Michi: ever since this Premium line-up from the Japanese company Rotel has been making new products again, we are always eager when a review copy comes hopping into Alpha-Audio’s test room. Although, hopping… This integrated amplifier weighs no less than 30 kilos so it was quite a haul. The Rotel Michi X3 is Michi’s entry level model. Will it impress as much as the P5 and S5 we tested earlier?
Japanese brands have a good habit of giving their premium series a separate brand name while keeping the kinship with the parent brand. Toyota has Lexus, Nissan has Infiniti, Honda has the Acura line. And Rotel… has Michi; best translated as “the (right) way”.
Rotel started in the 1950s and became big in Japan in the 1960s. Rotel made OEM products for American brands like Scott, Marantz, Harman Kardon. By the way, should you associate Rotel with British, that’s not surprising at all. Rotel is firmly rooted in the United Kingdom. Through the Rank-conglomerate in the 1970s, Rotel made products for Leak and for example Wharfedale. Still the headquarters of Rotel is shared Japanese/British; and Rotel is still a family business, for 55 years.
The Michi line has the following products:
- X3 integrated amplifier € 5,000
- X5 integrated amplifier € 7,000
- P5 pre-amplifier € 3,500
- S5 stereo power amplifier € 6,000
- M8 mono power amplifier € 6,000 (each)
The Rotel Michi X3 is the “entry-level” Michi model. An integrated amplifier with digital and analog inputs, and 350 watt of class AB power.
According to Rotel-Michi, everything starts with the power supply. The brand makes its toroidal transformers itself. So: power first… then the rest wil come. We heartily agree. A powerful and clean power supply yields a low noise floor and a higher signal-to-noise ratio. In short, more audio-happiness. Power to the people!
This integrated amplifier has ‘one’ of many components on board, where the more expensive Michi products have two of them. Let us explain. For example, the toroidal transformer, the DAC chip, the balanced connections, a phono setting (MM). The S5 and P5 have two… the X3 has one.
On the back of the X3, we see an impressive amount of inputs: 4 analog of which 1 phono (MM), 1 XLR input, Bluetooth (aptx). Furthermore, three times optical, three times coaxial and USB. The network connection is not a streamer but is an input to include the Rotel Michi X3 in a smart-home system. There are four speaker terminals, so bi-wiring is possible.