I've had them both and, although the Simaudio is very good, I prefer the Rowland Concerto. The Rowland just seems to be more refined.
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I am currently selling a Rowland Concerto integrated so take what I say here with a grain of salt. I have not listened to the Simaudio nor the Tylers but I am very familiar with the Rowland. First and foremost the Rowland in my system is exceptionally neutral, no mid-bass warmth, no exaggerated bass and no tilted up highs, although it does lack a bit of air or space compared to my previous integrated a McIntosh 2275 tubed integrated. My speakers are JM Lab Mini Utopias which I would also classify as neutral albeit with limited bass extension.
I don't want to put words in his mouth but I think what Bobgates is referring to when he says "refined" is that the neutrality leads to a totally grain free, edge free sound. It's not tube like, it's not typical solid state like. Detail is very good but you're not getting artificial tilted-up highs for more perceived detail at the expense of listener fatigue. In fact, when I first listened to the Rowland in my system there were two things I noticed about the sound: 1. With my limited bass speakers I missed the mid-bass warmth of the Mac. I felt the "coloration" of the Mac made for a better match with my speakers. 2. Detail and dynamics were so good I was halfway expecting listener fatigue, but it just doesn't happen. Although I will say that when I used Kimber Silver Streak balanced interconnect from my Ayre CX-7e CD player to the Rowland it made for a bright sound. Not fatiguing but just not to my liking. Switching to Cardas Golden Cross and ultimately Synergistic Research Luminescence solved that problem.
Due to its neutrality and clarity my recommendation is to mate this integrated with a speaker that doesn't need a boost in the midbass. A more full range speaker with deeper bass extension to take advantage of the full frequency range of the Rowland would probably be best. If you are looking for a very expansive sound with a lot of ambience stick with tubes. In my limited experience with tubes they do that very, very well (although you may run into problems with limited dynamics and a softer bass for tubes in this price range). Also, the Rowland is very sensitive to cables, more so than any other component I have used. I tried a total of 5 or 6 different cables with audible differences with each.
Keep in mind too that my comments are based on comparisons with equipment that are $4,000 to $5,000 used (integrated or amp/preamp combinations). I'm sure there are more expensive components that offer better resolution, clarity (although its clarity may be hard to beat at any price), more space, more sophistication but I haven't heard it at this price point. If you are looking for neutrality, dynamics and clarity it's hard to beat.
I heard the i-7, it sounds very refined to me. I bought it. I find the Roland a bit too rolled off in the top end, somewhat colored to my ears (of course I listened to it at a different dealer, but he also let me take it home for an evening). Then again your speakers will dictate a lot. If they're fast and revealing, I recommend the Sim -it just has more speed and resolution. But both are good. I use it with B&W 802's. My source is an Avid turntable with the new Sim phono preamp I just got as well. I have an old but good CD Player, due soon for a change, a Classe CDP1.
I have not heard the Sim, but I have had the Tyler Linbrook monitors with McIntosh separates and the MA6900 integrated, a Cary/Bel Canto combo (no tubes), and the original Rowland Concentra, and to this day I have not heard such a magical combination as with the Rowland. I may actually one day go back to it.
I have the Concerto with the Super Towers and it is a great match. I once read that Ty used Rowland gear to voice his speakers, not sure if true or not but read it somewhere. I have been doing this since 1972 and this is one of the best combination I have heard without mortgaging the house. If you can pick up these components used, it is a great system at a very reasonable ( relative I know) price. Both pieces of equipment are first rate-you will NOT find better quality of product. The truth is in the listening.
Thanks again for your inputs.
I finally settled on something totally different. From T+A (Theory + Applications); a German firm.
I got the CD player as a demo and bought the amp new.
Very fast, wide-bandwidth components. Neutral and very detailed (but not harsh) sound. Extremely well designed; compact yet very powerful. With my Tylers, they make for an incredible system.