Jeff Rowland or Mark Levinson???


I'm looking to buy a new amp,I took a Jeff Rowland home and it sounded great. The Mark Levinson is 150lbs you just can't take one home to try, does anyone own either or and can compared these two amps company's? Thanks
jcb2000
IMHO the Rowland is sweeter, more musical, draws me into the music and does everything well. It will give you years of enjoyment. It is not as analytical or dry as the Levinson. Micro details, soundstage, transparency to die for. First amp I've owned that gets more enjoyable as time goes on. While it is not the most dynamic amp, it doesn't lack dynamics, and never assaults, or causes listening fatigue.
Which Rowland amp do you have, Blbloom?
Jcb2000, which amps are on your short list from ML and JRDG?
Fpeel. I have the new Concentra II, 150 watt integrated. I've owned 10 amps in the last two years, (crazy) including 2 Plinius, 2 Classe, a Sim W5, a Krell and a Bryston. Sad to say, but I got tired of every one. I was frustrated and began to think I would never find an amp I would be happy with. The Rowland just gets more enjoyable as time goes on.
Thanks for the quick response. I'm considering buying a Rowland, albeit an older model, and will probably be unable to listen before buying. The extra data points are appreciated.
Rowland......that's all I will say. I currenlty own an older but larger Rowland Amp and Pre-amp for the past 8 years and nothing I have listened to has made me sell either of them. Yes,there are amps and pre-amps that are better and more expensive, but once your hooked on the musical sound they deliver, you will be gald you made the right choice.
I choose Jeff Rowland. I've owned both Jeff Rowland Model 5 and Mark Levinson No. 23 which are about the same age. ML23 has 200w/ch and JR Model 5 has 150w/ch and both can drive B&W 802S3 with ease.

Sound: JR5 sounds much more smooth, musical and tube-like than ML23 in my opinion. With instrumental jazz JR5 present musics with more air and texture.

Build quality: JR5 is one step better than ML23 in every ways that I know.

Result: JR5 is the keeper. ML23 has to go.

You won't regret in buying either JR or ML since they are very good products. But when it comes to only one, JR is the way to go.
I'll ask what others have, which models? All responses thus far are Pro JR, nothing wrong with that, but from what I have read, the new ML amps are a big improvement over their predecessors, which many were happy with. I would suggest you try your best to bring both home, regardless of size. I am sure you will be very happy with both, but one will suit you better in some way.
I have to agree with Blbloom. We have a matched pair of Model 1's (they even painstakingly matched the silver faceplates for us!) and we have agreed that we will never part with them.
They are the sweetest and most musical amps as well as bullet proof!
Even though we have upgraded to tube amps, we still pull these into the chain from time to time.
The lucky thing for me is that the HT has now become our "boneyard" from the 2 channel, so I got them along with a Classe CA300 for my little project - the HT.
The service from Rowland (perfectionists to say the least!) and their excellent service tracking record really helps in knowing what you are buying before you do.
If you are looking into buying used, I would suggest that you get the serial number and give them a call. They can tell you the service history and what upgrades it has - probably give you a quote on any outstanding upgrades available.
I have no experience with Levinson to offer any direct opinions.
It depends what kind of listener you are.
1. Long term Listener
Here is the Rowland much more satisfying, it is very musical, maybe one of the most musical Transistor Amps available. Doesn't matter which model. They are all good.
2. You know nothing
but you want to walk on the safe side, believing in revolutionary technical progress ( all 8 months ), would like to have the respect from your neighbours, here you are right with ML, specially when you like listening to Test CD's, splintering glass, Bing-bang-boom-music and you like to impress your friends with that.

I know some owners, who love these amps.
Thomasheisig, if you were aiming at getting a little spirited debate going, I think you hit the mark. I don't share your opinion toward ML products, but I am a Rowland owner. In the price range that I set for my purchase, I found a used 8TiHC to be my choice over the ML 335 or 336.

My reason for posting a follow-up is that in JCB2000's thread posting, I interpreted his statement that (the) "Mark Levinson is 150lbs (and) you just can't take one home to try" to mean that he is not auditioning a Rowland 6, 8 or 9, whose weights are comparable to 33X series ML, but more likely a 10, 12 or 112 weighing in at less than half that of the ML. The reason this is significant IMHO is some folks have stated sonic differences exist between "older" JRDG equipment and the new amplifier designs. Most responses have referenced older model JRDG amps as being their choice over ML, which is fine, but I am not so sure that JCB2000 is listening to any of those. In fact, JCB states a desire to buy a new amp. Blbloom's post is the only one thus far that has spoken to current JRDG equipment, and he discusses the integrated Concentra.

JCB2000, which amps are you auditioning?
Well it looks like I'm going to rock the boat a little on this one. I've owned a Roland Model 5 and replaced it with Mark Levinson reference 20.0 monoblocks. Now, keep in mind that even on the used market there is a significant difference in price, so I'm not comparing similar cost products. When I made this change I did so based on listening. I agree with the above posts that the Roland is very tube sounding and smooth, but it also had some limitations. The speakers were Martin Logan Monolith IIs. They are difficult to drive when not biamped. The Roland did not have the bass control particularly when the panel were exhibiting very low impedances. The Levinsons (while lower powered amp) did a much better job in this area.

I think it's important to evaluate what kind of demands your speakers might have and what combination you will get in the end. If you have an overly polite speaker, the Roland might sound a little to smooth. Also, if you have a very difficult speaker to drive like the older Martin Logans, that too may not be the best with the Roland (although I've only used the Model 5, other models may have been better with my MLs). For the majority of speakers out there both products are excellent and will likely deliver long term satisfaction.
Cant go wrong with either. I think speakers will dictate which is best. The home test is the best way to make the choice!
I agree with Abstract7 that with a "polite" speaker the Roland is likely to sound a bit warm and rounded. I tried the Roland 10 & 112, the Levinson 336, and a few other amps with my Dunlavy 4's. I found the Rolands to be "soft" sounding with a pleasant high end, but lacking in bass handling. The Lev had more slam and authority, but struck me as still a bit soft on the bass control. The mid and hi character was smooth and controlled.

Having said that, the build quality of both are excellent, and prices for stereo units are often roughly in the same ballpark for similar power (but this can be model-dependant, and monoblocks are a different matter altogether).
anyone compare them to Pass Lab X350 or X250?
well all i can say is: i love my 8T with my consonance driving my alon V MKII with millerized woofers "millersound" i have friends coming over that have much more money invested in their sound and they say they just can't match the sound my jr's put out
if you are looking for perfect bass control and great authority, hear to the JR 312 ...
this is really amazing
I'm voting JRDG after buying a full set of his recent gear. The man is an amazing designer.Although very quiet with virtually zero promotion he is still working 10 hrs a day.Just saw a blurb in TAS by RH that he too is smitten. HP had already offered highest praises fwiw.The 625 stereo amp that I have drives Revel Salon 2's effortlessly.
I've owned Jeff's model 8 with choke for about 20 years now and it still brings a smile to my face. VERY few ss amps can compete with it even today...20 years later!
This thread is very old and I think, ML is out of race anyway. IMO, it was never a sonic competition to 'Rowland, listening to ML was for me always like having a shower with thousands of little ice cubes and I agree with Davey, the Model 8 was a outstanding unit and still is.
I've listened to both and owned both. both provided great sound and both had reliability issues from time to time. Rowland gear looks stupendous compared to almost anything except for Burmester, MBL, and such.
Very little out there could compete with the Levinson 33H mono blocks and that includes Rowland except perhaps the 9's unitl the last few years.
but the Model 8 stereo amp, If you could afford it, made beautiful music and
looked like a million bucks as well.
does that mean that a ML-336 wasn't/ISN'T a great amp? would anyone care to match a 625 against a ML-532? ML doesn't enhance or "smooth" the sound.
which means that with a good turntable, you're likely to get exactly what you want to hear. with the wrong front end or a mediocre cd, you're not going to be transported anywhere except a nice clean picture of exactly what's not working.
Rowland has not always been successful at making their gear one's first choice either due to price or a poorly-received collection of digital amplification. so people end up with something else while looking anxiously at what Jeff is going to come out with next.
and here is the latest puzzle if you will. the new 725 Monoblocks are $28K, which is more than double the price of a 625 stereo amp. same chassis, with 30W more per channel (?). If you were waiting for "the next thing" from JRDG well, here it is... sorry, but this makes no sense to me at all.
OTOH, the Corus sounds like a much better deal than the Criterion since it performs all the same functions (i think). and it will be easy to dismiss the negligible increase in background noise. OR, you could do what i did and get a ML-326S WITH PHONO built-in for about $7500 used. i can't detect the SLIGHTEST bit of grain or hash coming from my speakers at any volume. but it doesn't look elegant, just purposeful.
in conclusion, there is no real competition here. i love both companies.
i love the sound these components make. JRDG makes very seductive looking
components. Levinson has a more functional approach but sounds excellent by any measure you care to use. Reviewers even tend to agree with this unanimously.
Just like back in "01"....
same chassis

??

the 725 are build with ceramic boards, the 625 not
same chassis

??

the 725 are build with ceramic boards, the 625 not

and by the way compare the 312 with the 33, you could have a surprise
once again, it would be more constructive to show where each company has met with great success and which company failed to either make appealing products or had reliability issues or price issues. IMHO it's a TIE, with the exception that Madrigal had more designers working together to make a wide range of great products, while Jeff Rowland has concentrated on amps, preamps, and integrated amplifiers for the most part. once upon a time Levinson made the best digital front end available - i remember having a ML dac/transport feeding a Rowland Preamp. the Consonance btw was (and still is) an amazing sounding preamp with the best remote ever invented. and this combination worked great.
I never heard the #312 from rowland, but your comparison to the "33" is irrelevant- two completely different designs, made in different era's.
but it doesn't matter anyway- both are great amps given what they are and what they're designed to do.
OH, ONE MORE THING (about the $28,000/PAIR 725 Amps)-
i trust the information about the ceramic circuit boards is accurate. i only wish
when i go to their web site that there was a complete discussion and data about the new amps. instead there's nothing. and when is the 925 amps going to
go into production? they have been on static display at audio shows for quite some time now... do i have to always go to the internet grapevine to find out what JRDG is up to? OK, so tell me what's so special about them (the 725's)- other than the circuit boards. i'm all "ears"...
their web site has ALSO dumped a ton of pictures and information about their older products. i guess you're supposed to believe the older gear doesn't sound good anymore. Maybe they're also getting tired of getting older amps and preamps in for repairs. i sure hope not. it's such a shame people still swear by their model 6's, their consummates, their synergy's...
OH, ONE MORE THING (about the $28,000/PAIR 725 Amps)-
i trust the information about the ceramic circuit boards is accurate. i only wish
when i go to their web site that there was a complete discussion and data about the new amps. instead there's nothing.

are you looking at the right place ?
here:
http://jeffrowlandgroup.com/kb/questions.php?questionid=592

Rowland has not always been successful at making their gear one's first choice either due to price or a poorly-received collection of digital amplification
some confusion here: class D is not equal to digital amplification
OH, ONE MORE THING (about the $28,000/PAIR 725 Amps)-
i trust the information about the ceramic circuit boards is accurate. i only wish
when i go to their web site that there was a complete discussion and data about the new amps. instead there's nothing.

are you looking at the right place ?
here:
http://jeffrowlandgroup.com/kb/questions.php?questionid=592

Rowland has not always been successful at making their gear one's first choice either due to price or a poorly-received collection of digital amplification
some confusion here: class D is not equal to digital amplification
OH, ONE MORE THING (about the $28,000/PAIR 725 Amps)-
i trust the information about the ceramic circuit boards is accurate. i only wish
when i go to their web site that there was a complete discussion and data about the new amps. instead there's nothing.

are you looking at the right place ?
here:
http://jeffrowlandgroup.com/kb/questions.php?questionid=592

Rowland has not always been successful at making their gear one's first choice either due to price or a poorly-received collection of digital amplification
some confusion here: class D is not equal to digital amplification
sorry if i was looking under PRODUCTS and couldn't find mention of the 725's.
i'm not willing to "hunt" for information on current production items.
let THEM make the comparison between the 625 and 725 so it's clear what
they have put into each model.

as for digital amps, you know what i meant, but if this is tit for tat, then I'm
done here.