Jeff Rowland Sound

I just installed a pair of model 6 monoblocks driving a pair of usher rw729 monitors and then put them on my soundlab m2's;the results of which I never experienced with a solid state amp of this quality as I am a tube guy;my question basically is
how does his amps of today sound vs the model 6 and the other amps produced during their time?
just curious, what are your results?

do you like them?
You can search the archives, this topic has been covered many times before. IMHO, the Models 2/6/8/9 series of the mid to late 90's were when Jeff Rowland was at his best as a designer. Earlier Rowland efforts were warmer, but lacked the definition, while later Rowland efforts became even more revealing, at the cost of musicality. The Models 2/6/8/9 were the sweet spot as far as balancing musicality with definition, again, that's just my $0.02.

Model 6 monos I have seen. . . but I have not heard yet.. My understanding from talking to Jeff Rowland himself, is that they may have been as involving as the newest 312 stereo, but perhaps not quite as revealing/transparent. Current JRDG offerings range in price between $1500 and $30,000. It is worth comparing sound of Model 6 to 312 and 301 only. . . lower end devices are of necessity design to meet a different price range and musically behave accordingly. G.
Philjolet-I will focus on the soundlabs as they are my primary speakers and just obtained the ushers;I'm not familiar with their sonic signature being driven by tubes.
My m2's were driven by Cary Slam 100's.Manley Ref 400 mono's and now Audio Valve Challanger 180 mono's;output tubes on the cary's and 180's were/are jj kt88's and 6550c's
on the Manleys.
I listen to mostly acoustic,vocals,jazz,organ with choir and sometimes Pink Floyd will visit.
I seem to really enjoy the midrange sound that tube owners seem to fall in love with;as that was the hook that moved me from solid state to tubes after auditioning a MFA-D75 amp.My solid state amps were David Hafler dh-500, Forte model 4,B&k M200 sonata mono's and then McCormack DNA-1 monoblocks;these amps were all very good with the dna-1's being the best of the 3 driving at the time Merlin 4B+'s;until I heard the MFA.
Now with the model 6 monoblocks I think this is as close to
being able to reproduce that liquid midrange as I have ever heard with great control of the panel over the entire frequency range;as Jmcgrogan2 called it "musicality".
I have never heard any of his products and if this is his older work I can only imagine what his newer products sound like.
Rleff, the amp to compare to Model 6 in JRDG's current lineup is the 312. Unfortunately its price tag is commensurate with its highly musical performance. I was not as enthrolled with the performance of the 312's immediate predecessor, named 302. G.
Thanks G for the feedback-I just looked at the other amps and had no idea that the pricing goes to 30k;wow!!!!!
have you heard those amps?
I own a JRDG 312 and am in love/lust with it! I wrote a capsule article on issue 188 of The Absolute Sound on the amp, part of a longer article on the Vienna Mahler V1.5 speakers.

The musicality, resolution, and authority of the device is -- at least for me -- truly enthralling. Even at RMAF last week the system containing JRDG 312 was my favorite.

Unfortunately I have not heard the JRDG 301 monoblocks yet. . . perhaps some of these days (sighs!)

FWIW, the pricing for JRDG gear went to $30K+ over a decade ago, with the Model 9ti w/ BPS....Jeff's stuff is good...but not cheap.

John and G have either one of you ever listened to Pass or any Boulder amps;if so how would you compare it to rowland gear? I am just wondering as I have never heard either one.
Rleff, I have heard a few Pass amps, and many of Nelson's older models (Threshold). I also had the opportunity ti hear a Boulder amp at a show (860?) a couple years ago. It may be unfair to compare at a show, but the Boulder was very unimpressive for the cost...clinical sounding, like Levinson gear me at least.

As for SS (I am a Tube fan), I do think that Nelson's designs are about as good as SS gets. I do like the Pass XA-60.5's very much....maybe Nelson's best work since the Threshold SA-12e....
If you want more of the best of Jeff Rowland, you may want to try his Model 8TI.....

I think, when we talk about "Musicality in Transistor" design, my vote is for Model 8. The newer ones are more or less comparable to other designs, the old ones (1,2,3,6,8) were one of a kind.
Rleff, I have actually listened to Boulder 2060 and Rowland 312 for several hours in the same system while I was in Denver for RMAF. The amps were set up in the main showroom at Soundings Hifi, just across the parking lot from the Marriott hotel. The rest of the system consisted of: Boulder CD player, Boulder 2010 preamplifier, and Vienna Die Muzick speakers. Speakers had undergone considerable placement setup by Rod Tomson using the MasterSet methodology. All wiring reamined constant/consistent: a mix of Transparent and Analysis Plus.

It seemed a reasonably unanimous impression of all audiophiles present that 312 was preferrable to 2060 in the areas of overall musicality, transparency, micro resolution, harmonic exposure, linearity, extension, ease of listening. Where things really surprised everyone, is that 312 seemed to yield also greater macrodynamics and authority than Boulder. Conversely, Boulder 2060 and JRDG 312 seemed comparable in imaging and staging.

Unfortunately I have never heard Pass amps, so I can't comment.

I've owned Jeff Rowland Model 2 and currently own Pass Labs XA-30.5. As I remember Model 2 sounded very smooth, in fact a little too smooth for my taste. XA-30.5 does not sound as smooth, but sounds more dynamic and detailed. To my ears XA-30.5 sounds more realistic and musical. YMMV
Fair enough, but it is worth pointing out that JRDG Model 2 was introduced 15 years ago in 1994 and was withdrawn in 1999. . . conversely Pass X30.5 has been out only for a much shorter spell, and is current production. Unfortunately technology, and with it sound reproduction, does evolve. G.
I have to agree with JMCgrogan2 that the sweet spot of Jeff's line were the 2/6/8 and 9s. My model 8 with choke is IMHO far warmer than the later class D amps.
I have compared this amp to several ss amps and the only other ss amps that I could live with at all were the Symphonic Line amps. In an 'AB'in my system with the mono Levinson 436's, the group preferred my 8 in all areas!
Daveyf, With which JRDG class D amps have you compared your Model 8? Guido
There's never a rowland thread without guido.

Where's Dave, the other cheerleader?
He's sweeping up and taking out the trash down at Soundings where Rod Tomson is working on the super master set and forget speaker density and retrieval system Mark V, Revision II. Dave'll be back soon. He's breaking in a new broom. Only 327 more hours and it will be able to exhibit the purity, majesty and clarity of the Soundings cleanup in full throat.

Guido and Dave seem to be great people but I have to agree about the relentless promotion. I love my Rowland stuff.
Guido, I heard my 8 with a model 501 in comparison. The 501 is a good amp, but was a little outclassed by my 8 IMHO.
Audiofeil, I have noticed that you pop up in many threads always with a consistant theme...NEVER anything positive to contribute and always acerbic.
I want to thank everyone who responded thus far;highest regards.
Hi Daveyf, your JRDG Model 8 vs 501 findings do not surprise me. JRDG 501 was a relatively early design using ICEpower, besides not being intended as a Model 8 follo-on. Have you tried Bel Canto Ref 1000 Mk.2? It is a more recent design perhaps, with a little more advanced power supply regulation. . . I suspect you may find those more musical than JRDG 501s.

As for other brands, I freely admit that my musical/sonic preferences are idiosyncratic. When I find other devices that I enjoy, I'll gladly talk about them. . . until such time, I am comfortable speaking about what does not play havoc with my musical enjoyment.

At this point I am intrigued by the potential of GamuT, Belles, an upcoming Wired4Sound reference device, and Chapter Audio. . . all more or less green energy efficient devices. If they turn out to be synergistic with my system and with my ears I'll definitely write about them. . . until such time, whoever insists reading my scribblings may have to bear with the little I know and love (grins!)
Guido, I like my JRDG 8 well enough to not seek another ss amp.
However, I am curious to try a tube amp with my SF's.
I am thinking of the Tenor's or the CAT amps. Any other suggestions?
Hi Davef, I have no experience with Tenor and CAT. I have heard several times ARC tubed amps and thought them to be very nice. . . mainly Ref 220, VT-200, and also Lam hybrid monoblocks. Spent quite a bit of time in the VTL suite at RMAF: they used the new MB450 II monos and the sound was quite captivating. I spent an entire afternoon and evening at Albert Porter's place in Dallas: his system used VTL 750s at the time, and the sound was magnificent. Guido
I owned the Model 1, 2 and jumped all the way to the 8 (no battery pack) some years back driving my previous Avalon speakers, I could not tell of any "house-sound" except from the fact thet they were all great in my system - natural, musical and dead-silent.

Saying that - I switched to Gryphon amps and never came back.
I again want to thank everyone for their posting;also Flg2001 what does the Gryphon amps do that the rowlands did not do for you;are you still using the same speakers that the rowlands were driving?
Rleff- I am back to tubes now with a short period with SET, now I am resting with a class A Jadis amp.

Almost all my life with Rowland amps were with Avalon speakers (you might be aware off the business/friendship relationship of Neil and Jeff years back) and, to make a very long story short, I found the Gryphon amps more dynamic, energetic with a great sense of life-like presentation vs the Rowlands - but please take note that this happened in my system/room configuration. I could live happy with any one of this two great brands again.
10-18-09: Flg2001
[...]to make a very long story short, I found the Gryphon amps more dynamic, energetic with a great sense of life-like presentation vs the Rowlands

On the point of "life like presentation" and adding to this the emotional intensity and conveyance of music i also preferred Gryphon to Rowland, at least from the perspective of their respective latest model integrateds
Flg2001 and Kiwi 1282001, What pre-amps are/ were you using when you had the Rowlands in the system and now with the Gryphons? IMHO the preamp of choice has a very BIG influence on the sound of the amp, among of course many other things, like cables, room, load etc, etc.
Hi Dave!

I had the DM100 with the Elektra, as well with the Anthileon, for the S100 I had the Bel Canto - all Gryphon.

As for Rowland, I had the Consonance for the Model 1 and 2, and the Consumate for Model 8 - all JRDG.

Good point.

Hi Kiwi, if I recall correctly, you tried the JRDG Continuum 500 integrated, which yields a max power of 500W over 8 Ohms and a peak output current of 40A. Which Griffin integrated did you use, and what is its maximum power and current throughput?

Saluti, Guido
Audiofool, wow, you have something to say that is definitive everywhere. I am glad to see that Guido ignores you too.