Here's my comments on the RA180

Followings are my comments to a friend’s question about my opinions regarding the RA180 as a user. Since I don’t see my reply showing up anywhere in the Forum, I am posting it here for those who are interested in the RA180+RS150B combo.

It’s all personal. You don’t have to agree with me.


For the RA180, I would say it is far exceed my expectation. It is very good.

Before the purchase, I auditioned the RS150B+RA180 in the vendor’s store. They sound pretty good together. But I was skeptical if they could sound better than my existing system with the followings:

  • McIntosh C2700 preamp
  • McIntosh MC462 power amp
  • Aurender ACS10 streamer server
  • Weiss DAC502-Mk2 dac
  • Wharfedale Elysian 4 speakers

Becasue of that doubt, I bought the RS150B only as I like the design of it very much.

When the unit arrived, I tried different settings and eventually hooked it up as a preamp to the MC462, replacing the C2700. Surprisingly, it blends very well and sounds amazingly good, even without the Weiss DAC. The Weiss DAC still sounds the best in my setup.

Frankly, within the first few days busy in familiarizing the features and operations of the RS150B, I was hesitating if I should go for the RA180 as well. Because the RS150B+MC462 was already excellent.

I watched almost all RA180 reviews on YouTube and on the Internet.

In the end, I decided to take a bold step to give the RA180 a chance.

By the time the first few music notes flow from the RA180+RS150B setup to the speakers. I knew that I made the correct decision.

I don’t know how to describe the sound from the new combination since I am not an audio-component reviewer.

All I can say is: the sound pleases my ears very much, or simply I like how the combo sounds more than the McIntosh.

You may browsed many reviews for the units on YouTube already. Frankly speaking, their descriptions are mostly correct and not exergerated.

I am not saying that the McIntosh are no good. They are very good components indeed.
I would say they sound softer, more relax. And the HiFi Rose, on the contrary, is clearer, more energetic and defined in details.

The HiFi Rose sound “signature” will not please every one, for sure we all understand.

All I can say is the HiFi Rose sound pleases me a lot more than the McIntosh one.

In short, the RA180 performs far exceed my expectation and doesn’t let me down from the moment I placed my order.

Now I am selling my McIntosh, both preamp and power amp. Also, I am evaluating the cost-performace of the Weisss DAC, too.

Regarding drawbacks, connecting the RoseAmp App on my iPad to the unit wasn’t straightforward enough for one.

Documentations are a bit weak and unclear for two.

And lastly, in particular, using two remotes (one for RA180 and one for RS150B) for the combo designed to be used together is pretty clumsy.

Hoping that one day HiFi Rose will create an “integrated” remote. I’ll be a happier man.


That is more or less how I feel about it. Although I’m using the RS250 (the price of a 150b plus a 180 was more than I could stretch to plus I would have had to buy a headphone amp then too)
I’ve never found the streamer remote much use as Im swapping between remote and phone app constantly. For me, it’s easier to just use the phone app for the RS250. This has Ra180 functions too.

The amp is certainly lively sounding. It seemed a touch bright at first until I realised that it was actually that the highs were incredibly detailed

Yes, I am hearing more details in music than before.

Hi Tom,

If comparing your Mcintosh MC462 with RA180 (as poweramp mode) , do you think they perform in the same level of quality? Or even exceeding the 462 ? Thanks!

Hello Allan,
Yes, I do think so. Actually I like the sound of RA180 more than the MC462+C2700.

Guillermo, nobody stops you from disliking HiFi Rose products. Probably you had pretty bad experience with them before.

But I don’t think you have the right to project your anger onto others (like me) who have good experiences with the HiFi Rose products.

I never said HiFi Rose products are perfect and supports are good. And I never “trying to fix a serious quality control issue lies with the manufacturer” as you claimed me “spending far too much time” on it.

The fact is: I am a current user of the RA180 and RS150B. And I really like them.

Somebody in this forum just asked me a question about my opinion on the RA180. I simply replied to the person with what I thought about the amp.

Do I need your consensus to say “I like the sound of RA180 more than the MC462+C2700” to others ?

Do you own the same McIntosh combo that I had before ? Do you own the same speakers, vaious interconnects, power cords, etc that I have ?

If you don’t, on what ground you are asking me and others to “TRUST YOU” that you are right ?

As I mentioned above, I never said HiFi Rose products are perfect and customer services are excellent.
But these imperfections don’t stop me from liking the RA180 and RS150B that I have.

And I believe the person I replied to will not only listen to me but also will make a sensible judgement based on various comments and opinions, and very likely from auditionings.

You can express IN YOUR OWN POST in this forum that you think the HiFi Rose products are poor and you don’t like them at all.

But you DON’T have the right and qualification to accuse others simply because they express they have good experiences with the products you didn’t have. It’s rude.

Whether I like the sound of HiFi Rose products or not, and how I reply to others regarding my experiences with them, it’s my business.

You are biased and pls mind your own.


I see. Good. Thanks Tom!
I’d always like to gain more experience for what others think about the products. I have my own experience to judge whether the products are good or not, not in all the way trust others for pros & cons about it.
From my experience of HIFI rose, I really love them honestly in the way it performs up till now and they simply worthy the price though imo !

Yes, Allan.
They worth what we paid.

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I think I saw a post from Guillermo where he admitted he does not even own any Rose devices.

Did you trade in your McIntosh devices for the system you have now? I am really enjoying my RS150B with my other McIntosh equipment. What other brands do you have in your current setup?

I just want to chime in for a second here. I also have the NAD M33 which is an incredible component any way you look at it. However, when I listen to the M33 vs my RS150B and RA180 combo, there is no comparison. It’s not even close. The RA180 sounds much much better in all respects. True, the subwoofer jack is bunk and the app doesn’t always work properly. But boy oh boy, when it works the sound is sublime. I have also compared Roon to the silly Rose app and the Rose app sounds better. Sure Roon is light years better to use but it doesn’t sound as good. It’s funny how people can say something is junk without actually owning it. Why does this happen? I’m going to listen to my stereo now. Cheers!

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Sorry, but unless you are applying some DSP in Roon, playing the same file through the Rose app will sound exactly the same as playing it through Roon.

Yes, I always wonder why there are arrogant people who pretend to know everything and irresponsibly say something is junk without actually owning it. Anyway…

Manny, followings were my equipment before I purchased HiFi Rose a year ago.
Amp: McIntosh C2700 + MC462
Speakers: Wharfedale Elysian 4
Sub: JL Audio F113 v2
DAC: Weiss DAC502 Mk-2
Streamer/Player: Aurender ACS10
Power Conditioner: Plixir Elite BAC 3000V
Surely not top-notch, but they pleased me quite well overall, until I “accidentally” ran into a chance to audition the RA180+RS150B in the local dealer’s showroom. I am shocked as the RA180+RS150B sounded very good.

After some thoughts, I decided to give the RS150B a shot since my equipment at that time were totally different from the showroom displayed.

In terms of sound quality, I have to admit that my Weiss+Aurender+McIntosh Combo excels the RS150B+McIntosh MC462. But IMO, the gap wasn’t big.

Essentially, the two setups sounded differently. Roughly speaking, my original combo was more solid, steady and well-balanced, and the RS150B combo was a little behind.

But, it doesn’t mean that the RS150B+MC462 combo was bad. Especially, I like a lot the lively and energetic quality the RS150B bought to the music. Well, others may have different preferences in sound from me.

Worth a note, the RS150B is only about a third of the Weiss DAC502 Mk-2+McIntosh Pre in price. So, it’s a good purchase to me.

Similarly, my next MC462 replacement with the RA180 was more or less the same. Actually the sound quality difference between the two amps was even less significant. But the RA180, even only as an integrated amp, while under BTL mode, I think it further enhances the music characteristics the RS150B earlier bought to my system.

Above are my experiences about sound quality and characteristics for the RA180 and RS150B.

No doubt, in terms of device control and operation features and functionalities, ther RA180 and RS150B are way below my previous line-up. For example, as HifiHandyman pointed out above, the subwoofer jack is inferior. After nearly six months, I still couldn’t set up my JL Audio F113 to match with the jack properly. Or more precisely, I need to vary the F113 settings to match with different music and video playing all the time. Quite annoying.

Anyway, my biggest complaint to the HiFi Rose products at the moment is the Rose App, which is known to all HiFi Rose users as it is “below par”. I tried using it in the first few months but eventually I gave it up for Roon to play music. But the music from the silly Rose app, as HifiHandyman pointed out again, sounds better than the music from Roon. Another annoying thing.

Thanks BorisM, I’ll test playing music in Roon without DSP again to see if it sounds the same. My previous trial was different.

Thanks for the detail @TomT. My system is similar to your original in that it has a tube preamp and solid state amp. I have the C220 McIntosh Preamp and a McIntosh MC252 Power Amp. In my setup, I use a McIntosh MDA1000 DAC with the RS150B. There are slight differences with the MDA1000 vs. the RS150B’s DAC - I find the MDA1000 has a little deeper and tighter bass. I keep the RS150B analog XLR outputs configured along with the XLR digital into the MDA1000 - I switch between them regularly.

My speakers are B&W 803D. I have heard great things about the
Wharfedale Elysian 4’s… I have to audition a pair. Likewise, I would like to check out the RA180 - many reviews have praised it as a Class D amp - I haven’t found a local dealer yet for both the speakers and amp.

Yes Manny, your system is very much like my last system. A tube preamp + solid state power amp. Regarding speakers, I quite like my Elysian. Worth an audition if you have a chance. Same to the RA180.

I couldn’t resist and picked up a 180. Have have had the 150 for about a year. Started with the 250 and had all kinds of connectivity issues. I think the issues were wifi based and my network. Once I got the 150, I setup a direct ethernet connection, I have had no issues.

I have paired the 150 with several class D amps (old Hypex, nCore, Purifi), tried the Peachtree GaN400, Gan1. Even the Class D Mini GaN 5. I really like that one a lot.

I only stream using Qobuz. Stopped using Roon for now…

Current speakers are Elysian 2s with a swarm sub config (4). I use a Jensen isolation transformer coming off the main speaker outputs. I was worried about previous posts about the 180 sub out, never like the preamp sub out after using my hi-level config…

I also bought the 520. I’m going to eval both and see if $12K is that much better than $3700.


Hi Marty,
Glad to see another Elysian speakers user. Similarly, the bass from my Elysian 4 isn’t bad at all. I just want an extra punch and deeper bass from an additional subwoofer. It helps when watching movies.

Yes, would be interested to know how you think about the 520 comparing to 150. Thanks

Thanks all! That is what I want to know too!
BTW, the Wharfadale seems popular here too.Sorry but for its low pricing, I was doubted if it could match well with Rose?!

HI Tom,

Looking forward to the 180. Thanks for the note on the output voltage. I’ll try 3000mv.

For the Elysian, I did tweak the binding posts and internal wiring. It may be an improvement (basic scan speak drivers). I just love the look and the fit/finish of the natural walnut.

Sonus Faber is my go to look (WAF). Don’t know if they sound as well as the are priced…

I can never really tell…I have old ears at 57…

I used Sonus Faber before. They are good speakers too. But I didn’t have a chance to compare them with Elysian side by side. Also as you said they are more expensive.

My ears are older than yours. :wink:

I really like the 2s. Had several speakers over the years and wonder if the listening experience could be as as good as what we have today. I’ve got a home brewed active config that I want to maximize (Camerton full range, with Purifi woofers). I wish the 180 had more flexibility with its bi-amping. Using MiniDSP to control the frequencies in the digital domain.

I’m currently using the 150 with a Class D mini GaN 5.