Rotel Launches Final Part of Ken Ishiwata’s Hi-Fi Legacy
As the hi-fi industry still comes to terms with the loss of one of its most colourful, humble, and talented characters, Rotel gives us one more reason to celebrate Ken Ishiwata with the launch of his final project.
Rotel's A11 Tribute integrated amplifier (£499) and CD11 Tribute CD player (£399) not only honour the late audio legend Ken Ishiwata, but they are also the result of his excellent ear and knack for squeezing optimal performance from every component.
Ishiwata-san was widely admired in the hi-fi industry for his unique ability to identify perfect products for modification and to take their performance to new levels, often with only a modest increase in price. That is precisely what happened when Ken offered an initial appraisal of the new specification to the Rotel engineering team. From there preliminary prototypes were produced before having the final specifications approved by Rotel.
Sadly, after the changes of the first prototypes were approved, Ken passed away in November 2019. However, in his memory, Rotel worked to complete the product with the help and insight of another of hi-fi's superstars and close friend of Ken's, Karl-Heinz Fink, to fulfil the original vision.
Rotel Tribute Series
Rotel's A11 and CD11 were selected by Ishiwata, and the Rotel team felt that the Class AB 2 x 50W integrated amplifier and CD player represented the perfect base for elevating products that were already good but had room for updating and making them into something special.
Rotel A11 Tribute
The A11 Tribute amplifier sports improved components to offer higher performance. In the amplifier stage, all ten capacitors, as well as two resistors in the signal path, were changed. Additionally, the pre-amp sees half-a-dozen capacitors upgraded. These upgrades represent over 50% of the components in the signal path. Furthermore, all six capacitors in the volume stage were also upgraded.
Finally, custom damping materials were added to the A11's mechanical chassis to reduce ringing and to further isolate/insulate and dampen any vibrations within the product. The A11 Tribute also boasts a custom, in-house developed, oversized toroidal transformer.
The new amplifier features 4 RCA inputs along with a moving magnet phono stage. The Texas Instruments 24-bit 192Khz DAC performs number-crunching details and can be fed wireless via apt-X and AAC Bluetooth.
Speakers are connected via two sets (A and B) of 5-way output binding posts.
Rotel CD11 Tribute
The CD11 CD player received eight capacitor changes and one resistor change in the DAC stage that also features a Texas Instruments 24-bit 192Khz convertor. Meanwhile, the power supply had all nine of its capacitors swapped with improved components.
Again, damping of internal vibrations was tackled with custom damping material being added to the top cover. At the same time, further changes were made to the mechanical and electrical grounding of the CD player.
The CD11 Tribute also features the company's balanced design topology of digital and analogue circuits and is fitted with RCA analogue and digital coaxial outputs.
The upgraded A11 Tribute and CD11 Tribute products are available from September in a choice of silver and black finishes, each with a special badge in honour of the man whose absolute passion for music was the impetus that inspired their creation.
The A11 Tribute Stereo Integrated Amplifier is priced at £499 (€599) and the CD11 Tribute CD Player, £399 (€449).
For more information, please visit Rotel.
StereoNET UK’s Editor and Bass playing gadget junkie. He’s captained the good ship GadgetyNews for over a decade, making low jargon high tech a very handy thing. His passion for gadgets and Hi-Fi is second only to being a touring musician.
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