Rotel has revealed the launch of two special editions of the company’s A11 Integrated Amplifier & CD11 CD Player models, with each named as Tribute versions in celebration of the company’s partnership with the late audio legend Ken Ishiwata.

Ken was widely admired in the hifi industry for his unique ability to identify the most worthy, ideal products for modification and then define the musical references plus the suggested component changes to the engineers, in order to take the products’ performance to new levels, often with only a modest increase in price.

Rotel A11 and CD 11 Tribute honouring the late Ken Ishiwata

Hifi Legend Ken Ishiwata

Describing the partnership, Chief Technology Officer at Rotel, Daren Orth said: ‘Having both been in the Hifi industry for a similar amount of time, I was in the same audiophile circles with Ken over the years, as were the Tachikawa family in Japan – founders and owners of Rotel. There was mutual respect of the talent and market position and a long desire to work together but the opportunity never arose. An opportunity did finally arrive in the late summer of last year when the initial discussions began, with the project becoming a reality in September. All of the Rotel engineering team were delighted at finally having the opportunity to work with Ken.’

Rotel A11 & CD11

A joint decision was made to focus on the A11 and CD11, products that Ken was already familiar with. The team believed that the Class AB 2 x 50W A11 Integrated Amplifier & CD11 CD Player represented the perfect base for taking products and turning them into something very special.

Ken made his initial appraisal and agreed a new specification with the Rotel engineering team. Initial prototypes were then produced by Ken and his own long-term acoustic engineering contacts, with the final spec agreed with the team at Rotel.

For the A11 amplifier, specially selected improved components were chosen to offer higher performance throughout the signal path. In the amplifier stage, all 10 capacitors and two resistors in the signal path were changed. For the pre-amp, six capacitors were upgraded, representing over 50% of the components in the signal path. All six capacitors in the volume stage were also upgraded. Custom damping materials were added to the A11’s mechanical chassis to reduce ringing and further isolate/insulate and dampen any vibrations within the product.


For the CD11 CD player, eight capacitor changes and one resistor change were made in the DAC stage while in the power supply all nine capacitors were changed with improved components. Once again, a great deal of thought was given to the damping of internal vibrations with custom damping material added to the top cover to eliminate vibration and ringing, while further changes were made to the mechanical and electrical grounding of the CD player.

Having agreed on the changes and having overseen the creation of the first prototypes, Ken very sadly passed away in November 2019, before the project could be completed.

Karl Heinz Fink

However, some of Ken’s long-term contacts and partners from the industry, including his personal friend Karl-Heinz Fink, volunteered to continue his work with the Rotel team in order to complete the product and to fulfil Ken’s original vision.

The upgraded A11 Tribute and CD11 Tribute products are now ready for launch and carry special Tribute badges in honour and as a legacy to the man whose total passion for music, was the impetus that made them happen.

Product Specifications

The A11 Tribute and CD11 Tribute are available in both Silver and Black finish.

Rotel A11 Tribute Stereo Integrated Amplifier

Available in September

Suggested Retail Price: $799, €599, £499

Rotel Class AB amplification, continuous rating 50 Watts per channel into 8 ohms.

Custom, in-house developed, oversized toroidal transformer.

Moving Magnet Phono Stage

Texas Instruments 24-bit 192kHz DAC

apt-X and AAC Bluetooth for wireless audio streaming

4 RCA analogue inputs for ultimate flexibility

A-B speaker 5-way output binding posts

Remote control

Rotel A11 Tribute Stereo Integrated Amplifier

Rotel CD11 Tribute CD Player

Available in September

Suggested Retail Price: $599, €449, £399

Tray loading dedicated CD mechanism

Texas Instruments 24-bit 192kHz DAC

RCA Analogue and Coaxial Digital output connections

Rotel Balanced Design topology of digital and analogue circuits

Rotel CD11 Tribute CD Player

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