Rowland 302 is rated at 300W into 8 Ohms, 500W into 4 Ohms, apparently not rated into 2 Ohm loads. What does that tell you about power supply? To me it means that if you have speakers that dip down into the 4 Ohm region at some frequencies of the impedance curve, they will not receive the same current as other areas of the frequency spectrum and so relative dynamics at those frequencies will be compromised.
Depending on input demands, Krell adjusts to maintain class A bias as 400W into 8 Ohms, 800W into 4 Ohms and 1600W into 2 Ohms. What does that tell you about design of the power supply? Plus it weighs about 20 pounds more.
Also, 302 input impedance is 40K Ohms and Krell is 100K Ohms; the Krell is an easier load for a preamp than is the Rowland, but not by much since it is within an order of magnitude.
My feeling is that your source, pre, cables and software are going to make more of a sonic difference than either of these amps into those speakers. Clearly, the Krell is going to have better electrical control over the speakers than the Rowland.
I have a 400cx and so am a bit biased (no pun intended ;-))I wouldn't think of trading it for anything except a 700cx or 750mcx.
The Rowland is based on the ICEpower module, which puts it in the digital amplification category. Which means, among other things, that it does not need to be large or heavy. Their 201 monoblocks are 250/500 watts, weigh 13 pounds, have no heat sinks, and are no bigger than a ream of paper. The technolgy is sufficiently different that I believe some of Stevecham's comparisons with the Krell are not valid--sort of apples and oranges. I don't know how well the Rowlands deal with low impedance situations, however. I own the 201's. I recommend you try to hear them, or the forthcoming 501's, or the 302, which I have not heard.
Stevecham - The 302 is an entirely different design. Believe me, it has plenty of "electrical control" and dynamics. I'm using it with Rockport Antares, in which the impedance does sometimes dip to 4 ohms. The 302 is the best amp I've ever heard - by far. I simply wanted ,to add these comments, because I don't think one can fairly compare these two amps,using parameters such as power into low impedances, weight, etc.
Rowland 302 is a fantastic amp. All the Krell I have heard in the past is quite dynamic and analytical. I don't feel the Krell / Wilson match is a good one if you value musiciality and naturalness. Rowland does the best of both tube - like sound and with the best dynamics and control of solid state. My opinion is it is a far better match for your Wilsons.
I would be interested in learning more about these amps from a technical standpoint. I was unable to find out more beyond what was posted on the Rowland site.
Jfz what other amps did you try with your Rockports? (you said the 302 was the "best - by far", that's quite a statement, wouldn't you agree?)
As other audiogoner may already know, I abhor the use of terms such as "best" or "worst" as I don't believe such absolutes actually exist.
Also I noticed that the frequency response for the Rowland is stated as 5 - 60 kHz +/- 3 dB while the frequency reposne of the Krell is stated at 0.1 - 240 kHz + 0 dB/- 3.0 dB.
So while I agree that specs don't tell the whole so- called "musical" story, at least from an electrical design standpoint, "digital" IEC or otherwise clearly Krell is superior on several fronts. Also, I have yet to see anyone credibly argue that Krells specs are other than conservative. (NOTE: I did not, nor will I ever, say that Krell is "best").
I have currently in my system the new Theta Gen VIII DAC/pre-amp, Cary CD 306/200 (which I now use only as a transport!)
I have ProAc Future II using Wireworld Gold Eclipse all the way around. I had the 400CX in my system for about a week, before i hooked up the JRDG series 201 mono-amps. I was shocked! In my system, they blew away the Krell's in a way I did not thought possible. They brought so much more feel to the music. The Krell's sounded rigid and without soul and involvement. Yes, the 400 CX is a great amp. But it was not to my liking. I learned long ago not to pay to much attention to specs and numbers. In my opinion you should try them out as soon as possible. Don't worry to much about Ohm loads. Best of luck!
Stevecham: Rowland Model 10, Pass Labs X-150 & X-350, Sierra Denali, Symfonia Opus 10, Parasound JC-1s, Gryphon mono amps (sorry, I don't remember the model designation), Mark Levinson 334 & 336.
I'd like to also clear something up: I did not say the 302 was the "best". I said it was the best amp that *I* had ever heard. There is, obviously, a big difference in the two statements. So, no, I don't agree with your characterization - I abhor "best" and "worst" when used as generalized absolutes as well.
Anybody have a chance to hear the 201's vs the 302's? I am interested and wondering if it would be worth the cost difference. Thanks.
Also, they are coming out with a integrated in april that lists for $5900. What would a good asking price be? I've never bought new like this before. Do they come off that mrsp? I have no dealer and would have to call around.
The integrated is only 5k.
I spoke to Kelly at the Rowland factory three days ago. As of then the new preamp was slated to sell for $3900 and the new integrated for $5900. She thought phono would add $600 to either price.
They plan to make both pieces available in April.
I called the other day and was told $5900 by their receptionist.
Then they raised the price after CES...bummer.