Musical Fidelity KW500 and Rowland Continuum S2


Has anyone compared these 2 integrated amps? If so, what are your observations? Thanks in advance.
arsh
Anyone with any comments about these at all??
I have owned Rowland for over 12 years now - it never distorts, or gets hot, and has never given me even 30 seconds of trouble. Rowland sounds completely neutral, with great detail and clarity. Rowland wins - hands down - no contest. Plus - it's gorgeous to look at.
Haven't heard the kW500, but love my kW linestage and phono preamps. Great pieces. That kW preamp had been the longest lasting piece of gear in my system until it and my Yamamoto DAC were recently replaced by a DEQX HDP4. It will be sad to sell those 2 pieces of gear.
Thanks guys. I appreciate your responses. Hifibouncer, have you heard the KW to make a comparison? One of the things I love about it is its lifelike immediacy--it creates a front row perspective; the performers and instruments seem to be right there. Does the Rowland have a similar character?
I have not had the specific pieces in question in my systems, but I had and have products from these two manufacturers in present and previous systems. I have a lot of respect for Musical Fidelity as a company , it quite frankly is not in the same league as products designed by Jeff Rowland. Sonically the products are similar, but the transparency and resolving capability of Rowland pieces is stunning. Also, the Rowland products are jewel like in the fit and finish. Manufactured to last a lifetime without problems. Turn the pieces on and forget about any future issues.
Thanks a lot, Brauser. Which specific pieces have you owned from both companies? What about the so called "class D sound"? I have never listened to a Rowland or any other class D amp. Thanks.
Arsh,

I have owned and/or listened to several Class D, A, and AB amplifiers. I recently had an Jeff Rowland 125 for two weeks and now a JR 525. Based on my experience JR Class D amplifiers don't sound like "Class D" amplifiers. To my ears both JR amps that I've listen to in my system portray a three dimensional soundstage where music emerges out of a black background.
Thanks Ricred1. How do the JR amps do with the high frequencies? Is the presentation lively, musical--or a bit "sterile" for want of a better term?
Arsh,

I can't compare the JR 525 to Musical Fidelity, because I've never listen to MF. In the context of my system the JR 525 is very musical. I never thought changing from an Parasound A21 to the 525 would yield some many improvements...the most impactful is spacing between instruments.
Again, in my system the highs are musical,real,great tonality and the mids are better. The bass compared to the A21 is very different...A21 more impact, 525 tight and detailed.
Thanks Ricred. That is very helpful info. Much appreciated.
It is also worth pointing out that Musical Fidelity makes products along a broad range of price points. So when someone is not a fan of Musical Fidelity, it may be that they are referring to their lower priced, lower quality items. Top-of-the-line MF gear like the kWs may be quite different from their gear where more compromises (power supply for example) need to be made to hit a certain price point.

I don't know Rowland well, but my impression is that all of their gear is aimed to the high-end market.

So in general, MF vs JR in general is not an apples to apples comparison. Apples-to-apples would be similarly priced JR and MF gear.
Thanks Roscoeiii. I agree. The Kw500 and Continuum S2 are similarly priced and in the same general class I would think.
I have the JR 525, but it's my understanding that the S2 is a step or two above the 525.
Thanks Ricred1. Wish I had a way to listen to one. I went back to The Absolute Sound's review of the KW500 from 2005. I had actually never previously read it. It describes the sound of the amp really well--the same sorts of observations I have made. The specifications are really good, also. Perhaps I should stick with it. Not sure how many more years it will last me, though. Thanks again.
To me, comparing Jeff Rowland to MF is like a camry to a porsche. MF cant shine Jeff's shoes.
Thanks Cerrot. I appreciate your input. Have you heard the KW or others of MF's highest end pieces? Would you please describe some of the differences if you have?
I owned the KW 500 many years ago. It was good for the money with great dynamics and bass control. It lacked the ultimate detail, transparency along with best sound staging capabilities. It was a fairly neutral amp with fairly good texture. If i remember correctly, the free phono stage is decent.

I read too much stereo magazines from asia and bought the Rowland 201s and 312. Top notch fit and finish and never get hot. Detail was slightly better than MF. Very smooth high frequencies but somewhat dull, almost like when you play a record out of phase. The class D amps require a low pass filter to negating switching noise. I suspect the filter has not been optimized in the early days and possibly introduce phase shift. Poor macro-dynamics and poor tonal saturation. It did not flush out the different textures betw varies instruments. I think these were early products base on older switching technology. I have listened to newer generation switching amps and they are better. I prefer Ayre or Boulder along the same category. Pass labs lots of value of the money.
Thanks Glai. Nice to hear from someone who actually had the kW. Did you prefer it to the (older) Rowland gear?
Yes i much prefer MF KW500 to the rowland 201s and 312
Thanks Glai.