My observation is that not many do not talk about a lot of things that used to get a lot of buzz here much anymore. I think a lot of it has to do with increased value proposition these days of more affordable and/or mainstream stuff. Of course esoteric tube amps, high efficiency speakers to match, esoteric tweaks of questionable value like expensive fuses, etc. still get some buzz. And some still offer good technical insights into issues not often discussed elsewhere when needed. Not looking good for the future of high end audio though unfortunately. The keys to good sound in general have been discussed quite thoroughly though over the years and those things tend to not change much.
Yeah, whenever I start a thread about something like Nagra, Gryphon, Lamm etc electronics or Lansche speakers, there is no or very little discussion. I am quite certain that a number of people even in the US are familiar with and some even have those brands, they just don't participate, at least on this forum.
Still, speaking of Rowland, Jeff must be doing something wrong from the point of view of audiophiles not necessarily music lovers. Even older Rowlands are rarely mentioned. This is sad. There are very few American solid state amp brands worthy of audiophile attention. Rowland definitely used to be one of them, and now I am not sure.
A quick look back at non US periodicals will reveal a few less mentioned US brands are regularly discussed and reviewed.
There may be reasons for Enquiring minds, I've noticed one reason often mentioned for the lack of reviews by US periodicals is a manufactures lack of product submission for review.
Before aimless and potentially harmful supposition of "going down" or admitting ones lack of product knowledge declaring "sold out" why not simply ask the source?
Rowland is going down for 30 years. Perhaps Jeff Rowland doesn't know about it and keeps releasing new products? Might be good idea to call him and let him know :)
There was a lot of discussion about Rowland gear on Audiogon. Just search Audiogon for word Rowland - it is mentioned over 8k times. Boulder was mentioned 2.4k times. Are they also "going down"?
Perhaps price of Rowland (and Boulder) gear has something to do with popularity? Rowland integrated "Daemon" costs about $40k. Do you expect a lot of discussion about it?
Some companies don’t need to advertise as much as others. In Rowland’s case, word of mouth has clearly been enough for them for years. As is mentioned above, the amps are an excellent choice for someone looking for a semi bullet-proof ss amp that sounds great.
Now, I am a little biased, as I own and have enjoyed for many years a model 8. After those many years, Jeff updated and modded my amp, and for what I felt was a very reasonable price Today this amp can stand with any ss amp out there. How many ss amps can you say that about, that are over 20 years old?
Some may not like Jeff’s reliance now on Class D, but there a still plenty of folks who do see the value and appreciate the SQ of his designs...luckily.
.......I had Rowland for years and enjoyed every note. I then bought a pair of their 501's digital amps and sold those in 6 months. I couldn't get rid of them faster. Rowland does well over overseas as noted, but their prices are pretty steep. Their stuff is good, real good but .....I want to retire soon.
This is the sort of thing that made me start to turn my nose up at Rowland.
With their $10k Continuum S2 Class-D's, the amp module is a cheap Chinese $100 one, sure with a little tweaking, but Red Dragon Audio also use the same module and similar tweak it but it's only $1,800.
Hi Inna and all, if you happen to be at RMAF this weekend, you will be able to listen to a full suite of Rowland electronics wired with Nordost Odin II, and powering a pair of Magico speakers in the Nordost suite (Humboldt). The Rowland electronics consists of the ultra-caps-based Power Storage Unit (PSU) feeding the Aeris DAC and the Corus linestage, into a pair of the brand new M535 bridged amps. In bridged configuration as they are in the Nordost system, they yield about 900W / channel. The amps are derived from the M525 amps.... They have been enhanced with some of the the distortion minimization tecchnology drived from the class A/B M625 and M725 amps, as well as ceramic circuit boards, and other features.
The Daemon super-integrated is used in one of the large seminar rooms... Sorry, forgot the name of the room.
I believe that the Rowland suite is still on the 2000 level, just off the elevators.
It is worth pointing out that Rowland has amp designs in both class A/B and class D. Depending on the particular application, Jeff opts for one class or the other. For example, the M625 S2 stereo and the M725 S2 monos run in high bias class A/B.
While I will not venture to predict whether one will like the current Rowland sound, I find it incredibly musical, in addition to subtle and revealing... A far cry from the early Rowland incarnations of class D of some 10 to 12 years ago... Concerto, M201, M501, M302 (stereo), and early M301. If your concept of current Rowland sound is based on the amps just listed, it is quite obsolete... Do give the current crop a listen.... Huge difference.
I confess that in olden days I was also totally mythed by the original Rowland crop of class D amps... As much as I tried to like them, I really could not appreciate them.... The amp that made me fall in love again with Rowland, well past and beyond my beloved Model 7s with its golden glow -- was the M312.... With M625, M725, and M925 pushing the magic of my system steadily further.
I looked at the Red Dragon amp mentioned by George... It is based on a Pascal S-Pro2 module. Conversely, the Rowland Continuum S2 is powered by a Pascal M-Pro2... Yielding 400W/8Ohms and 800W/4Ohms per channel.
And whether a module is made in the US, China, Mongolia, South Korea, or southern Chile is immaterial.... Seems that we are not particularly squeemish about component provenance when we purchase our marvellous mobile phones, televisions, and even appliances.... Why we become suddenly fervent neo-protectionists instead when we consider audio equipment.. The contradiction is beyond my grasp.
An evaluative article on Daemon appearing a few years ago -- positive or negative alike -- would be a little surprising... Daemon industrial production has commenced less than one year ago.
Hi JL35, I have not heard Daemon yet.... But if I ever decide to retire my enchanting combination of Roland PSU+Aeris, and M925 mono amps, I am going to consider consolidating, and so Daemon would become a prime candidate... Post launch comments I heard about it this far have been more than extremely positive.
I looked at the Red Dragon amp mentioned by George... It is based on a Pascal S-Pro2 module. Conversely, the Rowland Continuum S2 is powered by a Pascal M-Pro2... Yielding 400W/8Ohms and 800W/4Ohms per channel.http://discosoundequipment.sell.everychina.com/p-99120690-professional-audio-disco-sound-equipment-class-d-modules-for-active-speakers.html
Which ever $100 Chinese Class-D amp module they used, it’s still a blithe on the name to me.
Rowland built their name on quality in house made amps, now it seems to me they just get whatever Class-D modules and throw it into a "glitzy" case whack a $10k price on it and rest on their laurels of days gone by when they did make great amps of their own design.
As someone said in another thread, even very expensive cartridges have average quality diamonds.
I do think Jeff damaged his reputation within audiophile community, but that's not where money is. It is hard to refuse the opportunity to make five times more by selling those still very good sounding pieces to Asian and non-Asian non-audiophiles. Personally, his amps are not on my list. With solid state I would go with either Pass or European brands. I would still consider old 8T, maybe.
eHello George and Inna... as much as I fear that it might be futile to do so, I must invite you once again to... Get out of the house more often... You never know what novel beauty you might discover, unless you did so.
Ah yes, I did dredge up from my old files a lovely quote from our own Rodman9999 that ever puts a smile on my face....
"Just don't fall into the category of those whose minds, like concrete, are thoroughly mixed up and permanently set"
Another saying that I love might be from a song by Al Yankowitcz... It goes something like:
"Ah nostalgia, nostalgia... Even you ain't what you used to be!"
Hi maplegrovemusic, actually Rowland has at least a triple presence at RMAF....
a full complement of Rowland gear can be heard in the Humboldt room, which is the Nordost suite, powering a pair of Magico speakers, and all wired by Odin II cabling.... There you will hear a linelevel stack formed by the PSU ultra-caps-based power supply feeding an Aeris DAC and a Corus preamp.... These feeding a pair of brand new M535 bridged amplifiers, that deliver some 900W per side into the Magico.
One of the amphitheater-style seminar rooms is powered by the big Rowland Daemon integrated.
Instead, the Rowland suite is kept deliberately quiet, so that audiophiles cam talk in peace with Jeff Rowland, Lucien Pichette, and others.
Hope this helps.
That’s kind of what I’ve had in mind for all the big show exhibits, static displays. Mainly due to the almost obsessive compulsive use of brand spanking new speakers and brand new electronics at the show. Come on, folks. Analogous to the old expression, better to remain silent and thought the fool than to speak and remove all doubt.
I heard the Daemon at AXPONA in April of this year powering Joseph Audio Perspectives. It was hard to get a seat in that room. Many folks stated that the Rowland/Joseph/Cardas room was the best sound of the show. I thought it was...I went out and bought a Rowland Continuum S2 and JA Perspectives a month later. If Rowland is dying, they are doing it in style because their current Class D amps are musical, powerful, have an inky black background, are cool to the touch, look great, and are built like stylish tanks. I'm now a full fledged Rowland fan. I've heard the Daemon, Continuum S2, M925s, and Richard's A/B 625 S2 mentioned above. They all sounded splendid to me and never seemed to be working very hard to do it. It is that there are folks who believe Class D produces inferior SQ. I doubt those folks have spent much time listening to Rowland's latest Class D offerings.
Hi Al, while listening to my M925 monos right now, I can't help it agreeing with you. As I mentioned so many times already, some folks need to "get out of the house more often". At least, if they still did not like the music made by well designed modern class D amps, they could base their preference on fresh personal experience.
I've already stated that I really love my JR 625 S2 amp. I hear a lot of talk about how bad their preamps are, but to date I haven't found anything to replace my JR preamp within its price range. Maybe I'm one of those people that enjoys the Jeff Rowland "house" sound or maybe there's such synergy with Rowland amps and preamps that makes it very hard to find a better match?
Well Inna, now that we are all reeling from the staggering import of your momentous virdict on Rowland products, and -- having finally grokked the true truth -- are thus in a headlong rush to sell-out our JRDG components to the lowest bidders, what will your next trollesque adventure take us?
At least one of your devoted fans is, ahem... rabidly anxious to know... We's talking a real bad nail-biting audiophrenic anxiety attack here *Grins!*
But please no no no no... Not Vienna Acoustics... I could not live if I heard that it is one more orphan brand revealed by the scaving Innesque wrath.... ANd pretty please, Not Esoteric... My X-01 is still serving me admirably after 10 long years of honorable service... Would hate to be confronted with the truth... its service has been most dishonorable instead... Mayhaps HFC cables? Or Cardas?! Oh Gaia oh Gaia, please let Inna spare my beloved music making system....
[... Sobbing miserably, the ancient wretched audiophile sinks to the hard floor, and wimpers himself into a fitful sleep, dreaming of short cornets and 4-valve copper flugelhorns... That's his secret... Inna does not know about them yet]
Cari saluti, G.
I am a much poorer audiophile than I used to be with a MUCH more modest system. However, in my last decent rig, I had Rowland electronics, a Capri Series I preamp and a Model 5 power amp. The system synergy was tremendous, the sound was tremendous.
The Capri was a piece that punched so far above its price point as to be ridiculous. It's one of the very few SS preamps I have heard that compared to the many tube pre's I had owned prior to it, including Atma-Sphere. Newer Rowland gear is far, far beyond my budget these days but I will always remember the good sounds of that system.
Ive known about JRDG for a long time. All I remembered was he was such a nice, easy to talk to person, like a regular guy. One year, I think it was 2016 RMAF , The amp in our Vapor Audio/Lampizator room gave up the ghost, and somehow we got a 625 S2 to mate with the Vapor Audio Perfect Storms as a backup. Lets just say the result of adding that amp, made me file JR in the back of my head if I ever decided to go SS, as at the time I was a staunch tube guy. Fast forward a few years and I decide to make a move for accuracy over musicality. I call up Jeff to ask about a model 112 for sale and to ask about how that model stacked up to him vs any others from the era. Long story short, he offered me a pair of his personal Model 12’s not much more than the guy selling the stereo amp wanted. It took 5 minutes in my rig to completely understand why the company has been around as long as they have, and to gain huge respect for the man and the designs. The amps were clearly sorted and I dindt need to analyze the sonics whatsoever any more. These are bearers of truth, lets move on to the next part of the rig. A month later, IO called Jeff back to see if there were any more 12’s hanging around. This time they came out of the company museum. So I now own and use a quad monoblock setup of Rowland Model 12 They are stunning and I can say I am a Rowland devotee. Now I have an admitted disdain for Class D amps. A bias thats not founded. Some of the early ones sounded crappy and I did not even like the idea of Class D. I still have this. Too many :" me too" companies sprouting up with the same module in a different box.
Axpona this year, the Rowland/Joseph audio room was one of the top sounding rooms for me.Amazing. Furthermore it was the Damon and it was a Class D !! WTF ?? If anyone can make a killer Class D amp, I would trust Jeff more than most. SO I asked him why he chose it. He explained and it made sense to me. So as I speak Ive got a new 535 here to demo and compare against a set of Model 12’s ....as in A/B listening.. I will post a video on You Tube under OCD-HiFi Guy. Lets see what the deal is here..
Also, Jeff is a non imposing gentle man. He does not blabbermouth. So if you judge a company based on what the threads are "talking about" on Audiogon, you just may be disappointed, some of the most popular Audiophile items are held up by marketing.
Thank you so much Mike, you made my day!
Please post here the URL of your M535 youtube when you post it.
I have owned two class D amps from Rowland.... The M312 stereo, which sported ICEpower 10000ASP modules, and since 2013 the M925 monoblocks, where the output stage contains NCore NC1200 modules... M312 was wonderful, while M925 are totally staggering.
I have not heard the bridgeable M535 yet.... But I have heard about it.... Reports are that it is one more Rowland Homerun.... Stunning for its $5900 pricepoint per chassis.
Buonasera Guido !, I will be posting it to my youtube channel. Just search for "OCD Hi-Fi Guy" and youll see a crazy looking guy with goggles on. Welcome to my squirrel cage. I take you guys with as I completely bug out on getting everything "perfect". I share things like how to make certain mods, or what it looks like to cut the end off a $6K audiophile power cord with a band saw, i do DAC shootouts where you can actually hear the differences over the internet and through your phone (if its a new-ish smartphone) I will be posting there when Im done. Since I am biamped, I will try 535 for Low Freq as well as highs and see how she fares..Are you here in USA or Italy, or ?
Buon giorno Mike, I left Italy some 40 years ago, and live on the US East Coast.
I am very much looking forward to enjoying listening to your upcoming test of the Rowland M535 amps in bridged mode.
Meantime, so that other followers of this thread have a better idea of what you and I are talking about, here is a temporary link to M535 features and specs from my Dropbox. I will remove the file as soon as JeffRowlandGroup.com posts an official M535 page:
Saluti e buone cose, Guido
Hello YYZ, @Alsteward might be able to tell us a bit about the sound of Daemon, as he has heard it at Expona.... I have not heard of direct comparisons of M535 with M825 or M925. However, all reports are that M535 is stunningly good for its $5900 USD per chassis. Meantime...
Neither the Rowland Daemon superintegrated, nor the M535 bridgeable are based on NCore modules
Here are some of the features and specs of the Model 535 bridgeable amp in a temporary leaflet that Rowland used at Expona 2018:
M535 utilizes the latest version of the Pascal S2-Pro power conversion module.
In the $38,900 Daemon superintegrated, a Pascal X2-Pro module in the output stage is responsible for its 1500W/8 per side… Yet it plays a small part of the total design. Here is the Daemon page from the Rowland site: