Rotel has taken the wraps off its first high-resolution network audio system: The Rotel S14 Integrated Streamer. The word “integrated” means this digital player has an integrated amplifier, so all you need to add are loudspeakers.
The S14 features a 32-bit ESS Sabre digital-to-analog converter, and it supports several 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 to the latter service.
You can also play high-res music files from a local server (via 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 the aptX HD and AAC codecs). Apple AirPlay 2 and Google Chromecast compatibility add even more flexibility.
Rotel’s streamer is also equipped with a coaxial digital audio input to support CD players, analog stereo inputs for old-school cassette decks or turntables with line-level outputs (or a turntable connected to phono stage), and pre-amp outputs if you’d prefer to connect it to a different amplifier. There’s 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 full-color display on the front panel shows album art, artist, as well as album and song titles for the current selection.
Unlike many network streaming devices, which are designed as components in a home audio system, the Rotel S14 Integrated Network Streamer delivers up to 150 Watts of Class AB power at 4 ohms, so it can directly power a wide array of loudspeakers connected to its 5-way binding posts. There’s also a headphone jack on the front panel.
The S14 Integrated Network Streamer certainly looks promising on paper: A modern all-in-one receiver with streaming at its heart 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 competition, including the $1,299 Cambridge Audio CXN (V2), shoppers should take into account that Rotel’s product has an integrated Class AB amplifier with enough power to drive anything but the most demanding loudspeakers.
We’ve asked for a sample and hope to publish an in-depth review in the coming weeks.