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Rotel RA-1520 Manual

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(RA-1062) 26/Feb Revised



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RA1520 Stereo Integrated Amplifier
Important Safety Instructions
WARNING: There are no user serviceable parts inside. Refer all servicing to qualified service personnel. WARNING: To reduce the risk of fire or electric shock, do not expose the unit to moisture or water. Do not expose the unit to dripping or splashing. Do not place objects filled with liquids, such as vases, on the unit. Do not allow foreign objects to get into the enclosure. If the unit is exposed to moisture, or a foreign object gets into the enclosure, immediately disconnect the power cord from the wall. Take the unit to a qualified service person for inspection and necessary repairs. Read all the instructions before connecting or operating the component. Keep this manual so you can refer to these safety instructions. Heed all warnings and safety information in these instructions and on the product itself. Follow all operating instructions. Clean the enclosure only with a dry cloth or a vacuum cleaner. Do not use this unit near water.
WARNING: The rear panel power cord connector is the mains power disconnect device. The apparatus must be located in an open area that allows access to the cord connector. The unit must be connected to a power supply only of the type and voltage specified on the rear panel. (USA: 120 V/60Hz, EC: 230V/50Hz) Connect the component to the power outlet only with the supplied power supply cable or an exact equivalent. Do not modify the supplied cable. A polarized plug has two blades, with one wider than the other. A grounding plug has two blades plus a third grounding prong. These are provided for your safety. Do not defeat grounding and/or polarization safety provisions. If the supplied plug does not fit your outlet, please consult an electrician for replacement of the obsolete outlet. Do not use extension cords. The main plug of the power cordset is a disconnect device of the apparatus. In order to completely disconnect the apparatus from the supply mains, the main plug of the power cordset should be unplugged from the mains (AC) outlet. The standby LED indicator will not be lit up to show the power cord is unplugged. The disconnect device shall remain readily operable. Do not route the power cord where it will be crushed, pinched, bent, exposed to heat, or damaged in any way. Pay particular attention to the power cord at the plug and where the cord exits the back of the unit. The power cord should be unplugged from the wall outlet during a lightning storm or if the unit is to be left unused for a long period of time. Use only accessories specified by the manufacturer. Use only with a cart, stand, rack, bracket or shelf system recommended by Rotel. Use caution when moving the unit in a stand or rack to avoid injury from a tip-over. Use Class 2 wiring for speaker connections to ensure proper installation and minimize the risk of electrical shock. Immediately stop using the component and have it inspected and/or serviced by a qualified service agency if: The power supply cord or plug has been damaged Objects have fallen or liquid has been spilled into the unit The unit has been exposed to rain The unit shows signs of improper operation The unit has been dropped or damaged in any way
Rotel products are designed to comply with international directives on the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) in electrical and electronic equipment and the disposal of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE). The crossed wheelie bin symbol indicates compliance and that the products must be appropriately recycled or processed in accordance with these directives.
This symbol means that this unit is double insulated. An earth connection is not required.
You must allow a minimum 10 cm or 4 inches of unobstructed clearance around the unit. Do not place the unit on a bed, sofa, rug, or similar surface that could block the ventilation openings. If the unit is placed in a bookcase or cabinet, there must be ventilation of the cabinet to allow proper cooling. Keep the component away from radiators, heat registers, stoves, or any other appliance that produces heat.

A Word About Watts

This amplifiers power output is quoted as 60 watts for each channel, when both channels are operating together at full power. Rotel has chosen to specify the power output in this way because, in Rotels experience, it gives the truest value of the receiver or amplifiers power capability. When comparing specifications for different products, you should be aware that power output is often specified in other ways, so you may not be comparing like with like. For example, the power output may be quoted with only one channel operating, giving a higher maximum figure. A loudspeakers impedance rating indicates the electrical resistance or load it offers when connected to the amplifier, usually 8 ohms or 4 ohms. The lower the impedance, the more power the speaker will need. In effect, a 4 ohm speaker will require twice as much power as an 8 ohm speaker.


However, Rotel amplifiers are designed to work into any speaker impedance between 8 and 4 ohms, and with all the channels working up to their full power. Because Rotel designs are optimized for use with all channels operating together, Rotel is able to specify the true power output for both channels.
The RA1520 generates heat as part of its normal operation. The heat sinks and ventilation openings in the amplifier are designed to dissipate this heat. The ventilation slots in the top cover must be open. There should be 10 cm (4 inches) of clearance around the chassis, and reasonable airflow through the installation location, to prevent the amplifier from overheating. Remember the weight of the amplifier when you select an installation location. Make sure that the shelf or cabinet can support it. We recommend installing the RA1520 in furniture designed to house audio components. Such furniture is designed to reduce or suppress vibration which can adversely affect sound quality. Ask your authorized Rotel dealer for advice about component furniture and proper installation of audio components. The RA1520 is supplied with an RRAT94 remote control and must be placed where the infrared signal from the remote can reach the front panel Remote Sensor.

Getting Started

Thank you for purchasing the Rotel RA1520 Stereo Integrated Amplifier. When used in a high-quality music audio system, it will provide years of musical enjoyment. The RA1520 is a full featured, high performance component. All aspects of the design have been optimized to retain the full dynamic range and subtle nuances of your music. The RA1520 has a highly regulated power supply incorporating a Rotel custom-designed toroidal power transformer and custom-made slit foil capacitors. This low impedance power supply has ample power reserves, which enables the RA1520 to easily reproduce the most demanding audio signals. This type of design is more expensive to manufacture, but it is better for the music. The printed circuit boards are designed with Symmetrical Circuit Traces. This insures that the precise timing of the music is maintained and faithfully recreated. The RA1520 circuitry uses metal film resistors and polystyrene or polypropylene capacitors in important signal paths. All aspects of this design have been examined to ensure the most faithful music reproduction. In addition the RA1520 has independent input signal selectors for listening and recording. They allow you to listen to one signal source while recording another. The main functions of the RA1520 are easy to install and use. If you have experience with other stereo systems, you shouldnt find anything perplexing. Simply plug in the associated components and enjoy.


Keep power cords, digital cables, and audio cables away from each other. This will minimize the chance of the audio signal cables picking up noise or interference from the power cords or digital cables. Using high quality, shielded cables will also help to prevent noise or interference. If you have any questions see your authorized Rotel dealer for advice about the best cable to use with your system.

Remote Control

The RA1520 includes an RRAT94 remote control that operates many of the controls of the RA1520. In addition, the remote operates basic features of some Rotel CD players, DVD players, and AM/FM tuners.

Audio Controls ABCE

The RRAT94 duplicates the basic audio functions of the RA1520 front panel. When a function is available on both the front panel and the remote, a number (see front panel illustration) and a letter (see remote control illustration) are shown in the instructions. For example, to change the volume level, you can either turn the control on the front panel or use the buttons on the remote. When only one identifier appears, that control is available only on the front panel or the remote, but not both.

A Few Precautions

Please read this manual carefully. In addition to basic installation and operating instructions, it provides valuable information on various RA1520 system configurations as well as general information that will help you get optimum performance from your system. Please contact your authorized Rotel dealer for answers to any questions you might have. In addition, all of us at Rotel welcome your questions and comments. Save the RA1520 shipping carton and all enclosed packing material for future use. Shipping or moving the RA1520 in anything other than the original packing material may result in severe damage to your amplifier. Fill out and send in the owners registration card packed with the RA1520. Also be sure to keep the original sales receipt. It is your best record of the date of purchase, which you will need in the event warranty service is ever required.

CD Functions DG

The PLAY, STOP, PAUSE, TRACK and RANDOM buttons, and NUMERIC keys (0-10) operate many Rotel CD players after the CD button on the remote has been pressed.

DVD Functions G

The PLAY, STOP, PAUSE, and TRACK , buttons operate Rotel DVD players, after the AUX1 button on the remote has been pressed.

Tuner Functions DF

The BAND, TUNING, and additional tuning feature buttons operate Rotel tuners, after the TUNER button on the remote has been pressed.


Like all audio components that handle low-level signals, the RA1520 can be affected by its environment. Avoid placing the RA1520 on top of other components. Also avoid routing audio signal cables near power cords. This will minimize the chance it will pick up hum or interference.
Note: By default, the RR-AT94 operates the Rotel RT-1080/ RT1082/RT-1084 tuners. The remote can be reprogrammed to operate the RT940AX tuner. This programming only needs to be done once:
To program for the RT-940AX: press the POWER button and the 2 button simultaneously. To program for the RT-1080/RT1082/RT-1084: press the POWER button and the 1 button simultaneously.

Speaker Outputs

See Figure 3 The RA1520 has two sets of speaker outputs, labeled SPEAKER A and SPEAKER B. The speaker outputs are controlled by the switch on the front panel.

Remote Sensor 3

The remote sensor receives infrared signals from the remote control. Do not cover or block the sensor. It must be unobstructed or the remote control will not work properly. The operation of the remote sensor can also be affected if it is exposed to bright sunlight or certain types of lighting (such as halogen lights) that emit infrared light. In addition remote control functions may not work reliably if the batteries in the RRAT94 are weak.

Speaker Impedance

If only one set of speakers will be used at any given time, the speakers may have an impedance as low as 4 ohms. If there are times when both the A and B speakers will be used, all the speakers should have an impedance of 8 ohms or more. Speaker impedance ratings are less than precise. In practice, very few loudspeakers will present any problems for the RA1520. See your authorized Rotel dealer if you have any questions.
Note: To use the remote, aim it at the remote sensor on the front panel of the RA1520.

Note: To prevent loud, potentially damaging, noises, make sure the system is turned off when you make any signal connections.
Phono Input e and Ground Connection w
Plug the cable from the turntable into the appropriate left and right phono inputs. If the turntable has a ground wire connect it to the screw terminal to the left of the Phono inputs. It will help prevent hum and noise.

Line Level Inputs u

AC Power and Control

AC Power Input \

Because of its relatively high power rating, the RA1520 can draw considerable current. Therefore, it should be plugged directly into a 2-pin polarized wall outlet. Do not use an extension cord. A heavy duty multi-tap power outlet strip may be used if it (and the wall outlet) is rated to handle the current demanded by the RA1520 and all the other components connected to it. Your RA1520 is configured at the factory for the proper AC line voltage in the country where you purchased it (USA: 120 volts/60Hz AC or CE: 230 volts/50 Hz AC). The AC line configuration is noted on a decal on the back panel. Plug the supplied cord into the AC INPUT receptacle on the back of the unit.
The RA1520 has three pair of conventional RCA input connectors for line level components such as CD players, video cassette recorders, tuners, Laser Disc players, or DVD players. These inputs are labeled CD, TUNER, AUX. The left and right channels are clearly labeled and should be connected to the corresponding channels of the source component. The left RCA connectors are white, the right connectors are red. Use high quality RCA cables for connecting input source components to the RA1520. Ask your authorized Rotel dealer for advice about cables.

Recorder Connections io

Tape inputs and outputs can be connected to any record/playback device that accepts standard line level analog input and output signals. Typically that will be a conventional tape recorder. There are two sets of tape connections on the back panel, labelled TAPE 1 and TAPE 2. When connecting a recorder to the RA1520, the outputs of the recorder must be connected to the tape inputs of the RA1520. Similarly the tape outputs of the RA1520 must be connected to the inputs of the recorder. Be sure to connect the left and right channels of each device to the proper channels on the associated components. Use high quality connecting cables to prevent loss of sound quality.
Note: Should you move your RA1520 to another country, it is possible to reconfigure your amplifier for use on a different line voltage. Do not attempt to perform this conversion yourself. Opening the enclosure of the RA1520 exposes you to dangerous voltages. Consult a qualified service person or the Rotel factory service department for information.
If you are going to be away from home for an extended period of time such as a month long vacation, it is a sensible precaution to unplug your audio and video components while you are away.

Note: The tape inputs can also be used for standard playbackonly source components, omitting the output connections.
POWER Button and Power Indicator 1

Media Player Input 4

A 3.5mm (1/8) stereo input socket for a Media Player is provided on the front of the RA1520 and is selected by turning the Listening input selector to AUX. Any portable stereo cassette, compact disc player or hard disc playback device can be connected via this input. If the Media Player input is connected to the headphone outputs of the player note that you may need to adjust the volume control on the player for sound to be heard. If the sound is loud and distorted turn down the volume on the player. If the sound is not loud enough, even when the RA1520 volume control is turned up fairly high, then carefully turn up the volume control on the player.
Press the front panel POWER button, to turn the RA1520 on. The power indicator light ring around the power button and the MUTE function LED are illuminated when the RA1520 is on. Press the POWER button again to turn the RA1520 off. Once the RA1520 has been turned on with the front panel button, it can be switched between normal operating mode and Standby mode with the POWER button on the RRAT94. Also, when in Standby mode, it can be turned on by pressing one of the LISTENING input buttons.

12V TRIGGER Connection y

Several Rotel amplifiers can be turned on and off using a 12 volt signal, provided by the 12V TRIGGER connection. When the RA1520 is activated, a 12 volt DC signal appears at this connector and will turn on an amplifier. When the RA1520 is turned off, the trigger signal is interrupted and the external amplifier will be turned off.
RA1520 Stereo Integrated Amplifier PHONES Output 5

Audio Controls

The following controls are used to operate the RA1520.
The PHONES output allows you to connect headphones for private listening. This output accepts standard stereo 1/8 stereo mini plugs. If your headphones have a 1/4 plug, you will need an adapter plug. Contact your authorized Rotel dealer, to get the correct adapter plug.

VOLUME Control 0C

Turn the front panel VOLUME control clockwise to increase the volume, or counterclockwise to decrease the volume. Alternatively, press the VOL buttons on the remote control to adjust the volume up or down.

BALANCE Control -

Note: Plugging in headphones does not cut off the signal to the speakers. If desired, use the SPEAKERS selector to turn off the signal to the speakers for private listening.
The Balance Control adjusts the left-to-right balance of the sound output. Normally the control should be left in the center position. In some situations, typically when the main listening position is not ideally centered between the speakers, it may be necessary to adjust the control to achieve proper left-to-right balance. Turning the control counter-clockwise shifts the sound balance to the left. Turning the control clockwise shifts the sound balance to the right.

SPEAKERS Selector 6

A four-position rotary switch on the front panel determines which set of speakers, if any, is active. Set the SPEAKER selector as follows: OFF: No speakers will be heard. Use this position when listening to headphones. A: The speakers connected to the SPEAKER A terminals will be heard. B: The speakers connected to the SPEAKER B terminals will be heard. A+B: The speakers connected to both the SPEAKER A and SPEAKER B terminals will be heard.
BASS and TREBLE Tone Controls 79
These two front panel rotary controls are used to make adjustments to the tone or contour settings, boosting or cutting high frequencies (TREBLE) and low frequencies (BASS). If tone adjustments are not required, the tone control circuit can be bypassed by using the TONE On/Off switch.

TONE On/Off 8

When this button is in the off position (with the button out) the BASS and TREBLE tone controls are inoperative. This setting gives a more direct signal path and may give a small improvement in sound quality for critical listening.

Protection Circuit

Protection Indicator 2
Thermal protection circuits protect the amplifier against potential damage in the event of extreme or faulty operating conditions. Unlike many designs, the RA1520 protection circuit is independent of the audio signal and has no impact on sonic performance. Instead, the protection circuit monitors the temperature of the output devices and shuts down the amplifier if safe limits are exceeded. In addition, the RA1520 includes over-current protection which operates only when load impedances drop too low. This protection is independent for each channel and is indicated by the front panel Protection LED. Should a faulty condition arise, the amplifier will stop playing and the Protection LED on the front panel will light. If this happens, turn the amplifier off, let it cool down for several minutes, and attempt to identify and correct the problem. When you turn the amplifier back on, the protection circuit will automatically reset and the PROTECTION LED should go out. In most cases, the protection circuitry activates because of a fault condition such as shorted speaker wires, or inadequate ventilation leading to an overheating condition. In very rare cases, highly reactive or extremely low impedance speaker loads could cause the protection circuit to engage.


The setting of the LISTENING selector controls which of the input signals goes to the main outputs and onto the power amplifier or, more simply, which source is heard. Turn the front panel control to the source you want to hear, or press the corresponding button on the RRAT94 remote.

RECORDING Selector =

The RA1520 can record from any input source (except TAPE 2) to a recorder connected to TAPE 1 or TAPE 2 outputs. To select an input source for recording, turn the RECORDING control on the front-panel to the desired source. This selection is independent of the source selected for listening. While recording, you may still select a different source using the LISTENING selector. If you have a three-head recorder or a DAT recorder that allows simultaneous read and write operation, you can monitor your recording by setting the LISTENING switch to the TAPE 1 or TAPE 2 position.
Note: If you select TAPE 1 with the RECORDING control, the recording signal will only be available at the TAPE 2 recording outputs, not the TAPE 1 outputs. To dub a tape, select TAPE 1 and record to the tape deck connected to the TAPE 2 outputs.

MUTE Button A

To temporarily mute the sound of the system press the MUTE button on the RRAT94 remote. Press the button again to return the sound volume to the original level. The LED in the volume control will flash when the unit is muted.


Most difficulties in audio systems are the result of incorrect connections, or improper control settings. If you encounter problems, isolate the area of the difficulty, check the control settings, determine the cause of the fault and make the necessary changes. If you are unable to get sound from the RA1520 refer to the suggestions for the following conditions:

Resetting the IR code

Should you need to reset the IR code, press the MUTE button A on the RR-AT94 remote control for more than 5 seconds while pointing it at the RA-1520. The unit will return to default condition and the Listening CD LED q will turn on to indicate the IR code is reset. Contact your authorized Rotel dealer for further information.
Power Indicator Is Not Lit
The power indicator ring around the power button should be lit whenever the RA1520 is plugged into the wall power outlet and the POWER switch is pushed in. If it does not light, test the power outlet with another electrical device, such as a lamp. Be sure the power outlet being used is not controlled by a switch that has been turned off.

Fuse Replacement

If another electrical device works when plugged into the power outlet, but the power indicator still will not light when the RA1520 is plugged into the wall outlet, it indicates that the internal power fuse may have blown. If you believe this has happened, contact your authorized Rotel dealer to get the fuse replaced.

No Sound

Check the signal source to see if it is functioning properly. Make sure the cables from the signal source to the RA1520 inputs are connected properly. Be sure the LISTENING selector is set to the proper input. Be sure the SPEAKERS selector is set to the proper position. Check the wiring between the RA1520 and the speakers.


Continuous Power Output (20-20 kHz, < 0.03%, 8 ohms) Total Harmonic Distortion (20Hz-20kHz) at rated power, 1/2 power, or 1 watt Intermodulation Distortion (60 Hz : 7 kHz, 4:1) at rated power, 1/2 power or 1 watt Frequency Response: Phono Input Line Level Inputs Damping Factor (20Hz-20kHz, 8 ohms) Line Input Sensitivity / Impedance Line Input Overload Phono (MM) Sensitivity / Impedance Input (Phono) Overload Preamplifier Output / Impedance Signal to Noise Ratio (IHF A weighted) Power Requirements: USA: EC: Power Consumption Dimensions (W x H x D) Front Panel Height Weight (net) 120 Volts, 60 Hz 230 Volts, 50 Hz 300 watts 431 x 99 x 339 mm 2U (88.1mm) 7.8 kg, 17.2 lbs. 20Hz-15kHz, 0.2dB 10Hz-100kHz, +1, 3dB mV / 24k ohms 5V 2.8mV /47k ohms 170mV 1V / 470 ohms >95 dB < 0.03% < 0.03% 60 watts/channel
Protection Indicator Is Lit
The front panel indicator lights when the RA1520 protection circuits have shut off the amplifier. Typically, this occurs only when the ventilation openings are blocked, when there is faulty speaker wiring, or after a period of extreme use. Turn off the system and wait for the amp to cool. Then push the front panel power switch in and out to reset the protection devices. If the problem is not corrected or reoccurs, there is a problem with the system or the amplifier itself.
Remote Control Code Conflicts
Rotel uses the same IR remote control codes for all its audio products. In systems that have multiple Rotel products, the IR control codes of a remote control that is supplied with one product may interfer with the control codes of another product. The RR-AT94 and the RA-1520 can be set to alternate control codes to prevent such conflicts. To change the IR codes of the RR-AT94, press the Phono button and the 2 button at the same time. To change the IR codes of the RA-1520, point the RR-AT94 at the RA-1520 then press and hold the 2 button for 5 seconds. The LED in the volume control will flash to indicate the IR code has changed.
Note: After changing the remote codes for the remote control and the preamplifier as described above, the remote control will no longer operate the Rotel tuners. To return the RR-AT94 IR code to the default setting, press the Phono button and the 1 button at the same time. To return the IR code of the RA-1520 to the default setting, point the RRAT94 at the RA-1520 and press and hold the 1 button for 5 seconds. The LED in the volume control will flash to indicate the IR code has changed.

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Classic Stereo Integrated Amplifier


The RA-1520 is a music lovers amplifier and is most at home as part of a stand-alone stereo system. Its muscular 2 x 60 watt (into 8 ohms) design is based upon nearly 50 years of our expertise in analog audio engineering and it delivers all of the musical performance the artist intended. Subtle nuances and large dynamics are both rendered faithfully from uncompressed digital or analog sources. The RA-1520 includes a moving magnet phono input to accommodate your vinyl collection. To complete its functionality, as well as its superb performance capabilities, there are additional inputs for tuner, tape, CD and Aux.


Power Configurations THD (20-20,000Hz) 8 Ohms, all channels driven IM Distortion Phono Input Line Level Input Damping Factor (8 Ohms) Line Input Sensitivity Bass Treble Line Input Overload Phono (MM) 2 x 60 watts (20Hz-20kHz, <0.03%, 8 Ohms) < 0.03% < 0.03% 20Hz-15kHz, +/- 0.2dB 10Hz-100kHz, +1, -3dB 150 160mV / 24kOhms +3, +4dB at 100Hz + 3dB at 10kHz 5V 2.4mV / 47kOhms Phono Overload (MM) Preamp Output Levels / Output Impedance S/N Ratio (IHF A) Power Requirements USA Power Requirements CE Power Consumption Dimensions (W x H x D) mm Dimensions (W x H x D) in Front Panel Height Weight (net) 170mV 1V / 470 Ohms >95dB 115 Volts, 60Hz 230 Volts, 50Hz 300 watts 432 x 92 x 364 mm 17 1/8 x 3 5/8 x 13 5/16 in 80 mm / 3 3/16 in 7.8 kg, 17.2 lbs

The Rotel Co. Ltd. 10-10 Shinsen-Cho Shibuya-Ku, Tokyo 150, Japan Rotel of America 54 Concord St. N. Reading, MA 01864 USA T +F +Rotel Europe Dale Road Worthing West Sussex BN11 2BH, UK T +44 (0) 763 F +44 (0) 525



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