First up is the Two Jeff’s room (Jeff Joseph/Rowland) with Jeff Josephs’s new $7000 Profile speakers (that really stole the show for me at VPI’s big shindig last year) being driven by the latest version of Jeff Rowland’s Model 625 S2 320 wpc Class A/B solid-state amplifier. The impedance of Jeff’s new and “relatively: small Profile speakers (35” x 7” x 12” h x w x d) never goes below 6 ohms and makes then an enticing match for those who lose vacuum bottle amplifiers. Plus the speakers are capable of delivering down to 39 Hz (– 2 dB).
The S2 version features Jeff’s latest thinking in error correction circuitry that according to the designer, “isn’t exactly negative feedback.” Inside the amplifier are three type of error correction with the result being that the S2 has no distortion from 20 Hz to 20,000 kHz. Price is $15,900.
Along with the Model 625 were two Capri preamplifiers, one outfitted with the new phono high performance moving coil step up card, the other with the DAC board. The other analog medium—though most wanted to hear the tape deck—was played back on VPI’s best selling Prime turntable outfitted with a Dynavector XX2 cartridge. Rounding out the system were Cardas Clear and Beyond Clear cables.
Make no mistake though! The star of the room was, however, the Ampex ATR-102 deck lent by Chad Kassem of Acoustic Sounds for the event (and to complement the announcement that Acoustic Sounds will soon be selling reel-to-reel tape). Moreso, this was a very special ATR-102 set-up to playback the four 30 ips/1/2-inch sampler tapes supplied by Chad. Insert some trivia facts here. How many know that Jeff Rowland worked for Ampex early in his designing career and is a closet tapehead?
A few of my favorite tracks were from Tape 2/3 and included Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five,” Muddy Waters “My Home is the Delta,” Kenny Burrell’s (one of my all time favorite jazz guitarists) “Chitlins Con Carne,” Norah Jones’ “Come Away with Me,” and that all time audiophile fave, Dusty Springfield’s “The Look of Love.” A few other great cuts that got to hear included Getz/Gilberto’s “Girl from Ipanema,” Ray Charles’ “Baby it’s Cold Outside” and Dean Martin’s “I Don’t Know Why.” If only had more time to hear Clark Terry’s “Alternative Blues,” Wes Montgomery’s “Round Midnight” and Rickie Lee Jones’ “Show Biz Kids!”
The Profile speakers really played much bigger than their size (though they sounded a touch better at the VPI get together). Smooth, holographic, spacious and midrange were four words I’d use to describe the sound here. My main issue was a slight softening of the upper octaves though based on earlier listening, was more of a show than speaker related phenomena.