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Jeff Rowland Design Group Synergy Series II
6 Reviews
rating  4.83 of 5
MSRP  5500.00


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Reviews 1 - 5 (6 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Jensen Ignatius a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: July 1, 2003

Bottom Line:   
I have been listening and recording music for some 35 years. From the first Bogen, to RCA and Marantz , back in 1960s....
I design and built speakers for sale too.
I record music using Revoxes reel to reel in germany then moved to Phase linear and finally to Conrad Johnsons. I was not thinking much of upgrading my loyal CJ until I heard the Synergy IIi was very good one. I bought one used and upgraded them at JR. It is built like a tank,it looks like a ferrari and it sounds like angels singing in heaven, with the right combo of other parts. I work and travel but when I am home and listen to the wonderful but affordable Synergy IIi thorugh my Martin LOgan speakers, I felt like i am in heaven.The holographic effect is sooo real thatwhen i heard Norah Jones or Stacey Kent, i felt they were there and i can just hug them, it is truly spooky. One advice for the newly minted audiphile (younger ones), save your money and buy the affordable but best system, it is good as gold for life.
Do not scatter your money in little cheap products and then trashed them later...
Other unit attached: Silver Balanced Cable for interconnect, Biamping Threshold and Krell amps.Cardas speaker wire and the effect is awesome....

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2000

Price Paid:    $6000.00

Purchased At:   Private then upgrade

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by David a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: April 13, 2001

Bottom Line:   

For some reason finding the right pre amp was the most difficult part of putting together my dream audio system. For two years I tried both tube and solid-state varieties. None seemed to have what I was looking for. Enter the Jeff Rowland Synergy 2 Pre amplifier.

I have the Jeff Rowland Synergy 2 now about three weeks and it has about 300 hrs. on it.

First construction: It is built like a tank, but more beautiful. It is perfect in every sense of the word. I could not find even one slight defect in its construction and I looked hard! It is only 6.0 Inches deep and that takes some getting used to. Two things bothered me about the way it was boxed for shipping. First, the preamp was not wrapped in anything before it was placed in the foam coverings with in the box. As a result during shipping small foam pieces broke off the padding and became imbedded into some of the XLR connectors in the pre amp. The pre amp should have been wrapped in plastic or placed into a felt bag before being placed into the box. Also, the unit was shipped without the isolation interface supports”-translation: The Sorbothane feet. I later found out that they ran out of them and shipped the pre amp anyway. But they only sent me them when my dealer Jon Goldman at Goldman Audio called to complain. If they knew they were out of the feet they should have enclosed a note in the shipping box or informed Jon that they will be sent as soon as they come in.

Next: the remote. It is O.K. but not up to the build quality of the pre amp itself. But it does work well and does not need to be pointed directly at the pre amp in order to work. I like that. The remote does not have phase inversion on it and can only be accessed from the pre amp itself. The two sensors on the front of the remote extend out from the body unprotected making it easier to damage.

As I have said earlier I have owned a few pre amps before and the above minor complaints don’t add up too much when I compare the major problems I have experienced in the past from other manufacturers.

But how does it sound? I really don't know where to begin because it really does not have a sound of it's own. It is the proverbial straight wire with gain. It is dead quite. And I mean dead quite! When I put my ears next to the tweeters of my speakers the only thing I hear is my breathing. All ground loop hums that were in my system are now gone. Which includes not only my audio system but video system as well. Previously, I had to float all my power cords. I have now removed all of the cheater plugs. Now, as Martha Stewart would say "that's a good thing." To say I am impressed by this silence is an under statement! As a result, it is the most transparent pre amp I have ever "not" heard! It is transparent with out sounding analytical. For this alone it is worth its asking price! I am now able to clearly hear the difference between Class A and AB on my Plinius amp. Compared to other pre amps I have tried, my system now has smooth mids, extended highs and deep base. The Virgos disappear in the sound stage, which is wider and deeper than any pre amp I previously had except for a one tube pre amp. But the tube pre amp was not as extended at the frequency extremes and was a lot nosier! Imaging is incredible, focused from the front of the sound stage to the back. I’ve heard that Rowland amps are somewhat forgiving. Well, the Synergy doesn’t honey coat anything and is true to the signal. It never calls attention to itself and always remains musical. That’s it! This one is a keeper!

To sum up this is the best pre amp I have owned. I believe it is well worth the asking price and I have great pride of ownership. I would like to try the discontinued battery power supply BPS-1 some day and experiment with different power cords. I am going to give Jon Goldman a rest for about two weeks and then call on him to upgrade my cables. Does anybody have any experience with the BPS-1??

Putting together my ultimate sound system was not easy at first. I made a lot of mistakes. Some quite expensive. Then a few Asylum members suggested I visit Goldman Audio. Jon is one hell of a guy and the most honest auto dealer I know. He did a great job of putting together a system for me that I can afford and truly enjoy. He also has the patience of a Saint. A good dealer is just as important as the components you buy. Unfortunately, I learned that the hard way!


1- Put phase inversion on the remote

2- Re-do the manual. There are a few mistakes and it lacks information

3- The pre amp needs to be packaged better before being placed into the shipping box

4- Bring back the battery power supply

5- Smaller steps on the balance control

6- A couple of RCA inputs so XLR/RCA adapters would not have to be used

7- World peace

My System:


Metronome CD1V MK 2 Tube CD Player ( Siltech power cord )

Linn Majik integrated amp w/ tuner module (Currently used only for it’s tuner)

Jeff Rowland Synergy 2 Pre amp

Plinius SA 100 MK3 ( audioquest power cord )

Audio Physic Virgos

Kimber 8TC, Hero ( looking to upgrade next. Can you hear me Jon?)

Michael Green Adjustarack


Rotel RSP 960-AX Processor/Pre amp

Sony VCR

Parasound Zamp two channel amp ( for rear channels)

NHT Super zero’s ( rear channel speakers )

No center channel speaker

16 gage zip cord ( rear channel speaker wire )

Various IC’s

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   2000

Price Paid:    $5500.00

Purchased At:   Goldman Audio

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Craig H. Kinsley a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: March 18, 2001

Bottom Line:   
This is a follow up review to one I posted last year regarding the wonderful Jeff Rowland Synergy II. When last I wrote, I had had the Synergy II for but a brief time, and it was slowly beginning to unlock its potential. Now, after more than a year with it in my system, I am writing to say that not a day or a listening session goes by when I do not appreciate the superb addition it was to my system and look forward to the next time I can listen to it. I marvel at the way in which I can put on a CD or play an LP and watch as the Synergy II gets out of the way and lets the music through, clear and clean. The dynamics and placement of images are, as I wrote last year, just amazing. As I broke-in the preamplifier, these details grew even stronger. With better recorded CDs, the Synergy II envelops you in the sound, making you an integral part of it, another instrument, albeit a passive one. It is strange, in a gratifying way, that with the Synergy II, I look forward to each listening session, waiting with growing anticipation what new discoveries I could make with my music. New recordings always have that tiny edge of excitement; but with the Synergy II, I felt the same thing with all of my CDs. There were new details to be found, new information to be mined, that only the Synergy II could provide. So each time I use it is like the first time with a new CD. Discovery anew, and contentment, awaits the buyer of the Jeff Rowland Synergy II. It is a fine piece of equipment. I recommend it very highly. As always, you must audition any piece of equipment in your room and with your existing electronics. In my system, with my equipment, the Synergy II is an outstanding performer with over a year's worth of hard, critical, listening. It had the effect of making me fall in love with my music all over again and each time I listen. Am I happy with it? Obviously. Will you be? It depends -- but it is more likely than not to add a level of electronic sophitication to your system that has the effect of making you even more attuned to your music, whatever it is. Enjoy.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   2000

Purchased At:   Audio Art, Richmond, VA

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Craig H. Kinsley a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: February 25, 2000

Bottom Line:   
The Jeff Rowland Design Group Synergy II is an outstanding product, anyway you look at it (or listen to it). I replaced a Classe' Audio CP-60 preamplifier with which I was very happy. I was not expecting that much of an improvement because of the excellent qualities and many strengths of the CP-60. Though I am still breaking-in the Synergy II, I am stunned at the many differences. First, it is easy to set up and get going. As a fully balanced design, you need to have balanced components or use RCA/XLR connector plugs. But JRDG supplies only one pair of ins and one pair of outs (and at a hefty $100.00 or so per gold-plated pair, they are not cheap for the five inputs). The Synergy II is beautiful and built to last. It weighs a solid 33-pounds or so (both preamp and power supply), and its fascia and layout are both functional and elegant/simple. I had gotten used to a noise floor with the excellent CP-60 that, whereas pretty good, was still coloring the music slightly. Well, that floor has dropped several stories lower with the Synergy II. The music emerges from a tomb-like background and wafts over you gently and completely, like a warm breeze. (I know I am mixing metaphors here, but the Synergy II inspires one to grasp for the proper words to describe its overall wonderful character.) I have been particularly impressed with the pinpoint placement of instruments and musicians within the soundstage. Each is clearly outlined and separate from the others, thereby contributing to the illusion of a live event in your room. Further, I have noticed a vast improvement in the realistic decay of instruments such as piano and cymbal, and the subtle falling-off of snare drum or tom-tom after it is whacked hard. Last, the resolution of which the Synergy II is capable is similarly outstanding, letting one "see" farther into a good recording and appreciating all the little things that summate to produce a pleasant musical experience. Taking all these characteristics as a whole, the Synergy II is a great piece of engineering, but one that serves its purpose extremely well: to provide the listener with everything the music has to offer. I recommend the Synergy II to the music lover and audiophile alike. Bits and bytes and electricity go in and what comes out is music, pure and simple.

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   2000

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by KC a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: November 20, 1999

Bottom Line:   
In general this is one of the finest preamps you can get in the market, it has all the unique criteria such as workmanship quality, ergonomics, amazing sounding. Although pricey but justifiable. Other equipmwnt used
2x ARC Classic 30s (bi-amp)
Sonus Faber Guarneri Speaker
Meridian CD 206 player
Michel ISO/Hera phono
Luxman PD300 phono/Grace G945S/Octofon MC30Super
Nakamichi CR7
2 pair of Cardas Golden Ref.
2 pair of Yamamura Millennium 6000 interconnect (Pre ro power)
1 pair of Yamamura Quantum (CD to Preamp)

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Used product for:   3 months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1999

Reviews 1 - 5 (6 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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