There’s no mistaking Jeff Rowland Design Group products. For years they’ve sported his trademark impressively thick, artfully machined aluminum faceplates. But the units always have been more than audio jewelry, producing some of the best sound available.
AT RMAF 2015, Jeff himself was on hand to play music on a system featuring his new Daemon Super integrated amp ($39,000) which offered a whopping 1,500 watts per channel; an Oracle 2000 Mk. III CD transport ($8,800), Bergmann turntable ($28,000) with Lyra Etna cartridge ($8,000) and YG Sonya 1.2 speakers ($73,000).
Between a silent display in a side room showing many of JRDG’s products and the main listening room with the Daemon unit and YG speakers, it occurred to me that there probably was enough aluminum on hand to melt down and repurpose into a small airplane.
That would have been unfortunate, though, since the primary system was producing some top-notch tunes. When I arrived, Rowland had just cued up “No Sanctuary Here” by Chris Jones, an overplayed track at shows that usually gets on my nerves. But on the Rowland system, it gained an ease and resolution that somehow made it enjoyable to me in a way it had never been able to before. That was followed by Greg Brown’s excellent “Loneliness House,” which featured crispy strummed guitar and the singer’s strong voice, while a tambourine doubling the snare drum was easily heard. Soundstaging was deep and wide, with a slightly forward presentation.
Rowland himself seemed to be having a great time, as I imagine I would, too, if I had this system at home, let alone had designed the heart of it. Too many manufacturers today use terms like “reference” or “ultra” in the names of their products. Rowland’s need no such hype. They speak for themselves.