Rowland Conductor Phono Preamp, Joseph Audio Perspective2 Graphene Speakers, Cardas Nautilus Power Strip, Audio-Technica ART 1000 Cartridge

Once again I experienced the mellow core of the Jeff Rowland sound. This time, it was in the room he shared with Joseph Audio and Cardas Audio, where the big news was the premiere of the Joseph Audio Perspective2 Graphene speaker ($14,999/pair). When I entered, a track from a recording I know very well, Rosa Passos and Ron Carter's Entre Amigos, was sounding far more mellow and toned down than on my system. This setup also brought out the mellow core of a sweet violin in the Bruch Scottish Fantasy.

"The mid is where it's at," I scribbled in my notes. "The sound may be a little whited out, but it is seductively smooth." In fact, it was perfect for a 24/192 transfer, from 30ips tape, of Ray Charles and Betty Carter performing "Baby, It's Cold Outside."

Either seen or heard: Jeff Rowland Design Group Conductor Phono Preamp ($8500 base price), Corus Preamp ($14,900), Aeris DAC ($9800), PSU Power Supply Unit ($8200), and 625 S2 Power Amp ($15,900); VPI HW40 turntable with Fatboy tonearm ($15,000) and Audio Technica ART 1000 Cartridge ($5000); Aurender A10 network music server ($5499) playing files and streaming Qobuz; and a Cardas Audio Nautilus power strip ($1500) and Cardas Clear and Clear Beyond cabling.

RH's picture

Thanks to the stereophile staff once again for all the show reports!

Interesting about the mellowness detected by Jason in the Joseph Audio set up. I'm quite interested in those speakers, so I wonder if this is a new characteristic brought on by the changes to the new drivers.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

is that it's a product of the associated electronics. The only way I or you can tell for certain is if we bring the speakers home to our systems, and change only the speakers. This is what we do when we initiate the formal review process. We change only one piece of equipment—the piece under review—and then compare it to our reference.

As you may have seen from the blog I posted earlier, Jeff and I worked out next to each other in the gym. He's very excited about his new drivers, because the change in materials results in better control, in his opinion. That does not necessarily translate into a change in tonality.

Do you have a local dealer who will let you try a broken-in pair of the speakers long enough to enable you to reach a conclusion?

RH's picture

Thanks Jason.

I've been able to spend a bunch of good time with the Perspectives (not the 2 version of course) and they really put a hook in to me.
Putting aside the "disappearing" and imaging act the JA speakers pull off, the main thing that strikes me is their incredible way with tonality - that pure, grain-free clarity of a very modern speaker somehow allied to a warm organic character as well. I find the timbral characteristics of instruments and voices have a sometimes raise-the-hair-on-the-arm level of recognizability through those speakers.

One of the things I always do in stereo stores or audio shows is compare the sounds of live sound sources around me to the reproduced sound. So if a speaker system is playing the usual "well recorded vocal track" I'll close my eyes, listen to some of the real voices chatting in the room, compare to the reproduced voice and just take inventory of in what way the reproduced voice departs from people's real voices. Aside from a harder, mechanical character, the general timbre just seems to be usually off. But I was very surprised upon attending one show where Jeff Joseph was playing an acapella track through the Pearl 3s. It just stopped me in my tracks. I did the live-vs-people talking check while listening and boy-oh-boy, the timbral character actually sounded human! So rare! That got me to checking out the lower priced JA models which also blew me away.

It certainly raises the audiophile's antennae when upgrades are announced to a speaker in which he is interested. But also, the price increase of upgraded models put them even further into the financial pain category for some of us. First world problems....

Anyway...thanks again for your show reports!