Some inside information, for the more technically minded...
Jeff Rowland Coherence II battery-powered preamp in its entirety. This is one gorgeous piece of styling. And it doesn't only look good - it sounds immaculately smooth, fluid and organic. But it is utterly detailed at the same time. A very luxurious experience. This preamp is so good that it even betters the Synergy 1 and 2.
Okay, so you have to change batteries every 5 years and these solid slabs of aluminium weigh 20 kilograms. Each! But the sound is all worth it.
Magnepan MG3.6R magnetostatic speaker up close. The stand is not standard. It is an optional extra from specialist Soundanchor. The round spike bases are Harmonix RF-909x. They make a tremendous difference to the sound. Compared to regular spike bases, they make a much bigger difference than I had anticipated.
Rear of the Magnepan MG3.6R magnetostatic speaker: visible is the ribbon tweeter; a long, thin aluminum strip that is both conductor and tweeter at the same time. To the left of the tweeter are two more panels that are covered by cloth: one for the bass and one for the mids.
The listening end of the room with a very large painting above the sofa that not only serves an artistic function but also works well as acoustic diffusor. The painting is made by George Boonstra, whose complete work can be viewed on www.georgeboonstra.nl.
Inside the Coherence II preamp everything is modular. Input transformer, output transformer and gain circuitry. The control software and associated hardware are located inside the frontpanel, connected via the multi-colored flatcable in the middle.
The powersupply and batteries are in the other unit under it. Like with most Jeff Rowland equipment, the units are machined out of a solid block of aluminum.
Each unit weighs 20 kilograms! If you want to lift both units together it is 40 kilograms, so you better have a strong back!
Also see the reference setup for photos of my system in a previous, highly expanded incarnation, before I decided everything had to be simpler. And had to be expanded again.
Or check Audio History to get full coverage of all my phases and to see how my system evolved through the years.
The Levinson no.390S CD processor: a CD transport and dac in one housing. Normally you'd call that a CD player:-) The little box top left is the analog output stage which has has its top removed for the photo. This critical circuit board is made from Arlon whereas the power supply and digital part have more regular glass epoxy circuitboards.
Super-sturdy CDM-pro transport part inside the Levinson no.390S CD processor. The drawer is something to behold: flat, smooth, quick and very precise: no wobbling or mechanical noises here.
Solid, Curvy, Smooth and... do I dare call it... sexy. This is the amazing Jeff Rowland Coherence II preamplifier. The way I see it, it has no competition, except for maybe from the more recent Criterion or Corus by the same brand.
Rear of the Magnepan speaker. It is a full range design so it has no conventional woofer. The big ugly box on the bottom is the crossover filter which is a custom made replacement for the original tiny ones. I use Cardas connectors and jumper cables. The original fuses in the Maggies have been replaced by Hifi Tuning units. The Sound Anchor stands are add ons, improving massively on the original wobbly ones which cannot be adjusted. The stands are spiked into Harmonix RF909x spike bases.
The current setup in its entirety. Jeff Rowland amplification and Magnepan MG3.6R magnetostatic speakers. The Artesania Exoteryc rack is something special: there's a suspended rack within the outer frame.
Top to bottom: Meridian 506.24 and Philips CD473, spare CD players that are only in the rack for running in cables and to fill the empty spaces when I'm not reviewing components. Below that is the resident system starting with the Jeff Rowland Aeris USB DAC. Under that is the Mark Levinson no.390S CD player, my current reference. Under that is my current reference for Music Servers: the AudioAanZee Ultra Flow. At the bottom is the beautiful Jeff Rowland Coherence II preamp. On the floor to the left and right are my long-loved Jeff Rowland model 6 poweramps and BPS 6 battery power supplies.
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The desk is where I spend a lot of time. I use Harman Kardon GLA-55 active speakers for my everyday non-critical PC stuff. These speakers use DSP and digital amplification to overcome some of the enclosure's inherent limitations. They have incredible bass and don't need a subwoofer at all. The sound really is much, much better than you'd expect: quite open and detailed and especially spacious, with remarkably deep but non-boomy bass.
Fully adjustable spikes and footers. The rack comes with two flavours of footers but if you'd like you can also fit other brands such as Stillpoints or Ceraballs.
Artesania Exoteryc audio rack suspension system close up. The white cylinders are made from nylon and don't compress. They are supported by a neoprene (rubbery) ring. The suspended inner structure is very sturdy and is prevented from swinging about by distance holders at the bottom.