Nice choice! ...another option could be the musical fidelity KW500. Keep in mind that the unit has a seperate power supply - in case space is an issue
I just bought the Concerto, and it's one serious integrated amp. I've owned a bunch of integrateds from such companies as BAT, Musical Fidelity, Krell, and several others, and the Concerto trumps them all. It's by far the quietest amp I've ever had in my room--which lets all sorts of previously unheard details in music and movies pour forth. If you're looking for tube warmth, look elsewhere, but it's far from cold or clinical. Neutral is more like it. It also has 250 WPC, which is more than almost any other integrated I can think of, save the Musical Fidelity KW500. I'm using it to drive Von Schweikert VR-4s, and it handles them pretty easily. I don't know what the Xenon's sensitivity and impedence curve look like, but the Concerto should be able to handle it. One caveat: The volume control has a very strange progression to it. I have to turn it up to almost 60 (out of 99) before I get any decent volume out of it. But once I past that point, the sound explodes, and the volume becomes much more linear. It's a weird little quirk, but hardly a deal-breaker IMO. There are a lot of other contenders in or near this price range--the aforementioned KW500 is probably the closest contender I can think of--but the Concerto ranks up there pretty highly. Super-quiet, ultra-reliable, dynamic as hell, extremely musical--I can't think of what more I would ask of an integrated amp, even at its lofty price point.
Hooper - first, many thanks for taking the time to post an excellent description of the JRDG Concerto integrated. It sounds like exactly what I'm looking to downsize my current amp/pre/phono stage setup to.
By any chance are you using the on board phono stage and if so, could you possibly share your thoughts on it?
In addition, I know this is a tough one, how does it compare to the Dartzeel that you also own - I guess my question is really, what do I give up in absolute terms with the Concerto and to what extent? Deeply appreciate any advise you have there.
All the very best,
I'm not using the onboard phono stage, nor have I heard any feedback from anyone who is using it, so I'm afraid I can't help on that front. I've always felt that, if you're looking for absolute performance in analog playback, the best way to go is a premium outboard phono stage--but I'm sure that, if the rest of the Concerto is any indication, the built-in phono stage is pretty nice.
As far as comparing the Concerto to the DarTZeel, it's like comparing apples and oranges. The Dart is a dedicated amplifier, not an integrated. It also costs A LOT more--18k to be exact! That said, if you have the cash and have any interest in staying with separates, the Dart should be at the very top of your list of amplifiers--provided that your speakers aren't an insanely tough load.
Unlike most integrateds, I don't think you're giving up a lot versus separates with the Concerto. I've heard a number of people say that it compares very favorably with the Rowland separates--which is saying something. You might give up a little power, refinement, and resolution, but I highly doubt that it's going to be a night-and-day difference. If you're set on downsizing, I can't think of a better integrated to do it with. You might also want to audition the Musical Fidelity KW500--it has twice the power, but I don't think is as quiet or revealing as the Rowland. It's definitely a very worthy contender, though.
I sincerely hope this helps in your quest. Maybe some other Audiogoners have other suggestions that I may have missed, but I think the Concerto is in the top tier of integrateds and deserving of a serious audition.
All the best,
Thanks for yours advises. Now I'm almost sure that Concerto is the amp I'm lookig for.
A' propos Amphion Xenon. It's sensitivity is 85-86dB, nominal impedane 8 ohms (probably never less than 7). Althouth it is very difficult speaker because its sensitivity on the quality of electronic, especially amps.
Many, many thanks for the advise. I'll check out the Rowland Concerto as soon as I get a chance. As much as I'd like to stay with separates, I will not have a dedicated music room for too much longer so my stereo equipment is going to have to blend into and become one with the rest of the living room.
I wish you all the very best in your audio oddesy - you have some spectacular equipment and must be in audio nirvana.
All the best,