Rotel Michi X3 amplifier Review

Frankly, at first it was hard to believe that the announced price could really be offered at the start of mass production. However, after a while we were able to make sure that Rotel kept its promises – a combination of a Michi P5 pre-amplifier and a Michi S5 stereo power amplifier or Michi M8 monoblocks definitely has the best value for money on the market today. The next stage in the development of the line – is integrated amplifiers. In this article, we’ll take a look at the series opening Rotel Michi X3.


Contents:


Design

Rotel Michi X3

If you can make any claims against the designers who worked on the appearance of the components of the Michi series, it is only for the absolutely identical front panels of all models. Yes, they look very stylish and strict, but I would still like some, albeit small, but individual differences.

So, the front panel Rotel Michi X3. In the off state, it does not give out in any way the rich equipment of the amplifier, in order to evaluate it, you need to supply power to the device. The power switch is located on the rear wall, and the component is switched to Standby mode from a thin and long remote control, which is the same for all models of the series. After switching on the display on the front panel comes to life – it shows the inscription Michi, and then – information about the signal level and the involved input. And the amplifier has a lot of inputs! The patch panel includes three analogue line inputs on RCA, one balanced input on XLR, an input for a built-in phono stage for moving magnet heads.

Rotel Michi X3

To connect digital signal sources, there are three optical and coaxial connectors and a USB-B input for a computer. For installers, there are inputs and outputs of a 12-volt trigger, an RS-232 port, and an Ethernet port for connecting the amplifier to a home network. There is also a Bluetooth module in the amplifier’s arsenal. Outputs, in addition to two pairs of speaker terminals, include a pre-amp output and a mono output for connecting an active subwoofer, plus a 6.35mm headphone output on the front panel. The USB-A port is intended for updating the device’s firmware, and can also be used to charge gadgets. As you can see, the only thing missing is the built-in Wi-Fi streamer, but this is already nit-picking.

All settings are controlled through the menu using the remote control, while the inputs are switched both from the remote control and using the left rotary knob on the front panel.

Rotel Michi X3

Inside Michi X3 looks very impressive – the linear power supply is built on a powerful toroidal transformer and solid filtering capacities. Large heat sinks for the output transistors are neatly integrated into the side frames of the case and are only visible when viewed from above. The amplifier is capable of delivering up to 350 watts into 4 ohms and up to 200 watts into 8 ohms in class AB. Not surprisingly, the device weighs 28.9 kilograms.

In general, the design of the model fully meets the expectations that we are already accustomed to placing on the components of the Michi line, it remains to test the X3 in action.


Test configuration

Test configuration

For testing, the Rotel Michi X3 was included in a system that included an AVM ROTATION R 2.3 record player, an AVM EVOLUTION CD 3.2 CD player, and Dynaudio Contour 20i, Dynaudio Contour 30i, and Dynaudio Evoke 50 speakers. Switching was carried out by interblock and acoustic cables of the Transparent Ultra series.


Sound

Rotel Michi X3

A better test than Dynaudio acoustics is hard to come up with for any integrated amplifier. If he confidently copes with the expensive floor-standing models of the Danish company, then all other speaker systems will also be up to him. As we expected, Michi X3 did not experience the slightest difficulty with the Dynaudio Contour 30i, let alone the bookshelf 20s. Low-frequency control was exemplary, with the amplifier able to convincingly demonstrate the difference in bass tuning across different Dynaudio models. The Contour 30i’s surgically precise and taut bass contrasted with the 20i’s slightly looser, sweeping handwriting, and the Evoke 50 was clearly set on power and punch.

However, it would be a mistake to think that the main advantages of the Michi X3 lie only in its confident work with bass. The sound of the amplifier is distinguished by high transparency, excellent articulation and attack across the entire frequency range. In general, the sonic signature of the Michi series components is very different from what we are used to hearing in the performance of the younger Rotel models. An example is how easily the amplifier handles complex orchestral as well as faceted pieces. In addition to the fact that the separation of all groups of instruments was just perfect for the Carmina Burana fortissimo, the very believable timbres should be especially noted.

Rotel Michi X3

Well, “Toccata and Fugue” by Bach literally made me listen to myself from beginning to end, while the work of the lower organ pedals was clearly audible even in the most intense moments. It seems that the sound of the amplifier will also appeal to fans of extreme “metal” genres, but only on condition that the recording quality is at an acceptable level. Classic rock performed by AC / DC, Pink Floyd and Deep Purple was just amazing.

Rotel Michi X3

Separately, I would like to note the work of the spectral analyzer on the front panel, which makes a significant contribution to the enjoyment of sound – sometimes it is downright mesmerizing, producing the same effect on an audiophile as a boa constrictor on a rabbit. It is simply impossible to break away!


Conclusion

In the segment of integrated amplifiers, the Rotel Michi X3 performs as powerfully and confidently as separate Michi components in their field – no one else offers such sound quality, equipment and workmanship at this price point today. Real High End at a reasonable price!


Specifications

  1. INTERMODULATION DISTORTION (60Hz:7kHz, 4:1)<0.03% 
  2. DAMPING FACTOR (20Hz – 20kHz, 8Ω)350 
  3. CHANNEL SEPARATION>55dB 
  4. INPUT SENSITIVITYLine Level Inputs (RCA): 340mVLine Level Inputs (XLR): 540mVPhono Input (MM): 5.2mV 
  5. INPUT IMPEDANCELine Level Inputs (RCA): 100kΩLine Level Inputs (XLR): 100kΩDigital Inputs: 75ΩPhono Input (MM): 47kΩ 
  6. INPUT OVERLOADLine Level Inputs (RCA): 3.5VLine Level Inputs (XLR): 5.5VPhono Input: 60mV 
  7. PREOUT LEVEL1.9V 
  8. OUTPUT IMPEDANCE100Ω 
  9. TONE CONTROLS±10dB at 100Hz / 10kHz 
  10. COAX/OPTICAL DIGITAL INPUT SIGNALS SPDIF LPCM (Up to 24-bit/192kHz) 
  11. PC-USBUSB Audio Class 1 (up to 24/96)
    USB Audio Class 2 (up to 24/384)**Driver installation requiredDSD and DoP support

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