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Rotel vs Cambridge Audio – Detailed Comparison

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Rotel and Cambridge are two renowned and well respected brands in the audio industry that produces high quality speakers, headphones, 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.

Quick History

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.

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.

Cambridge Quick History

Cambridge Audio is a British company that manufactures high-end audio equipment. It was formed in the early ’60s by a group of young technology graduates in Cambridge, England and started out as a division of Cambridge Consultants.

Their line of devices includes earphones, amplifiers, CD players, speakers, and many others.

Sound Quality

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

Cambridge Sound Quality

As expected of a high-end brand, the sound quality is very excellent. The expert layering and detail of the sound ensure that all tonal ranges can play simultaneously without being muddled.

The deep bass stays in the background without overpowering the clear midtones and sparkling treble. All these are masterfully compounded to deliver sound with exceptional accuracy and vivid musicality, no matter what you’re listening to.

Features

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

Cambridge Features

Cambridge Audio devices have several features incorporated for maximum enjoyment. Some of the features are shown below:

  • Personalized EQ settings – set up with the Melomania App
  • Unique High-Performance Audio Mode – for hi-fi quality sound
  • Up to 350W per channel in the amplifiers
  • Passive noise cancellation with Transparency mode – to interact with your environment.
  • Qualcomm cVc™ (clear voice capture)
  • Voice control feature for Siri (iOS) and Google Assistant (Android)
  • aptX™, AAC, SBC Bluetooth codecs support

Build Quality

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.

Cambridge Build Quality

Cambridge Audio devices are fabricated from the best materials for maximum comfort and exceptional durability. Some of the materials used include comfortable silicone earbud tips, all enclosed in a solid steel, aluminum, or plastic chassis.

Cambridge Audio Melomania Touch

In addition to the sturdy structure, some devices are water resistant, like the Melomania Touch wireless earphones which have an IPX4 rating.

Ease of Use

Rotel Ease Of Use

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

Cambridge Ease Of Use

Wireless remote and app control are some of the features that make Cambridge Audio devices user-friendly. Clearly labeled controls and an integrated voice assistant also allow for effortless use.

Cost

Rotel Cost

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

Amplifiers: $500 – $6000

Speakers: $50 – $200

Cambridge Cost

The quality of Cambridge Audio devices lives up to its high-end name, but so does the price. They are quite expensive, though some of their devices can be very cheap. The price ranges for some device categories are given below:

Speakers: $100 – $1000

Amplifiers: $300 – $6500

Earphones: from $80

Players (CD/network): $400 – $5500

Subwoofers: from $300

Space Requirements

Rotel Space Requirements

Rotel amplifiers are built to maximize space utilization with 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.

Cambridge Space Requirements

Cambridge Audio devices vary in size from tiny earphones to large amplifiers. The CXA81 Stereo Amplifier measures 148 x 430 x 365mm (HWD) and weighs 19.1kg, while the smaller ES30 outdoor speaker measures 330 x 202 x 198mm (HWD) and weighs in at 3.4kg.

This means that you will probably find a good device that fits your space requirements.

Remote Controls

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.  

Cambridge Remote Controls

Cambridge Audio devices can be remotely controlled via the mobile app, wireless remote, and voice assistants like Siri and Google Assistant. These options can be used for basic and advanced functions such as audio tuning or pause/play.

Connectivity Options

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

Cambridge Connectivity Options

The wide range of connectivity options found in Cambridge Audio devices allows connection to other speakers and various other devices.

These options include digital optical, coaxial and USB Audio, hi-res Bluetooth, XLR sockets, stereo RCA inputs and several other options.

Power Range

Rotel Power Range

Speakers: 100W to 300 watts

Receivers: 60W to 100W

Amps: 100W to 500 watts per channel

Cambridge Power Range

Powerful delivery is one of the easily noticeable features of Cambridge Audio devices. The Azur 851W Power Amplifier delivers a massive 800W at up to 350W per channel. The power range of Cambridge Audio devices ranges from 300W to 1200W.

Frequency Response

Rotel Frequency Response

20 Hz to 20 kHz.

Cambridge Frequency Response

Cambridge Audio devices have excellent frequency response ranges, which range from as low as 5Hz all the way up to 80KHz.

The Melomania Touch has a frequency range of 20Hz – 20kHz. The ES30 outdoor speaker frequency response ranges from 55Hz – 20kHz.

Conclusion

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. On the other hand, Cambridge Audio is a brand for serious audiophiles, delivering excellent value and performance. The brand gives great value for money.

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