If you are looking for a serious ‘amp-duo’, you will usually find yourself lookng at Pass Labs, AVM, Bryston, Ayre … Moon… or maybe Yamaha 5000 series. Just to name but a few examples. But Rotel…? Not directly. Until today. Because the new Rotel Michi line… yeah: yummy! We’re testing the Rotel Michi P5 and Michi S5
We almost got a hernia when we get the Michi P5 and S5 ready for the warm-up. The pre-amp – Michi P5 – is still workable, but the S5… with 60Kg, it’s a job for two. You’ve been warned. Where does this weight come from? Well… thick enclosures, thick toroidal transformers and… yeah… glass?
The appearance of the new Rotel Michi series is very sleek. In the 90’s, the series was beautifully finished in red wood – entirely in the spirit of the time – the new ’20’s line is sleek. Beautiful powder coated metal, glass on the front… nice sharp displays (no touch); it’s ultramodern. Very nice. We’d like to take them in and use them privately. Were it not for the fact that we don’t have a small 10,000 euros for an upgrade.
What is nice about the new series, is that the displays can be adjusted completely to your wishes. at least: on the Michi S5 (and M8 as well). There you can choose from several VU-meters. But unfortunately, the display’s cannot be switched off. Maybe you will, but we don’t see the need for the displays on the power amplifiers.
On the Michi P5 preamplifier you will see that there is also lot to configure. Via the setup button on the beautiful remote control, you enter the menu. There you can enable or disable sources, name them, control volume, select USB class, update software, control network connection (not for streaming, but Custom Install), phono stage setup (MM / MC) and possibly control the equalizer, if you wish.
The only criticism we can make is that the devices are not seperately controllable by the remote control. So if you only want to control the display of the power amplifier from the couch, that is not possible. Then the pre-amp also reacts. Also, the displays cannot be completely switched off. We hope these details will be fixed with a firmware update.
No need to worry about inputs: there are both digital and analog inputs: 3 x coaxial, 3 x optical, usb, bluetooth, 3 x cinch, 2 x XLR and phono. And then two sub-outputs, 2 x xlr-outputs and 2 x cinchoutputs. We can’t imagine that this isn’t enough. Probably the only thing is a hdmi input for audio processing of movie sources. That would come in handy.
On the Michi S5 we see both XLR and cinch entrances. We understand from Bowers & Wilkins Benelux that Michi is unbalanced, so single ended is a better choice. So in our review we play single ended because this will indeed give a better result. Pay attention to the XLR / Single Ended selector switch if no sound is heard.
There are two sets of speaker terminals on each side. Bi-wiring is therefore possible. It is not bi-amping in this case, as both sets use the same output stage.