This review page is supported in part by the sponsors whose ad banners are displayed below

Despite the leitmotiv of sounding warm and sweet, the Rowland system still allowed for such introspections. It did so casually without being pushy about it. Everything I noticed was picked up alongside the music. This really was addictive, the more so with purely acoustic music like Clifford Brown’s Memorial or John Coltrane's A Love Supreme. Here the presentation of bass and treble was different. At first the cymbals and double bass seemed withdrawn until something in the recording changed and I arrived at the place where the bass grew stronger, amplified by the studio walls and microphone. Now it sounded natural and unexaggerated. But even when it wasn't so I didn't suffer a hole. The sound never got dry or shallow. It seemed buoyed on an air cushion beneath the midrange which contained 'potential' information about the bass.

Dynamics were good but here it became clear that in the pursuit of this exact sound something had to get trimmed. My Soulution amp for example is far more open and fast to generate not only the impression of forceful attacks but also that of sheer physical power unleashing right before us. The American electronics do it rather softer and in a more studious less primal manner. It's this lack of raw spontaneity which should mostly be taken into consideration whilst analyzing our personal needs and expectations about a hifi system and whether this could suit.

Conclusion. I'm in no doubt that the send/receive relationship between Jeff Rowland and their customer base is excellent and has its own very specific charm. It conveys the music in a very refined, thoughtful and mature way. At the same time the gear communicates with us through the limitations of specific solutions and decisions. If we need ultimate dynamics and tangibility not in terms of size and proximity but textural clarity, this system won't be the best choice. In such a case, ideologically far removed amplifiers like the Soulution 710 and Ancient Audio Silver Grand mono will prove a better choice. If we are more concerned with color saturation however, the Jeff Rowland Aeris DAC, Corus and 625 stack are a safe and definitive choice. While neither the Polish or Swiss amps mentioned can be accused of lack of color, the American trio slightly tweaked in this regard beats them easily.

As usual it is about making a difficult, very personal and long-lasting choice. Seen in person and listened to at leisure, the American components leave in our minds something like a cookie on our computer to which we return and are reminded about on every other occasion. Perhaps it's better then to just pay the bill. While other people are stuck with cookies in their minds, we will be listening to music already.

Jeff Rowland is best known for their amplifiers, then preamps. When computer sources came into play, DACs became increasingly important. The Aeris is the only such product offered by this marque. It was an intrinsic part of the review system. These components were leashed up with Acoustic Revive cables. The DAC was fed digital signal by the Ancient Audio Lektor Air V-edition sporting the Philips CD-Pro2LF transport via an Oyaide DB-510 digital interconnect with BNC connectors. Although the DAC included a BNC/RCA adaptor, I wanted to avoid it so for the CD player I used a reverse type from Stereovox.

For file streaming the USB connection came from an Acoustic Revive USB-5.0PL (5m) cable and my HP Pavilion dv7 laptop (128GB SSD + 320GB HDD, Windows 8 Pro x64) running the latest version of JPLAY. The Aeris USB input is limited to 96kHz. To play 176.4/192kHz files I used the M2Tech hiFace EVO USB bridge with EVO battery supply. The DAC sat on the Franc Audio Accessories ceramic discs with Acoustic Revive RIQ-5010/CP-4 quartz insulators. The preamplifier sat on its own feet on the Acoustic Revive Hickory Board RHB-20. The amplifier sat on the HRS M3X platform. The amplifier used its own power cord as I didn't have one with the required 20A plug.

JRDG build quality is its own religion and legendary. Their gear is housed in expensive sophisticated monolithic cases precision-milled from single blocks o 6061-T6 aircraft-grade aluminium with very thick fascias where a proprietary laser process embeds a rippling pattern right below the surface.

Aeris DAC. This is the smallest of the three units The low-rider fascia sports a row of buttons and LEDs in different colors. The manufacturer lists a number of design concepts. Worth mentioning are the jitter reduction system claimed to reduce total jitter to <10 picoseconds RMS; and the IsoSyncESC or isolated synchronous error correction system based on an asynchronous buffer controlled by a precision clock and FPGA running proprietary algorithms. While not mentioned explicitly, it seems to be a form of proprietary asynchronous upsampling. Analog and digital sections as well as left and right channels and digital processing circuits are isolated from each other within individual pockets in the solid casing. The power supply gets its own external box. High-precision SMD components mount on 6-layer circuits boards. The XLR line outputs are transformer coupled.