Hgeifman, sorry for the intrusion, I don't have experience with the 201's, but from the little I've read, it seems to me that the new amps are a bit of a departure in sound. I too will be quite curious as to how the new Concerto integrated sounds, if you get a listen, please share.
I have some spotty 2nd-hand info on the new 13lb Model 201s:- A friend upgraded from his Model 2 to these new amps & he is very satisfied with them. He informs me that he is now grinning from ear-ear when he plays them. He has them for just 2 weeks. Right out of the box they sounded good but nothing revelationary but after about being on 24/7 for 1 week they suddenly broke in. Now, I understand from him, the sound is just like he would expect from a 250W/ch mono & exceeds his Model 2 by a long shot.
Sorry that I cannot describe the sound - he didn't describe it for me & so I cannot conjure something for this post!
He has been & is Rowland fan for atleast 10 yrs & he has listened to many other Rowland amps during these 10 yrs @ his dealer's place. I've been told that with each new Rowland offering, the amps get more & more neutral in sound. Whatever that means to you Rowland fans....
Here is a thread with some comments on the sound character of the new amps.
The above referenced tread (from audiocircle) is very interesting, but I wish he would of tried them with an active preamp in balanced mode. I would be very interested in his comments if made these 2 adjustments. My assumption is the Rowland 201's require an active pre-amp and I am sure sound better in balanced mode. Thanks..
Funny! I know "Hantra" (who made the Audiocircle post) as he is a local audiophile who lives about 10 miles south of me! I never knew about his experimenting w/ the Model 201 amps! Oh well.....
Well, I've been in email contact w/ him: he is not using the Model 201 nor the BelCanto! He is using some other mono block amp. I'll be going over to his place sometime to listen.
Hi Manbir and others. FYI I have just received a pair of these generously on loan for demonstration to our local audio club (Hawkes Bay New Zealand). They displace a biamped pair of tube/mosfet hybrid amps that have proven quite excellent. They are driven from a Sony XA777ES via silver foil leads and a motorised Alps 10k pot, into N801's.
They sounded quite average out of the box without breakin - an hour later little different (I have no idea how much break in they already have - but the box had been opened at least and I suspect they have had a bit of use as demo amps). I swapped the standard power leads for some local power cables that have proven revelatory on all amps I have heard them with, and once again the change was night and day. I have not the h foggiest why power cables should have this effect, but I think I am now achieving a fair degree of the 201's capability. I would characterise them as neutral - certainly not warm. Compared to my existing set up (a few hours in so barely a fair comparison), they are not miles away - they are better in bass control (mine is a zero feedback system so no surprise there), perhaps not quite the slam or warmth of my old Plinius SA250, but not quite the air and detail of my hybrid amps but nevertheless very good. This only after a few hours - lets see what happens in a few days.
I have owned a pair of 201's for about six weeks. I consider them revolutionary! Comparing them to the Rowland 302 amp, I believe that they sound more musical and more involving. The 302 is an amazing amp too - better be for $14k. I use my 201s to drive Vienna Acoustics Mahlers -heavenly. The Mahlers have two 10 inch woofers on the side of each speaker and two 7 inch mids. Most amps find it find difficult to control these woofers. The 201's whip them into shape. At $4700 -compared to similarly priced amps, I consider them an excellent value. I think they outperformed the $10K+ Levinsons in another store. These amps are so small that I borrowed them from the local dealer and carried them in a bag to other stores and compared them against various amps, speakers and components combo. I do know about warmth, but these amps do not fatigue, but I suppose I would consider them more warm than dry. Warm sounds colored and euphonic. These are true. They do not sound like other solid state amps, but not like tubes. They sound like music. You will hear your source components.
These things are bottomless. Ignore the watts rating. They suck greater than 45 amps per side! That's 90+ amps total. They will consume as much juice as you give them. Jeff Rowland said that if struck by lightning, these amps would sound even better. Simply they just efficiently convert current to energy. I listen to music loud and for hours and these things do not tire or tire me. And, they run cool! Hours of driving them at full bore and they feel cooler than when I started. Go figure. My musical collection comprises 25% classical, 15% jazz, 15% world and new age and about 45% pop/rock -includes all kinds of rock, heavy metal, hip hop, rap, dance and more. No country music.
Speaker cables make a big difference. I use Analysis Plus Solo Crystal Oval 8. They work very well with these amps - they really let them breathe. I also found that the A-P Power Oval Tens power cords make difference - a tad quieter -they are already extremely quiet, more open, more dynamic and musical. As you can tell, I think the world of these amps. I have not heard every amp, but I can not justify spending more money for amps. I think these amps will drive anything. One very, very minor criticism, these may not possess as deep a soundstage as some other highly touted -and very expensive- amps, but not for a second would I accept the tradeoffs! BTW, I buy gear based on how it makes me feel. That's how I bought my Mahlers and Rowland IIi pre and 201s. When listening to music through the Rowlands and Mahlers, I forget about the gear and become totally immersed in the music. Highly, highly recommended!!
BTW, they do require some time to break in. Out of the box, they sound average - almost dissappointing. You may feel like you made a mistake. But then ... very good after 200 hours ... fantastic after 500 hours ... glorious after 800 hours -truly. If you think that's bad, the Rowland 302 take much longer. It's well worth the wait. I ran my amps 24/7 for about five weeks. Who knows, they may sound even better yet.
I own these amps and am very happy with them. I would not chraracterize them as warm, but if anyone thinks that because they are "digital" they might sound cold or lean or clinical, guess again. They are anything but.
I have these amps and could not believe the overall improvement in my system. I run B & W N802 speakers and these amps are perfect for them. I use silver Pure Note cables and this setup is anything but digital. Unbelievable sound stage. Great detail but very musical. Also there is no noticable heat from these amps. They are a remarkable product at this price point. One last point, country music sounds great on them as well.
So what is the local power cord Murray?
Which Analysis Plus Power Oval power cords are you using with the 201's ... the ones with the opaque colored jacket and the Marinco plugs, or the more expensive ones with the clear jacket and the Wattgate plugs?
i tried these monoblocks over a weekend, I have to stress that these amps were brand new so no break-in yet AND they weren't run in balanced mode. I felt the drive was definitely lacking at low volumes and even in higher volumes it was slightly relaxed. Not an overwhelming gimme at first listen.
But the more I listened the more I enjoyed, these amps have a tonality that i can only describe as delicious, ridiculous i know but that's what leapt to mind. The sound was so sweet and so delectable. i totally loved it. the soundstage was wider as well.
I was using this with the JR Capri btw, another sweet thing. i think you need to get both pre and power amp to fully appreciate it.
I'm in a quandry now, do i get the plinius or the jeff rowland? These two amps do their lovemaking in distinctly different ways. Too gross to describe here : )
I've owned the Continuum 500 integrated (with phono cards) for two-weeks now. It's like two 501s, a Capri and two PC-1 Power Correction Modules in one gorgeous box. Looks like a Concerto integrated that's 1.5" taller and with a curved faceplate. I've also listened to the 102, 201s, 501s and 312s, driving various speakers, mostly Vienna Acoustic, but also DALIs. (I own VA Beethoven Baby Grands).
This is an incredible amplifier, but I wouldn't advise it to anyone seeking a "warm" sound. Here are some adjectives that I'd use:
Built like a tank
Demands excellent sources
The Continuum is available right now. Soundings in Denver has a demo unit in their big room. Strangely, they're selling like Wonder Bread in Asia already. Unfortunately, Jeff hasn't had time to update his site.
Oh, as I've listened to the 501s, 201s and 312, none of them struck me as "warm." When I hear an amp that free of stress and effortless in sound productions I think "sweet", not "warm." Maybe someone here that's owned both generations can comment better.
Anyone can suggest me what is your opinion for a combination of the Jeff Rowland 201 amplifier and Isophon Cassiano loudspeaker? These two things could be a good match?