Recommended Reference ComponentRotel’s Diamond Series components—the RA‑6000 integrated amplifier–DAC ($4499, all prices in USD), reviewed by Roger Kanno last February, and the DT‑6000 CD player–DAC ($2299), reviewed by Roger last April—are touted as “celebrating 60 years of performance synonymous with the brand’s Japanese heritage.” In the case of the DT‑6000, this catchline seems particularly apt.

In his review, Roger describes the DT‑6000 as being more solid and more stylish than most other Rotel components. It has a thick, attractive brushed-aluminum faceplate, embossed with the series name, and deeply grooved, chromed end caps. Its disc drawer is set centrally underneath the display, which mirrors it dimensionally. To the right is a typical set of controls, which take the form of round machined-aluminum buttons.


While the disc mechanism reads only CD media (neither SACD nor DVD-Audio are supported), several digital inputs are available at the back: coaxial (RCA) and optical (TosLink) inputs, which accept PCM data up to 24-bit/192kHz, and a USB-B port that can decode PCM up to 32/384, native DSD and DSD over PCM up to 11.2MHz, and MQA and MQA Studio up to 24/384. Both single-ended (RCA) and balanced (XLR) outputs are available and are spaced enough to readily accommodate robust interconnects, Roger notes.

Beginning his audition with the DT‑6000 operating strictly as a DAC, using the USB port, Roger compared it with the DAC in his Anthem STR preamplifier, which he has had for several years and with which he has been most satisfied. He connected the DT‑6000 to a pair of the STR’s analog inputs and listened attentively. What he found was quite unexpected: “I was a bit taken aback when I started listening to it in my reference system. The highly detailed sound I am accustomed to was still there, but there was a bit more weight to it and a livelier, more dynamic quality. The differences weren’t huge, but they were evident with everything I played through the DT‑6000. My system just sounded a tad more satisfying.”


First on Roger’s musical playlist was Beyoncé’s “Break My Soul (The Queens Remix).” He writes: “From Beyoncé’s very first, echoey vocals, the music washed luxuriously over me, filling my room with wave after wave of pulsating sound. While the imaging extended well beyond the outside edges of the speakers, the placement of each voice and instrument was still ultraprecise.” He also writes that the electric bass was in sharp focus between the speakers and had a “super-solid and hard-hitting quality.”

On Lang Lang’s “Somewhere (Dirty Blvd.),” which features the late Robbie Robertson, Roger was impressed by Robertson’s up-front vocal presence. He recounts how he could hear the instruments “pop delightfully in and out of the soundstage, with the piano keeping excellent pace in the background.” Next, Roger played three DSF-encoded DSD tracks: "Solsbury Hill” and “Here Comes the Flood,” from Peter Gabriel 1, and “Family Snapshot,” from Peter Gabriel 3. “I have never really loved these early Gabriel albums,” he admits, finding the sound on many of the tracks to be “a little muddy.” But when playing through the DT‑6000 from DSF files—“they sounded as good as I have ever heard on my system.”

Later in the review, Roger notes that with the DT‑6000 in the signal chain, the sound was a tad smoother than it was with the STR: “when I played the live concert recording of ‘Thunder Road,’ by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, from The Roxy, West Hollywood, CA: Oct 18, 1975, . . . the dense mugginess of the atmosphere in the Roxy Theater was nicely captured by the Rotel, with the audience placed realistically in close proximity to the players. And when Springsteen belts out ‘Show a little faith, there’s magic in the night,’ there was less sibilance and bite, which made his voice sound less shouty and jarring.”


Proceeding with a selection of favorite CDs, Roger found the DT‑6000 to also be a fantastic CD player, capable of “wringing every last little bit of performance out of Red Book CDs.” He describes listening to “Fallen Angel,” from Robbie Robertson’s eponymous album of 1986:

The opening heartbeat-like rumbling drums . . . were deep and well defined. . . . The bass [was] taut and concussive, [and] Robertson’s vocals hung in space between the speakers with astonishing palpability and . . . delicate distinction [from] the overdubbed backing vocals. Even with the playback of CDs and standard-resolution digital files, there was a real sense of control with the DT‑6000’s performance and nary a hint of compression or strain when the sound got really loud nor any lack of control in the bass region.

Another interesting comparison Roger made was with his Oppo Digital UDP‑205, which he describes as “an outstanding 4K UltraHD universal Blu-ray player–DAC with excellent video and audio quality, including 7.1-channel analog outputs for multichannel recordings.” The DT‑6000 costs more, and it lacks video and multichannel capability and the ability to play SACDs and DVD-Audio discs; but with only stereo audio outputs, its analog output stage received much attention, Roger writes, “and it shows.” Listening to “Here Comes the Flood” on the Oppo, Gabriel’s vocals were a little diffuse, he noticed, and so were the instruments, which “seemed to originate from roughly the same plane behind the speakers; on the Rotel they were placed at different depths on the soundstage.” He noticed similar imaging compression on Lang Lang’s “Somewhere (Dirty Blvd.)”: “there was noticeably less space between the images through the Oppo . . . ; they were clustered more closely together and toward the midpoint of the speakers.”


The DT‑6000’s praise from our network of publications continued after Roger’s review. At the end of 2023, it was selected as one of our Products of the Year in the Exceptional Value category. At the beginning of this month, in his review of the Magnetar UDP900 universal disc player, Roger lauded the DT-6000 again: “If you were to ask me today what my favorite audiophile disc player is, I would have to say the Rotel Diamond Series DT‑6000.” This and the earlier accolades have now earned the DT‑6000 a Recommended Reference Component award.

Manufacturer contact information:

Tachikawa Building 1F
2-11-4, Nakane, Meguro-ku
Tokyo, Japan 152-0031