Hi Michael, I am very familiar with Rowland Criterion, own a unit and love it... But I am not familiar with Solution 720. However, it strikes me that Criterion is based on current Rowland architecture, while the M302 tends to show that it is 3 generations old, and may constitute a performance bottleneck... Are you sure you want to replace Criterion instead of M302? I am concerned that even if the Solution 720 were a substantial improvement over Criterion, M302 would remain a limiting factor in your total system performance.
Thank you very much for response. I thought about what you told and now I think that you probably are right. What amplifier you could recommend for replacement of JF302 in my system? The amplifiers well sounding with Magico Q3 are interesting.
Hi Grayling, what is your budget for a replacement of the Rowland M302? Depending on your budget, I have a few ideas that are consistent with the power of M302 and with the kind of sound that I hope to get from an amplifier. Let me know!
Hi Grayling, Rowland has a new stereo flagship amp, called Model 825, which fits your $30K budget. M825 is a two chassis SS amp with a total weight of $160. This means that the power supply is in a separate chassis. Power is 400W into 8 Ohms and 750W into 4 Ohms. The power supply appears to be a massive 2400W creature fed by its own PFC rectifier. M825 is the stereo version of the M925 monoblocks (which I have on order). It is my understanding that M925 and M825 are the very pinnacle of Jeff Rowland's design. M825 will start delivering in a couple of weeks. These devices are 3 major engineering generations past M302, and all reports I have heard this far indicate that unlike the old M302, their sound is extremely emotionally involving... I can't wait to have my own M925 pair delivered!
Thanks. It's very interesting.
Well, I would have a slightly different approach than Guido in answer to your question. I have a fair amount of experience with Magico speakers - having owned the Magico M5 for about 3 years and having done extensive listening to the Magico Q3 and to a lesser extent the Magico Q5. From what I have heard with 2 different Q3 setups, is that the Q3 can sound a little lean in the lower midrange and upper midbass frequencies. One of these setups was using the Soulution electronics (preamp and amp) and I would definitely characterize the sound as somewhat analytical and lacking emotional involvement. I would agree with Guido that the Criterion is a pretty good preamp (I have heard one in my Magico system for about 2 weeks) but that Rowland 302 amp is not the best amp match for a Magico speaker.
The best sounding Magico setups that I have heard have always been with high quality tube amplifiers. I used the VTL Siegfried amps with my Magico M5's and I have listened to a Q5 setup using the VTL S400 stereo amp which sounded great. The person I sold my M5's to is now using the VTL 450 series 3 amps with them and loves the sound and I know another Q3 owner who is also using the VTL 450 series 3 amps.
The other thing that, in my opinion greatly improves a Q3 or Q5 setup is the use of a very high quality sub woofer. I used two of the Rel Studio 3 sub bass systems with my M5's and the improvements were substantial - not just in deep bass but in soundstage, low level acoustic information, and in a richer and more realistic midrange and upper frequencies. I have heard a Q5 setup (with the VTL S/400 amp) with one of the Rel Studio 3's with it on and off and the difference in sound was night and day.
Anyways, hope that helps,
Arnie brings up a valid point, as he has direct experience with driving Magico speakers. Conversely, I base my own suggestion on personal 15 years of experience with various Rowland amps, including the M725, which has been favorably reviewed by Robert Harley on TAS driving Magico Q7.... But I have not tried M725 on any Magico speakers.
Furthermore, my suggestion of M825 is of necessity conjectural. While it would sound "reasonable" that M825 may outperform the M725 monos, the proof rests in a "pudding" that no one has "tasted" yet.
Guido, do you have a sense how you think the M825/Corus amps would sound with Avalon speakers..in particular the new Compas? As i'm sure you're aware, the Compas speakers were debuted in Hong Kong paired with M925 mono's.
Hi Melbguy, I can only make some conjectures, based on what I know about M925 and M825, which is not yet a great deal....
M825 outputs 440W instead of the 440W of the M925.... Furthermore, the external 2400W power supply of M825 serves two channels instead of one. I suspect that, as a consequence, M825 might deliver staging and images that are slightly smaller than M925, with perhaps some proportionally reduced authority.... However, the two devices are supposed to be otherwise internally quite similar except for the obvious differences caused by the stereo vs mono topologies... So I suspect that their sonic characteristics may be very close to each other.
As Corus supplies an output impedance of 60 Ohms, it will be compatible with either amps, and should not be a factor on the choice of speakers.
Unfortunately, I am not familiar with the Avalon Compass speaker... So it is difficult for me to make any meaningful guesses on a specific match of M825 to Compass.
Thanks for your feedback Guido. The M825 delivers exactly the maximum recommended power for the Compas (750 watts @4 ohms), so I think it would have excellent control and sound effortless driving the Compas. Avalon are stage and imaging champs, so if the 825 sacrifices a bit of stage or imagine size to the mono's, it wouldn't be an issue with these speakers.
Yes I would expect the differences to be small and both amps would have a similar sonic signature. Personally I don't have the room or the funds for the mono's, so the 825 would do me just fine.
Hi MelbGuy, when you get M825, please do share your experience with us... Be prepared for a long break in time... According to JRDG, M925 and M825 use very large input transformers, which may take a long time to achieve peak performance.
Thanks Guido, I certainly will. Mind you, I am busy for the rest of this year with other purchases, so for now my Boulder amps will be doing duties. But as we know audiophile time is like dog years. The word I am hearing is the M825 is special & should have wonderful synergy with the Avalons. Thanks also for the heads up re: break in time.