Jeff Rowland Design Group's Stereo 625

Category: Amplifiers

I just got home from three days at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest. I had my first epiphany in five years of attending and spending serious time listening to lots of equipment.

Rowland's new stereo Model 625 class AB amplifier with zero overall feedback and Power Factor Correction was the class of the show, in my experience. You can see the specs at the newly update Rowland site at Model 625

The 625 is the size of Rowland's Continuum 500, with a chassis carved out of solid aircraft aluminum billet. Of course, as with all Rowland products, it's the combination of chassis and innovative circuit design that make for exceptional products.

The amp was driving Avalon's latest mid-sized towers, the Echelon, which proved to be an excellent match. Rowland's Critereon preamp fed the 625 through long balanced leads.

With threw a wide range of music at the 625, ranging from the Israel Philharmonic, closely recorded very dynamic piano, intimate guitar/vocalist, string quartets and brass quintets. Lesser amp/speaker combination went into IM with the high pitch dynamics of the piano and fff high strings, while the Rowland handled them easily, without chopping off any highs or dynamics. Bass was well controlled.

On Saturday and Sunday I arrived at 9 a.m. sharp, before the wild hordes of other audio-geeks arrived, and listened with the AC off. The inner detail and richness of midrange was astounding. I've got a non-released recording of Doug Wamble playing my Ken Parker archtop guitar "Brownie". It's simply recorded with a Neuman on the right hand and another Neuman for the vocals. All the resonance that I hear when actually holding the guitar was there. Doug's voice was as live.

As a trumpet player, I heard the real sound of brass playing Dvorak's Ninth with the Israel Phil and Bernstein conducting. I heard that cut several times and it never failed to deliver goose bumps.

I'll be buying one as soon as I gather the funds. We talking around $13,000. Jeff Rowland has raised the bar again.
The Avalon speaker model is the Transcendent, not Echelon. Sorry 'bout that.
Hi Dcstep,

If I remember correctly you own a Continuum 500 ?
Do you think that the 625 although less powerfull will offer the same control of the bass ?
what are goose bumps ?

as much as i like the looks of rowland gear, i am not pleased it crashes my browser. did anyone betatest this website before rolling it out?
Clavil said"
"If I remember correctly you own a Continuum 500 ?
Do you think that the 625 although less powerfull will offer the same control of the bass ?
what are goose bumps ? "

The 625 was easily handling the Avalon's bass, with great control. It may have controlled the highs better than the Continuum. Still, it's very hard to judge without a proper AB test using the same speakers.

Further complicating things was that the Avalons were brand new and improved giantly through the show. I didn't like them so much on Friday, but thought that they had "promise", but by Saturday I was in love with them. Friday they were driven by the 302s, while the 625 was in the system for Saturday and Sunday. The amp surely made some difference, but the speakers were also improving.

I'm conviced that the 625 is a wonderful amplifier, but I love to do some A-B comparisons vs. my Continuum and some other top amps, like the Boulders.

I'm going to pay atention in posts by guys like you, Dcsteps, Clavil and others experts about the 625.

Dam... sh**t, man... I tought I'd keep my 312 forever.
The 625 may be great but Limited .I was thinking on purchasing one and my Reference 2 box Vacuum tube pre is single ended Not true Balanced the Rowland 625 Only comes Balanced ,what an oversite over 80% of all Audiophiles
have rca connectors and considering my new cables Are Shunyata Python RCA Pretty narrow minded in my opinion !!
The Krell 402E is a solid alternative and as good or better if there is no alternative options but Huge. I found the modest size a change of pace.
"The new Rowland products are at the crest of a new generation of transistorized gear that is no longer distinguishable from a good tube design and has a purity and sweetness that is rare in electronics of any kind"

Harry Pearsons The Absolute Sound # 215
I don't believe. It's pure marketing.

The power of $$$$$$
10K ohm input impedance -- I guess tube preamps and passives need not apply.
already two 625 to sell on audiogon

strange ... ?

You simply need RCA to XLR adapters. I've used them on Rowland amps & BAT preamps.