Rotel RLC-1050 AC/Line Filter and Power
Running out of wall plugs for all your home theater components?
Got some dirty power problems you'd like to correct so you can get the best
picture and sound from those components for which you paid so much?
There are many solutions on the market aimed at either extending
your wall power receptacles, cleaning your power supply, or both. Some are
glorified extension cord/ power bars that claim more cleaning capabilities than
they may actually have, while others are more cleaner than power
bar, offering line conditioning but few AC outlets.
Fortunately, theres also plenty of opportunity for the twain
to meet. Rotels RLC-1050, for example, may steer closer to the
power bar side of the stream than the line conditioner
one, but it also offers a nifty feature that goes above and beyond both of
You can also set it to turn your components on and off in
sequence, to help prevent a huge power load from being inflicted on your home
at one time. Rotel recommends that if you're going to tread this path that you
set sources such as CD players to turn on first, followed by signal processors
(including preamps, etc.) and amplifiers. They should be turned off in the
opposite order, starting with the amp. This is easy to set up, as outlined
An international product, the RLC-1050 is designed to
operate on 115 volt/60 Hz or 230 volt/50 Hz power systems via a forbidden
switch on the back panel of the unit (the manual warns you not to change it; it
says it's set at the factory for the country in which its sold) and the
wall sockets it provides are of a universal type that accept a
variety of plugs. This makes it an interesting challenge to plug in your
components until you get used to it, but it isnt a big deal.
The RLC-1050 comes with a whopping 13 sockets that you can use
probably more sockets than you have components and it will handle
up to 1500 watts safely without threatening to shut itself down and complaining
of being overworked.
If only my kids were that dedicated to working!
It is, indeed, a lot of plugs and a pretty good lot of watts, yet
its surprising how quickly those watts can add up. A power amplifier is
good for a whole mess of watts right off the bat; add a powered subwoofer and a
TV to the mix and you can run out of capacity long before the sockets are
Ill give you an example. Our reference five channel power
amp, which not coincidentally is also from Rotel,
draws 800 watts on its own! Our reference front left and right speakers have
powered subwoofers built in and each of them draws 700 watts. And our reference
57 inch 1080i compliant TV draws 300.
That leaves less than no room for the satellite receiver, DVD
player, preamp/processor, laserdisc player (yeah, we still have one of them,
gathering dust except for emergency use) or the component video switcher that
take up the rest of the shelves in our rack. So we ended up not plugging the
speakers into the Rotel, relying instead on an older and lower quality power
line conditioner/surge protector thats basically a glorified power bar.
Perhaps we should have hit Rotel up for two RLC-1050s!
But even with its limitations the RLC-1050 is certainly better
than a kick in the teeth! We ended up using it for the five channel power amp,
the Rotel preamp, satellite receiver,
switcher, DVD and laserdisc players (none of
which consumes much power), which is still a pretty good result.
Cosmetically, the RLC-1050 is an unusual-looking beastie, though
you from the front its pretty straightforward. The front panel consists
basically of a power button and a row of red LEDs above two rows of
little rotary controls that set the on delay time and the off delay time, one
for each power receptacle. Those little rotary controls can be set for up to 30
second delays for turn on and/or shut down.
Alas, those darn red LEDs are always on as long as the
receptacles are powered, so you have this long line of lights shining out at
you from the component rack; we can understand why this is the case (if they go
out it means bad news), but we wish there were a different way to do this.
The unusual look mentioned above comes when you peer at the Rotel
from the back. Instead of the rows of power plugs we expected to see, the rear
panel is only about half the height of the front, and none of the 13 power
outlets are there. Instead, theyre mounted facing upwards on the
"lowered" top panel of the unit. This gives you a lot more room for the sockets
themselves, but it also makes hooking in the various power cables a lot more
difficult, as well as a lot tighter if the RLC-1050 is positioned on a normal
And wouldnt you know one of the power cables we wanted to
hook in had a great big end on it that ensured the RLC-1050 wouldnt fit
on the shelf properly unless we pushed it back so that plug end could stand up
behind the rack.
Of the 13 outlets, all but one are switched. This, combined with
the delay capabilities, gives you very flexible control over what turns on (and
off) when, for those who want such control. We generally leave the big amp
running all the time (we own shares in our local power company!) and prefer
controlling each other component by ourselves (were also control freaks),
so the delay wasnt particularly important to us, but its there if
you want it and we did test it (of course!) and it works fine.
And in a bit of design decision that would make Rube Goldberg
happy, if you arent using the unit's 12 volt triggers or another
component to operate the switched outlets, you have to run the supplied
AC Line In Control Cord from the output on the rear panel to the
unswitched outlet. This takes the unswitched outlet out of the mix,
unfortunately, and that's how we ended up running the system. Were sure
theres an excellent reason for this bit of design style but it
didnt bother us enough to actually bother asking about it.
What we really wanted the RLC-1050 for was to let us connect as
many components as possible while helping to cleanse our electrical supply
(which, where we live, consists of an embarrassingly noisy stream of electrons)
to help let our equipment run at its best. And to this end it worked fine, so
all in all were happy.
Sure, we wish we could have plugged everything into it in one swell foop,
and that it didnt have to be pushed to the back of the shelf to
leave room for all the plugs (no, we didnt have a spare shelf with
larger capacity and we didnt want it on the top shelf, where
it would look at little like Medusa), but the RLC-1050 works fine, and
does its job very well - and isn't that just the way it's supposed to
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