Most helpful critical review
45 of 59 people found the following review helpful
Gets the job done, but is not audiophile quality
on December 19, 2009
I purchased this as an early xmas gift for my Grandmother who just doesn't understand how to use the full rack Denon Stereo my Grandfather purchased. A few years after his death she got a Bose Wave radio/CD player and likes it and actually uses it, but misses the vinyl in her collection. I chose the Rolls because it was small, had no dials or buttons to confuse her and I wasn't willing to pay too much for a better sounding preamp when she doesn't have the best hearing anymore (she's 84 now). It works well to connect her Denon turntable to the Bose and she seems happy with the simplicity. I personally found it to be a tad noisy and missing the clarity and depth of soundstage of my Cambridge Audio Azur 540p (phono preamp)linking my 1976 hotrodded Thorens TD 166 to my Cambridge Audio Azur 640a (amplifier)through NSM 5se's and Energy 15" sub. The Rolls is a nice solid unit that works well for the average user who occasionally pulls out a record now and then, and certainly superior to those "retro" looking oak radio/turntable combo's aimed at the nostalgic but tragically misinformed consumer, but I would not use this to pair up a serious turntable like a Thorens, Dual, Raga Pro-ject etc. to a serious receiver (and no, Sony doesn't count here.) This is for the average Joe, which is fine, because there are lots of Joe's and Joanna's out there that need to groove to their vinyl now and then, but this is not for the discerning listener and audiophile. I would give it one star more if all readers here understood beforehand that this is not a serious hi-fi unit, but I'm giving it three stars because it is in fact OK for the average Joe. If you're not too picky and just need to play some records now an then, go for it. But if you aspire to serious hi-fi and want a starter unit, I would save up another $50 bucks and go for the Cambridge Audio Azur 540p ore even $110 more for the 640p. Also, make note this Rolls is ONLY for Moving Magnet cartridges or perhaps some really high output Moving Coil cartridges like a Denon DL 160 (but then again if you're looking at a Denon DL160, you certainly want to be spending at least $150 on a preamp, period!) Hope that helps you in your decision.