rowland 302 v. krell 400..VTL preamp v. BATVK51SE


I just received my rowland 302 amp and am now listening to it with the Watt Puppy 7 speakers, cary 306-200 cd player, and BAT Vk51se tube preamp.

My preliminary evaluation is that the rowland handles vocals better and is overall more musical in how it incorporates the various instruments into a cohesive song. The krell has a better bass slam. All in all, I give the Rowland the edge but the Krell is a very worth piece of equipment in its own right.

Now the question is whether the BAT VK51SE is a better fit for my Rowland, Watt puppy 7's, and cary 306-200 or whether the VTL hybrid ss/tube system would be better? Any thoughts?


p.s. thanks for all the input thus far
Your BAT preamp is not a problem. Read the stereophile review from about 3-4 months ago. They compared the 51se to the VTL. He says they are about 90% the same, BAT slightly favored...but it's a system matching thing. With your set up now, it's the source that will be the biggest change. Try a better cd player, SACD, or VINYL !
I agree with the above. I would use cables that are very neutral and not rolled off (Cardas Golden Reference or Neutral Reference would be an excellent choice) and consider changing out the front end for something else (Wadia, Sony SACD, etc).
I have to disagree with Philb7777 that you should try Transparent cables versus the Cardas as I have found the Cardas Dark sounding and will make the WP7's (which I also own) harsh. Transparent Ultra MM (or Reference with XL) will tighten up the focus of the bass considerably.

I just tried the Rowland Synergy IIi with a pair of Rowland 201's(these are low end compared to the 302) and the new rowland amps on my WP7's and these are so smooth sounding but seem a little lighter in the bass than my Lamm's. I'm buying the preamp but waiting to try the higher end Rowlands in my system. These new amps are deceiving as I think I played my music louder with the Rowlands because they are so amazing.
Michael - The 302 will improve significantly over the next month, including in the bass department.
Hey, if you have brand new equipment, JFZ is right. Hold off for a month or two before making any changes. If you WP 7's are new...give it 90 days. Things will open up if not broken in...
I think your cdp is the weaker, and more limiting link.

A Linn Unidisk, Wadia 861, or Meitner gear would give you noticable improvement.

I wouldn't pay up for transparent cables either....
I have to disagree with Cytocycle. Network cable is not something you want to use with the Rowland gear. It puts a load on the amplifier and it could cause you serious problems down the road. I tried MIT speaker cables and it was shutting my amp down. At the time, I was using the Rowland Model 2. After contacting Jeff Rowland, they explained (better than I am doing now)the reason for the problem and why I should stay clear of all cables that could add resistance to the equipment.

I must disagree with the "darkening" thing that everyone seems to put on Rowland products and Cardas Cables. One reason why many say the sound is dark is because of the high distortion levels their equipment is playing through their speakers (non Rowland systems). Rowland equipment is very low in distortion, so you don't hear the high frequency noise that most hear. It gives you the sense that the top frequencies are rolled off, but they are not. It's just smooth and silky like it should be. Cardas cables are great with Rowland equipment. I feel they neither add nor subtract from the Rowland sound. Check out the Rowland site and look at the measuresments of the equipment. The will give you a quick look at the good performance on paper. You have to listen to it to really understand just how good it really is. Of coarse, all of this is my opinion. I mean no harm or disrepect to anyone I disagree with.