Lots of info in this thread, even though the topic is about Atma-Sphere amps.
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Their's probably only a handful of people in the world who have had a chance to hear the MP1/MP3 side by side in the same system in a meaningful evaluation. Ralph Karsten of Atma-sphere for sure,maybe some of his dealers and perhaps an audiophile or two. Would definately contact Ralph Karsten who will give you very straight foward, honest advice and opinion without bias.
I've owned an mp3 for approx. 8 years and I think it offers an awful lot within its price range.
I'm not sure anything but a side comparison with your ears is going serve you well if you need to decide between the two. The MP3 is superb, and if you were able to stop thinking about the MP1 you "should" be happy for a long time, it is perfectly capable of producing great sounds when matched with the S30 and M60. But, if you know the MP1 is out there, you could slip into the endless quest of thinking there is just one more move to reach Nirvana. If money is no object, get the MP1, if it is, get the MP3 - it is wonderful in its own right. My comments are only about the line stage, there may be some really big improvement in the phone-stage between the two - that I don't know.
Thank you for you help and you are right-on Pubul57, as the saying goes; "the enemy of good is better". Ralph is out of town right now, but from speaking to (oh shoot, his name escapes me), anyway -- The MP3 retains the same "house" sound, what you hear with the MP1 is just more of it (like lower noise floor, so more inner detail).
Thus, I purchased a MP3 and I'm having them do the V-Caps, Caddocks, and Power Regulation (highly recommended by Atma-Sphere) -- I think this will give me the best bang-for-my-buck at this point.
Again, thanks everyone and if someone else does have a direct comparison feel free to chime in...
Grateful, no doubt you are getting the best bang for the buck, and I do think those upgrades are well worth it. Hope you enjoy yours as much as I enjoy mine. A little tube rolling with the 6sn7s is well worth it I think. Either the Sylvania chrome domes GTBs or the RCA GT/GTAs - they are not too expensive.
My MP-1 responded well to power cord swaps. At the time, I used either a Purist Audio Dominus Ferrox, Telwire Reference, or BMI Hammerhead MK IV. Each sounded subtly different...the Dominus had the typical Purist bass weight. The Telwire and BMI were more balanced. The BMI had the quietest midrange and highs. As I recall, I ended up with the BMI most of the time.