Rotel’s founder, Mr. Tomoki “Tuck” Tachikawa, was born in Taiwan. He studied at a Japanese university and remained in that country, where he created various businesses and trading companies before founding Rotel. Rotel is headquartered and owned in Japan, with its main design and development center in the UK and its largest plant in China. But it is not only the international composition or the keen sense of musicality of their devices that distinguishes this small company from many others who claim the high title of “High End manufacturer”. Firstly, Rotel is a purely family enterprise, which for 40 years has been led by members of one friendly clan – the heirs of the company’s founder, Mr. Tachikawa. Secondly, Rotel back in the 1980s put forward its own concept of “balanced design” – Balanced Design, and has strictly adhered to it since then. Thirdly, the company is trying to produce not “exorbitant”, but affordable high-end equipment, which is affordable not only for people who are ready to “not stand for the price”, but also for ordinary audiophiles and music lovers.
It is also important to note that Rotel has been part of the B&W Group conglomerate for three years now, and now has at its disposal not only a more powerful research base, but also significant financial resources. The birth of Rotel (originally “Roland”) was marked by a contract to distribute Sylvania televisions manufactured in the USA throughout Japan. This was in the early 1950s, even before the growth of television production from Japanese brands Sony, Panasonic, Toshiba and others. At that time, distribution meant service, and since Japan does not have the same AC power as the US, distribution rights also required modifying Sylvania products to meet local requirements. Thus, design work early on became one of the central areas of our activity. We began our journey to global recognition as manufacturers of quality audio components in 1961 when we reorganized and exited the television distribution business. Throughout the 1960s. The main focus of our activities was the development and assembly of audio equipment within the framework of OEM (Original Equipment Manufacture). At the same time, we have made increasing efforts to develop and market products under our own brand. A prime example of the company’s recognition is the coveted “Best Buy” rating awarded to the RX-402 by Consumer Reports in 1973. What this publication did not know (and probably never found out) was that the two second and third place winners were produced at the same Rotel plant, although sold under different brands!
At that time, many factors determined our strategic direction, the most significant of which was the hypercompetition in the stereo market in the late 1970s, which led to a strong trend in product demand based on functionality rather than sound quality. Quite quickly this turned into a marketing war based on dubious attributes. Instead of real performance improvements that were noticeable in comparative listening, manufacturers marketed products based on attributes such as power ratings inflated by dubious measurements and the latest fluorescent bar indicator. We chose the opposite path – and never looked back. By 1979, we had thoroughly defined our mission, returning to our fundamentals. Instead of endlessly chasing “features,” we’ve focused on designing no-frills audio components—with an emphasis on music fidelity, superior build quality, and affordability. This back-to-basics product has benefited from our extensive experience of reliably and efficiently manufacturing quality audio components in the Far East. Many of these 30-year-old components still last today!
Rotel RA-1312 (1968)
Although our primary design work took place in Japan, a critical laboratory in England was selected for selection of critical acoustic components and final tuning. In late 1982, this design partnership resulted in the launch of the RA-820B, which quickly became Rotel’s most successful integrated amplifier at the time. It was the first of a long line of products that would build our reputation for superior sound quality, winning us our first What Hi-Fi Product of the Year and receiving numerous accolades from the notoriously discerning British press. In subsequent years, various audio publications around the world have earned Rotel components an incredible number of awards in all categories.
Rotel RD-20 (1977)
50 years of impeccable work. Developing our new products involves rigorous design analysis and listening. Real performance improvements are difficult to achieve and require careful analysis of components and circuit designs. We never launch products just to have “new things” on sale. Our products have a long life cycle compared to industry standards, and new products are based on justifiable performance improvements. Perhaps this is why we have received such enormous international recognition from both music lovers and professional critics. Rotel components provide more than just entertainment. They provide an experience that resonates with people who want more. Music and movies become real when played by the right system. You must receive no less than what the performer or director intended. Hear what 50 years of electronics manufacturing experience can do to enhance your audio enjoyment.
Rotel RT-2000 (1978)
The heart of any audio component is the power supply, in which the type, size and material of the transformer play a major role. We didn’t want to hand over the production of such an important part to anyone else. Therefore, we invested financial resources and developed the know-how to create our own toroidal transformers. Without a good current source, the rest of the design is unable to provide the required performance. Our engineers carefully evaluate the power requirements of each model. This information is passed on to the transformer design team, which calculates requirements including voltage, current, physical size and product type. Engineers then create precise specifications for the transformers, begin the transformer design process, and produce the winding for testing.
Rotel RA-2040 (1978)
Each transformer is individually built to exacting standards, using materials sourced to the most stringent standards. The metal used for transformer windings undergoes strict testing to ensure it meets the requirement for the absence of impurities in the steel. The wire used for Rotel transformers is purchased from reliable suppliers who provide certificates for copper products. The fabrication, heat treatment, winding and stress testing of each transformer core ensures that the current source will provide each component with the clean, undistorted power needed for optimal sound. Uncompromising sound quality always starts with the power source, be it a CD player, surround sound processor, preamp or power amplifier. Our task when creating each component is simple. When listening to music and watching movies, it should provide a sound that will not leave you indifferent. The specification can’t express a person’s emotions, but you certainly know it’s the sound when you hear it. We achieve emotional harmony through a rational synthesis of physics, electronics and mechanical engineering, which we call the “balanced design concept.” Balanced design combines component selection, circuit layout, and critical evaluation to achieve performance that is more than the sum of its individual components.
Rotel RD-2200 (1978)
If you value high-quality audio, we invite you to visit one of our authorized dealers to give you a demonstration. Hearing is believing. This is the Rotel way. An international alliance between Rotel and the Bowers & Wilkins group has existed since the early 1980s, when agreements were reached for exclusive distribution in North America and certain European markets. Over the next 20 years, Rotel trusted virtually all Bowers & Wilkins distributors around the world to represent its brand. In 2000, Bowers & Wilkins established Rotel Europe in the UK to consolidate all Rotel sales and support outside North America. In 2006, Rotel and Bowers & Wilkins entered into a joint venture agreement for a large manufacturing facility and logistics center in Zhuhai, China. What our brands have in common has always been a belief in producing world-class audio products to the highest standards and an exclusive network of dedicated, specialist Hi-Fi dealers around the world. Rotel dealers are the best in audio. In their comfortable stores, they offer professional, personal service for both beginners and experienced connoisseurs of quality sound. Our factory technicians work with Rotel dealers to train employees so they can go beyond providing specification information and demonstrate the unique capabilities of Rotel components. Our dealers are passionate about audio and are always happy to introduce you to the world of quality sound. They provide installation services when required and provide top-notch after-sales customer support.
Our impeccable reputation, spanning over 50 years, is built on high levels of customer satisfaction and an ever-growing fan base of loyal customers. If our brand is new to you, we would love for you to stay with us for a long time. You can contact your nearest authorized Rotel dealer and ask for a demonstration. At the end of the 1980s. Bob Tachikawa joins Rotel to guide the company through its next phase of development. Bob, son of Tomoki Tachikawa, ushered in a new era for Rotel, taking the brand beyond traditional stereo into the growing home theater market while maintaining the company’s commitment to quality audio. Surround sound processors, audio and video receivers, multi-channel amplifiers and DVD players were launched to enormous acclaim and commercial success. As a graduate of the University of Virginia and a global visionary, Bob quickly became the face of the Rotel brand and was recognized as a key figure in promoting our brand and products. These values continue to this day, as Rotel is still owned by the Takikawa family. The company’s current CEO, Peter Kao, is Bob Takikawa’s nephew and leads an international team of engineers. The latest Rotel models are fully consistent with the Rotel acoustic tradition, the position of which is today very strong and recognized throughout the world.
Rotel RC-5000 (1980)
Our commitment to quality extends far beyond the research and development stages of our products. We follow the same philosophy throughout the entire manufacturing process and manufacture all Rotel products in our own factory, under our own management and on our own equipment. You might be surprised to learn that many audio brands don’t have their own factory, instead relying on contract manufacturers to cut costs. We made the decision long ago to manufacture all our products in-house to ensure they meet strict quality standards from incoming raw materials to finished products. In this regard, significant investments have been made in production technology. The Rotel facility utilizes state-of-the-art surface mount technology (SMT), wave soldering equipment, automated testing equipment, clean and efficient assembly lines and, of course, a complete range of transformer winding equipment. Equipment operators and production line personnel are highly qualified and have undergone extensive training. They work hand in hand with the quality control team in the production line and inspection areas.
Rotel RAP-1580 (2017)
In a Rotel-owned manufacturing facility, our engineers have complete freedom to create circuit layouts and select components based on audio quality rather than ease of production or cost-effectiveness. This approach is clearly visible and audible in every Rotel model. We are proud to mark each and every product produced in our factory with the Rotel logo. Surface Mount Technology (SMT) Takes a Closer Look Companies the size of Rotel rarely purchase SMT equipment due to the cost. Smaller companies typically outsource this production step to OEMs. However, SMT has significant advantages, which is why we decided to invest. Closer quality control More efficient production set-up Ability to install components on both sides of the circuit board Less resistance and induction during connections Better mechanical performance under vibration More reliable product with consistently better performance In 1995, Peter Kao was studying in Tokyo, where he periodically visited his cousin grandfather of Tomoki Tachikawa (founder of Rotel) and uncle of Bob Tachikawa (CEO of Rotel). At one of these meetings, the idea of expanding Rotel production to Hong Kong and China was discussed. It was clear that Rotel needed to move production to China due to the ever-increasing labor costs in Japan and Taiwan. This idea fascinated Peter and gave him the opportunity to see other regions of the world. In 1996, Peter joined Rotel in the Tokyo office to learn the business and products. In 1999, he moved to Hong Kong to set up a Hong Kong office and Chinese factory, where he remains active today.