It would be happy with anything but most power- and current-hungry designs. But it really makes more sense to choose the speaker you like first.
22 responses Add your response
Here is quote from the Concerto technology -
With most amplifier designs, input impedance and gain will vary depending on whether the balanced or unbalanced inputs are used generally, unbalanced inputs will have half of the output of balanced inputs. With the Concerto Integrated Amplifier, there is no difference between balanced and unbalanced inputs, meaning that there will be no differing characteristic in sound quality and output level depending on which inputs are used both will provide the same seamless, neutral presentation.
I had the Consentra I and the II models, they were warm, liquid, forgiving, dynamic, with great bass slam... after I talked to the marketing director at JRDG. (Yes you can call and they will answer the phone and talk to you and not treat you like a no nothing or a simpleton because you have non-technical consumer based questions). The bottom line from him, was for those models ..go balanced. I have'nt heard the Concerto so if the people at JRDG are printing that it doesn't matter if you use single ended or balanced then it must be true.
I have the Dynaudio Special 25's and if you go to most Dynaudio dealers many of the salemen there have Countour S3.4's. I think the JRDG/Dyn combo is superb, because Dyns need not only watts but more importantly volts going through the 1st order cross over. JRDG components put out both with most of the warmth of tubes (I'm gonna get slammed for that!) I think you could do much worse that that combo. I love the ease, freedom from interconnects and lack of component clutter an integrated offers, combined with the sound stage of an exceptional monitor like the Dyns, how can you go wrong? You will get even more out of the set up if you treat your room, I have been using the GIK product (Audiogon member Mypiefi manufactures and sells them, very affordable and effective) to great success.
Have fun. I love this hobby in fact I'm going down stairs now to listen to the new Mark Knoffler/Emmylou Harris album.
I used the JRDG phono card for a while but found it flat for my tastes, that's not saying much. I switched to the Musical Phenonena with battery pack and found it gave me a much warmer and smoother sound because of the many gain and impeadence setting you can work with. I have a Nottingham Innerspace with Innerspace arm and Dynavector 20x5 cartarage. I'm real happy now. Vinyl ROCKS...
You're right about speaker choices....amen brother...I first heard the Concentra with Audio Physics Spark III's and was totally blown away, but when I got them home I quickly realized I was listening to that set up in a $30,000+ room, and I aint never gonna be there... so to speak!
I then walked into a shop that had just got the special 25's right after they were released, I was blown away, I checked out a few other brands around town, Reference 3a, Vandersteen, Totem, Thiel, B&W, Rega, Naim and Magnapan all very fine speakers and all very musical in their own right. Nothing could satisfy me like the Dyns however...so I've had them for over a year and, no fatigue, no brightness, no strain to listen to and talk about warm, Dave Lennox could do so good with his new line of furnaces. :) I especially love the air between the instrument when playng Jazz, and trio music. If you can get a copy of Joe Pass's "Joy Spring" jump on it, great music to listen to in the first place, as well as to get a feeling of space between the players. Don't even get me started on female volcals...YUM YUM!
The Dyns have a slightly forward mid-range but I only notice that when friends bring over their speakers to play compare the A/B with.
So no difference you think between the older Concentra and the Concerto which is a switch mode amp? I was afraid that with the Dyns being choosy about current and being neutral and slightly forward in the mids (although the Contour S3.4 and S25's may differ a bit), the Concerto may sound a bit lean which I am trying to avoid especially on jazz recordings from the 40's-60's with a lot of horn instruments.
I have no idea! I have not heard the Concerto, sorry if I gave that impression, I owned both the Concentra I and the II models. Best to go demo the set up or better yet see, if your dealer will set it up on a Friday for you to audition over the weekend in your own home. They did that for me!
On the Rowland site, they say they will not recommend associated equipment, but you can always ask!
I am using the Concerto with JMLab 1027 Be's and it is a very nice combination, using Ayre CD player and audioquest cables (cheetah and volcano). I get the idea that cables might be pretty important with this amp, because the sound is noticeably brighter when I have my power meter connected, which hooks up with 3 feet of wire. Not a lot brighter, but I can tell the difference. By the way I auditioned the Ayre K5 and V5 (the current "e" version preamp & amp) with the Ayre interconnects & the Rowland was considerably better.
Not at all thin or bright - beautifully balanced in my system. If anything, it seems like almost every recording is listenable, no matter how badly recorded. That bothers some people, but it is better than being too "honest".
I have been using the Concerto Int. amp for about 9 months now. The Concerto is the most musical amp I have owned. Using with the Ayre C5xe, SF Cremona Auditors and REL B3 with PS Audio P500 pwr plant and UPC200 pre-conditioner. The speaker cables and interconnect are Cardas Golden Cross while the PC are all Cardas Golden Reference. The Concerto is extremely efficient and can run off the P500 with ease. This is the most musically satisfying system I have heard to date. Has the right combination of warmth, dynamics, detail, timing, sound stage, imaging.....on and on and on.. I've been smitten.
I've been running the Concerto with JM Labs Micro Utopias, Accupahse DP-77 CDP and Audioquest XLR's (forgot which one, but it has the little battery pack thing at the end that is supposed to do something) for about 5 months. I am extremely pleased with the system and in fact it has changed my attitude about this hobby in many ways. I used to listen to the "system" and obsess about tweaks, cords and cables, equipment, good recording/bad recording etc. Now I just enjoy music. Now I read music reviews rather than equipment reviews, and I buy CD's. Life is much simpler!
The JM Labs/JRG pairing is a very involving musicial experience and I recommend getting to a dealer for an audition.
>>Neilgundel: could you please specify in which aspects
>>the JRDG Concerto was better than the Ayre K-5xe &
Fair question. My main interest was actually in the Ayre based on reviews, but my dealer had played the concerto back-to-back with the Ayre - since it sounded better to my ears than the Ayre at the time, I took both home for an extended listen in my system. I used Ayre Signature interconnects between the CD - preamp, and between the preamp & power amp.
The amplifiers couldn't have sounded more different in my system: The Ayre had tons of air, but it didn't sound natural at all to my ears - in either my system or the one at the dealers. However, it was very detailed and extended. But especially in my system, the soundstage was unnatural and it sounded very "transistor-like", especially with acoustic music. I have no doubt that many people would really like this sound.
The concerto didn't really sound like tubes, but was much smoother overall, and the individual instruments had a much more believeable relationship to each other.
It's true that everyone hears differently, so it wouldn't surprise me if you like the Ayre better.
Neilgundel: I´m a bit surprised that you call the Ayre stuff sounding solid state like.. I never ever had this impression. I liked the Concentra II - which I had (with a heavy modification) but it couldn´t match the transparency, air, speed and detail retrieval of the Ayre combo. May I ask which components you use ?
Having gotten to know Jeff a bit through review of his Capri and 501 Monos, I believe he would suggest there is no such thing as "perfect" speakers for any component, which is one reason why he would not make a recommendation. Too many gear combos, too many ears, too many tastes to say one is perfect.
The minute you get "perfect" you can change something and get "more perfect".
See my review of the Legacy Focus HD, which touches on use with both the Capri-501's (similar config./same mfgr. as Concerto) and Pathos Classic One MkIII's in "Pathi" (bridged) configuration. My listening impressions with the JR equipment are in the second half.