Review: Rotel RMB-1085 Power Amplifier
If you're looking to upgrade your home theater receiver to something with a bit more oomph (and style), Rotel's RMB-1085 amp will satisfy.
Rotel RMB-1085 Power Amplifier
September 15, 2008 by

There are few names that are both as well known and associated with high-end as Rotel. They have a reputation for quality and power and great aesthetics. At only 100 watts, I couldn’t say that the RMB-1085 was a huge improvement over the internal amps of my receiver with my 8 ohm speakers. It does have an undeniable cool factor and plenty of power if your current amplification needs are inadequate or your speakers have lower impedance and are giving your current amp/receiver trouble. If you are looking to beef up your home theater or just have a touch of the upgrade bug, the RMB-1085 is a little firecracker of an amp that might be what you’ve been looking for.

Build Quality
Opening up the RMB-1085 box, it is easy to see that they care about whether the amp arrives undamaged. Even though “digital” amps are notoriously lighter (because they are much more efficient that traditional Class A or A/B amps and don’t require the massive heat sinks typically found in linear amp designs), it was still packed extremely well. There is both a top and bottom foam cap that completely surrounds the amp protecting it from all sides. The cables are tucked in the back between the foam and box (not touching the amp at all) and the amp is sheathed in a plastic bag to help protect it from the elements. The manual was on top of the amp and was held down tightly enough that is was still perfectly center on the top of the amp when I removed the top foam cap.

The RMB-1085 is a thin, fairly light (under 12 lbs.) unit that I had no problems palming as I was moving it around. The front face is a light grey with only a single power button and two lights. The blue light indicates power and the red a fault of some kind when the unit is powered on or standby mode when it is powered down. The only other adornment to the front of the unit is the Rotel logo and model number on the front and an embossed logo on the top. The unit stands less than 3 inches high.

The rear of the unit has five RCA style inputs and five sets of 5-way binding posts. There are no balanced inputs for this amplifier. The rear also sports a removable power cord, a 12 volt trigger input and output, and an on/off switch for the 12 volt trigger. The right main and surround were grouped as was the left main and surround. The center channel input and outputs were alone. The only point on concern here was that with the grouped inputs, the positive was always on the outside with the negative in the center forcing you to switch the order of the speaker cables. Rotel stays that they do this to reduce the chance of shorting positive to negative. The 12 volt trigger is used to turn the amp on and off automatically when another piece of gear is powered up. Setting the switch to “Off” ensures that the amp is only turned on manually while in the “On” position, the amp is looking for input from the trigger input.

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Product: Rotel RMB-1085

Price: $1199

Performance: 4 out of 5

Value: 3 out of 5


  • Easy setup
  • Clean power
  • Small size
  • Light power consumption


  • Back panel could be better organized
  • Expensive

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