Since the Rotel has next to no onscreen operations other than setup, its ease of use lives and dies by the supplied remote, at least for those who will employ it rather than some other, third-party whole-system control option. Here, the RSP-1572 scores a “gentleman’s C”: The controller is generously laid out and well marked, but it lacks any illumination other than glow-in-the-dark cursor and volume keys, and the horizontal placement of the latter way up in the top-right corner felt quite odd to my hand.
But the remote’s main failing is that it is a dedicated, single-component remote with no programmability or learning; a remote included with any but the cheapest of today’s A/V receivers will outdo it. (The controller does incorporate keys to manage a Rotel CD player.) That said, most or perhaps all those of a mind to contemplate a $2,200 A/V centerpiece (plus amplifiers) will likely have other plans for command’n’control.
Otherwise, I have few complaints regarding the Rotel’s operation. The RSP-1572 does have an onscreen text “pop-up” to show audio and video signal composition, selected surround mode, and volume-control changes, which I think is a great feature. You can also directly access channel-level trims by channel, also with pop-ups, from the remote, which I value even more highly. Unfortunately, all these pop-ups are fixed as small, white text positioned lower-center, where they were sometimes difficult to decipher, and sometimes obscured altogether by crawlers or subtitles. The Rotel also demonstrated an annoying habit of muting audio for a few seconds every time the bitstream switched from Dolby Digital 5.1 to 2.0 or back, which happens often when broad- cast/cable TV switches between commercials and programming. (I watched a lot of live sports via the Rotel.) I got used to this quickly enough, but I can’t say I enjoyed it.
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