Get Adobe Flash Player

Criterion Preamplifier

By questioning the limits of technology, a Jeff Roland’s creative vision transcends music, and reaches deeply into the silence between the notes.


The Criterion reference preamplifier delivers the Jeff Rowland trademark of a sensuous and grain-free musicality, unparalleled transparency and low level resolution. A vast three-dimensional sound stage fills the listening space and instrumentalists and vocalists take their positions and begin to play.

Criterion yields exceptional frequency extension and linearity, with magnificent bass definition, an extraordinarily complex exposure of harmonic structure, and a sweetly filigreed treble. It exhibits the most nuanced low-level detail and micro-dynamics of any of the JRDG preamplifiers, while surpassing them with transient speed, compelling authority, and breath-taking macro dynamics.


Criterion’s refined sensuous musicality, sonic excellence, and trend-setting usability features are products of a sophisticated architecture that harnesses and pushes the limits of today’s technological art. Its elegant topology is completely balanced in the input, in circuit, and output phases.

This preamplifier features a twin chassis mechanical package milled from ingots of premium aircraft-grade aluminum, ground-breaking dual AC/battery power management, fully isolated transformer-coupled balanced and single-ended inputs and outputs, military-grade four-layer ceramic boards, incredibly low noise and high gain differentially balanced OPA1632 audio amplifier modules at its core. The Criterion has the most compact circuit topology of any Rowland reference preamplifiers, the result of a number of elegant engineering solutions.


The Criterion reference preamplifier stands at the intersection of paradigmatic innovations within the Jeff Rowland tradition of uncompromising engineering, green technologies, impeccable craftsmanship, and personal expression—exacting JRDG artistic and technological standards that turn innovations into heirlooms. Words cannot adequately describe this transcendent instrument for music reproduction nor its sound. Only the live Criterion listening experience can comprehend the scope of this outstanding achievement.  It is no wonder that music lovers on seven continents choose Criterion over “cost-no-object” preamplifiers, regardless of underlying technology.