Jeff Rowland 501s and PC1s

I installed the PC1s with my 2 Yr. old 501s and am very happy with the improvement. Sound stage is wider, taller and deeper. Image is more pronounced with increased detail.

As for value, $3200 for the PC1s on top of $6700 for the 501s is alot of money. A lot of very good amps at this price piont.

For me, Rowland equipment has a very natural, uncolored sound that I have found compatable with all my other equipment over many years.

Esoteric X0-1 Limited
JRDG Concerto Pre
JRDG 501s
B&W 802Ds
Cardas Golden Reference, all cords, cables and ICs
ASC Tube Traps
Room Dem. 13'x 15' x 9'Hi
Well Phous, I suspect that your system is very revealing and musical. Why don't you post a Virtual System so that we can see your setup?

For someone that doesn't already have 201s or 501s, I'd suggest the Continuum 500. The C500 includes essentially two 501s, a Capri preamp and PFC, all for $8800 or $9200 with phono section. In the context of other Rowland gear it's a good bargain, then compared to anything else, it's an incredible, almost unbelievable bargain. (Compare to Ayre, Boulder, ARC, BAT, Atmasphere, Lamm, etc.).

One of my friends in the Denver area has a Capri/501/PC1 system driving B&W. His praises are similar to yours. I've got the C500 driving Vienna Acoustic.

Hi Phous, please keep us posted with your observations while the PC1 devices break in. . . they will likely take a few hundred hours to stabilize and yield their best. Guido
For someone that doesn't already have 201s or 501s, I'd suggest the Continuum 500 - Dcstep -

Yes Dcstep you're right about the Continuum but , at least here , you won't sell a Continuum as used or pre-owned since only few 'll be searching for so powerful integrated amps while more audiophile search for preamps and separated amps
Actually, integrateds are pretty popular here.

and going for Capri + 501 + PC-1s allows upgrading ... my dealer said that Jeff Rowland is preparing a new preamp beetween Capri and Criterion

Interesting news about a new JRDG pre-amp. I didn't see that when I was there a few months ago. I'll be there again in a few weeks and we'll ask Jeff about it. (I wouldn't be surprised if that's just wishful thinking by the dealer).

It is possible. Now that Jeff's got the new remote designed, allowing more I/O options, then it might be a simple matter to scale up a Capri for those needing more flexibility. It's amazing how much design effort goes into that remote interface.


I would like to know which cables JFR uses beetween preamp and monoblocs ...
I have still not found what I am searching for

thanks in advance
Clavil, I'll see what I can find out. I assume you mean JRDG when you say JFR, right? I saw his ICs when I was down there, but the memory is foggy. I'll try to verify. Keep in mind, he doesn't pay for those kinds of things, usually. He'll barter with other makers he likes, so it's not quite the same as you and I putting down full retail.

yes jrdg himself! ...

As far as I know JRDG uses mostly Cardas Golden Refs in house for baselining. . . Only ICs I have used on JRDG are AQ Sky. . . I use Cardas Golden Ref speaker wire between JRDG 312 and Vienna Mahlers. For PCs I have tried PAD Anniversary, Cardas Golden Ref, and Shunyata Anaconda Helix alpha. I like Anaconda best, Cardas Golden Ref 2nd, and PAD Anniv far last. There are some reports of very good results with Elrod PCs. . . and I will eventually try an Elrod Statement on 312. I hope also to listen to JRDG components connected by the newest Shunyata ICs. G.
I saw some Cardas, but I thought there was something else. I'm checking with someone else that was there.

Sorry, I was wrong about Cardas, it was Nordost, now that I consult and look at some picture. Hope that helps.

sorry maybe a stupid queston ...

can a power plant like premier from ps audio do the same job ad have the same positive effect than the PC1s?

Good question, but no Clavil, because the PS converts from AC to DC and back to AC. Rowland's PF1 only works with certain of his equipment because it converts from AC to DC and stays in the DC mode.

I have now the PC- 1 at home, as I have only one piece I put it on the Capri and use a modified NBS II from it to the Capri.

The stage image is deeper, the outline of the musicians is more precise.

I wonder why Guido doesn't seem to appreciate this combination?
why is the PC-1 so expansive?

with the Capri and my monos I would need 3 !!!
Hi Clavil, fair question. I used the PC1 with the original pigtail on the Capri. I thought the stage was a little more constrained and there was less harmonic content than Capri directly in wall outlet. But that was several months ago, and I'd be more than happy to change my mind if warranted. . . I will reinsert the PC1 on Capri during the Christmas break and will post results here. I now wonder if my old non positive findings were caused by the thrifty pigtail that comes with the PC1. Could you per chance try PC1 with the original pigtail and let us know if things change radically for the worse? I do agree that PC1 is not at all inexpensive. I suspect the list price may reflect high cost of components inside it.

Now that I think of it, it would be nice if JRDG created a "PC2" with 2 or 3 outlets based on the single 1500W PFC module and other power rectification componentry contained in the Continuum 500. . . there would be plenty of current for driving a pair of 501s and a Capri without a single bead of electrical perspiration (grins!).
Hi Guido,

my dealer gave me the PC1 and prepared the NBS II because he thinks it's best to use the same cable through the equipment ...

he didn't gave me any "pigtail" ...
neither the original current cable,
this one is a japanese one with special treatment at minus 273,15°
I will ask him

excellent idea! could you ask him ...

Best regards
Clavil, as far as I know PC1 ships from the factory with a 50 cm long stock cord to connect PC1 to the destination device (201, 501, Capri, etc. . .). Your dealer should still have this cord somewhere.
Hi Guido,

I met my dealer today, he said he was trying a few cables before his choice falled on the NBS II ... he thinks the biggest improvment will be on the monos ... when I get a pair of PC 1 I will report
Sounds good Clavil, keep us posted. GUido
curious first impressions with two PC 1 on my monos 501

the stage is a lot wider, but singers seems to have a mouth as big as a whale, drums player have arms 4 meters long ...

I will wait a little bit before moving the loudspeakers to try to correct this effect...
one PC 1 should be burned in, for the second unit I don't know ...
both cables are NBS monitor II

I am perplex?
sorry, power cables

AET innovative design HIN AC/SP EVO
Ultra Performance Power Cable Japan Made
Thanks for the update Clavil. Give the PC1s about 2 weeks worth of playing time to stabilize, regardless of prior break in claims. Approx 300 hours should do the trick. Let us all know how the sound evolves. Guido
all the system has somehow settled down in the last days ... maybe because the 501s, the Capri and the Puccini are only a couple of months old.

The PC1s make a big difference! ... a positive one ;-)
I had the visit of a friend (owning some Martin Logan) who told me he didn't believe in the positive effect of power transformers.

I just let him hear a few CDs and then I took the PC1s off ... he was quite amazed ! ... He finds the sound of my system very detailled and precise but also warm ... I think he is wright, now I have some tube-like warmth but with definition and precision. I really don't understand all the critics about Class D amplifier and especially about the 501s or the 201s. I think you have just to combine them properly ...

well I have now to travel to Asia, I will report more exactly when I am back.

best regards

PS when I am back the Puccini Clock should be here ...
Thank you for the update Clavil. Your findings on the refining effect of PC1s corroborate my original guess based on my own 501/312 comparisons. Will you be able to leave your equipment active and playing music from a tuner whilst you travel to Asia? You might find your system sounding even sweeter upon your return. Guido
Hi Guido, thanks for the advice ... I instructed my wife to do so ;-)

I found an interesting passage in an article from Jonathan Valin about the monos 201 ... here :

quote The 201 sounded quite lovely and lively in the midrange and bass on the constant stream of well-recorded staccatos and pizzicatos that makes up Schnittke’s post-Modernist prank. To my ear, however, there seemed to be something missing from its treble. You could hear the problem on the piano’s sforzandos and little noodling runs in the top octaves, where the 201 seemed to squeeze much of the brilliance out of the instrument’s treble register. The highest-pitched notes just didn’t sound as big spatially, as fully articulated harmonically, or as powerful dynamically as those of the piano’s other registers, as if the Steinway had turned into a child’s piano in the top octaves. Ditto for Kremer’s violin. With the 201, his occasional, eerie, veryhigh- pitched glissandos on an open E string simply evaporated into silence well before they would have (or did) with my reference Class AB amps, the ARC Reference 210 and MBL 9008. The 201 didn’t just roll or soften the treble (as Rowlands often do by design); it cut it off, and with that, the articulation of very-low-level harmonics and dynamics and the full duration of high-pitched notes. ...

I have made a test on my system with the same piece played by Guidon Kremer and I didn't miss anything in the piano high octaves neither on the glissandos on the E string ... but I must confess it's not the same recording (Guidon Kremer has recorded it at least twice) .

It would be very interesting to compare his impressions with ours with the same recording ...
sorry the name of the piece:

Alfred Schnittke’s Quasi una sonata [EMI ASD 3870]
Guidon Kremer & Andrej Gavrilov
Clavil, the fragment you quote from Jonathan Valin's article contains a very good description of the foreshortening of treble low level information which was relatively common on the previous generation ICEpower amplifiers. Others, like Chris Martens, have described the same phenomenon as treble harmonics being disconnected from the fundamental. It is also true that in my experience, the 201 monos tend to sound a little short of 'lung capacity' on power hungry speakers such as -- for example's sake -- the Maggies 3.6. . . hence the feel of a toy piano. Having said that, Valin is comparing a $4K entry level monoblock amp with extremely high end devices costing several times as much. . . the performance delta is not completely surprising. I suspect that if he had the opportunity of applying a PC1 to the 201s, his findings may have been subtly different. . . but there was no PC1 available at the time the article was written. . . or even published.
It is my impression that the application of pre-PS power rectification of one form or an other for ICEpower amps may be a valid methodology to address the harmonic and low level information shortfall of early such devices. Only future may tell. Guido
Hi Guido,

sorry my english is limited ... what do you mean with previous generation? are the ICE - power modules used now for the 201, 501 or 312 from a new generation?

I have definitevely the impression that the sound of the instruments becomes richer with th PC1.
Hi Clavil, ICEpower modules of 501 and 312 are the same ASP1000. 201 uses if I recall correctly the ASP500. These are -- relatively speaking -- current modules. By 'previous generation' I really meant previous generations of end user products. For example, the Continuum 500 can be considered a newer generation product than the 501 monos, because of the more sophisticated pre-PS power management, in spite of being designed around the same ASP1000 ICEpower modules. Similarly, the original BC R100 and the newer Mk.2 versions use the same ASP1000 modules as far as I know, but the Mk.2 has pre-PS power management that the original did not have. The PC1 devices is designed to bridge 102, 201, 501, and C250 products to current generation performance. It is worth pointing out that different manufacturers/engineers evolve their class D creations along different lines, applying different strategies towards similar musical goals, and all operate within the constraints dictated by their respective pricepoints. A priori, it is impossible to decide which approaches will be most successful, and in the end, only our own individual ears can determine what is most suitable for our own system and musical preferences. G.
I still had not the possibility to hear the PC1 with the original cables delivered by J.R
so that the PC1 are working with AET EVO power cords in
and adapted NBS Monitor II out

with / without PC1 makes a big difference, that even a sceptical audiophile friend had to recognize. It's such a difference that even non-audiophile persons would recognize it easily in a blind testing.

I agree with Phous:
- the stage imaging is becoming wider and deeper, the orchestra seems to stay some 10 subjective meters behind, as if you were sitting before in the first rows of a concerthall an then in the middle of the "Parterre"
I would add:
- the sound seems also to become richer & lushier

now my AET EVO & NBS II are probably also helping a lot ... ;-)

from the $ point of view, it is of course an expensive improvment as you have to buy the PC1 (here in Europe quite expensive) + 4 power cables (2 in + 2 out)

I talked to my dealer asking him why he didn't recommend to me to buy the Continuum 500, he said "if some day you want to change your loudspeakers, we have better possibility to tune the system with the diferent power cables precisely on your new loudspeakers. Nevertheless it would be very interesting to compare my combination with the Continuum 500.
Clavil said:
"I talked to my dealer asking him why he didn't recommend to me to buy the Continuum 500, he said "if some day you want to change your loudspeakers, we have better possibility to tune the system with the diferent power cables precisely on your new loudspeakers. Nevertheless it would be very interesting to compare my combination with the Continuum 500."

That sounds like an excuse to me. Selecting from the speakers that will match well with the Continuum 500 presents a very broad selection. The C500 can use any power cable. I would only agree with him if your speakers are very distant from the preamp.

Hi Dave,

well you have to recognize that with 5 power cords instead of 1 you have some more margin to play with. The combination also allows to change the preamp ... for ex. go the Criterion ;-)

I would only agree with him if your speakers are very distant from the preamp.
I find big diferences beetween power cords, interconect and speaker cables also when they are short. You can really define a way you like and go quite far on it. I feel even that sometimes that cables can make more difference than preamp, amp or Cd player.
Just my opinion

I understand what you're saying, but my approach is to eliminate PCs and ICs. I think of them as added to potential distortion rather than being an opportunity to "tune" the system. In keeping with JRDG design philosophy, "keep signal paths short and simple."

If you're likely to move up to the Criterion and 312, then it makes sense to me, but not so that you can use more cables. ;-)

Hi Guido,

I have finally received today the original JRG cables to use between PC1 and 501. I am afraid theses are not the same ones as in the US, as they are not "pig tails".
Anyway it is obvious that my modified NBS Monitor 2 are quite better:
Stage imaging more deep and better outlined musicians, sound with more power and bass.
Clavil, are you using 1 or 2 PC1 devices? The 501 monos require 2 of them. You should allow for about 300 hours of break in on the PC1s before they stabilize. Guido
I use 2 PC1, they are on the way to the 300 hours or almost above? I don't know
Clavil, how did you use the PC1s without the JRDG original wires to connect them with the 501s? You seem to have received the PC1 to amp wires just a couple of days ago. G.

My dealer gave me both PC 1 for home demo with modified NBS Monitor II power cables, I only got the original JRDG cables yesterday ... he was right!
Hi Clavil, just trying to understand. . . you were using NBS power cables instead of JRDG 'pigtails' between PC1s and 501s, and you experienced that the modified NBS power cords yielded a more desirable sound for the 501s. If my description is correct, I expected your results. . . the JRDG 'pigtails' are just stock wires, and as such they are unlikely to be at the level of any high end aftermarket power cords. Guido
Hi Guido,

I got the 501s with the Capri together (power cables AET EVO Hin from the first day),
than I had one PC1 on the Capri (power cable between these two NBS Monitor II from the first day),
later I got a second PC1 and I put them on the 501 with two Monitor II,
I had never seen the JRDG original powercables for the PC1 until I wrote here, I asked for them to hear the difference with the Monitor II ... that said the european JRDG cable is not a Pigtail ...

I hope now it's a more clear ... sorry for my english
Clavil, the JRDG cord that connects PC1 with an amp is a 45cm long power cord. It has a male 15A IEC at one end to connect to an amp, and an IEC 320 connector at the other end to connect to the PC1. Such a very short cord is often referred to colloquially as a 'pigtail', even though it is straight and not coiled like the real tail of a cochon. Is the PC1-to-amp cable supplied to you any different? Guido
yes I was thinking at the Pigtail, a cable in shape of a "queue de cochon" ...
now I have it in front of me, yes it's 45 cm long, there are a lot of things written on it:

(UL) SJT E159216 VW-1 75° 3X18AWG CSA SJT LL112007-1 VW-1 60° 3X18AWG H05VV-F 3G1.OMM2 -VDE- Kema-Keur öVE CEBEG IEMMEQU

the modified NBS Monitor II are definitively better than this.

I wonder why perfectionnists like J.R. are selling their products and not caring too much about cables? ... OK better for us, so we can do our experimentations and have fun ;-) but I really don't understand from their perspective ...
Yes Clavil, that is the 'pigtail', minus the 'recessive gene' that would make it coil like a tirebouchon. If manufacturers supplied high end cords with their component products, they would have to charge significantly higher prices while giving you power cords that may not be necessarily of your taste. On the other hand, it would be good if they readily published specs of slightly unusual cords they use, like on PC1, so audiofools like us can experiment easily with upgrades. Now that I have heard about your experience with NBS on PC1, I am intrigued. . . I might try a Furutech wire, as I like those a lot on Rowland gear. G.
jrdg response regarding cables:

Recommendations - Cables, Power Line Conditioner, or Other Equipment
Various accessories such as power cords, interconnects, power conditioners, and even more so major components such as speakers, as well as analog or digital front ends, often have a significant effect on the sound of a music reproduction system.

Unfortunately, the sonic effect of such products is very much system dependent, and their particular desirability is very much a function of the musical and sonic preferences of an individual listener.

Therefore, as company policy, JRDG refrains from recommending any third party components or accessory products over other ones.