Integrated amplifiers

If one of legendary Nagra devices and an old Russian military radio transceiver had a baby, it would certainly look like this Rose. The all-new integrated amplifier had its premiere at the last year’s High End Munich show and although it was only displayed, not playing, I spent good twenty minutes just staring at it. If you miss the industrial design of late 70’s electronics, then the RA180 will please you in spades.

Function and form

Ease of use

I have no idea how many unicorns they employed in the Rose’s factory, but there are very nice details to be found on this amplifier. Look at the isolation feet. Look at the pure copper Furutech IEC terminal around the back. Look at the mechanism of the volume knob and note the left to right moving volume level indicator above it. No, when you turn the RA180’s buttons, flip its switches, and slide its sliders, it does not have the real feel of Nagra’s precision or Luxman’s smoothness, but who would complain?

The amp is based on gallium nitride FETs, operates in Class D (which – in this Rose’s implementation – is nicknamed into Class AD), and consists of no less than 4 amplifier modules, each providing continuous 200 watts to both 4 and 8 ohms, at vanishingly low distortion. These are impressive specifications.

The Rose RA180 is equipped with XLR inputs (1 pair), RCA line inputs (3 pairs), a phono input (1 with selectable MM/MC and a separate phono ground for the phono cable on top of another ground post for chassis). The phono has its own two equalizer knobs to adjust for RIAA, Decca, Teldec, NAB, Columbia, and other most used standards. The signal is sent out to an array of speaker binding posts or to a subwoofer (RCA subwoofer out). This way you can use the RA180 in the integrated mode as well as a power amplifier only, in bridged BTL mode, for bi-wiring or bi-amping, you name it.

Bass management


The machine is packed by functions from top to bottom. It is pleasure to witness the revival of tone controls in hi-fi and Rose did not forget to include them, together with the good old-fashioned balance slider. When the preamp is set to bypass and the RA180 is used as a power amplifier, the tone controls are bypassed, of course. What I found unusual (and extremely helpful when using the RA180 in bi-amping configuration) is the inclusion of a high-frequency crossover. With its two knobs one can apply a high-pass filter and cut in the range of 600Hz – 6000Hz, so only the frequencies above the set value will be sent to high-frequency terminals. Rose went one step further still: the gain of the high frequencies can be adjusted precisely so the user can fine-tune the amount of treble to his preferences, and vurtualy recording by recording. This is an amazing feature for an integrated amplifier.

Towards the bottom right of the fascia there are three toggle switches. One adjusts brightness of the front LED, the other filters out subsonic frequencies, and the last one quickly attenuates the signal without necessity of turning down the main volume knob.

Clarity & delicacy


The RA180 automatically turns itself off if there is no input signal for more than 1 hour. An in-built wifi module allows connecting to an App where the user can change the automated switch-off time. The App can also be used to control the amplifier. Rose includes a beautiful remote control too. And guess what – when the amplifier’s volume is controlled via the remote or the App, the volume knob is physically moving too, with all the gears. It is fascinating.

Sonically, the RA180 resembles a typical AB amplifier, with a tighter bottom end. Barbra Streisand and You Must Believe in Spring features a beautifully recorded piano, which had was deep and open at the same time through the Rose. It is a transparent amplifier and there were no veils to be lifted. The vocal was articulate and focused, the thing that would alone set the Rose apart from similarly priced competitors.

Tonal accuracy

Temporal resolution

The drums in If That Ain´t It I Quit of B.B. King did not exhibit the dynamics I am used to hear through truly high-end components. The aforementioned piano lacked a bit in colours too. However, the RA180 is not a piece of electronics that requires a mortgage to be owned, and it plays the music with verve and passion. When a guitar was crunchy, it was crunchy through the Rose. I also liked the way the amplifier highlighted the recording studio acoustics, which lent better credibility to the musical even recreation. As said, it is a quite transparent amplifier.

Spatial resolution

Soundstage width
Soundstage depth

Travelling back to past – to 80’s – Hard Way of George Michael was stunning through the RA180. It exhibited almost high-end interpretation of bass, with the swaying deep rhythm going under my skin. It was the presentation that entertained for hours, it was easy on ears, and perfectly composed. No need to say that the sound may be adjusted at any moment by the amp’s ample settings.

The Rose RA180 is a very accomplished and universal amplifier, and I dare to say it won’t be the weakest link in any good hi-fi system. Rose built it as a partner to their acclaimed RS150 and RS250 streamers and I am sure it can be a winning combination - and a futuristic-industrial looking one too. We may be in for more pleasant surprises from Rose in future.

Price as reviewed:149 000,- Kč

Recommended resellers

Nisel SK, Bratislava, tel. +421 905 203 078

Horizon Trading Prague, Praha, +420 606 642 175

Associated components

  • Sources: Accuphase DP-720, Musical Fidelity M6scd, XDuoo X10T II
  • Amplifiers: Avid Sigsum, TAD M2500
  • Interconnects and speaker cables: Nordost Valhalla V2, InAkustik Toslink, AAI Maestoso, AAI Assoluto, Nordost Tyr V2, Ansuz Signalz C2, Krautwire Numeric Digital, AudioQuest Dragon Zero | Bass, AudioQuest Dragon IC
  • Loudspeakers: TAD Evolution ONE E1, Fyne Audio Vintage Classic XII, Sonus Faber Gravis I, Elac Sub 3070
  • Power conditioning: Nordost Tyr V2, Nordost Qb8, Shunyata Research Denali, Stromtank S-1000, Ansuz Mainz C2, AAI Maestoso, AAI Assoluto, Synergistic Research Atmosphere Level 2, Synergistic Research SRX



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