I think the majority of Spectron owners end up getting Joule-Electra preamps because the are supposed to mate very well. I do think Spectrons benefit from good tube preamps and source components. Like I mentioned in a previous one of your threads, I am thinking of getting a Joule. Let us know what you decide.
>I think the majority of Spectron owners end up getting Joule-Electra preamps
That's definitely not true, but it is a popular pairing, partly because there's a business relationship between the two companies (via Simon, at any rate).
I tried an LA-150 with my Musician III for a couple of days just two weeks ago, though my speakers aren't Maggies. The LA-150 is a seductive preamp, no doubt about it. Rich, ripe, gorgeous tone color; a sweet and delicate treble, though not extended; full (perhaps overly so) bass, though a little loose. Ultimately, though, it was less detailed and resolving than I like, with compromised image specificity. It's sonic signature is quite strong and was evident on all recordings I played. And while I sat in awe of the gorgeous tone, I found myself bored by the music with the Joule in my system. I'm sure others will disagree vehemently, so take my comments with a grain of salt. I wish I could have kept it longer because I didn't have time to play with cables or other tweaks that might have made a difference. Lousy remote.
Thank you for your comments and experience with the LA-150. I'd like to add a little more of that sweet gorgeous tone to my system and want to try the LA-450ME. I think striking that balance is difficult and what many of us desire. What amp/preamp/speakers are you using now?
I'd like to try to LA450ME too, but beyond my budget. My speakers are Dunlavy SC-IIIA and the Spectron is my amp. Searching for a new pre.
Very nice! I have an Ayre KX-R and while the combination is spectacular, I'd just like a little more sweetness. Please keep us/me updated.
"The LA-150 is a seductive preamp... "
There are three LA-150: Mk1, Mk2 and SE - from your description it seem that you have Mk2. Indeed very lush and 2007 Golden Ear Award winner. Mk1 - is lean and I don;t like it.
" sweet and delicate treble, though not extended" - definetely Mk2 and not Marienne-Electra preamps (300 and 450), as latest ones have vastly extended "magical" HF - thanks to Simon's lenghly investigation of best V-Caps in variety of equipment, see -
These capacitors, as implemented lately, also increase details, I been told.
" ... full (perhaps overly so) bass, though a little loose"
- may be (Harry Pearson liked LA-150Mk2 bass - see his review on J-E web site)...may be for some. Then go for LA-150 SE or even better for LA-300ME (or 450) with their special power supplies. Jud (and Simon) are fanatical about power supplies. No suprise, every serious designer is but to do it right, its different matter.
Finally, yes - Simon work very actively with both Spectron and Joule-Eletctra so both, at least partially were voiced together on Simon's system and thus there is great synergy. My LA-300 - Spectron monoblocks - B&W802 Diamond is the music heaven !!!!
Thanks for the link. Very cool. I heard a pair of B&W diamonds (not sure which model) with Ayre MX-R/KX-R. Sounded great.
Thanks for the link to Simon!!
Dob -- yes, it was a Mk II.
" Dob -- yes, it was a Mk II." Well, you have very good ears - you describe the sound like it was detaiuled photograph.
With your very fair demands you need to have either LA-150SE and if you can afford LA-300ME. The LA-450ME of course is the best but I cannot afford it ...now (and frankly extremely happy with what I have and not planning to change anything anytime soon)
All The Best
Thanks for all the help. The Ayer is beyond my budget (upper limit roughly about 5k for a preamp). For those with the mono blocks, are you just using 2 Musician III Mk2's? Or is there some other model I'm not familiar with? Did you ever set up your system with just 1 Musician III Mk2? (Two is more than I can afford.) Is there that big a difference?
You could always start with one Spectron and if and when you want add another. My amps are the latest Musician III Mk2's with all the upgrades, v-cap, bybee and fuses. Two monoblocks brings you to the next level, but start with one and go from there.
I have the LA-150 MKII and find the above to be true. It's a seductive and clean preamp with a touch of sweetness and very good extension on both ends. I agree that the highs are not the most extended but I tend to sell the ones that I want to turn down and keep the ones that I play louder.
Highly recommended in the used $2500 range. You are looking to spend twice this amount? Never heard of Spectron.
I have sold my LA-300ME to friend of mine and ordered LA-450ME. I am not sure why I did it but I did it - may be for the same reason I sold my Watt/Puppy 8 and bought Sasha. Still keeping my Spectrons. If they outperformed Pass Lab XA-200.5 then I don;t know what should I investigate next... may be source.
I love the combo together. I started with LAP 150 MKII and then had it upgraded to SE version. The SE version tightens the bass and increases the top air. I had to change cables but I like the sound better now.
I have Modwright Transporter feeding LA150 MKII SE to Spectron Monoblocs to VSA Vr-4 jr's. I am very happy and would love some day to upgrade to LA300. I started with one Spectron(latest with all upgrades) after moving from a Bryston amp and was amazed...thought if adding a second would be as much as adding the first...why not try it. It was an improvement...but could have been happy with one....so my suggestion is get one and you will be very happy. Plus it will give you an upgrade path if needed in the future.
Plus being somewhat of a newbie I like the fact Spectron and Joule have a connection and did not have to worry about a mismatch.
I own my LA-450ME and run it for about 6 weeks with Spectrons and Sasha speakers. As much as LA-300ME is fantasticaly good...LA-450ME is better: its exactly the same sonic characteristics but....much better. I am particualrly shocked by live opera performance (my tiner is M-D 100T modified) - never experience before: its like performers walk (and sing, I think) in my own listening room...