: 100W to 300 watts
  • Receivers: 60W to 100W
  • Amps: 100W to 500 watts per channel

Frequency Response

Arcam Frequency Response

The frequency response of Arcam devices also varies from device to device depending on the capacity of the devices but on average, Arcam devices have a frequency response range of 0.3hz to 20khz. An example is the FMJ CD17.

Rotel Frequency Response

Most Rotel devices have an average frequency response of 20 Hz to 20 kHz.

Conclusion

On a final note, Arcam devices might be expensive but the functions and other qualities are worth it. Arcam devices are the best option for anyone who wants devices that consume less power but not for those who want cheap devices.

Rotel gives you value for money with great sound and longevity.  Although the build quality is average, there’s a product for every budget with versatile features that fit everyone’s needs. Rotel is also futuristic with many options to connect across devices.

 

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Norvan Martin is the founder of BoomSpeaker.com. He is a professional Electronics Engineer and is passionate about home theater systems and AV electronics. BoomSpeaker was created as an online hub to share his knowledge and experiences as it relates to home theaters and home audio electronics. My email: [email protected]  Connect on Pinterest and Linkedin