Jeff Rowland’s integrated amplifiers go all the way back to the late seventies but his latest (fifth) generation represents a leap forward and not only for the company. The Daemon claims a whooping 1500Watts into 8Ohms and 2500 into 4 peak output, which even the biggest monos on the market will find hard to match. Peak current of 30Amperes and weighing an easy 99lbs, this class D behemoth clearly took the Audio Physic Cardeas Plus speakers by storm.
The Daemon is much more than a big integrated (ok, it is a huge integrated but this was not the point). It also offers a complete set of digital inputs with 2xRCA SPDIF, 2xBNC SPDIF, 1AES/EBU, 1USB and 3 Toslinks. All audio inputs are transformer coupled, the firmware is upgradable, and one can add (at an extra charge) a Wi-Fi module and/or a MM-MC phono input. The front screen is big and easy to read even from across the room, while the finish is in typical JR fashion, that is, superb in every detail. The volume knob is mounted on precision bearings which provide excellent feedback.
The rest of the system included a SimAudio Moon neo 260 CD player acting as transport, the complete line of Nordost’s QRT products (power purifier, line harmonizer, AC enhancer and power strip) along with the aforementioned Audio Physic Cardeas plus speakers.
Nordost’s Rune Skov used the system to showcase the new Odin 2 Supreme Reference cables in his classic way, meaning first listening to the old one, then swapping in the latest series, one at a time (interconnects, power cables etc). After every change, I could see attenders moving their heads in a positive “yeah, I heard the difference” way.
There is one slight problem in all this: the price. While the Daemon will be introduced at (what almost seems reasonable for what it offers) $38.800, the new Odin 2 cables are expensive. Very expensive. Hard to justify expensive. The speaker cables alone will start at 25.000 euros for a two meter pair, adding 5.000 for each additional meter of length. The 0.6 meter interconnect will set you back $20.000 while the 1.25m power cord kicks in at $17.000. In other words: a 3 meter Odin 2 speaker cable costs as much as the Jeff Rowland amplifier!
The new cables have more and heavier gauge conductors than the old Odin series. They also sport the new Holo:Plug connectors; the insulation remains high quality FEP. While listening to Vivaldi’s “Tempest” from The Four Seasons the system was fast, detailed and showed a well-defined bottom octave during the basso continuo passages. Still I could not figure out what was the logic (you might call it balance) between a speaker-amplifier-transport combination, which costs much less than the cables demoed during the show.