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Rotel launches A11 and CD11 Tribute editions designed by Ken Ishiwata

Rotel has revealed special edition versions of its A11 integrated amplifier and CD11 CD player, in honour of the late hi-fi legend Ken Ishiwata.

The A11 integrated amplifier and CD11 CD player have been given the special edition treatment in the form of Tribute editions, which are especially poignant as they were the last products hi-fi audio legend Ken Ishiwata collaborated on before he passed away in 2019.

Ishiwata was the brand ambassador for Marantz, and was long admired for his ability to take products to new performance levels with only modest increases in price. The same process was applied to the A11 and CD11, two products that had garnered multiple awards and models that Ishiwata was familiar with.

A new specification was agreed with the Rotel engineering team and prototypes were produced by Ishiwata, before a final spec was agreed. For the A11, the new components were chosen for a higher performance throughout the signal path. In the amplifier stage, all ten capacitors and two resistors in the signal amp where changed, while in the pre-amp section, six capacitors were upgraded. all six capacitors in the volume stage were also upgraded. Custom damping materials were added to the A11’s mechanical chassis to reduce ringing and further dampen any vibrations within the product.

A Rotel Tribute A11 standing on a Rotel Tribute CD11 on a white background

The CD11 received a similar going-over, with eight capacitor changes and one resistor change in the DAC stage, while the power supply’s nine capacitors received improved components. Damping was further modified with a custom material added to the top cover to eliminate vibration and ringing, while more changes were made to the CD player’s mechanical and electrical grounding.

Having overseen the initial prototype phase, Ishiwata passed away in November 2019. The project was seen to completion by Ken’s long-term contacts and partners in the hi-fi industry, including close personal friend Karl-Heinz Fink. The final models see the A11 and CD11 Tribute offer an increase in resolution and detail, with improved rhythm and timing for a more musical presentation.

Other than the noted upgrades, the spec lists remains the same for both models, with the A11’s Class AB amplification, 50 Watts per channel into 8ohms power, aptX Bluetooth streaming and a 24-bit/192kHz DAC. The CD11 also features at 24-bit/192kHz DAC, with RCA analog and coaxial digital outputs.

Both the A11 Tribute and CD11 Tribute will be available in black and silver finishes, with Tribute badges on the front panel to honour the legacy of Ken Ishiwata. Both the A11 Tribute and CD11 Tribute will go on sale in September 2020, for £499 and £399 respectively.

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