Rowland model 5 vs Threshold S500 series II

Hello All,

Looking at both amplifiers , any input as to which is preferred and why . Speakers are 2 ohm ribbons ..



I can't comment on the Rowland Model 5, but I owned a Threshold S/500 II for several years. It started out driving my Apogee Stages and did so admirably- my first really high end amp. My system got bigger and more complex and the S/500 drove the subs for several years. I eventually downsized and sold the S/500.
I looked at the JRDG Model 5 manual and found the following relevant information:

Damping Factor
Greater than 175, 20 Hz to 20 kHz, 8 ohms
Greater than 60, 100 kHz, 8 ohms
Output Current
40 amps peak, continuous
90 amps peak, 0.1 ohm, 20 msec, 1 kHz
Overall Gain Selectable: 20, 26, 29.5, 32 dB
Sensitivity 36 mV, 1 watt, 8 ohms
Input Impedance Selectable: 100k, 20k, 600 ohms
Common Mode Rejection
Greater than 90 dB
Bridged Mono Output
550 watts RMS continuous, 8 ohms
800 watts RMS continuous, 4 ohms
1000 watts RMS continuous, 2 ohms

Interpreting the specs, from a power handling, the JRDG Model 5 should not have major problems handling 2Ohms ribbons, particularly when bridged to mono operations. On the other hand, its damping factor just exceeding 175 may indicate a certain propensity for warmth and perhaps unspecificity in the bass region. G.
Thanks for the response, most on the apogee forums recommend the Krell ( early) and the Rowland 5 /7 . I like the sound of the Threshold myself and have never heard the Rowlands .

as 5Weseixas, in answer to your query on Rowland Model 7, I have owned Model 7 balanced monos from 1998 to 2008. I used them to drive a pair of Magnepan 3As and then briefly Vienna Mahlers V1.5. Model 7Ms have amazing power and authority, but they can be faulted of being somewhat slow in the bass region for low impedance speakers like Maggies and Viennas. I have found the following information in the Model 7 manual:

Damping Factor Greater than 300, 20 Hz to 20 kHz, 8 ohms
Greater than 90, 100 kHz, 8 ohms
Output Current 50 amps peak, continuous
150 amps peak, 0.1 ohm, 20 msec, 1 kHz

A. Damping factor is almost twice that of Model 5, and continuous max current is 25% higher.

B. On the other hand, Model 7, unlike later Rowlands are balanced in the input phase, but not in the output at the speaker terminals. . . this means that the speakers membranes essentially are in free-fall during return excursion, as the negative amp output lead is not actively controlled.

So, in the end the Mod 7 is likely to yield somewhat greater authority than Model 5, but the greater damping factor being offset by a half balanced design is likely to yield very similar level of speaker control.

Hello Guidocorona,

Thanks for your informative response.
No problem Weseixas, PM me if you req further info. G. 
Have had the Threshold S/300 Optical bias, the SA/1 mono's currently and model Rowland model 7's.
Threshold has never been very strong at 2 Ohm loads.
The model 5 can deliver more current then the S/500 it sounds more polite then the S/500.
According to J. Gordon Holt the Threshold S/500 was superb on Acoustat. So if you want a more laidback and smoother presentation I would go for the Rowland. If you want a more vivid and detailed one I would go for the Threshold.
They probably, the Rowland certain, will drive a 2 Ohm load (if it behaves like a Magnepan) both of them.
If you have the opportunity to buy the 500/II or even better I think it was called the 550 ? BUY IT! You'll need to put a good pre on it, but it is much better than the Rowland 5. Havent heard the 7, but the 500 was a great amp! It sound staged, had fast bass and extended on both ends to infinity. Must be partnered with a non edgy pre. A good tubed unit or actually a Rowlnd Capri would be killer in that! In addition, I think service will be easier on the Threshold as Jeff doesn't want to work on the old stuff and there are several companies who perform outstanding maintenance and mods on the Threshold stuff.
Not sure where you get the idea that Mr Rowland doesn't like to work on his old stuff, that is definitely not my experience. I called ahead and was in the same day to have my model 3 amps and Consonance pre checked out. He spent over an hour-and-a-half checking them out while I watched. A very nice and helpful gentleman!
I've known Jeff Rowland for 30 years and I've owned many pieces of his gear, new and old. Seldom have I ever needed repair but the service I received was quick and free of hesitation or excuses. Jeff stands behind everything he ever made.
You may have reasons to buy something other than Rowland as I have from time to time over the years but do not let concerns over factory support dissuade you. It is among the best. This is one of the reasons why Rowland gear has the highest resale value on the market.
Gents, I am not aware that David was trying to disparage Mr. Rowland in any shape or form. Reality is that when a small company with finite resources is in furious development of 4 new major offerings, the updating of an older discontinued product may take longer to get on the surgery table.
Hello Guys ,

Lost track of this and would now like to update .

I went ahead and purchased the Thresholds over the Model 5.
An S500 series 2.

I did have to uprate the speaker fuses to 10 amps and they drive my speakers pretty well ( 1.5 Zmin) of course i have to be careful and do keep the amp temp in check , so far no issues with reliability.

The sound is fantastic , very , very good top and middle , good soundstage and imaging , Ok in the bass, a bit polite overall but does have decent attack. I have heard enuff from the amplifier to think about mods to the PSU and will eventually do so. thinking of a second to Bi-amp ..