Rowland "house sound"?

I am interesting in purchasing a Rowland model 3 to replace my BAT VK-60. I have never heard the amp but have heard good things about Rowland in general. I am wondering how they will sound with my VSA VR4jr's playing clasic rock.
I would recommend a used pair of Rowland Model 6 monoblocks or even the Model 2 stereo amplifier. Both are very musical and have enough power for your Von Schweikert VR4jr's.
Yes,Darn Good,is the house sound.
I have had many Rowland amps, great units and you wont experience any difficulty playing classic rock, now...

Why you donĀ“t consider a tube amp? say CJ?
I am looking for some serious power that I can not afford in tubes. I don't know if this Rowland would even have enough power for me but at this point I am also looking at other digital & SS amps so I can get the bass slam I miss from my VR4jr's.
I am on a limited budget of $2500.00 for the amp purchase so a pair of 6's or Model 2 is unlikely. The digital amps offer alot of bang for the buck & VSA used to voice with them.

I am curious about the Bel Canto, Nu Force & Spectron's, I may buy one (or a pair) to see how they sound.
I have a Rowland Concentra integrated amp, and, for what it's worth, I love the sound, and found it to be vastly superior to a Bel Canto integrated which I tried previously.

Damn good for starters. One of the best out there.
Sweet but not cloying, natural with good sound staging.
Will handle most any load with aplomb too.
Also beautiful to look at.
This will be a marked improvement for your system. Roland makes great gear.

Rowlands do sound very nice but I find them to lack some transparency or sound a little veiled in comparison to say a Levinson or Krell. The Levinsons I have owned sound more neutral. I just had a Model 1 in my system this past month. I really liked it but overall not my taste. Not trying to sound negative but everyones ears are different.

There's been some progress since the Model 1.
It slays the Levinson, and Krell by comparison, is not in the same league as either.
Levinson lacks any musicality, (not meaning coloration but the soul of the presentation, that ineffable quality we recognize as music)and, again, IMHO, Krell is somewhat hashy in the last three audible octaves by comparison.
Samzs12 is correct in saying that everyone's ears are different--this of course is what I hear. No pitchforks please, just an opinion.

Samzs12 is correct in saying that everyone's ears are different--this of course is what I hear. No pitchforks please, just an opinion.

I couldn't agree more with that statement. The fun part of this hobby is the journey of getting where we want to be. I think I will listen to as much as I can at this point & have some fun finding what I feel will make my system special to me.
Since Jeff's "move" to switching amps I wonder if the "house" sounds different?
Fish - What do you find lacking with the Bat?
Funny you should say that- planning to sell BAT in favor of some SS amp.
I have the same speakers and just recently sold Theta Digital Dreadnaught II, thinking of BAT as one of the options to replace it.
Could you please share, what is it exactly that you DON'T like in BAT sound?
BTW, I'm listening to Butler 5150 now, and like it a lot.
02-24-06: Unsound
Since Jeff's "move" to switching amps I wonder if the "house" sounds different?

IMHO, it's a POS sound now! I did not care for the 201 - all the audiophile attributes but no soul. One friend disliked it as well (he was driving Piega C8 Ltd. I think that I have his speaker model # correct). Another friend just loves them (he's driving JM Lab Mezzo Utopias non-Be tweeter).

02-23-06: Jtinn
I would recommend a used pair of Rowland Model 6 monoblocks or even the Model 2 stereo amplifier. Both are very musical and

I certainly prefer Jeff's older all-analog power amps tho Model 2, Model 6 & Model 10 are not my personal favourites. All-the-same Jtinn's reco is a good one. All of them have a certain "dark" nature to their sound & it seems that one needs to "compensate" for this by using a bright speaker. I've only heard these amps at Rowland dealers, friend's houses, etc.
The ONLY thing I do not like is the lack of vollume/power. The amp will sound strained at higher vollumes. I am talking over 90db's There are times & I know how bad it is for me but there are times I want to really FEEL the music and the BAT just doesn't have enough oomph. That being said it is so close that I know a VK-75 would get me where I want to be.

I also want to play around a bit, almost like cheating on your high school sweetheart. I know I will probably end up going back to BAT tubes for the long haul but I want to see what the newer racier designs sound like for a little. Another amp on my must try list is the VK-500, have you ever seen a bad review? That amp is a must listen for me.
Thanks for the response.
Do you think BAT VK-55 will present the same problem?
I spoke with Victor Khomenko at this year CES regarding this exact issue, and he mentioned that VK-55 measures close to 80 Wt. on the bench and actually is more powerful than VK-60 (if I remember the conversation correctly).
I really don't think there is anything to fault in the Rowland sound. Some people seem to have a problem with the Rolex factor, that is paying "extra" for Jeff's build quality and cosmetics but it is important to realize that Jeff's goal in every design is to produce a statement product. I've owned something from every generation of Rowland amplification from the days before he was "known" nationally to the present and I think that his sound has both evolved in terms of refinement and stayed consistant to his house sound. Within the Rowland line, you get what you pay for. The 201 monos are one of the better buys in high end audio.
I have not heard the VK-55 so I can't comment. As I listened to my VK-60 for the last time today with it's new owner I realized that it will be a little more difficult to recreate what I had but the challenge is half the fun.
I forgot to mention that I heard a Model 112 I believe it is 2 yrs ago. Nice amp but sounded a bit dry to me. A friend of mine was using one and ended up getting rid of it and went back to his 300B. He made the comment of un-involving or no soul. I sure liked the preamp :)
I have to agree on the "house sound" issue here stated (very interesting thread by the way).

Of all the Rowlands I have had (not including the new line which I am unfamiliar) I would rate the Model 2 as the best option (price/performance), the only Solid State i ended up liking more are Gryphon amps, some integrateds are out there at "decent" pricing.
As a follow up, my BAT is now gone. I have a friend who loaned me a one-off ice based amp he purchased here recently as well as symphonies plus pre-amp. I must say the combo is pretty nice for the money. I am enjoying the bass but it is missing that sweet midrange I had with the BAT. If I could find a digital amp (or solid state for that matter) that give me the musicality & presence of the BAT with the dynamics of the ice-based amp I would be in heaven. The problem with that is if it has been produced none of us has found it yet :)

So, I am looking at some of the digital designs because I often hear how (somehow) they are "similar" to tubes without the rolled off lower frequencies. I am looking for something musical with a sweet midrange & very dynamic.
Can anyone tell me which Jeff Rowland model is the warmest and sweetest sounding of his line up. Many have said the model 10 fits the sound I am looking for but I would like to get more opinions on this.

When I mean warm and sweet sounding I mean comparitively to other SS amps and not tube amps. Thanks.
Fishwater - I am not sure if a digital amp is your route if you are looking for lush midrange reproduction. I would try a pure class_A ora a tube amp first.

Mike - Rowland 6 looks to me like the warmest on the Rowland line, I have had the 5, 1, 2, 8 and 9, as I said, I am not familiar with the new line 5XX, 3XX, 2XX but some reading says that they are a bit cold or analytic in comparison with the previous models.

My favourite?, The 8.

Hope this helps

Thanks fernando for your reply. I think the 9 is out of my price range.

I will check out the 8 prices.

If anyone can comment on the 10's that would be great as well.
I am a bit hesitant when it comes to declaring that anything has a particular sound because so much depends on system interaction. So, this is a very general statement of what I have heard. To me, Rowlands are smooth, pleasant sounding amps that don't quite deliver enough toe-tapping excitement, i.e., they are slightly lifeless sounding. I've heard them in several systems, most recently, driving Sonus Faber Anniversarios.

But, they are not offensive, and I bet they would work well with speakers that are a bit edgy and forward sounding.
The Rowland Model 10s were absolutely the BEST sound I heard listening to Aerial Acoustic Model 10Ts about 7 or 8 years ago.

Long breakin time, but afterwards they were stunning in their realism straight up & down the scale.

My favorite on those speakers... not sure how they performed on anything else (except for some Audio Artistry Vivaldi's maybe Dvorak's??? where they also acquited themselves well).

They didn't seem to do anything wrong on either system (except for price - heh!).

Good luck in your search!
I haven't seen much on the Jeff Rowland integrateds. How do they fare against something like the ML 383.

I am a noob to the 2 ch world so therefore my experience is severely lacking.

Though it does seem from the posts I have read here both positive and negative that it would seem to suit my taste's.
I have Martin Logan Ascent i speakers and have tried a Bryston 4B, Bel Canto EVO 4 gn II, Nuforce 9.02 and now a set of Rowland 201s. The Rowlands just play music. The Bel Canto and Nuforce are too clinical for me. The 201s are smooth. As soon as I hooked them up I was drawn into the music. I have been sitting for hours listening to disc after disc. That is the highest praise I can give to a component. I am sold on the Rowland. I have not heard his older gear but I would like to.
Just shows how important synergy is. I had Rowland 201s and have found the Nuforce amps to be better with my Verity speakers. The Rowlands sounded a bit congested and lacking coherence and the Nuforce opened things up to sound more natural. I guess you might conclude the Logans are a more open speaker than the Verity, and that is probably true.
Redkiwi - could it be that the Rowlands were not broken-in yet?
I've had both Rowland 201s and Nuforce 9.02s and to my ears the Nuforce are clearly in a different league. Rowlands were definitely stale in my system.
I owned the Rowlands and used them daily for a couple of years, so I would say they were broken in. I can agree with Kiethr's words too. If you find the Ref9.02s a bit sterile then try the Ref8.02. Provided they have the right set of mods these compete with the 9.02s - and there are many that prefer them. The 9s are drier and the 8s are very liquid. I think the 9s are more neutral but even the 8s beat the Rowland for me.

I own 8s and 9s and have listened to both for months on end (with brief breaks for sleep of course) and know them both very well.