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.