Jeff Rowland's Continumm

I've been interestingly putting my eye on the new continuum range from jeff Rowland for some time and have a question based on some discrepency within the information I have gathered; some claims new continuum uses the same module that was used in 201 and 501 while other claims Continuum uses the same module as 302 and 312.

Can anyone solve my curiosity?
The 501 does not have the same module used for 201. If I remember correctly, the 501 and the 312 may use the same modules instead. The Continuum 500 -- which is the model variant I would suggest -- essentially contains 2 501 circuits, for the amplification component, a Capri-like pre-amplification circuit, and a Power Factor Correction (PFC) capacity capable of delivering 1500W of DC current at 385V. This last one is essentially twice the DC current delivered by a single PC1 external unit. Please note that a massive PFC capacity is one of the major reasons for the sonic advantage of 312 stereo over the 501 monos.

By contrast, the Continuum 250 has no PFC circuit, and if I recall correctly uses the same power conversion modules used in the 201.

One note of JRDG trivia. . . Continuum 500 is selling like hot cakes, and may be JRDG's hottest best seller yet.

DCSTEP can comment on the sonics of his COntinuum 500.
Call Jeff Rowland and find out what you need to know first hand. $8800 is too much to invest based on internet hearsay.
Good suggestion Macrojack. JRDG is at 719-473-1181. Be aware that they are in US Central time. They are most easily contacted from 9:00 AM central to 12:000 PM. Then again from about 1:30 PM central to 4:30 pm central. . . but hrs may vary.
I also suggest you get in touch with one of the major JRDG dealers like Soundings, at 303- 759-5505, and speak to Rod, Shanker, or Mark.
See Continuum Review for my review.

Guido my friend, JRDG, Soundings and I are in the Mountain Time Zone, one-hour behind Central.

Facias, I'm not sure what "module" you're speaking of. All the amplifiers that you mentioned contain ICEpower modules, some also have Power Factor Correction. The Continuum 500 has the power units as the 501s. It has PFC units, but not the same ones available in the PC1 as an add-on to the 501. The pre-amp section of both Continuums is the same as the Capri, except that the 500 operates in DC, thanks to the PFC units in the 500.

Besides the power difference, the Continuum 250 does not have the PFC units that the 500 has.

Did one of us answer your question?

BTW, welcome to A'gon.

Thanks for the greeting quick response.

My prior understanding was that 501 and 201 use ICEpower 500ASP and 1000ASP modules respectively which includes power supply unit whereas model 302 and 312 use ICEPower 500A and 1000A respectively which requires separate power supply units.

I have sent an email to Jeff Rowland about 2 weeks ago and have not received reply as yet. Perhaps I might have to give them a call to find out.

Thanks anyway guys~
Resend your email and give it a few days. Jeff checks his email once or twice per week. You can also call during business hours (probably more reliable).

Just curious, if you don't mind, why would you care?

Thanks David I might have to resend the mail.

Well I've heard there are difference within the module results in sonic difference. If new continuum 500 uses 1000A instead of 1000ASP, That might means the continuum may well reach near 312 which may be really something.
Hi Facias, I suspect you may find it easier to get in touch with Jeff by phone than by eMail. 302 and 312 do not contain the same ICE modules. 302 had a discrete power supply. I believe that the newer 312 uses a 3rd generation ICE module with integrated power supply. . . . and having said that, it has more authority than older 302. It is worth remembering though that JRDG uses ICE modules as basic low level building blocks, and only 102, and 201 should be deemed relatively minimalistic designs. Particular Continuum 500, 312 and 301 devices all have complex circuitry designed/implemented to support the ICE modules. I believe that Continuum 500 uses integrated power supplies which are fed 385V DC current by the PFC 1500W front end rectifier. G.
Send one to hi fi critic and see what they say about it.
thanks guys I really appreciate your comments. I think I will call rather than mail JRDG.

I am too, very excited about getting my new amplifier. I am trying to be just little prudent about it since the continuum is so new and there is no information even on the company's website. That's all.
06-01-08: Coffeey said:
"Send one to hi fi critic and see what they say about it."


Imagine all the poor audiophiles out there that don't listen for themselves and actually build systems off those dweebs' advice.

06-01-08: Facias said:
"I am too, very excited about getting my new amplifier. I am trying to be just little prudent about it since the continuum is so new and there is no information even on the company's website. That's all."

Oh, so you already ordered one? What part of the world are you in? They're selling like hotcakes in Asia and parts of Europe, based on the number of units being shipped the two times I've visited JRDG.

Jeff is trying to finish up the Criterion, his new ne plus ultra battery powered preamp. Hopefully the next project will be to update the web site. There's no one on staff to do that regularly, so it gets squeezed in between creating new world-beating products. Maybe I can convince the guys at Soundings to donate a day or two's time to do the update.

If you think Rowland is good...wait till you hear Ayre. No need to spend big bucks...try their AX-7E. I say this after hearing the Capri and Synergy 2i. Actually I owned both the Synergy 2i and Capri. The Ayre smacked both the Capri and Synergy...and I mean smacked beyond comparison.
Some of us like vanilla and some of us like chocolate.

I'm glad there are choices in the world. We're talkiing about integrated here, BTW.

06-01-08: Pinkus said:
"If you think Rowland is good...wait till you hear Ayre. No need to spend big bucks...try their AX-7E. I say this after hearing the Capri and Synergy 2i. Actually I owned both the Synergy 2i and Capri. The Ayre smacked both the Capri and Synergy...and I mean smacked beyond comparison."

Perhaps you should gather your thoughts and post an intelligent review in the appropriate section. You'll need to think up another descriptor or two if you want anyone to take you seriously.


don't want to rain on your parade. Enjoy your equipment.

Having experienced the Rowland sound, I was more impressed with the Ayre sound....much more so. Maybe at some point, I will post my thoughts in more detail. But I am not concerned if others take me seriously or not. All that matters to me is what I like, and to me my preference is clear.

My earlier remarks could have been better expressed, and I am sorry for how my remarks came across to you or other audiogon members.
06-01-08: Pinkus said:

don't want to rain on your parade."

Thanks, but don't worry, I don't need your validation.

I'm looking forward to your thoughtful review.

I am not following your Ayre to JRDG comparison.
The Ayre AX7e is an integrated amp and you are comparing it with the JR Synergy and the Capri which are both preamps and this makes no sense at all.
Please help clarify. I would be interested and I'm sure others would too.
Some of us like vanilla and some of us like chocolate.

This is the most thoughtful observation rendered here. We all want to believe that our preferences have relevance. They do, too. But not to everyone. Only to us.

I see people in here promising to furnish us with their "findings", as if scientific studies were being conducted and measurements reported. In fact, what we are hearing is one persons opinion experienced in his room in his mood in his system with whatever weighted selection he prefers as his evaluation music. There are no facts to be given in these kind of circumstances. Findings, I grant you, sounds heavier and more authoritative than opinion or impression, but that, in fact, is all that is being guy's one view. And isn't it interesting how we are always knocked out by unprecedented levels of (fill in the blank - clarity, nuance, gestalt, palpability, etc.)when we plug in the item that just emptied our wallet and within a month or a year, it has become our weak link.

There are no absolutes to be had and nobody is right or wrong in their personal preferences. Failure to honor that axiom is where we go wrong.
Well Macrojack, the specs of the Continuum are very good, but I suspect that many others amps have comparable raw specs.

I think many of us DO indeed try to state our preferences in our reviews. All the JRDG stuff that I've heard lean toward open, transparent, dynamic and very close to colorless. Lots of people will not like that, prefering perhaps something more forward or with softer highs. I prefer open, detailed highs, but sweet and not etched. One hard sounding IC will make the Continuum sound hard, so your associated equipment needs to be chosen accordingly.

Anyway, I think these A'gon reviews are useful. Just like reading Stereophile or TAS, you need to take things with a grain of salt and look at the reviewer's systems and preferences in order to get some idea if your tastes might line up. That's easy to do here, since most reviewers do post their systems and it's easy to see what they've said about other components. So, reviews here are useful, if used with appropriate caution.

Thanks for your kindness Dave.

Ayre and JRDG both I believe, are respectable hifi makers and it seems pointless discounting one for another.

One thing I can be sure of is, that I love JRDG sound.
Pinkus - The Ayre integrated "smacked" two JRDG preamps? I don't get it. When you used each of the preamps, what amps were you using?
"clarity, nuance, gestalt, palpability, etc"

I agree with you Macrojack, I wouldn't know how to palpate a nuanced gestalt if one sat in my lap. And yes, 'findings' sounds so much 'more better'n' personal opinion. I also agree that using colorful terminology freely imported from the competitive team sports arena may at times be slightly less than helpful. That is why I much prefer to offer my listening experience in terms of equipment context, musical context, and finally as much as possible concrete description of my observations. . . and in the end, just in case, I call everything 'preliminary' no matter what.

Pinkus, I am very much looking forward to giving one more round of hard listening to AYRE at the next RMAF in the Fall. Unfortunately last year's AYRE suite was -- to my great surprise -- slightly disappointing for its etched sound. . . . but so were most other suites. Guido
Jfz, Nagra VPA's and also Nagra MPA (MPA is sold now that I have acquired the Ayre integrated)

Guido, I was so impressed with the Ayre integrated, that I have also ordered the Ayre KX-R...after demoing it in house. I demoed the KX-R in the store against the Ref-3 for 10 minutes. Obviously, I could not arrive to any conclusions in 10 minutes.

However, the KX-R in my system, matched with the Nagra's was a thing of joy. If you get a chance, you should listen to it in your system.
Pinkus, I think I saw one of the new Ayre chassis when I was visiting the Vertec Tool machine shop with Jeff Rowland. Very nice indeed. Hopefully all the Ayre chassis will be upgraded, getting away from that cut and folded metal.

I'd love to see some pictures of your rig with the Synergy 2i, Carpi, Nagra, et al in there. That must have been one fantastic rig. It's neat that your were able to find a budget item that "smacked" not only JRDG, but ARC and Nagra. That's VERY impressive.

How much does that KX-R cost? I couldn't find an actual price for that new preamp.


please lets stop using the word "smacked" :-) I regret using that juvenile term...and you have made your point :-)

I have sold off the Capri, the Synergy 2i. In addition, I have sold off the Nagra MPA (I have kept the Nagra VPA, and have no intention of selling it). The Ayre integrated replaced the Nagra MPA and Audio Research LS-26 pairing. This was in my HT setup...the Ayre was close enough that I thought I would recoup some cash.

I used the extra cash from the sale to finance the KX-R purchase. KX-R costs the same as the Criterion. The KX-R will be paired with the VPA's and SF Cremona in my listening setup, along with the Ayre C5-xe.

Again, I don't think people should read much into my decisions. My ears are my ears, and I profess I am not a very critical listener. For example, I hardly spend any money on cables (speaker or interconnect) please feel free to discount all my claims....and claims are all they are.

As for my experience with JRDG components, all I can say is that they are very solidly crafted, and with an external build quality that few can match. As for the sound, while my initial experience was very, very favorable, over time, I grew unhappy with the sound. I found the sound of the Capri to be lean, recessed in the midrange, without the sense of projection that I enjoy from tubed equipment or the Ayre components. In addition, I find the sound to be a bit lean -- my preference is for fully bodied sound. Also, the treble of the Capri was a bit muffled, and not extended to my ears. The Synergy 2i was a totally different matter, and to my ears the Capri was a better performer. With the Synergy 2i, I could not stand the highs on made me very uncomfortable. Other than the highs, the Synergy exhibited the same leanness, and reticence in the midrange that made me unsatisfied in the long run.

I do not typically change equipment very often (at least not for 3 years). Recently, I have been on a quest to get off the merry-go-round, and hence my experimentation with various preamps.
Hi Pinkus, how many hours did you put on the Capri? And how many hours did it take to break in and stabilize. I am of course looking forward to listening to the KX-r at the first opportunity. completely?

PS. To anyone wondering if we are straying out of topic, the pre circuit in the JRDG Continyuum is closely based on the JRDG Capri.

Well, I agree Pinkus, people looking for "full bodied" sound should probably look elsewhere than JRDG. I seek "neutral" and find it in JRDG's current stuff. I've got a number of great recordings with rich mids, extended highs and slam in the bass and I don't want my electronics adding to that. You my friend, seem to be from one of the other camps that likes a more forward presentation. There's nothing wrong with that and I find at least half the world is populated with those seeking what you seek.

I was wondering how Ayre could make that chassis affordable. It is IMPRESSIVE indeed, riviling JRDG in many respects. It's visually stunning, derived from a single billet and should make a great platform for Ayre. I suppose that'll be their "statement" product.

You're relatively new around here, so please consider posting pictures of your system in the Virtual Systems section. It's not a requirement for sure, but I think it helps us to understand more about where our friends are coming from.


I had 2 Capri's. The original one was a demo unit (black) that I I assume, it had some amount of break in. I replace it with a silver unit, which was new. I did not put in a lot of hours on it. As per Jeff's manual, all preamps have 72 hours of break in performed at the factory...there is no mention of additional break in required for optimal performace. In contrast, the Ayre mention specifically states a break in time of 100-500 hours. In either case, I am not a big believer in break-in...and am somwhat sceptical tha break-in can transform the listening character of a component
BTW Guido, Soundings loaned me a Solo Crystal Oval IC to try with my Continuum's phono-stage. OMG, I couldn't believe the bass. I didn't take the effort to measure it, but it was so obvious that I swear that I could have measured it with an SPL meter.

I started listening to small combo jazz, with lots of bass and I was concerned that it may be TOO much; however, I pulled out the classicals, including my Solti/Beethoven 9th and all my Reference Recordings of the Dallas Wind Symphony (which I've heard live many times) and was blown away by the transparency. The bass drum slams on the Holtz stuff almost blew me out of my seat, yet the highs were silky and crystalline. Very nice indeed. I'm ordering two-pair.

Have you tried the A-Ps? How would they compare to your favorites?

What is the list price (or approx) of AYRE KX-r?
Same as the price of the Criterion....eighteen five, I believe.
Thanks Pinkus .. . and for my earlier question. . . how many hrs did you put on Capri, and at which point did it stabilize?

maybe you missed my response above. As I said above, 1 preamp was a demo it likely had some hours on it. The other one had less than 200 hours on it. And as I said above, I am not a big believer in break-in.

Pinkus, you have a right to your position about burn-in, but if you're going to write reviews (you did, despite its brevity) you owe it to the makers to take the effort to burn-in. You'll notice that the "pro" reviewers routinely mention burn-in. Whether they or you believe in it or not, enough users think that they hear a difference that it's considered important if you're going to make comments that may impact a designer's livelyhood.

Please take this in the spirit of me trying to be helpful. I think you're also trying to be helpful, thus the advice.

Thank you Pinkus and apologies. Indeed I missed your post about break in. I appreciate your position on little breakin reqd. My subjective impression is that both my Ref 3 and Capri took over 500 hrs to settle. While Ref 3 was quite hideous in the very beginning until about 150 hrs after which it started progressively to sing, Capri was initially already reasonably listenable -- perhaps because of factory burn in of 75 hrs -- then I thought steadily improved until well over 500 hrs.

in the end I have to trust my ears. I know "pro" reviewers and even equipment designers believe in break in. Let me ask you a question. Say I took 2 identical continuum integrated amps, and broke only one of them in...could you listen to both and reliably tell me which one was broken in and which one was not ?

Perhaps you can, or you believe you can (it is immaterial if you can or think you can....what matters is that you think you can) tell the difference. Also, you probably have better hearing since you are a musician. I am not sure I can tell the difference. Hence my scepticism about break-in.

And no offense taken about your advice. However, I will say this...if Jeff believes his equipment needs break-in, he should certainly put it in his manual. Has someone asked Jeff about his opinion about equipment break-in ?
Yes, I have. Jeff has in fact suggested that significant breakin may needed because of power supplies, transformers and other components being initially 'magnetized'. As such, Jeff was not at all surprised that even the 312 I have in the system, which is not at all new with several thousand hrs of operation, but had been in storage then truck plane/cold/vibration for a spell required several hundred hrs to restabilize. Rod and Mark at Soundings also suggested to me that Capri -- like most other pres -- may require over 500 hrs of operations to stabilize.

Comparing a well broken in Capri or any other device with its counterpart fresh off the factory floor would be a fascinating experiment. If I have the opportunity I will attend it. . . no need to put too much effort into making it a blind experiment either, all Capris look identical to me, regardless of livery.

Very funny G. We're all looking forward to "blind testing" you the next time you're in Colorado. Please forgive me.

Jeff's manuals actually say that his components should sound good right out of the box, but when you talk to him personally he thinks that there's is indeed a difference after burn-in. Just last week he theorized that it's mainly due to dielectrics taking a stabilizing charge over a period of time.

I think I could hear the difference between a brand new Continuum and mine with a few hundred hours on it. Both would have to be plugged in for an hour or two to stabilize first, because the few times I've turned it off it took hours to sound its best again. Still, that would be harder than hearing the difference between new Analysis Plus Solo Crystal Oval 8 speaker wire and the same wire after burn-in. That's a very dramatic change.

The JRDG stuff tends to sound pretty good right out of the box. As Guido mentioned earlier, he thinks that his Ref 3 went through a much more dramatic transformation, so YMMV, depending on what you're listening to.

Pinkus, I think that your muscian point is valid. We're not the only ones that can hear and I've seen audiophiles train their ears to be more acute over time. Still, it's like anything else, the more you work at it, the better you get and musicians spend hours daily or weekly on just such things and we constantly hear things without electronic "stress". The more you hear the "without" the easier it is to hear the "with".

Hi Dave, I just read yesterday that -- according to an official personnel training document on the 2008 Bejin Olympics site, the politically correct term is now 'optically disabled'. Suchly, next Fall in Denver, I'll be delighted to participate to any optically disabled test. test
I'm finding Colorado, by and large, a little more politically correct than Texas, as you might imagine. (If we could throw out the Republic of Boulder we would swing way back toward "normal"). Anyway, that 'optically disabled' handle is a new one on me. As I consider it, there may have been a time or two in the past when I might have temporarily qualified. That somehow doesn't seem right, since I still don't even have glasses at age 60.

It's interesting how society struggles to name disabilities. For instance, "blind" seems like an absolute to me, but then they came up with "legally blind" to describe something less than complete. Now we have this term "optically disabled" attacking from the other end of the spectrum, covering everything from being a little "foggy" in the morning to the absolute, which I suppose we're not allowed to call "blind". Now we'll need a whole set of sub-modifiers to "classify" everyone within the OD category.

Sorry, way OT. Let the thread continue-um. (Pun intended, duh).

Spoke to JRDG today. From my conversation notes. . . The chips in the preamplification boards for Capri and Continuum, and the upscale boards for the upcoming Criterion, are OPA1632 ADSL differential in/differential out line drivers from Burr Brown TI. They have a 180mhz bandwidth, as such, strictly speaking, they are not phono modules. They are defined as hi performance fully differential opamps, but they are not opamps according to typical definition of opamps.
Noise floor is rated in nanovolts per hertz square root.
The devices are more typically used for driving high speed DAC circuits.
Bandwidth is further measured at 40mhz at 0.1db flatness.
distortion output is at 2k load is 0.000022%.
The chips are indeed very small 1/10th of an inch square. Internal topology of Capri is confirmed to be minimalistic. OPA1632 tiny geometry contribute to maintaining extremely short signal path crucial to audio performance. . . as we all know. One more desirable quality of OPA1632 is to have almost unmeasurable energy storage, which yields faster/deeper signal rising/decay, with consequential more transparent / 'blacker' background. G.
I listened to a couple digital amps,far from pleasant sounds
I disagree - based on my experience. Some suck, some rock. Which suck... to my ear, can be heaven to yours. Good design is everything....IMHO.
2 different amps,sounded pretty good at first,at least thats what i thought ,after extended listening,it was obvious sound wise that this was going nowhere,I used Legacy speakers with the amps.
Yes Coffeey, very similar experience. I also have listened to a couple of 'digital' amps that were rather underwhelming. . . I have even listened to a couple of tube amps that were quite honestly terrible, and I have heard a couple of traditional SS amps that were rather painful to bear. . . my conclusions? try not to generalize from matched pairs of bad apples, or. . . quit audio and pick up Origami. G.
I currently have a Rowland 102 amplifier which I think is rather good. I have previously owned Rowland 201s and Red Wine Audio Signature 30. It is possible certainly to prefer something else rather than any of these amplifiers but sanity precludes saying they sound unpleasant. Perhaps some decent speakers would help your situation.