If you like the Rowland sound, Pass, BAT or CJ would be good choices. Ayre is a good choice as well, but it sounds different than what you now have. You have to listen to it first. I used to have both the Rowland 12's and 112, and now use 2 Ayre V-5's. Ayre has the best imaging out of any solid state amp I've ever heard. Rowland usually struggles in this area. Dynamic contrast and timing are also the best I've heard from SS. One advantage Rowland has it that its more forgiving. If you like a really laid back sound, you may want to keep your current amp.
I submit I need as much power as the 625 S2, because my room is 20’ x 26’. I hesitate with Pass because they get so hot and I live in San Antinio, TX. I use my Rowland in my surround sound to drive my front speakers and I don’t want a heater.
I love the Rowland sound. I’m just curious if there is something out there that will improve on what I have. Yes, I like a non-fatiguing, laid back sound that still provides detail.
I have the Rowland M312 driving Avalon Indra's w/synergy lli pre amp. I have auditioned in my home the Pass XA100.5's, Bryston 7BSST and Arye MX-R monoblocks. They all are superb amps. There is something special with the M312/Indra combo. The Indra's need a lot of current and perhaps that is why I preferred them over the others. Also do like the fact they run cool and are energy efficient. The Pass amps were small heaters. lol.
I personally don't feel that you can improve on a new current-production JRDG amplifier for under $20K. If you get a tube amp or a tube-hybrid amp you "might" get a result you like better, but for pure SS i don't see much real improvement in the way of refined sound or build quality.
If you want a significant improvement in most areas it's time for
a VERY good pair of speakers. A 20x26 room (damped? undamped?)
is really quite a lot of space to deal with as well.
I am a snob when it comes to evaluating listening material- classical music is SO much better recorded on average than anything else IMO
(acoustic folk and female vocals usually qualify as well). So,
IF your stereo system sounds good on Beethoven then count your blessings. If your preference goes to pop music, "cool jazz", hard rock, etc. then fussy components like Rowland tend to sound a little "off". In my book that's an acceptable trade-off.
I honestly appreciate suggestions, but I submit they’re more valid when the individual is familiar with the component they’re suggesting you replace. I post questions in hopes I receive suggestions that I haven’t thought of. If french_fries, has heard the Monitor Audio PL500 IIs and doesn't think they are Very good, I respect his opinion. If he hasn't and is just saying something negative for the sake of it, he doing everyone following this post a disservice. I understand everyone has their preferences; therefore I take every suggestion with a grain of salt.
I truly don't think you'll exceed the the Rowland unless maybe an Agostino S250 would offer something you might prefer. Beyond that you'll need to look towards some of the European boutique brands at great expense. Jeff personally is involved with each single unit built which is to the highest standard I'm aware of with respect to US audio companies. You have the best current thinking of an audio icon. I would never let that piece go for anything less than Agostino or higher(if possible). You're in thin air already. Congrats on what you have now.
FWIW I don't own JRDG products or have any motive here other than to provide an opinion. I did own a 625 and regret selling it.
Hello ricred1, I didn't want to imply that your speakers are inferior in some way- I have never heard them. But one example i can offer is the day i heard Wilson MAXX
speakers and then after those the Alexandria's at a local store. The upgrade was like
an entirely different way of experiencing the music. Both speakers cost
a huge amount of money, but I couldn't even consider buying the MAXX's after hearing their flagship model. In my own home i upgraded
from B&W-801s3 to Eggleston Andra's (and then to Andra-II's)- really no words can describe the improvement or the enjoyment i got from listening for hours on end. I gave up the Egg's for Von Schweikert speakers and gained much more midrange clarity.
So i took a different path from you, and since there are no Monitor Audio dealers around town the issue never came up. I am also a huge fan of Sonus Faber's (a friend has a pair of Extrema's which sound out of this world).
You could improve your source components and/or your cables as well, but looking for a "better" amplifier than Rowland is IMO is going to be difficult. Plus you have the Corus preamp as well, so as one dealer told me when i purchased a Rowland Consonance w/phono a number of years ago, "you're done"- i.e.- go improve some other piece of gear.
Even today, that is one hell of a great preamp.
I'm okay and appreciate your contribution to the discussion. The Von Schweikert VR-55 are some of the best speakers that I've heard and I would buy them if I had the money.
I'll be honest, after talking to a very good friend/dealer that has access to many different components I decided that it's best to keep my amplifier and preamp.
Give my suggestions regarding source components and cables. My current cables are Wireworld Platinum Interconnect and Power cables. My speaker cables are Wireworld Silver Eclipse 7. My current source is a Bryston BDP2 with my Jeff Rowland Aeris DAC. Prior to the Aeris, I had an PS Audio Directstream and Bricasti M1 DAC. I prefer the Aeris. I'm open to suggestions.
" I truly don't think you'll exceed the the Rowland unless maybe an Agostino S250 would offer something you might prefer. Beyond that you'll need to look towards some of the European boutique brands at great expense. Jeff personally is involved with each single unit built which is to the highest standard I'm aware of with respect to US audio companies. "
I like Rowland too, but when I compare my Rowland amp next to just 1 of my Ayre V-5's, the Rowland sounds defective. You certainly don't have to buy an extremely high price, state if the art type of amp to best it.
Knowledge almost always wins over price. The more you know, the less you have to spend.
It looks like your comparing older Jeff Rowland amps to newer Ayre amps. I respect everyone's opinion, so if to your ears the Ayre makes the Rowland amps sound broke, that's fine.
I've been doing the audiophile thing for over 20 years. I've listened to Ayre several times driving Wilson Audio Sasha 1s and Rockport Aviors. Let just say, I'll keep my current Rowland 625 S2 over any Ayre that I heard, which includes their mono-amps.
I've never been about price being an indication of better, but more about what my ears prefer in a given price range.
As one of the few on here that have actually heard your gear(and thanks again for that) there are a few amps that I would love to hear with your speakers.
I agree on Pass.... I know they are heaters, but I personally think they would sound really nice with your PL500s;especially that wonderful midrange. Next would be the D'agostino--never heard one but from the descriptions of their sound, I bet they would sound great; plus they look cool. Last would be one of the higher end Burmesters-A very smooth sound.
At the end of the day your current Rowland gear is extremely good. Happy hunting!
I was responding to 4425's quote.
" I've listened to Ayre several times driving Wilson Audio Sasha 1s and Rockport Aviors. Let just say, I'll keep my current Rowland 625 S2 over any Ayre that I heard, which includes their mono-amps."
And that makes sense. I would sooner use Rowland on those speakers as well. They need need an amp like that. In fact, given your description of what you are looking for, I wouldn't recommend Ayre. If you read my other post, you can see that.
I love the Rowland sound. I’m just curious if there is something out there that will improve on what I have. Yes, I like a non-fatiguing, laid back sound that still provides detail. "
BAT or CJ "
just reading all these posts....the bottom line is that You have to be satisfied. All components have their own special flavors. ...and too how these boxes integrate with each other. I’m a pro violinist, and am astounded how different my violin sounds in different halls...indeed in different rooms in my house. The truth, is there is no truth. ,,,even if you could handle it :)
you might be interested in how the Rowland and Ayre customer service is provided.....in my experience they are both exceptional ( as is Vandersteen)
We have the T+A PA 3000 amplifier and it is just a smoking amplifier.
The integrated amplifier version which costs $19k was compared to $120k worth of CH Precision gear and Allan Taffel could barely tell the difference when he made the comparison.
T+A is one of those brands that just is not getting the notice the brand should be getting on these forums.
If you look at the last few reviews of their gear the reviewers all went banannas over the sound quality, build quality and technology.
The HV series is designed to directly mimic the sound of tubes by running solid state devices at high voltage rails with a similar capactiy of tubes.
The amplifier is a 300 watt power house with 500 watts into a 4 ohm load and can be upgraded by adding a outboard power supply and can even be turned into mono blocks.
Absolutely amazing sounding products, a warm midrange, huge sound stage, airy top end without sterility, a full puunch slightly big and warm bass response.
Add to this stunning good looks, managable weight, impeciable German craftsmenship and when compared to rival products the products that are being discussed usually run 2-3 times the price of the T+A products!
If you are ever in our neck of the woods, New York metro you should hear this gear it competes easily with the really expensive stuff yet is priced suprisingly at realistic and affordable levels for such gear.
Troy and Dave
877 428 2873
You are not going to change the speakers you have. You ruled out ARC gear (and all tubes), so the question boils down to "what electronics will be better than Rowlands"
Is that right?
Ayre was already mentioned. What about Moon Evolution?
I'll also mention room treatments, or... building a new room. Then there the possibility of upgrading the source material.
I would change speakers if I had 50K to spend :). I know nothing is perfect, but it took a couple years to decide on speakers. I had Wilson Audio Sasha 1's, and a couple of Revel speakers in between and Aerial 7Ts with dual JL Audio F110 v2s prior to the PL500 IIs. I listened to Magico S5's and Rockport Aviors. I almost purchased Rockport Aviors! I ended up with PL500 II after I had the opportunity to hear them in my room. I never liked Monitor Audio series I. So to me I would have to spend a lot more, based on "my preferences" to seriously upgrade from what I have.
I'm looking into Moon Audio, because it my understanding that Monitor Audio uses them with the PL500 at shows.
My room is treated with GIK bass traps in the corners and at the first reflection points and the rear wall.
I'm open to suggestions regarding source and cable options.
I would have to agree with ricred It will be very hard to beat the Monitor Audio PL 500 for what they do for the money.
The new Heil drivers are a bit more laid back then the originals ribbons which were hyper detailed.
Also the size of the speaker is going to create a very big sound.
We are big fans of large speakers which help create a life like image and they do not suffer from dynamic compression.
What would be interesting would be a comparison of the Legacy Aeris which is alot like the PL 500 in terms of driver complement type and size.
I would not draw any conclusion as to Moon being a great choice because they use them at shows.
Many Canadian companies show together, and even though Monitor audio is an English brand their importer is Canadadian, add to that that Kevro the importer does not deal with any high end audio electronics lines, could explain the pairing.
Personally we never found the Moon gear to be great, kinds of sound like better Bryston, clean and a bit lean, detailed but not hyper resolving good bass.
We never found their products to be that interesting in terms of sound quality, design or technology, hence we skiped over them in our reference electronics search.
Troy and Dave
877 428 2873
Those Monitor Audio PL500 IIs look like amazing speakers. I bet they sound fantastic with the Jeff Rowland gear. But if I was looking to try something different I would look to the Krell Solo 575.
It would be interesting to hear those speakers with that kind of power behind them.
Hi Richard, as many already pointed out, exceeding the performance of the amp you have without "amping up" the investment very significantly might be a tall order. As you enjoy the sound of M625 S2 but you would like more power, I warmly recommend the Rowland M725 S2 class A/B monos or the Rowland M825 stereo, or the M925 monos. Outside the Rowland World, I might look at Solution amps.... Quite expensive, but yield a musicality that also meets my sound concept.
But there is something you can do to enhance the music of your system while keeping M625 S2, Corus, and the Aeris DAC.... Last week I have installed the recently released Rowland Power Storage Unit (PSU). As I mentioned via email, this is an external full chassis power supply based on ultra-capacitors. It is designed to feed simultaneously Aeris and Corus with pure DC, and takes them off the AC mains grid. I had heard glowing third party reports on it, but I was a little skeptical... While I have not had ultra-capacitors in my system, I understood the concept, and have had battery powered pre-amplifcation before.... And the performance difference between batteries and AC was very subtle.
But when I connected PSU into the Rowland Aeris DAC I realized that batteries supplies and PSU are totally different animals... The performance enhancement is simply staggering, even on my system which I already considered wonderful, where Aeris feeds directly a pair of Rowland M925 4-chassis monoblocks into Vienna Acoustics Die Muzik. The enhancement is apparent from first activation for all audible parameters I can think of, and is followed by a rapid evolution lasting perhaps 200 hours, which pushes performance even futher.
I will soon create a dedicated thread on PSU with a lot more detail.
As always, thanks for your input and passion regarding Jeff Rowland components. How much is the PSU?
The response to my post has got my thinking. The first thing I want to try is a new power cable for my 625 S2 amplifier. I currently use a 1m Wireworld Platinum power cable, but it's plugged into my Torus RM15 Power Conditioner. I want to try going straight into the wall, but I need a 3m cord. Any suggestions?
You beat me to it - I was going to suggest the same thing. Here is an extensive review of the Corus/PSU by Christiaan Punter of HiFi-Advice.com, a huge aficionado of all things Jeff Rowland.
Hello @gareneau, indeed PSU is quite transformational. I suspect that given the high caliber of Richard's electronics and speakers, a PSU would yield significantly more benefits than a power amp change. Fact is that Richard already has Aeris as well as Corus.... And one single PSU would enhance the performance of both of them... Even though I only have Aeris but not Corus, The enhancement that PSU made in my own system is far from being subtle, or even moderate.
I have gone through a number of high power high amp solid state amps over the years and for the last 15 years I have been using Plinius, Went from their SA-250 Class-A to an integrated 310 watt Class A-B last year and the clarity and response are amazing. Using it with Watt Puppy 8's and my old NHT 3.3 at times.
Plinius make amazing amps.
You have put together an incredible system that surely must be satisfying and enjoyable. I am certain that you are fully aware that your Monitor Audio PL500 II's are a 4 ohm system. My only suggestion would be to contact the speaker distributor representative directly to discuss the particular amplifiers that they use with that speaker. Many times they are reluctant to divulge that information fearing the information would be an endorsement.
Guido may have answered your quest!
Often there are is a single amplifier/speaker combination that is simply magic. Specifications rarely mean anything. A 400 watt/channel amplifier by one company will not sound anything like a 400 watt/channel amplifier by another company. Enjoy your Rowland equipment. I for one purchased a different preamp after auditioning an Ayre. They are not for everyone.
I'm a bit late to this game/thread, but thought I'd toss out a name that is seldom mentioned in the amp space: Linn. I recently went from a Mac MC303 (3 channel 300W/ch) to a set of Linn Klimax Solos (driving B&W 802D2s and an HTM2 center). Not only do the Solos run amazingly cool (I could cook steak for 6 on the Mac), but my 802Ds suddenly came alive in every respect. The difference was immediate and astonishing -- clarity, soundstage, depth -- without so much as a burn-in period. I actually started a thread some time ago wondering why no one ever mentions Linn Solos in a thread like this, and not surprisingly got two responses. I haven't A/Bed them with other speakers (or against any other amps), so take it for what it's worth. But I've also never seen a listening review of the Solos that was less than glowing.
Too much disposable income and boredom is a terrible problem to have isn't it? Love reading this stuff! Just had dinner in Carefree AZ at a little Italian restaurant and what do I see? The last amp I bought from him I gave it to the guy that drives by looking for looking for stuff to pick up for scrap. I've had 3. Looking at my system now you coull
Hi Jimmy, M625 S2 might appear once a while on the pre-owned market…. But M535 is brand new, so it is unlikely to pop up used for quite a spell.
The good news is that M535 is reasonably priced at $5900 per chassis. Depending on your speakers, you can drive them with one single unit, and perhaps later add a second one for bridged operations if you want even more authority.
In stereo mode, M535 yields 250W into 8 Ohms, doubling to 500W into 4 Ohms. In bridged mode, each unit outputs 900W.