Should i go Boulder 1060 or Jeff Rowland 625


I am in the market to upgrade my pass labs x260.5.
There is one used Boulder 1060 for sale that i hear lots of good words about it.

Anyone have compared the new Jeff Rowland 625 and Boulder 1060? My existing pre amp is Jeff Rowland Corus.

Thank You for any feedback.

My speakers are B&W 802D
msetjadi
That is a tough question. Until there is away to audition your speakers with both those amps you are only guessing. It is hard to truly know what really works with your speakers and room. I have had lots of experience with B&W speakers having worked for a B&W dealer for years. Unfortunately the management of the store did not have an open mind to different brands of amplifiers and all we sold was Denon, Rotel, and Krell. However I have lots of friend's and clients that have different brands paired with their B&W 802s. That being said one if the best sounding set of B&W 802s I have heard were a set of the 802Ds driven with a pair of the Classe CAM 400 mono blocks. That system had a great synergy and sounded great. This system no longer has the 802Ds but now has 801Ds but still has those Classe CAM 400 amps and it is awesome.
Since you already have a Rowland preamp the answer to your question should be pretty simple. If you buy the Rowland amp you are assured you will have a match between amp and preamp.

Resale would be the only other consideration.
What is lacking with your Pass amp? Are you sure the issues reside with your amp? Pass makes very good equipment, so what is missing? More power needed? My recommendation is to find a good store, establish a relationship and borrow the Bolder amp and Rowland amp for a week at a time and take it home, insert it into your system, without changing anything else and listen. Then make your decision. Don't buy first without trying it.

A good store will take your credit card information and let you take equipment home to audition for a week. That way you can directly compare the amps with your existing amp in your home with your equipment. Again, just insert the amp and don't change anything else. Then if you like it, you tell them to charge your card. If you don't you return it and they don't charge your card.

This works for me all the time at my favorite store in San Diego. For expensive equipment, I don't buy until after I audition. If the store won't, then find another store that will or friends that will let you borrow it. Sometimes in rural areas this is not possible or you may have to drive some distance but, the worst thing is to listen in the store, take it home and it sounds terrible.

But, why are you considering replacing your Pass amp?

enjoy
Agreed, the Rowland 625 should be a good match with the Corus. That's a no brainer. The Boulder is a great amp, but imho needs a reference tube preamp to balance it out nicely. Good luck!
IMO ,Pass Labs and your B&Ws are not a good match,speakers are way too slow and bloated in the bass.If me I would keep the Pass as its a great amp and look for better speakers.For sure sell them if you go with a Boulder
Yup, it appears that this is the case when replacing speakers would be in order. Either you keep the Pass or get Rowland or Boulder later.
I echo Thesoundhouse's comment: "Until there is away to audition your speakers with both those amps you are only guessing."

It is hard to predict amplifier/speaker synergy - although you can eliminate testing some combinations by way of deduction. Perhaps the following experience may help you in the elimination process.

I have auditioned the 802D in combination with Classe, and separately the 802 Diamond in combination with Corus & Jeff Rowland Model 625.
Both combinations sounded good - but I thought the 802D + Classe had a bit better overall tonal balance whereas the 802 Diamond + 625 combination was a bit bright. I also compared the Model 625 to my Cambridge Audio Azur 840W amplifier. (using Wadia CD player and Corus preamp).
Unsurprising the Model 625 best the 840W in terms of detail, transparency, soundstaging, bass control and extension. However the 840W (which has slight warm bass and soft treble) was a better tonal match for the 802 Diamond. The reason for this is that 802 Diamond is brighter and has tighter (less bloated) bass than the 802D.

So based on my experiences a slightly lean amplifier (with good bass control) will better suit the 802D. But equally a more neutral speaker (802 Diamond?) than the 802D may better suit the Pass Labs.
So my suggestion is try different amp/speaker combinations, but if at all possible in situation where can directly compare the amplifiers or speakers - otherwise you guessing how well it will work.

BTW, I am happy Corus and B&W 803D owner.
After the Dan D"Agostino Momentum monoblock amps, the two Jeff Rowland rooms with his 625 amp were my favorite solid state systems at CES. The sound was incredibly musical, with great depth and height of sound stage. I preferred the sound to the Boulder which is too lean sounding for my taste. Go with the Rowland, won't run hot either like the Pass does.
Rowland is a much better unit. They have great support if you should ever need it as well.
Boulder is a much better unit. They have great support but you will never need it.
That was helpful, I'm sure.

Horses for courses, but I think Boulder is among the most melifluous of SS amps, along with Burmester, darTZeel and the BEL 1001, sadly no longer in production.

But I think the 625 is the best balance for your preamp and speakers. I think it would provide a synergistic animation to your system.

Or you could choose to desiccate your speakers with Ayre MXRs and achieve that "lasers through Vaseline" effect to which so many achieve and to which so few aspire.
I know this doesn't address your question, but - if I were in your shoes - I would be thinking more about new speakers than either the Rowland or Boulder. Both great amps, but they're not cheap. For the same or slightly more money, I'd be wanting to get into potentially *much* better speakers. I'd be thinking Rockport, Tidal, etc. Even Merlin.
And there are big Soundlabs here for sale for only a little over $6k. And then I could add that Rowland to them or some great and powerful tube amp.
Both Rowland 625 and Boulder 1060 are great amps, if a little different in sound .... Boulder's sound tends to be a little leaner and snappier than Rowland, while Rowland tends to generate a more filegreed presentation, with a greater exposure of inner detail. On the other hand, Boulder may yield a more outwardly impressive stage. Please bear in mind that the Rowland 625 yields 300W at 20 Amps peak .... This is quite enough for many speakers, but not for the most power hungry speakers. The If you were considering speakers as well, it's my experience that Rowland amps work extremely well with Vienna speakers .... at CES 2011 Rowland 625 was featured with Vienna Die Muzik and Vienna Kiss ... The combination was considered extremely synergistic by many listeners ... No, I did not attend CES, but have direct experience with Rowland M625 and Vienna speakers. G.

I'm curious with your comparison of the Rowland and Boulder GC as my Dealer (who deals in both brands) felt the Boulder was on another level compared to the Rowland (as it should be given the price differential). My impression of the Boulder from reviews is that it is certainlyl not lean, but dynamic with deep, layered bass. Jeff Fritz in his review for Ultra Audio felt the Boulder matched the bass drive, control, authority, and slam of the big Gryphon Antileon Signature, so lean is certainly not the impression I have of the 1060. By "lean" did you mean not as lush or warm? The Boulder to my ears is on the slightly warm side of neutral, so no it is not as warm as Rowland, but that doesn't mean it isn't a great amp.
Melbguy1, I agree with you. When I mention 'lean' on Boulder 1060, I should qualify it with 'slightly', and only in the context of yielding harmonic exposure compared to Rowland M625. Furthermore, my findings of M625 vs Boulder have been inderect, as follows ....

System A: Boulder 1060/2060 vs Rowland M312 -- M312 appeared to be more harmonically resolving than the Boulder amps on sostenuto notes.
System B -- Rowland M312 vs M625 -- M625 appears to yeald greater harmonic resolution and bass integrity than M312 on sostenuto notes.
Hence by extension .... probably M625 yields more harmonic content than Boulder 1060, but until I have the opportunity of having both machines into the same system, my findings are tentative .. And yes, all amps above were well broken in when I listen to them.

I further agree with you that with only 20 Amps, Rowland M625 will simply not deliver the brawn, authority, and stage size of any of the Boulder amps, well known for yielding a significant stage size, or Rowland M312, which delivers over twice the peak current of M625.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that Rowland M625 produces a rather, ahem .... toasty experience .... Its class A/B design gets closer and closer to class A heat generation as the devices is in active playback. I have been told that this is by design, as its bias rises automatically during operation.

G.
I too would put the Rowland and Boulder at the same level of performance. I would lean toward the Rowland in favor of system matching. With the Rowland you *know* the impedance matchups and voicing together will be spot-on.

Plus, to these ears the Rowland AB amps are some of the best SS amps ever made, not counting crazy money for Halcro, Soulution, and the like.
Hi Guidocorona,
Thanks for sharing your observations. My understanding of the Boulder 1060 is that it is very neutral, detailed & revealing of upstream equipment. In and of itself it may not be quite as harmonically resolved as the Rowland, however I have a theory that combining valves with the Boulder should bring the perfect balance of harmonic richness, tonality, detail retrieval, drive and sound staging.

Inner Ear Magazine did a review of the Vac Renaissance Signature Mk2 pre with a Boulder 1060 and thought that this combination was a perfect match in kind with my above comments. Here is a link to the review fyi - http://www.innerearmag.com/reviews/preamps/VAC_Signature_Preamplifier_MkII.shtml

I have my new Ayon CD-5s burning in over the next 3 days which i've rolled with NOS 6h30p-DR's, so it should sound wonderful with the Boulder. Looking forward to posting my findings on AG soon!
There is usually a synergy when using the same designer's opinion of what is right....I would lean to Rowland. If you decide for Boulder, make sure you listen first.
Melbguy1, it is quite possible that the combination of Boulder 1060 with VAC Renaissance II might work well for you, although usually the VAC sound is a little tipped up for my own preference. My favorite tube pre is the fabulously resolving and ever so sweet VTL TL 7.5 Series 2. In my listening sessions with 1060 and M312 the pre was the 1000 series boulder ..... the audition of Boulder 2060 and Rowland M312 used the excellent Boulder 2000 series pre, and in my home system I use the Rowland Criterion on M625 and M312. Let us know how things go. G.
I agree with Stringreen and Johnnyb re: the OP's question, If you've already got a rowland front end, then it's a no brainer to go for the M625.

The Boulder pre/power combination is very dynamic and quiet, but this combination does not have enough harmonic richness or warmth for my taste. The Ayon is a good impedance match for the Boulder, and is very quiet..so this combination should sound wonderful, adding class A warmth and sweetness, as well as harmonic richness and body. If this combination sounds great, I will most likely upgrade to a higher end Ayon separate next year. I thought i'd mention the Vac review just to show the extent to which the Boulder's sound changes with good tubes upstream.

Yes I think there is a photo floating around somewhere of an egg frying on the top of an M625! No wonder they needed ceramic circuit boards!!
Melbguy1, while M625 is certainly toasty to the touch, it is unable to achieve an unpleasant temperature ... hence the photo of the egg frying on the device may have been, uhrn ... "posted out of context" ... I would consider M625 much more applicable as a buffet-warmer than a frying skillet (grins!).
Guido, perhaps one of Rowland's competitor's? though I think that's likely one part urban myth, one part photo shop :D
+1 Vote for Rowland 625. Both do a great job, but to me 625 was a warmer, more holographic sound which I prefer. Boulder does feel the wider soundstage but touch less detail, felt a little thinner.

Tested both on Avalon, Wilson, MBL.

per my memory (was few months ago), boulder gear generally does not truly strut its stuff until the 20xx line, which was threw a phenomenal soundstage/imaging and detail with sashas. but i think theres a significant price gap.
Insomniac, I agree with your observation that the JRDG is warmer, but i'm suspicious about your pre-amp choice with the Boulder, and warm up time. Firstly, the Boulder requires 24hrs warm up (and to be left on 24/7) to sound it's best. 2hrs warm up is not enough, and time and again has resulted in average reviews of the 1060. The Boulder is also twice the price of the JRDG in Australia.No, money doesn't always buy a better amp, but no one would argue with Boulder's engineering. Also, the Boulder is dead neutral. Imho, it needs a reference tube preamp which is a good impedance match to bring out it's potential; the 1060 is *very* revealing of upstream gear, for better or worse. Check out the above link to the Vac review if you get a chance.
melbguy, think you may be correct.

Heard them with the their respective preamps (JRDG criterion and Boulder '1010' I believe it was?)

and 'neutral' is the adjective I was grasping for but failed to bring to the keyboard. The boulder was definitely more neutral.

on another note, Boulder's gear is built like a tank. Everything about their gear shouts flagship engineering. or battleship, even. JRDG's got the pretty boy 'Macbook-esque' eye candy thing going with a shiny one piece machined aluminum chassis. aesthetics should take back seat to sound of course, but you may have a domestic CFO who takes such things into consideration
Insomniac, yes the preamp you would have heard would have been the 1010. That's a good pre, however I (personally) feel the way to get the best sound out of the 1060 is matching it with a tube pre that is very quiet, sweet and warm & has balls. Then you're in for sonic bliss.

The tank analogy isn't wrong; it takes about that long for that thing to fully warm up, but when it does, it's worth it.

I have to admit, i'm more interested in ultimate sound than the clothes an amp is wearing. Having said that, the Boulder is quite smart looking, and one brute beast! I could have bought an M625, and very nearly did, but went with the Boulder. Time will tell if I made the right move?
I'd be scared to hook up a Boulder to the already somewhat "hot" 802D. I auditioned the 802D several times for hours and deemed it a speaker that begged for slightly warmer, but detailed, electronics.

I'd use those 802Ds with the 625 and the Corus and have no doubt they'd perform great together. I've heard the Vienna Acoustics Klimt the Music with Jeff's 625 and Criterion upstairs at his location and that combination sounded superb.
Musicaddict, are you referring to the system located on the 2nd floor of the Jeff Rowland factory in Colorado Springs (CO) ... the one consisting of Vienna Die Muzik, M625, and Criterion? Or are you referring to a system in some shows? G.

in
Musicaddict, I found your comments interesting. You said "I'd be scared to hook up a Boulder to the already "hot" 802D". Mark_nz remarked in his earlier post -
07-03-11: Mark_nz
..I have auditioned the 802D in combination with Classe, and separately the 802 Diamond in combination with Corus & Jeff Rowland Model 625.
Both combinations sounded good - but I thought the 802D + Classe had a bit better overall tonal balance whereas the 802 Diamond + 625 combination was a bit bright. I also compared the Model 625 to my Cambridge Audio Azur 840W amplifier. (using Wadia CD player and Corus preamp).
Unsurprising the Model 625 best the 840W in terms of detail, transparency, soundstaging, bass control and extension. However the 840W (which has slight warm bass and soft treble) was a better tonal match for the 802 Diamond. The reason for this is that 802 Diamond is brighter and has tighter (less bloated) bass than the 802D.

So based on my experiences a slightly lean amplifier (with good bass control) will better suit the 802D.
Hifimaniac & Guido both remarked they thought the Boulder sounded slightly leaner than the M625, likely making it a better match with the 802D’s (or similarly bright sounding speakers).

You also accurately commented "I auditioned the 802D several times for hours and deemed it a speaker that begged for slightly warmer, but detailed, electronics.". I agree the Boulder needs a preamp with warmth, sweetness, holography and detail to balance it out. There are probably several reference tube pre's which would sound wonderful with the Boulder...Guido mentioned VTL, my favorite is Ayon. Vive la difference!
Too bad you don't live closer to Dayton Ohio! Ill have the 1060 on display in about a week and have the jeff rowland to company against. (used). You could choose any speaker in my store to try out! Always worth a test drive before you drop big bucks!
If any of you live near to Dayton Ohio we are having a Magico / Boulder Event. I'll have a Jeff Rowland (used) that I'll be getting rid of as well. If you'd like an invite to the event let me know. It's free but we always have food and spirits to make it a fun night. Also we will have lots of locals from the Dayton/Cincinnati/Columbus/Indiana area of music enthusiasts. Shoot me a message if your interested. August 25th.
Hi HansenAudio, which Rowland amp will you be featuring during your August 25th event? G.
this is a great question but it lacks enough information for me to make a helpful suggestion. the Pass 260.5 MONOBLOCK amps are some of the best you can buy for starters. unless you get Magico speakers (or something similar on an "ultra-refined" level)
i don't see much need for an amplifier upgrade here. having owned rowland amps and preamps i can certainly recommend them but with B&W 802D's (i am guessing these are not the latest diamond series?) the question requires what is specifically lacking with such fine components as he already possesses. perhaps he would be better off upgrading his source component, or even a better pair of interconnects between the source and the corus preamp?
in my personal experience i had so much faith in the sound of my speakers (eggleston andra's) that i went overboard and purchased ever-higher grade wire.
by the time i was done the results were truly stunning- and so was the price tag, but i took it one step at a time over a +2 year period.
I had 802Ds and frankly, they were the weak link in the system, with Rowland Model 12 mono blocks and a Syn IIi pre. And amp switch out at this point is not going to make nearly as much difference as a more refined speaker.
Did you wind up going with the Boulder or the JRDG amp?