I am a great fan of the Jeff Roland M201 amps. Check my threads on them.
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I once listened to the Ayre V5X and found it much quicker, much more transparent with a better musical flow and a spooky / holographic sound stage. My modified Concentra II on the other hand has got darker backgrounds, more slamm and authority and sounds a bit warmer. I heard that the new Pass 150.5 design should better the Ayre as well as the 201´s. Any comments on this?
They're both different but both very nice as well. I owned and loved the V-5x for a while.
I think EITHER would serve you well. It depends on your priorities: want warmer, more tube-like liquid mids and solid - go JR....want more holographic wider soundstage (albeit with less focused images)? then go for the Ayre. I cant stress enough that they are both very, very good amps....
I had the 201's driving avalon acoustics opus, they sound amazing once broken in, givem a good 300 hours. compared to top of the line ayre they dont lack anything. but bring involvement to listening sessions. I heard the new ayre monoblock on wilson max and was dissapointed. You can go up to boulder and still wont have the magic and beauty rowland offers, the rowland 302 is the best amp Ive heard
Mikemitchell1, if you enjoied the JRDG 302, you should have a listen to the new 312: wonderful to my ears. . . it's my current favorit amp. . . heard it just the other week at RMAF in the Soundings suite.
DBLD, I heard the M201 driving a pair of Maggie 3.6s. . . sounded extremely charming, but with the big Maggies they tended to run out of staem on the more dynamic passages. . . nothing catastrophic, but all of the sudden -- when things got a little excited -- depth of field was lost and things became a little glassy. I doubt the problem would happen driving slightly smaller Maggies like the 1.6s. Optionally, you can try the Rowland 501s. . . same general sound, but with loads more authority and headroom. I heard The M501 driving the demanding Vienna Mahlers squarely and without any looseness in the bass even in the most demanding passages.
This thread is a bit old since I posted. At the time I had Legacy Focus 20/20s which can be pretty demanding on an amp. Guidocorona - I hear what you are saying about the Macs. I did have an MC-352 for a while and it had no problem at all driving the Focus 20/20s. Now I have Legacy Whispers driven by Theta Enterprises and couldn't be happier. These amps got a horrible review in Stereophile, but are just fantastic IMO. The most notable difference is with SACD/DVD-A material. The superiority of these higher resolution discs is much more apparent now that I have the Enterprises.
Guido - I don't know the Whisper impedance curve, but they are rated at 4 ohm nominal and about 95 or 96 dB efficient, I don't remember off the top of my head.
The Stereophile review seemed to start well, but then MF began some deep criticisms mostly in comparison to his tube amps as I remember (but my memory doesnt always serve me well). I was informed that the amps he had were brand new and unbroken-in, but you never really know. Even my amps sounded sterile and flat when they were new which matched his observations. I left them playing when I went on a trip to get the hours up. Now they are really nice. I wouldn't have believed this burn in thing if I hadn't noticed it myself.
In the end it always seems to be a question of synergy anyway, as much as that complicates matters and frustrates us.