August 2018

Rotel Signal Sense 2.0

A great feature just got even better.

For some time now many Rotel models have had a handy feature called “Signal Sense” that allows the model to wake up from Standby mode when it detects an audio signal on a specific designated input.

This means you can leave the Rotel remote on the shelf and just by starting up your audio source it will power on your Rotel system for you. If your audio source has its own volume adjustment (such as the volume slider on a Sonos or Apple TV, or if your TV’s optical output has a variable volume option), you can even set the input on the Rotel to a fixed volume and use the source volume slider for a truly hands-off solution.

Previously, this feature required the Rotel model to have the Signal Sense specified input selected before you shut the system off; otherwise, it would not wake the unit up as intended. So, for example, if you decided to listen to a few CDs the last time you used the system and forgot to flip it back to the Sonos input before shutting it down – back to the shelf to grab the remote!

Now, this small (but certainly annoying) limitation has been lifted with the latest software updates from Rotel. With the new software, regardless of the source that was selected when the unit was put to standby, the unit will automatically power on and select the proper source when a signal is detected on the specified Signal Sense input.

Below are some great use cases for the Signal Sense feature:

TV Audio

Many modern HDTVs offer an Optical Audio output that can provide a digital output signal for HDMI sources connected to the TV’s HDMI inputs. Simply connect your video sources to the TV using HDMI cables, and run the Optical out of the TV to the Rotel device to give your TV audio a big upgrade!

If you are connecting to a Stereo Rotel model, the key feature to verify with your TV is that the digital audio from the TV must be set to PCM format. If your TV cannot provide PCM digital audio, you can also try the analog RCA connections from the TV but not all Rotel models support Analog Signal Sense capability so the digital audio output is the preferred connection if it is available.

HDMI Sources -> TV -> Optical Audio -> Rotel (TV must be able to output PCM stereo)

Connecting a TV to your Rotel system.


Bluetooth Streaming Devices

For the ultimate in convenience and on-demand audio, set the Bluetooth input on your Rotel model as the Signal sense input. Then simply pair the Rotel with an Amazon Echo or your smart phone using the Alexa app or the Bluetooth settings of your smartphone. Whenever you reconnect Bluetooth, the Rotel device will be on and ready to play!

Amazon Alexa -> Bluetooth -> Rotel
iOS/Android device -> Bluetooth -> Rotel

Stream to your Rotel system over Bluetooth


WiFi Streaming Devices

If your home audio system is connected to a network or has ready access to WiFi, using WiFi streaming devices such as Sonos Connect or Google’s Chromecast Audio are great options to consider.

Ideally use the digital output of these devices to take advantage of the high quality DACs in your Rotel product.

Another nice feature specifically for the Google Chromecast Audio is many Rotel models offer a USB power port on the back panel that provides enough power for the Chromecast Audio. Simply connect the Chromecast Audio’s USB power cable to the Rotel USB Power port, and connect the Optical Audio cable to an Optical Input on the Rotel device and you have a fully self-contained streaming solution!

Google Chromecast -> Optical -> Rotel (incl. power via Rotel USB)

Cast from the Chromecast Audio to your Rotel system.


 Sonos Connect -> Optical/Coax -> Rotel

Stream to your Rotel system from a Sonos Connect

Stream to your Rotel system from a Sonos Connect


The following Rotel models support the Signal Sense feature:

Rotel ModelSoftware Version Required for Signal Sense Power Control
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