I might actually be done. I find that this is the system sound I have been looking for. It can be played from very low volume levels to very high volume and gives me what I am looking for. The mid range defines the system and it is all there. The low end is present but not overwhelming and the system can be listened to for hours without being fatiguing. I have it tweeked with my room. My concentration has been on buying music. . Thats it for now. Stephen
Golden Reference Speaker cable, Interconnects: Golden Reference amp to pre am, Golden Reference CD to Pre Amp, 300B Microtwin DVD to Pre Amp, Power Cords: All Golden Reference except Twinlink on DVD Player
Running Springs Audio Haley & Duke Power Conditioners
Power Conditioners Haley for pre-amp, cd player, and dvd player Duke for amps
Danielk, this has nothing to do with "my amp is better than yours". You're just trying to make me crack at you. Fact is, because i'm a friend of Steve's, I don't mind dealing out a bit of tough love. I note nearly every thread you have replied to on this forum involved Rowland amplifiers, so I question your ability to remain objective. It's a well known fact that Dealer's troll this forum parading as every day members. The difference between you and me is, I have Steve's best interests at heart, you have your own.
Anyway, i'm tired of wasting my time. It is clear there is no point in me sharing my experience, so I am no longer going to bother doing that.
I'm not going to get into a "My amp versus your amp" debate. I don't believe there is a Boulder dealer in Arizona. To stay on the topic of Class D, we have a member here who has clearly stated he's happy with the Rowland 501s in his sysytem. He's gone from a top tier Class A pair of monoblocs, and he's happy with the sound of his system after the change. Isn't that what matters?
Danielk, I have heard Rowland amps many times in my Dealer's showroom in a well treated room, so i'm familiar with their sound. I found the far more expensive and superior 625 stereo and 725 mono blocks sweet sounding & very transparent, but fatiguing over a long listening session. I don't know how many amps you have heard, but try listening to a fully warmed up Boulder 1060 for 2 hours, then switch to Rowland 625 or 725 mono's. There is just some processed artifice which screws up the sound at high frequencies. Class D would be worse as it is nearly impossible to eliminate the ringing artifacts common to class D. Bottom line once again, if it was so good, why aren't Vitus, Boulder, Gryphon, FM Acoustics, Soulution or Goldmund using it?
Have you heard the Rowland 501s in your system? I'm asking because I prefer Class D amps with the B&O module, that use an input transformer, (ala Rowland & Murano). I personally prefer these amps to other Class D B&O module amps that use an input board (like Bel Canto & Wyred 4 Sound). This is of course a matter of personal preference. As far as the Rowland 625 being fatiguing, in my system it is not. I know you give creedance to system synergy, I've seen you mention it in your detailed postings here. Lastly, to address your "supposed" bias on Class D amps, I believe you stated it clearly when you equated them to carbs versus fuel injection.
This is an interesting discussion as I am always fascinated about the experiences of others in our hobby. I really believe that we have to be careful about how we categorize a complete class of amplifier. I understand the notion that some class D amplifiers can be fatiguing and have experienced that myself. But I have also had many class A/B amplifiers that performed the same way. It really depends upon the amplifier as well as the match with other components and how they effect the system. Remember, I came from Pass Class A XA100.5 mono blocks and before those I owned the Pass XA60.5 mono blocks and before those, owned the Pass XA30.5 Class A amp.
I have owned the Rowland 501 Class D mono blocks for a short time but I have put them through listening sessions of 3-5 hours and to be honest, they are just as non-fatiguing as my class A Pass Monoblocks. I am amazed at how good these amps are. I have a multi driver decently demanding speaker and the sound form the 501 mono blocks has surpassed my expectations. If any of you know the Rowland sound, you would be aware that it is extremely smooth and engaging through the midrange without being forward. At times, it is even described as laid back but I don't feel that way.
The sound from the Rowland 501 monos would compare to the Pass XA100.5 in this way:
Imaging/soundstage rowland/pass equal Bass speed/depth/definition rowland better Musicality rowland/pass equal both very engaging Midrange warmth edge to pass Detail (hearing things that you haven't heard prior) edge to rowland
Look, I have Rowland amps and a Rowland Capri Preamp and the sound is all there. Both the Rowland and the Pass do all the important things well. It is like picking a flavor. Class A when executed well does somethings that other classes cannot do and the Rowland Class D amps do other things that other classes cannot do.
The Rowland 501's are amps that you could listen to all day in my system and be engaged without any feeling of fatigue. they are full sounding with ggod weight, fantastic low end (if your speaker goes there), and a midrange that is all Rowland . I live in music for the midrange.
Danielk, the real issue with class D is I (and many other supposedly biased audiophiles on this site) find class D fatiguing over long listening sessions. And the inevitable fact is, class D is popular mainly because it is a space and especially cost saving means of achieving high power output (hence why it is popular in car audio). Again I ask you, if it is so good, why aren't Boulder and Vitus embracing Class D with all their resources? Of Rowland's stereo amps, the 625 was the nicest i'd heard, but still left me feeling a bit fatigued after a moderate listening session.
Congratulations on your Rowland 501 purchase! I have (5) Murano P1000 amps in my video system. These amps are low cost clones of your 501s. I believe you'll find a noticeable bias against class D amps on this site. I'm not sure how many posters have actually heard them, especially in an upscale system. My 2 channel amp is a Rowland 625, I'll admit it sounds better than my Muranos driving my Avalon Avatars. But the difference is not as great as most people assume.
I have owned the Rowland 501amps for two days and have listened for about eight hours. They have the capacity to take hold of the drivers including the ten inch woofers. The result is a very strong low end that is fast and will go as low as the music and the speakers allow. I was a bit concerned about the midrange but it is very smooth and is delivered with typical Rowland sound. It is full and has a good weight and density. I am amazed that these small mono blocks can provide such a full range of sound. They are very dynamic and very involving for the listener. What I have learned is that each class whether A , AB , or D if executed with quality can provide enjoyment for the listener.
Pettyfeversk, Congrats on your new amps. I am sure that you would not have bought them unless they sounded great in your system. Some years ago, I was auditioning a pair of Harbeth 40 Monitor speakers being driven by Rowland 201 amps. My mind had already been preconditioned to have negative feelings about the sound quality of class D amps, but when the music began, I was stunned. Listened to a lot of different music for about 11/2 hours, and I was completely surprised by the great sound. I am sure that the 501s are that much better.
First, let me thank you both for your interest you have taken in reading about my system. I decided to keep my speakers, they are just so good and I don't want to experience the let down of a lesser speaker. I did go and make the big change with the amplifiers. Before I mentioned what I acquired, let me fist say that there are great amplifiers in the class a, class a/b and the class d applications. Its what these great amp builders do that is unique within each of the zones. In my opinion, great engineering and thought can create a wonderful amplifier.
Anyway, I picked up the Rowland 501 Monoblocks which are not being made any longer. I could be wrong but I believe they were discontinued somewhere around 2008-2009. These amps were designed for hard to push 4 ohm loads with lots of drivers. Let me tell you both that I have been knocked by them so far. They are extremely engaging and are a very good match with my SEAS drivers. They of course work well with the Rowland Capri. Its always hard to describe what an amp can do. I have had class d before but nothing that sounds like these amps. I will get into it more as I continue to listen. Stephen
Steve, noooo tell me it isn't so! From Class A to Class D? That's like going from a fuel injection to carburetors. I know Rowland claims he's mastered Class D, and yes he has put a lot of research into it, but if Class D was so good wouldn't Vitus and Boulder be using Class D? It's not like those engineering houses lack the resources to employ Class D. Fact is, like Rowland's switch mode power supplies and extensive use of op amps, class d is just a space and money saving measure (hence why it is popular in car audio). If I were you, i'd consider a Rowland 625 which is a better option, or even a 2nd hand McCormack DNA-500 which would be a lot cheaper. A bit of tough love buddy.
I have made another change to my system. I thought the Pass XA100.5 amps were wonderful but based on a potential move, I am going with Class D mono blocks. My sense is that very few people read this but if you do, take a guess at the class D amps that I will be acquiring this week. Stephen
Thanks as always for your thoughts. I agree with you as I also really like the synergy between the Rowland Preamp and the Pass Amps that I have owned. It may take me a bit of time to find a Corus that comes via Audiogon but I am patient. As I also mentioned, there seems to be conflicting information as to whether Rowland will be releasing an update to the current Capri at CES next year.
Let me know how the Magicos impact your system when you have them in a few months. I am interested to hear your perceptions of them. They seem to be the most talked about speaker line at this point. Take Care. Stephen
Hi Steve, My Dealer told me that the Criterion pre offers 95% of the performance of the Criterion (an $18k preamp), so i'd expect it to sound appreciably better than your Capri. Remember the preamp is the heart of your system, and if you like the synergy between Rowland & Pass, you can't really go wrong. Plus the Corus looks really cool. Here is a link to my reclusive buddy's system - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PdIe-k-jl44 He is using Pass x-260.5 monos with his Criterion. I belong to the same web forum he belongs to & he had this to say about the Corus in his Showcase after upgrading from Capri - "After i got the corus, i can hear it changes my system dramatically. More soundstage and dynamic."
Speaking of amps, I was recently offered a 6 month old Vitus SIA-025 integrated amp in mint condition for only $3.6k changeover from my Dealer. That amp would have been a sweety paired with my current Marten Altos, but as I am planning a speaker upgrade soon to full size towers, I declined as although the Vitus is warmer & tube-like, the Boulder is quieter and has more power. I then reflected on what my Dealer had long being saying to me that the 1060/1010 combination is awesome! So long story short, I will be upgrading to a Boulder 1010 pre later this year. It is a lovely pre with a cool green display like ARC & excellent metal remote. Have a read of the comments section of my review of the Boulder 1060 if you like - http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/frr.pl?ramps&1325668343&&&/Boulder-1060-Amplifier-
On the speaker front, I've decided to sell my much loved Coltrane Altos & upgrade to a pair of piano black Magico S5's when they come out in the next couple of months. The S5's use most the drivers used in the Q series & dynamically far exceed my Altos. After that, my cd player will be next on my upgrade list & i'll probably upgrade to the new model Vitus signature series cdp due out at the end of the year. The Vitus will add further warmth, but if I still feel I need a bit more warmth/richness I can always upgrade my cables to warmer sounding cables (eg: KS/ Siltech).
Thanks for trying to help me with the Corus. It seems that its difficult to find anyone who has one, maybe there are not that many out there other than the ones that have been reviewed. It would be interesting to hear from someone who actually had it in their system. I am kind of in a hold pattern unless I find a used one. Also, I want to see if Rowland does any kind of an update to the Capri next year. I tell you, it is a fine preamp, and competes with many preamps that cost much more. I am hooked on what the Rowland preamps do for a system.
As for CD, it will be here for a decent period and I believe that even if they are not mass produced, they will still be able to be purchased even in a limited way. I think that digital will continue to improve and I think that disks will benefit from technology and will continue to evolve in sonic capabilities.
Hi Steve, yes I did endeavor to pass on your details to my audiophile friend, but it seems he is not receptive to hearing from me. Let's just say he wanted my Boulder amp, but was too late...my Dealer offered it to me first. Shrug, high end audio can be very competitive, and ego's are often very fragile. Ces't la vie. Fwiw, I think you should stick to your gut feeling. The Corus is definitely a good step up from the Capri, and quite close to the Criterion in most situations, so I doubt a move to that pre would cause regret. In my view the preamp is the heart of your system, so it deserves a good investment in both time and money.
Also I think the hysteria around the demise of cd's is over-stated and premature. Yes, cd's will fade out, but I see it as a gradual subsiding, and nowhere near becoming and extinct format. I think there is still room for cd's to evolve, and agree there will be labels and businesses which actively support the cd format, and of course boutique audiophile re-sellers will continue to strongly support cd's, and likely increase their range into more mainstream music as retailers begin to phase out cd sales. I agree with you, I think downloads are soulless when you consider the sanitized process of 'acquiring' music right through to the often less than musical results.
Wow! Started reading some of my early posts which are actually about eight years ago. This has kind of turned into a diary of my Audio life. Of course, it get me thinking about my life in general, as I read about all the changes I made over the years. How many times did I say that I was happy with my system and then went ahead and made more changes. I do think that I am at a point where my preamplifier is the only area where I could stand an upgrade but the Rowland Capri is no slouch. A more parallel preamp to the rest of my system would probably be the Rowland Corus. What can I say? I am stuck on what Rowland preamps do within my system as they bring out the musicality.
One other note. I read that many people are predicting that CD production with cease within the next 3-5 years. We shall see. Even if it stops in the main market place, I believe there will still be a niche for many years. There are still enough of us nits who want a physical entity vs a file, or at least I hope so.
That would be fantastic to hear from someone who combined the Corus with the Pass XA160.5. Thanks so much, I look forward to hearing from him. My email is [email protected] If he is in usa, let me know and I will provide a phone number. If not, email or my system board is great. As always, I enjoy our conversations and your assistance. Take Care. Stephen