Audio Score – Rotel Michi X5 – Integrated Amplifier Review
The Rotel Michi X5 is a two-channel integrated amplifier. It was introduced together with the smaller sibling, the X3 and the separates P5, S5 and M8.
It is currently the most powerful Rotel integrated amplifier and proudly carries the branding “MICHI”, representing the pinnacle of Rotel audio engineering capabilities.
In this AudioIntro, I would like to highlight some features and the first impressions I have from the Michi X5, based on extensive listening in a medium sized living room.
The X5 was connected to an Isotek Aquarius EVO3, a Macbook pro via USB and the Bowers & Wilkins 801D4 flagship speakers. The cables are from InAkustik and are called 2404.
My X5 is equipped with a digital module which gives it the following digital connectivity:
- 3 COAX inputs (24 bits / 192kHz PCM)
- 3 Optical inputs (24 bits / 192kHz PCM)
- 1 USB input (32 bits and 384kHz, plus DSD 256 and DXD 384kHz)
The digital input supports MQA.
The analog side is well equipped, with the following inputs and outputs:
- 1 Balanced inputs
- 4 Unbalanced inputs
- 1 MM/MC Phono input
- 1 unbalanced variable output
- 1 unbalanced variable subwoofer output
On top of that, the X5 is equipped with a Bluetooth module to receive data wirelessly.
In measurements the solid-state class A/B design is capable to push out 400 watts per channel continuous into 8 Ohms and it weights 96 lbs or 43.8 KGs.
I bought the X5 at Hifi Audio in Düsseldorf. If you ever have the chance to check out hifi-audio in Düsseldorf, please do. They are not only very competent, but also have a huge selection of high-end stuff. For the last 20 years, I have been a happy customer and can highly recommend a personal visit or digital on: hifi-audio.de
This A3S – score review is quite simple, with 3 main chapters:
- The first part SIGHT focusses on the score of the device. Based on my personal experience, I will rate the speakers in various categories, give a score for the current value and the give it an audio-score. The total score is 40 points maximum.
- The second part focusses on the SOUND aspects of the device, with a maximum of 50 points.
- Last, we have the VALUE part, that accounts for 10 points.
If you would like me to feature your device, please feel free to contact me or visit my website audioscaleurs.com
Time for the Audio Components Review!
The Rotel Michi X5 is very simple to use. Most of the functionality can be altered on the large display at the front of the device. Left click-wheel allows you to change the input and the right counterpart is the volume knob. Same as other components in this price range, the X5 is extremely heavy. The dimensions are large, with a height of 19.5 cm and a depth of 45.2cm, but it should fit in most high-end furniture. The packaging also includes a manual, a very nice remote and a standard power cord. There is no upgraded power cord included in the box. Overall, the Michi is not difficult to operate, heavy as you would expect, not equipped with bells and whistles, and doesn’t come with special accessories. Therefore, it receives a 5/10 for convenience.
LOOKS & STYLING.
The MICHI X5 looks very modern to me. With the simplistic, yet sophisticated combination of a large display and manual knobs, it comes pleasing to the eyes. The manufacturing quality delivers visually appealing materials. The overall size, design and color choice is unique. I don’t think it is the most beautiful piece in the MICHI lineup, but it still receives a wonderful 7/10 for looks and styling. For me, Rotel has created a great design philosophy which will hopefully age well.
The X5 is made from quality materials, inside out. The connectors are gold plated, the terminals are compatible with banana plugs, very solid and the craftsmanship is great too. The display size is great, resolution is only mediocre but very readable even from 4 meters away. The remote control is of very high quality, too. However, when you touch the knobs, it is just short of the industry leading designs from T+A, Accuphase and others and I give it an 8/10 for quality.
There is a fundamental discussion on what an integrated amplifier should deliver in 2022 and what is an unnecessary gimmick. In my opinion, the X5 has great features such as Bluetooth with aptX, it supports MQA, a USB-input and plenty of analog options. However, it does not come with an equalizer, a power-amp input (no XLR, no RCA), no passthrough, no HDMI input and the network port can only be used for software updates. For me it is such a missed opportunity and I wish it would deliver either all that on the analog side (preamp/amp) in- and outputs, or fully focus on the digital side (HDMI and streamer). This is by no means a poorly equipped integrated, however it does not feel complete for me just yet. Therefore, it scores 6/10 for features.
Summing up the Sight Score, the X5 is well built, looks modern and sleek, delivers on basic functionality, and continues the MICHI branding in a worthy package. For me it deserves 26 out of 40 points.
TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS & AUDIO EXCELLENCE.
The measurements of the X5 are marvelous. The power rating of 2x600 Watts into a 4 Ohm load combined with a total harmonic distortion of an incredible 0.009% is high-end at its best. Rarely have I seen numbers that match or exceed this, especially considering its an integrated solution. The S/N ration of 102DB for Line and Digital is great as well. My ears would not fault these numbers, underlining that all components from input to rated output are dead quiet. Therefore, the X5 earns a 9/10, just short of pinnacle madness.
The X5 does a lot of things extremely well. One of them is accuracy and detail. It is a very good match with the 800 Series Diamond exposing everything I wanted and more. AVICCI’s hit single levels surprised me with new bits and pieces that I have simply never heard before. The fake strings are now constantly present and almost holographically never disappear. For the audience that was quiet a magical moment when all of us appreciated how much attention to detail TIM really had. It is those moments that make me feel in love with good equipment. The X5 is great equipment. The D4 is extremely accurate, and the diamond tweeter can be annoying – not with the X5. When it comes to detail, the X5 was a match made in heaven with the 801 D4s. The X5 is one of the most revealing and detailed pieces of amplification I have tested.
Strong 8.5 / 10.
, I have to pull the comparison to the Mcintosh MA9000. In many ways the two power houses sound identical to me. Both have the capability to place instruments in the room very adequately, point them out and create a wall of sound. The X5 is flawless in this regard, having a little bit less warmth in the sound signature than the MA9000. Both units create that wide, detailed soundstage, that to me, comparing it to even bigger boys such as some separates, lack depth. Don’t get me wrong, there is depth, but it is not as controlled, as powerful, as magical as what I know from some separates. If you like the “in your face” approach, this one is for you. Imaging is strong for an integrated, however I know the power amp could deliver more when connected to a different preamp. – This is not possible with the X5. Therefore, imaging is 6.5/ 10.
the X5 delivers. The bass is extremely punchy, dry and it stops when it is supposed to. It easily controls the 801’s up to very loud volumes, however, really shines at lower volumes. When listening at lower volumes the lower frequencies are very present, very engaging without sacrificing timing and accuracy. Relative to integrated amplifiers only, this is a magnificent achievement. That is an 7.5/10.
The sum of the 3 categories can either be the same score, better or worse. Synergy is strong for the X5 because it simply sounds stunning. It is engineered to deliver maximum detail without sounding harsh. It is extremely neutral in the midrange and delivers punch and groove in the lower frequencies. Does it lack character? The X5 is a very capable, fast, and accurate music machine. It Is not for the romantics, nor for the analysts, but for everyone else out there that loves to listen to the music as intended by the artist. I like it a bit more magical, therefore it still gets a strong 8 /10 for Synergy.
For the Sound the X5 comes in at 39.5 out of 50.
Without a question, the X5 is a bargain in the High-End industry.
There is a caveat though.
Many of my friends, customers and partners are very loyal to certain brands because they are unique, not perfect. They love their units because they can upgrade them, change them, grow with them.
The X5 is the straight A student. No need to fix them.
It delivers perfection on paper. It delivers perfection in the listening space. It is hard to find a fault - But it is not magical.
It looks great. – But it is clearly not an Accuphase, a Mcintosh or a Luxman. There is no romance. It has all the features one might want but does not fully serve a person upgrading from inferior products (no HDMI, no streaming) nor does it catch an audiophile searching for the holy grail (preamp and amp section not separate) and starting with something like the X5. Therefore, at 7500 Euros, we see prices of used units dropping quickly. 7.5/10
Add it all up and the scores are 26+39.5+7.5= 73 out of 100
Some quotes while listening to the X5:
Timing King – bass is so accurate and dry.
Hard to believe this is an integrated – the bass seems to be endless.
I didn’t even know there were strings playing in the background on this song.
I hope you enjoyed this review and come back for more content
Ps, you need an audioscore for your equipment? Contact me.
- Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/audioscaleurs/
- Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Audioscaleurs
- YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1fyOvUcq0StoYp2BW5kp0Q