Atma-sphere 3.0 to 3.1

Has anyone else done the upgrade from 3.0 to 3.1 - I have M60s of very recent vintage with power and vcap upgrades. It does not seem expensive. I do wonder what the changes are internally and how the perfomance changes, improves? with the upgrade.
One of you 1,000,000 Atma fans must have tried this, no?
MA-1's though. Much lower noise floor, now they are essentially dead quiet with no preamp signal. Slightly better imaging and detail. It is, IMO, a worthwhile upgrade if you can do without them for a couple of weeks.
Seems like there is no choice really. Do you have any idea what changes are made? I assume some passive parts, and....
Why not ask Ralph Karsten?
Hi Tvad. I suspect posting the question here is asking Ralph, and others can get the answer at the same time:)

I believe that most of the updates reside in the PS and on mine they removed the Class A/AB switch.
Is that class A A/B switch on the M60 3.0? If it is, I never saw it before. I did have the power regulation upgraded 1-2 years ago, so I wonder if my unit would see much changed in the PS.
These were originally Mk 2.3 that had been back in the 18 to 24 month window for upgrade to 3.0. They are MA-1's as well. I do not know the history of the Class A/AB switch on the various models. The upgrade from version 3.0 to 3.0 was significant according to Ralph and the amps confirmed that upon their return. Just do it.;-)
I think that A A/B switch is not on my M60s. I will be giving Ralph a call:)
The 3.1 update is a change to the voltage amplifier. It affects all our amplifiers. The change reduces measurable distortion- by about 90% at full power.

Distortion has two audible properties in audio circuits, the first being that it causes harshness. The second is that it can mask underlying detail. So eliminating it (if done without using feedback) will make the amp both smoother and more detailed at the same time, and that is what people report when they hear this change.

Because it only affects the voltage amplifier circuit of the amp, its relatively inexpensive (if you already have the MkIII), but like we do anytime one of our products is updated to the latest level, the warranty is reactivated.
Atmasphere - sorry to hijack the thread, but since you are already posting in this thread, I thought I will ask you a question - do you think that M60 3.1 that is beeing descussed here will drive W/P Sasha in a small room ?
Elberoth2, if you use a set of ZEROs, it will be outstanding. The Sashas don't need a lot of power but the M-60 does not like 4 ohms. The ZEROs fix that and will get you double the power that you would have without them on that speaker, and you will have fabulous bass authority!
Atma - and what about the MA-1s ? Do you need all tubes to drive the Sasha, or can you take some out ? My main concern is heat issue - chance the idea of taking out some tubes.
Elberoth2, I've been listening to the Sashas with MA-1s a lot recently. They seem to work quite well together and is what I based my comments on the Sashas on over on the Speakers forum.

If you run the amps with less than the full complement, due to the low impedance of the Sashas the ZEROs will be helpful. Its a nice way to reduce the heat if you don't need the power and the Sashas seem actually fairly efficient. When I've been listening to them the VU meters on the amp barely move.
Ralph, what did you do my M60 amps? Sounds like I have a subwoofer!!!! I've never the acoustic bass sound so good, so present, and with such scale coming from my tiny 6 1/2" woofers. The upgrade, whatever it was, was well worth it.
Pubul57, thanks, I'm glad you like it. The 3.1 update reduces distortion at full power by about 90%; that translates to additional transparency with smoother delivery- its amazing how that can affect things, even in the bass, although a string bass has lots of high frequency harmonics.
Ralph, what are your favourite NOS tubes in the V1 position?
We've got a lot of people that offer their favorites there, personally I don't play with the NOS tubes that much- I buy LPs and CDs instead :)

The Ken-Rad and Sylvania metal-based chrome-dome get the highest marks in that location, followed by the round-plate Tung-Sol, RCA red base, and the Western Electric.
I gotta stop reading this stuff. I'm going to end up buying some M-60s and give my girlfriend a cubic zirconia engagement ring...
Has anyone been able listen much to the M-60s with the volume knob option? It sounds intriguing to be able to forgo a pricey preamp, having relied on an integrated for some time...
I have not, but I have been listening to passives and they are great with the right amp. I think the Atma-spheres are not ideal for an external passive, but I suspect that with Ralph building it into the unit customized for the specific load and sensitivity of the amp and no ICs that it is great, of course you loose a bit of flexibility compared to an standalone preamp. Would love to A/B a MP1 versus the integrated passive volume control.
Passives work fine as long as you don't have any interconnect cable. Otherwise they tend to limit bass and punch as you turn the volume control down. That's why we offer the option for the M-60s.

The MP-1 is specifically designed to control the interconnect cable, and as a result the cable between the preamp and amp is not critical and you can run really long lengths (+50') too. That allows you to keep the amps right by the speakers and run short speaker cables.
Ralph, does that mean it is best to have a source with lower gain so that you can turn the passive up further (less attentuation) - as long as it plays loud enough? By the way, how much does it cost to "upgrade" a pair of M60s with volume controls? Guess I should have thought of that when I upgrade to 3.1:)
Yes, lower output sources work much better with passives. Its beyond me why so many DAC manufacturers insist on putting so much output voltage in their equipment- my guess is that they have no idea, no clue on how amplifiers work.

The volume control setup is about $1200.00. Its a custom-built part. Of course you can put in cheaper parts and do quite well but they don't seem so sound as good...
That is good input (no pun intended) on output voltage. My CD player puts out 2v or 3.6v with a switch, and of course I can listen at the 12-2 position with the lower gain. Will you ever be demoing the "integrated" at a show (RMAF?).
> Its beyond me why so many DAC
> manufacturers insist on putting so much output
> voltage in their equipment- my guess is that
> they have no idea, no clue on how amplifiers work.
Because many ignorant customers insist on comparing equipment in demos in the same conditions - e.g. some volume position - and like this they sound louder!
I have tried to explain to friends why this is a mistake and non technical people do not accept it easily, unless you have a sound meter to help you.