Rotel has unveiled its first high-resolution network audio system: the Rotel S14 Integrated Streamer. The word “integrated” means that this digital player has a built-in amplifier, so all you need to add are speakers.
The S14 is equipped with a 32-bit ESS Saber digital-to-analog converter and supports various music streaming services, including Spotify. Most buyers, however, will likely be Qobuz or Tidal customers, and the S14 supports both MQA and MQA Studio for subscribers of the latter service.
You can also play hi-res music files from a local server (over wired Ethernet or dual-band Wi-Fi); a personal computer (via its USB Type B port); a USB thumb drive (via a rear-mounted USB-A port, with support for AAC, WMA, and MP3 files); or a smartphone or portable digital audio player (via Bluetooth, with support for both aptX HD and AAC codecs). Compatibility with Apple AirPlay 2 and Google Chromecast adds even more flexibility. The Rotel S14 is also certified Ready Ronwhich will be of interest to anyone using that high-end music software.
Rotel’s streamer also features a coaxial digital audio input to support CD players, stereo analog inputs for old-school cassette decks or turntables with line-level outputs (or a turntable connected to the phono stage), and preamp outputs if you want I prefer to connect it to a different amplifier. There is also an output for an optional subwoofer.
Rotel’s app for Android and iOS expands your choice of music sources to Internet radio and podcasts. A front-panel color display shows album artwork, artist, as well as album and track titles for the current selection.
Unlike many network streaming devices, which are designed as components of a home audio system, the Rotel S14 Integrated Network Streamer delivers up to 150 Watts of Class AB power into 4 ohms, so it can directly power a wide range of speakers connected to its 5 way binding posts. There’s also a 3.5mm headphone jack on the front panel.
The S14’s built-in network streamer certainly looks promising on paper: a modern all-in-one receiver with streaming at its core and the flexibility to support any audio source you might want to connect to it.
While its $2,500 price tag makes it more expensive than some of its competitors, including $1,299 Cambridge Audio CXN (V2)buyers should note that the Rotel product has a built-in Class AB amplifier with enough power to drive anything but the most demanding loudspeakers.
We asked for a sample and hope to post an in-depth review in the coming weeks.
Updated December 5, 2022 to add information about the Roon Ready certified Rotel S14 and to report that the front panel headphone jack is 3.5mm.
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