Levinson 383 or Rowland Continuum 500

Hi there
Looking to switch from my 383 to the Rowland. The problem is I have no way to audition the Rowland.
I have a ARC cd3 mk2, Genesis 501 speakers and top of the line Shunyata all around.
Any comments on the Rowland or any other Integrated?

I have owned both the Rowland Concerto and Continuum 500 integrated amps. Both were stellar performers. The Continuum 500 was very refined, very transparent, portrayed an excellent soundstage with extraordinary imaging.

I actually drove a pair of extremely power hungry Eggleston Andra II speakers, as well as a pair of Sonus Faber Guarneri Mementos with the amp and the performance of both pairs of speakers was extremely good. I sold the Rowland to purchase a McIntosh MA7000, just because I wanted to "try" the Mac. This was a lateral move at best. The Mac is good, but I certainly don't think it to be "better" than the Rowland.

The Rowland "right of the box" was pleasant to listen to, but it improved dramatically over the first 200 - 300 hours of use - to the point that it equalled most separates of my experience.

I can't give you any direct comparison to the Levinson 383, but I will say that, to me, it was a one-box equal to the Levinson No. 32 preamp and No 336 power amps that I used for many years. It is that good!! It is also very close to giving equivalent performance to Spectral separates that I currently use in another system.
Hi Jprice, I have about 150 hours (low volumes) on my C500 and although I feel it is already an across-the-board step up from my former integrated amp (Plinius 9200), the bass of the C500 doesn't seem to be as textured and nuanced as the Plinius. In your recollection did the bass of the C500 improved considerably at the 200 to 300 hour mark? Speakers are Dynaudio C1.
fwiw - the several times I heard the 383 it was grainy and two dimensional

good luck


I found the bass response from the Continuum to be well balanced with good resolution. On the Eggleston Andra IIs I had to concentrate a great deal on speaker placement and room treatment to keep the bass under control - it became overpowering when the speakers were too close together or too near the front wall. When I got the speakers properly aligned, the bass seemed to be well in keeping with the frequency response of the rest of the speaker.

The Mementos don't have much bass response below about 35- 40hz, but the Continuum did a very good job of delivering and controlling what bass response was available.

As to whether the bass response improved during the break-in period, It did improve, but not so much as the other characteristics of the amp - transparency, refinement, resolution, soundstaging etc. When I first started using the Continuum, I was still messing around with Eggleston speaker placement and, as stated earlier, the bass response was too full and I had to tone it down through speaker positioning and the use of tube traps.

I do think that breaking the amp in at low volume will take a great deal longer than doing so at normal listening levels (or higher). I would suggest that you turn the thing up a bit and enjoy. . . . .
Thanks Jprice, I wish I could turn up the volume a bit more during break-in, but I can't given apartment neighbors. My bass issue could actually be speaker-placement related among other things.
I have heard that the break-in time for Continuum 500 is somewhat shorter than on most other class D amplifiers, possibly because of its slightly higher operating temperature. Never the less, I suggest to be generous with break-in time allocation, and to continue the process for perhaps 300 hours. . . and then determine if there are any further changes up to 500 hours. DCSTEP reports that this break-in extension may not be necessary. BTW, one of the nice things about JRDG gear is a very long 5 years warranty on new units. G.


A note about "break-in that makes it not quite so obnoxious: When I bought a new pair of Avalon Eidolon speakers, I was told that they needed an extended break-of "loud and dynamic source material" - My family and neighbors would certainly have objected if I played music continuously for several hundred hours. (Particularly if I played Avalon's recommended break-in disc . . . Tangerine Dream's Optical Race . . . yes, in the Avalon owners manual they recommend playing that disc over and over for 200-300 hours.

Anyway, someone told me that if I would bring my speakers close together and facing each other they would cancel out most of the high volume levels and virtually all of the bass response.

Try it, It works. Awful music but much happier neighbors and family members
I have a C500 driving a set of Duevel Bella-Lunas, and a 102/Capri pair driving a set of Duevel Venus. I love the sound of the "modern" Rowland amps, it is so smooth and effortless to my ears. These amps just seem to idle their way through the music and never get rattled, even the tiny 102. I found break-in pretty extended, about 300hrs before the amps settled down. The C500 ran pretty warm for the first week, but then the temp seriously dropped. I don't understand how but now my C500 is cold to the touch, and sounds great too.