My Long List of Amplifiers and My Personal Review of Each!


So I have been in a long journey looking to find the best amplifiers for my martin logan montis. As you know, the match between an amplifier and speakers has to be a good "marriage" and needs to be blend exquisitely. Right now, I think I might have found the best sounding amplifier for martin logan. I have gone through approximately 34-36 amplifiers in the past 12 months. Some of these are:

Bryston ST, SST, SST2 series
NAD M25
PARASOUND HALO
PARASOUND CLASSIC
KRELL TAS
KRELL KAV 500
KRELL CHORUS
ROTEL RMB 1095
CLASSE CT 5300
CLASSE CA 2200
CLASSE CA 5200
MCINTOSH MC 205
CARY AUDIO CINEMA 7
OUTLAW AUDIO 755
LEXICON RX7
PASS LABS XA 30.8
BUTLER AUDIO 5150
ATI SIGNATURE SERIES 6005

With all that said, the amplifiers I mentioned above are the ones that in my opinion are worth mentioning. To make a long story short, there is NO 5 CHANNEL POWER AMP that sounds as good as a 3ch and 2ch amplifier combination. i have done both experiments and the truth is that YOU DO lose details and more channel separation,etc when you select a 5 channel power amplifier of any manufacturer.
My recollection of what each amp sounded like is as follows:

ATI SIGNATURE SERIES 6005 (great power and amazing soundstage. Very low noise floor, BUT this amplifiers NEEDS TO BE cranked up in order to fully enjoy it. If you like listening at low volume levels or somewhat moderate, you are wasting your time here. This amp won’t sound any different than many other brands out there at this volume. The bass is great, good highs although they are a bit bright for my taste)

NAD M25 (very smooth, powerful, but somewhat thin sounding as far as bass goes)
Bryston sst2(detailed, good soundstage, good power, but can be a little forward with certain speakers which could make them ear fatiguing at loud volumes)

Krell (fast sounding, nice bass attack, nice highs, but some detail does get lost with certain speakers)

rotel (good amp for the money, but too bright in my opinion)

cary audio (good sound overall, very musical, but it didn’t have enough oomph)

parasound halo (good detail, great bass, but it still holds back some background detail that i can hear in others)

lexicon (very laid back and smooth. huge power, but if you like more detail or crisper highs, this amp will disappoint you)

McIntosh mc205 (probably the worst multichannel amp given its price point. it was too thin sounding, had detail but lacked bass.

butler audio (good amplifier. very warm and smooth sweet sounding. i think for the money, this is a better amp than the parasound a51)

pass labs (very VERY musical with excellent bass control. You can listen to this for hours and hours without getting ear fatigue. however, it DOES NOT do well in home theater applications if all you have is a 2 channel set up for movies. The midrange gets somewhat "muddy" or very weak sounding that you find yourself trying to turn it up.

classe audio (best amplifier for multi channel applications. i simply COULDNT FIND a better multi channel amplifier PERIOD. IT has amazing smoothness, amazing power and good bass control although i would say krell has much better bass control)

Update: The reviews above were done in January 2015. Below is my newest update as of October 2016:



PS AUDIO BHK 300 MONOBLOCKS: Amazing amps. Tons of detail and really amazing midrange. the bass is amazing too, but the one thing i will say is that those of you with speakers efficiency of 87db and below you will not have all the "loudness" that you may want from time to time. These amps go into protection mode when using a speaker such as the Salon, but only at very loud levels. Maybe 97db and above. If you don’t listen to extreme crazy levels, these amps will please you in every way.

Plinius Odeon 7 channel amp: This is THE BEST multichannel amp i have ever owned. Far , but FAR SUPERIOR to any other multichannel amp i have owned. In my opinion it destroyed all of the multichannel amps i mentioned above and below. The Odeon is an amp that is in a different tier group and it is in a league of its own. Amazing bass, treble and it made my center channel sound more articulate than ever before. The voices where never scrambled with the action scenes. It just separated everything very nicely.

Theta Dreadnaught D: Good detailed amp. Looks very elegant, has a pleasant sound, but i found it a tad too bright for my taste. I thought it was also somewhat "thin" sounding lacking body to the music. could be that it is because it is class d?

Krell Duo 300: Good amp. Nice and detailed with enough power to handle most speakers out there. I found that it does have a very nice "3d" sound through my electrostatics. Nothing to fault here on this amp.
Mark Levinson 532H: Great 2 channel amp. Lots of detail, amazing midrange which is what Mark Levinson is known for. It sounds very holographic and will please those of you looking for more detail and a better midrange. As far as bass, it is there, but it is not going to give you the slam of a pass labs 350.5 or JC1s for example. It is great for those that appreciate classical music, instrumental, etc, but not those of you who love tons of deep bass.

 It is articulate sounding too
Krell 7200: Plenty of detail and enough power for most people. i found that my rear speakers contained more information after installed this amp. One thing that i hated is that you must use xlr cables with this amp or else you lose most of its sound performance when using RCA’s.

Krell 402e: Great amp. Very powerful and will handle any speaker you wish. Power is incredible and with great detail. That said, i didn’t get all the bass that most reviewers mentioned. I thought it was "ok" in regards to bass. It was there, but it didn’t slam me to my listening chair.

Bryston 4B3: Good amp with a complete sound. I think this amp is more laid back than the SST2 version. I think those of you who found the SST2 version of this amp a little too forward with your speakers will definitely benefit from this amp’s warmth. Bryston has gone towards the "warm" side in my opinion with their new SST3 series. As always, they are built like tanks. I wouldn’t call this amp tube-like, but rather closer to what the classe audio delta 2 series sound like which is on the warm side of things.

Parasound JC1s: Good powerful amps. Amazing low end punch (far superior bass than the 402e). This amp is the amp that i consider complete from top to bottom in regards to sound. Nothing is lacking other than perhaps a nicer chassis. Parasound needs to rework their external appearance when they introduce new amps. This amp would sell much more if it had a revised external appearance because the sound is a great bang for the money. It made my 800 Nautilus scream and slam. Again, amazing low end punch.

Simaudio W7: Good detailed amp. This amp reminds me a lot of the Mark Levinson 532h. Great detail and very articulate. I think this amp will go well with bookshelves that are ported in order to compensate for what it lacks when it comes to the bass. That doesn’t mean it has no bass, but when it is no Parasound JC1 either.
Pass labs 350.5: Wow, where do i begin? maybe my first time around with the xa30.8 wasn’t as special as it was with this monster 350.5. It is just SPECTACULAR sounding with my electrostatics. The bass was THE BEST BASS i have ever heard from ANY amp period. The only amp that comes close would be the jC1s. It made me check my settings to make sure the bass was not boosted and kept making my jaw drop each time i heard it. It totally destroyed the krell 402e in every regard. The krell sounded too "flat" when compared to this amp. This amp had amazing mirange with great detail up top. In my opinion, this amp is the best bang for the money. i loved this amp so much that i ended up buying the amp that follows below.

Pass labs 250.8: What can i say here. This is THE BEST STEREO AMP i have ever heard. This amp destroys all the amps i have listed above today to include the pass labs 350.5. It is a refined 350.5 amp. It has more 3d sound which is something the 350.5 lacked. It has a level of detail that i really have never experienced before and the bass was amazing as well. I really thought it was the most complete power amplifier i have ever heard HANDS DOWN. To me, this is a benchmark of an amplifier. This is the amp that others should be judged by. NOTHING is lacking and right now it is the #1 amplifier that i have ever owned.

My current amps are Mcintosh MC601s: i decided to give these 601s a try and they don’t disappoint. They have great detail, HUGE soundstage, MASSIVE power and great midrange/highs. The bass is great, but it is no pass labs 250.8 or 350.5. As far as looks, these are the best looking amps i have ever owned. No contest there. i gotta be honest with you all, i never bought mcintosh monos before because i wasn’t really "wowed" by the mc452, but it could have been also because at that time i was using a processor as a preamp which i no longer do. Today, i own the Mcintosh C1100 2 chassis tube preamp which sounds unbelievable. All the amps i just described above have been amps that i auditioned with the C1100 as a preamp. The MC601s sound great without a doubt, but i will say that if you are looking for THE BEST sound for the money, these would not be it. However, Mcintosh remains UNMATCHED when it comes to looks and also resale value. Every other amp above depreciates much faster than Mcintosh.

That said, my future purchase (when i can find a steal of a deal) will be the Pass labs 350.8. I am tempted to make a preliminary statement which is that i feel this amp could be THE BEST stereo amp under 30k dollars. Again, i will be able to say more and confirm once i own it. I hope this update can help you all in your buying decisions!


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Showing 50 responses by ricevs

No return?  Oh, you will return.  The amp door/window is always open and revolving.  Wait till you hear easy to own, easy to lift, easy on electricity, class D done way beyond Merrill for pennies.  This game never ends.
Nothing is being evaluated properly.  I already said the ARC has cheap rubber super dull sounding stock footers.  They are not high end at all....rubber sounding.  I am not saying that if you put $1000 feet under it and mounted it on a $5000 stand and put a $225 fuse in it, and found the best tubes and damped the top with damped weights that you would think it is the best in the world (but you might)......but it would be incredibly better than what you heard.  It might be better than the DAG.  You have never heard what it can do.  If you did all what I just mentioned you would crap your pants....it would be so much better.  You are just fooling around.  Nothing serious here. 
The word warm has nothing to do with the word muffled. They are two completely different things. You have the natural warmth of live music. A Cello or a bass/baritone singer or a bass has natural warmth. If you subtract its natural warmth then you are thinning out the sound. Many times when I tweak, I make my system both more natural (and more naturally warm) and more detailed at the same time. Many people call "thin" sounding amps neutral. You can only know how neutral an amp is (not warm tilted or bright tilted, etc.) is by doing a straight wire bypass test on it (yes, it can be done....a friend was doing it back in the 1970s).

If you listen to a system in someones home, you are hearing the sound of every single thing in that system: the AC, the AC conditioning, the AC power cords, the source, the recording, the preamp, the amp, all the cables, whether the cables are on the floor or not, the footers and equipment stands, the room, the room treatments, the speakers, the speaker set up, etc. etc. etc. To make a statement that some speaker must be neutral because you do not hear the "color" of some amp is simply not correct. You are hearing the whole enchilada. How do you know which component is doing what unless you A/Bed every component (including the AC power) with another component? In fact, if a component (speaker, in this case) was totally neutral then the color of the component (or whole system) would not be subtracted out. In fact, the color of the component or system before it would be even more evident.

I have no doubt that the GT Audio speakers are incredible. I have been following them since they were first shown years ago, when they were $3K including subs. He has since made them look way better and sound way better....and of course, they now cost some serious $20K plus. However, I would buy these things over the conservative $100K+ front firing box speakers. My sense is that they would blow my mind......just hearing them through my $29 Altec computer speakers blows my mind. If the Ref 3 drivers are that much better than what have been shown then OMG, OMG, OMG!!!!! Get rid of those freakin boxes!!!! The only box speaker that excites me is the Tekton biggies....when you have 14 low mass tweeters going all the way down to 300hz......you are going to have some seriously transparent sound. If you modded the Tektons with better xover parts, etc.(about 11K for the biggest ones modded) it would truly be mind blowing. However, if I had more money then the GT Audio speakers would be in my room. Under $10 K you have the Spatial open baffle speakers and the GR Research open baffle speakers that are both incredible. I bet the Muraudio electrostat hybrid speakers are really nice but they have limited dynamic range...something I would not want. Hey, once in a while I want 110db+ peaks.....don’t you? Jimi Hendrix....or Mahler, or drums, or whatever.....just once in a while...he he.
The DAW was behind the Focal while listening to the Focal.  The speakers are in different locations in the room...the recording is closer with the Focals....the level seems lower with the Focals....did you match levels to .5 db using pink noise?  I know it takes a lot of time, muscle and energy to move the other speaker to the back of the room and put the speakers in the exact same place in the room and match the levels....but unless you do these things the A/B is very flawed.
Yes, each speaker might need a different position for the sound YOU prefer.  If you move any speaker forward it will have a more expansive soundstage.  The distance to each wall and room size will determine the bass response (different for each speaker). If you had the Focals where the Wilsons were then you could just move your listening chair forward to achieve the "nearer field" listening you like with the Focals....meanwhile keeping the other distances the same.  The Focals seem less bassy in the video in that position (with Wilsons behind them).

However, leaving one speaker behind the other while listening is seriously bad.  Everything in the room must be the same for each speaker.  Something behind the main speakers will interact with them causing them to not sound as good as they can if they were in the open by themselves......everyone knows this!.   Did you match levels using pink noise?  How do you know you are listening at the same level unless you do so.   This is not just a casual A/B.....you are trying to get feedback from people.  Unless you do a properly done A/B then we are just commenting on the flawed sound we hear.  When you change a cable or something that does not require "room interactions and speaker sensitivity differences and listening distance preferences" then A/Bs are easier to do with accuracy.  

You have to do everything very carefully to determine the "best for you".  If you do not lift the cables off the floor they you will NEVER know how good a particular cable is.  The Odin speaker cable is sitting on its edge so it is "semi" of the floor.  The other speaker cables you tried were just laying on the carpet (oh my God, this is horrible!!!!....rectified in one half hour for free by making your own risers from cardboard or other wood laying around). 

Your posts are fun.....When do we get to follow some rich guy playing with a bunch of standard expensive audiophile products?....not too often....maybe never.....so it is entertaining.  Here is the truth......every audiophile is doing there own thing.  There is no "truth" in high end audio. If you take your car to the Indy 500 and if in qualifying you have the fastest lap time then you get the pole position.  What is the pole position in audio?.....everyone has a different opinion....there is no race course for audio except in your own limited experience in your own home.  What if a magazine decided to get all the top preamps or whatever in the world in at one time and burned them all in for 500 hours and spent countless hours A/Bing on various systems and also did straight wire bypass tests on each one.  This would be a "kindof" race course.  If the magazine published its findings it would go out of business....for all the companies that did not make it to the top of the list would no longer advertise.......So, we all all left to our own devices to search the net for all the info we can find and then get a couple of pieces in to try.  I mean, how many $30K preamps can anyone get in their house at one time and for how long could you have them?  Same goes at any price range and for any type of gear.  When I lived in Berkeley, CA in the late 70s.....my audio buddies that lived within a couple of square miles had literally 80% of the best gear in the world.  We could just drive or even walk to each others house and A/B these few pieces for hours.......this is when there were just a handful or so of the best preamps, amps, speakers, cartridges that existed.  Now there are a million products from a million countries all trying to sell you their latest and best offerings....and all with no real race course.  This is why every man is on their own.  I have never met an audiophile (friend or customer) who wanted the same thing or liked the exact thing as another or bought all of the exact same gear....not in over 40 years!  Do you realize how many expensive cable companies there are.....OMG   Tryng just a few brands...say Cardas, Nordost, and whatever gives you about 3% of what is possible.  I could name at least 10 other cables that might be better than Nordost in one minute.........and another person would come up with a different list in one minute....on and on.  This game is infinite....just like life and like ourselves.  Ever expanding infinity of possiblilities.  Enjoy the ride....but if you think you know something about infinity.....ha ha ha.
If you want the Focals to be a little less bright, more focused, purer and clearer and possibly warmer then you can felt the front of the speaker around the tweeter and midrange. You felt the whole baffle right up to the surround of each driver. You notice the defraction control felt on the Wilson? It is there for a reason. Thin black wool felt is super cheap and you can just cut it and stick it on the speaker using regular double stick scotch tape. Bend back a tiny corner of the tape when you put it on the speaker so you can easily peel it off. It will leave no residue on the speaker and you can easily put the felt on and off several times before it won’t hold the felt any longer. I have been doing this for 40 years on every speaker I have made to good effect. But since you won’t bother even lifting your cables off the floor then I bet you won’t try this. To each his own. I always want to find out how good something can be.....without any tweaking.....you are missing a lot. Especially cheap or free tweaks like felting and cable lifts and better fuses and better feet. These things make one hell of a difference.

Another relatively inexpensive thang to do is to get off the grid entirely using low distortion sine wave inverters run on batteries. So far, every one who has tried it has been blown away. Of course, all inverters will sound different but so far everyone has been happy with the ones they have tried. Here is an interesting review/ariticle to get you started.

http://enjoythemusic.com/magazine/equipment/0119/Goal_Zero_Yeti_400_Lithium_Portable_Power_Station_R...

I use a modded Yeti 400 on my modded Oppo 205 and the sound is great.

You can buy a 2000 watt low distortion sine wave inverter (4000 watt peak) and a 100 ah AGM battery and great charger for around $700 total. If you get two batteries you can run your whole system all day without recharging. You can buy several inverters and run them on each component (all running off one set of batteries). A large inverter will probably sound better if you are using a high powered amp as it can supply more peak current. Tweaking is fun!
You can use a $17,000 preamp to remove some info and give you a more organic warmer sound.  Or you could do a bunch of way cheaper things to increase information and musicality.  Here are some of these things:

1. Change all fuses to Synergistic Orange fuses.....this will give you more organic sound and more information.
2. Get your cables off the floor using cardboard, wood or other cheap means.  This will give you more organic sound and information.
3. Put cheap felt around your midrange and tweeter to reduce diffraction and purify the sound....this will give you less bright, more focused and  more organic sound and information.
4. Get some serious feet......you can tune the sound of your system just using various footers.....to increase resolution and warmth.
5. Get off the grid using low distortion sine wave inverters run off batteries.  Way better sound.....way less harsh and more organic and better space, etc.
6. Get some inexpensive AC tweaks like ADD-Powr Electraclear,  Hifidelity cable MC-05, and Akiko Audio triple AC enhancer.  Mo betta sound.
7. Mass damp the top of equipment.  You can use 15lb. stepping stones on top of towels or other material....do not put hard materials directly on cases....you want damped weight.  This can give better dynamics and warmer sound.
8. I am sure there are tons of other things too.....including finding a speaker cable with the detail of your Odin but more musical....you might find one that is so much less money than the Odin that you can sell the Odin and buy the other cable and lose no money....However, this might require a search of esoteric gear....not just main stream Audiophile press conservative expensive products.

So, you can spend $17,000 to make your system more "musical"  or you can spend maybe $3K to DRAMATICALLY increase resolution and increase musicality.  Which do you choose?  Of course, you can do neither or both.  It is a free will zone.  You can lead a horse to water.....you know the rest.
Guys, he is a toy dumper/changer. That is his game. Let him buy and sell many toys.

The Martin Logan has ordinary caps, resistors and coils in the signal path, transformer mounted by steel bolt, etc. Never be state of the art. Everything is imperfect. Sanders is not a tweaker, so things could be done better and you have to sit with your head in a vise to listen to those speakers.....GTA speakers.....now those are keepers.....no xover on the mids.....simple good parts on the tweet.....servo open baffle bass...yes, way, way better than these box thangs.

However, you could felt the front of the Focal, remove the xover from the speaker and upgrade all its parts and you would have way, way mo info......also remove the binding posts, as well. But, rich people are generally not tweakers...they just buy and sell equipment. It is fun. However, I would rather build a system for serious transparency and keep tweaking it. To each his own. I wish everyone good health.....joy and love are always present.

"Most people would love to have as their own".......well, I doubt that. We are all different. I would never want one of those speakers. Hey, I bet I would like a combo of Lii full range speakers with subs better than either of your speakers. You could use the Lii Crystal 10 inch mounted in the air by its magnet with no baffle so it rolls off at 300hz by itself and under it mount the 15 inch driver on an open baffle and use a super coil to cross it over at 300Hz....then use subs under 50hz. Would be incredible. The 10 inchers are $1000 the pair and the 15 inchers are $400 the pair....both speakers are around 98db so no padding necessary. You need to do a search on these speakers....these things are incredible for the money and just plain incredible....Try the Decware forum and the full range forum on Audiocircle for more info....check out the speakers here: https://www.lii-audio.com/

You can also buy the Crystal 10 in its cabinet delivered to your door for $3000 the pair.  Flat to 30hz in room.  I hope Lii sends a pair of these to get reviewed.......these speakers will cause a mass selling of expensive speakers....even a pair of their 8 inch full range speakers ($200 the pair for drivers only.....you make the cabinet) will put to shame all those $2000 a pair speakers out there.  Let the revolution begin!

What is "unwanted" by some is "appreciated" by others.  Many posts that can appear negative were done by people actually trying to help....with suggestions and information that they either think or have direct knowledge of.  If we just read this thread and all of us only posted...."oh that is great, I cannot wait to see what else you do"......then who really learns anything?  Yes, some of us are really passionate about what we know and even more passionate about helping others.  When I made comments about the speaker A/B being flawed....he actually listened (after first reacting) and then took hours to properly set up his speakers....so he learned from my "feedback".  We are all brothers to each other....and we are all parents to each other.  Parents want their children to be happy and do things that are beneficial to the child and everyone.  It is called learning and teaching.   We are all teachers and we are all students.  We also like drama.  So, if there is no tension....there is no fun and no learning......boring it would be.  We don't need to fight but we can be passionate in our helpfulness and without having to defend ourselves 

This time on earth is a reflection time.  What can we do better?  Where have we been holding ourselves back?  How can we be better humans?  Yes, learning how to appreciate everyone is key....but also giving feedback (as the parent) to help our children be happier.   I have repeated several things in this thread thinking maybe they will eventually be heard.  One of the things I am learning is to realize when to stop saying things I have already said......ie.....just let it go.  Some people are ready to hear things at this time and some are not.  We all value different things.  What do you value?  Please, follow your heart.  I am your child and you are mine.  Thank you for helping me be a better person.
Whatever you resist.....persists.  The resistors have made Faxers point even more emphatically.  Maybe you guys are faxer shills....he he.  

If you do not like what someone posts then don't read their posts.....why resist?......whatever you feed....keeps coming back for more.  If you do not like what I or anyone says, it is best to not reply......that way the conversation does not continue....it just dies.

The only thing that persists (forever) and is worth keeping your constant attention on is Love, Joy, Bliss, fun, beauty, creativity, peace, compassion, light, wisdom and the Power to do good things....bringing the above qualities to everyone.  May all be blessed.
Here is a review by Tom Lyle on the $445 Goal Zero 400 watt inverter. I know someone who talked to Tom recently and he now has the 1400 watt Goal Zero jobbie on his Pass X250,8 and still uses the 400 watter on his front end.

http://enjoythemusic.com/magazine/equipment/0119/Goal_Zero_Yeti_400_Lithium_Portable_Power_Station_R...

The above review has some mistakes.....Tom actually bought and tested the regular Goal Zero 400 (list price is $450)....not the more expensive Lithium jobbie (list price $600).  All the pics in the review are of the regular one.

My friend in Marin uses the Goal Zero 3000 for his whole system which also uses the same Pass X250.8 (400watts at idle). He hears no compression of dynamics in his good sized room playing his Kef Blade 2 speakers over 100db. The reason he got the Goal Zero (battery and inverter in one box) is that he wants to be able to use the same toy to power his home when the electricity is shut off. Here is CA....PG&E shuts off your power when the wind gets too high (they had a lot of law suits because of the fires and now they are switch pulling happy)...sometimes for days.

You can buy separate low distortion sine wave inverters, separate batteries and chargers on Amazon, Ebay, etc.....for very little money. No doubt, all brands and sizes of inverters will sound different......however, everyone I know has loved what they bought. You could buy a couple of inverters and run your whole system.....using a smaller one for the front end and a large one for your amp....no doubt, having a larger inverter will give lower impedance and better dynamics for your Super amp. You can run any number of inverters off one battery or set of batteries. Using separate inverters on different thangs.....naturally reduces interaction.

You can buy 2000 watt (4000 watt peak) low distortion sine wave inverters for $400, buy a 100ah AGM battery for $150 and a good 20 amp car battery charger for around $100......You can parallel batteries for more run time and you can run the charger while listening (with slight sound reduction). Fun stuff!
Yes, I have played with isolation transformers and they all sound different.....just like everything else. I am sure your combo gives great sound. Also, according to the above review....Tom Lyle found the $450 Goal Zero better than the $10,000 PS Audio regenerator. There is no ultimate anything. Everything can be improved. What is so cool about these inverters is they cost fractions of what other line conditioners cost and they get you completely off the grid........and they improve your stereo pleasure.......a big WIN.  There is a thread on the Cable forum (Get rid of your power cords, or some such) about all this including several people describing their experience with inverters....esp Goal Zero jobbies.
My friend in Marin uses an isolation transformer (3000 watt Topaz medical jobbie with super wires and jacks) after his Goal Zero inverter to run the front end. He runs the amp straight from the inverter....way better sound using the Goal Zero and transformer than using the transformer by itself for everything. Using an Inverter means you are completely off the grid.....the same sound all the time....no noise from the house lines. However, all inverters make some noise.....everything makes noise......he he. Isolation transformers do NOT block all the line noise....no fricking way. An isolation transformer does not give constant on tap instant power......in fact, because it is a passive device it has to "squeeze" its power through its core and windings.....it is not a class A amp that is on all the time. All transformers suffer from compression....obviously, the bigger it is the less compression there will be. If I were making a dedicated listening room the smallest isolation tranny I would use is 10K. But with inverters....you are simply off the grid.....no super heavy thangs needed.....ha ha....except the giant batteries.

By the way, the only reason my friend uses the isolation tranny is that it has several super jacks hardwired to it that he can use for all his gear. The Goal Zero does not have very many outlets. So, he cannot plug everything directly into the Goal Zero. Maybe it would sound even better without the trannie? If you buy a separate inverter you can buy one with several outlets or hardwire a strip out of it. The all in one units like the Goal Zero do not allow for easy modding. The big inverters are easy to open and you could remove the cheap jacks and hardwire a super wire out into Furutech outlets.
This is all entertainment.  Very few people are learning anything really serious about equipment that they are interested in......just a bunch of dudes talking.  Every single person reading this wants something different and has a different system, tastes and budgets.  We are all one....and also completely different.  There are tons of pieces of gear in the price range that WCSS is playing in that he could also try....but because of money, time and opinion constraints.....he will not do it.  So, it is just one guys journey we are watching and other peoples opinion about it......nothing more, nothing less.  Just another channel on the tube.  But, it is fun...enjoy the channel, enjoy the opinions and maybe we will all learn something.  Maybe we can learn to let everyone have an opinion and not care what it is?  Maybe we can actually learn something about listening, tweaking, not getting burned and growing as human beings.  

This time we have been given right now is for reflecting.  Do I really want to go back to that job I was laid off from?  What do I value?  Maybe I don't have to run around all day making money and being unhappy.  Maybe caring about people is more important than toys.....maybe when I share my heart we are all happy.  How do I get along with my family, my world?  What would I like to change about myself?.....I only have control over me......not anyone else.  Transformation and growth is not always fun and laughter.......there are growing pains.....but out of the darkness comes new light.....for all.  May all be blessed, happy and free from suffering in this moment and always.
Isn't the 6000S series II suppose to be much better than the older 6000T?  Who wants yesterdays papers, who wants yesterdays line conditioner....nobody in the world......can you sing along?  He he....nothing serious here.  Would you consider an older Ref 6 now that you have the 6SE? 

How about cheap low distortion sine wave inverters...would get you completely off the grid.
New Parasound JC1+ amps are mono blocks.....that is $8500 each....$17K for the pair.
So, how does the Audio Research Preamp sound on the Mephisto compared to the HD? Yes, I know, the AR is not fully broken in.

When are you going to A/B the Merrill with the Gryphon and also rate the Merrill?

And when are you going to get some serious fuses for the Gryphon and AR and HD preamps?  Good ones are only $20 each.  Way better sound with $20 fuses!  Takes you two minutes to change one.  The Parasound has a fuse for AC on the back panel and 6 fuses inside (OMG).....so changing all these will bring it to another way, way, way better level.  
The truth is the truth. It is what you experience on Mushrooms.....of course.....he he. I did do mushrooms years ago (51 years ago).

The TRUTH is what you experience......not what you think. The only way to know something is to experience it. You cannot know anything truthful about fuses unless you listen to them. You cannot know much about what is true in life unless you let yourself expand and get out of your comfort zone and try some new FEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLINGS. We are feeling beings....we love, we enjoy, we scream, we cry, we are alive....in our feelings. OUR mind is a trap.....it mostly serves the ego. Our feelings show us the way to our heart....to our self...to the NOW....to the infinity of feelings that we are. The knowledge of which fuse sounds best is nice....but the feeling the best one brings to us when we listen is the real TRUTH. There is wisdom. Love and Power. Wisdom is knowledge in service to Love.....ie....you know what to do to make more love........Power is Love in action....the more you DO love in action the more you and others feel love........LOVE is the TRUTH. It is what we are.

Is it the truth to keep saying the Colosseum amp is a $50K amp and therefore not that good of value....when it is a discontinued amp that sells for $27K new and can be bought for that same price used? At every level there is truth. The truth about how the 118 sounds versus the Gryphon will not be known till you A/B the two and tell us what you hear....that is truth. All the stuff that people make up (Viber loves to make up stuff....he he) is not the truth. The truth in audio is what you hear. You can interpolate.....we all do that. But the sound of the 114 may be very, very different than the 118, for instance. So, if we just say what we know......then we keep to truth. If we interpolate or guess....then it should clearly be stated as a guess. If more clear listening tests are done then less guessing will be done. When I read reviews......I am reading them for the bottom line....ie...how does it sound...and versus what? This is why listening to a Merrill system versus a DAG system or whatever means so little to me....and to many others. i want to know what each component is like and how it compares to other components. Maybe some will just buy a pair of whatever from one manufacturer.......but mostly because we don’t have any real info about what is out there. This is why you can really serve us by giving us real info (your listened TRUTH) about how these things sound versus each other. Then we truly know something.

I am currently doing audio evaluations on my system.....which is a highly modded Oppo 105 as a transport....a modified SMSL 500 DAC (you would be shocked if you heard how good this modified $400 DAC is) driving directly my modified VTV Purifi amp that I am finishing as a product. You can see info on my website about the mod....quite incredible really. I am listening to modified hardwired (at both ends) Sennheiser 600 headphones with 3 feet of custom wire hardwired......pretty transparent sound. When I listen to speakers....it is a pair of speakers I made that use a B&G Neo 10 and Neo 3 planar combo on an open baffle and below that two 6 inch woofs in a box.....all hardwired, super xover parts....time aligned....felted front baffles, isolated xover parts, ground enhancers, PCOCC litz wire. Speaker wire is 14 gauge PCOCC litz wire on mids and highs and Furutech wire on the woofs....no wires ever touching the floor. I use a low distortion sine wave inverter on the front end and right now the amp goes into the wall (the amp wire is hardwired into the wall...yes, sir)......no fuses, anywhere......except when I sell the modded amp.....then there is a $20 audiophile fuse standard with options for the big boy fuses.


And what happened to the post (gone in last few minutes) where you say the Gryphon Colosseum beats everything?

Anyway, the Mephisto is said to be mucho better......review here:

https://www.soundstageultra.com/index.php/twbas-menu/399-sonic-sorcery-gryphon-audio-designs-mephisto-stereo-amplifier

If you can find one used and you can lift it.....he he....this might be your end game amp......or at least reference while you cycle other lesser amps in and out for fun.
In the video you said it was easiest to hear a cable when only one is used between the DAC and amp (which might be true if using the Vivaldi straight to amp).  Here you say using the Momentum HD allows more to be heard.  Which is it?  if the output stage in the DAC is not that great....like in the Rosinni.....then it makes sense to do the cable testing after the Momentum.  Why didn't you do that?

Re the Audio Research amps......they use inexpensive EAR feet and these things are slow and muddy sounding.....please use great feet under the Audio Research amps, and of course, under all amps.

The "latest Class D" (as of this minute, always changing) seems to be the Merrill amps.  How come no one here is listening to them?.....they are cheaper than mono mega amps.......their most expensive/powerful ones being $36K for monos......and now just released a $15K stereo amp.  Could be killer, you won't know unless you try.

Have you guys heard about Purifi.....the new company from Bruno Putzey? He has a new class D module that they just took around at Munich and apparently beat every amp it was tested against. These modules will be released in a few months and may be better than Merrill and possibly anything? The distortion figures are the lowest I have ever seen.......007 percent 20hz-20Khz from one watt to one hundred. These amps could be available for $5K or less. 200 watts into 8 ohm and 25 amps current....but for most that would be enough. I am sure they will have a more powerful module available in a year or so.....maybe sooner. Purifi-audio.com

If this amp equals or beats the Merrill amps then the Merrill amps will be boat anchors within a year. Bruno says these are sonically way above his NC1200 Ncore modules he designed years ago. No, they are not using GaNs. The only thing that matters is how it sounds. I am hoping it is killer as high end audio prices are OUT OF CONTROL!

BTW, Srajan at 6 moons will be listening to the baby Merrill and the proto Purifi, so we will have someone soon who will state what they hear.

Some things to consider:

If an amp or whatever has a fuse then using an Audiophile fuse can elevate the performance greatly (some products will change dramatically with better fuses....others, not so much).  I would personally never test an amp without a great audiophile fuse (if it has one/several and can be accessed)..

All amps need the best power.  Power cords can make a world of difference.  If I was testing many amps, I would have many high end cords to properly match the performance.  Also, some line conditioners work with some amps and no so much with others.

Whatever you mount something on has a dramatic effect on the sound.  If I was testing many amps I would have various racks and footers to experiment with to achieve the best sound from each amp.

All amps with heatsinks can benefit from damping the fins.  If you run your fingernail along the heatsinks and you hear a "zing".....then that is the sound the heatsink is adding to the output.  I use EAR SD40AL constrained layer damping material in two one inch wide strips along the fin edges to kill the ringing......You can buy this damping material from Michael Percy Audio.  You can use other things to damp with, but this is my favorite.

Everything makes a difference......everything.  The more tweaking you do, the better the sound.  It does take time and patience. The more intense your desire is to really find out what is really going on...the more you will be willing to go the extra mile to determine what is really best (in all circumstances.....not just in audio listening).

I know this may be off subject but the Tekton Moab ($4500) and Ulfberbt ($9000) speakers are suppose to have electrostatic like midrange with dynamics up the wazoo.  Check out the reviews.  If you upgraded all the xover parts on the Moab you would have an even more killer speaker and for about $5500 and with 98db sensitivity you can use less powerful amps.  Yeah they look like coffins but the sound is suppose to be outrageous.  One of my customers has the Ulfberbt and he says it is the best he has ever had.....just sold his $25,000 open baffle Spatial speakers.
Now that your mind is opening and expanding.......now would be a great time to try some audiofool fuses. I suggest Audio Magic best beeswax hand made thang ($240 list), the Orange fuse from Synergistic ($160 list), and the hand made Audio horizons fuse ($135 list). Here is a link to a review of the Benchmark amp and if you read towards the bottom he tries both the Audio Horizon fuses and the Orange. You can probably get some of these on trial. Jerry at Audio Magic is real easy to deal with. Call him and the Audio Horizon guy....speak directly to the makers.

http://www.10audio.com/benchmark_ahb2.htm

You will be saying the same thing that you said about stands.......however, you can change all the fuses in all your equipment for less than $1000. Just one in your amp or preamp would still blow your mind.
No, tweak1 is just a customer of Tweakaudio.  Ric Schultz is the one and only whole part of tweakaudio.  Tweak is a common name in audio.  There used to be a tweakshop in Santa Rosa.  Then there is Tweekgeek who makes the DMT Cubes I use in the amps.
The Colosseum is discontinued and available for $27K (originally $43K?)......or less used.

The Mephisto stereo amp is suppose to be much better and lists for $57K......238lbs.
If the $4.5K Moab sounds that good stock......just imagine how much better it would sound if you used great xover parts, wiring, internal damping, driver damping and felting around all the tweets ($1000+) and hardwired it!!!!!! Yikes! Now how about adding the $10K Beryllium tweeter upgrade.....Yikes times infinity! 
I was just correcting your info (you said the Colosseum listed for $50K). Your Momentum S250 lists for $35K now. Could be the Mephisto is better than any mono blocks you have heard.....since it suppose to be mucho better than the Colosseum. Lots of reviews of the Mephisto, they all love it. Does not matter whether something is stereo or mono.....just how it sounds. If this were not true then the stereo Colosseum would not be on your top 5 best of all times list. Any of the pieces you own are a lot of money for a lot of audiophiles. My whole system does not cost as much as one of your interconnects.

I think the DAG preamp sitting on the best stand with the best fuse and power cord and going directly to the Mephisto on the best stand and using the best fuse and power cord could be an endgame pair for most people.

However, I think you would blow your mind if you used a battery powered 3000+ watt low distortion sine wave inverter for the whole system and then ran a Puritan filter after it. You would be completely off the grid (same sound day and night, no power surges), and have so low of noise and purity of sound that you would crap your pants. Check out these videos about the Puritan and inverters.....then imagine using them both together.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VX4buciMLM&t=29s

http://enjoythemusic.com/magazine/equipment/0119/Goal_Zero_Yeti_400_Lithium_Portable_Power_Station_Review.htm


That reviewer also reviewed the PS Audio P20 ($10,000) and found the $20,000 Stromberg slightly better.....but now equaled by the $450.00 Goal Zero.  That reviewer now uses a Yeti 1200 for his X250.8 amp that he has in the closet to get rid of its fan noise (my friend is in communication with the reviewer).  The all in ones are made to be used out doors or in your garage.  The lack of heatsinking makes the fan come on with very little current being drawn.  If you use high powered separate inverters they are essentially a giant heat sink and the fans generally don't come on till your drawing half power (not many people need 1500 constant watts in their system).  You can also cool the separate inverters by running a silent fan across the inverter chassis powered from your noisy grid.   

Every person that I know that has an inverter (Goal Zero or separate inverter battery combo)......pretty much says the same thing.  Way cleaner sound......blacker backround, more subtle detail, better depth and height, decreased grain.......just plain purer sound.  I use a modded Yeti 400 (naked so the fan will not come on) on my front end and will be getting a separate inverter for my power amp.  I was talking to one old customer of mine and telling him about inverters and he said he had bought an 800 watter 3 years ago but had not tried it.  4 days later he calls me and is raving like a maniac.  Says his system has never sounded this good plus the colors on his led tv are now out of this world.

All inverters will sound slightly different.  They synthesize the waveform and the output is filtered through a coil and cap.  Back in the 90s I modded Exeltech low distortion sine wave inverters by changing the cap on the output to Wondercaps.  My friend Alan uses the Yeti 3000 for his whole system but has a 3000 watt Topaz balanced transformer after it.  The reason he is doing that is that the Topaz was already being used and had super expensive Furutech connectors and Triode labs wire on it (I soldered all the connections for him.....he lifted it.....80lbs?).  He is not sure if the transformer does much now as he does not want to remove it.  He used to use a Synergistic power cell with the transformer but the Yeti killed it.  He bought the Yeti 3000 instead of a separate inverter/battery bank because he wants to use the Yeti as power back up for his entire house when PG&E decides to turn the electricity off for several days because of high winds (they did not like the law suits after all those fires a couple of years ago).  i have not seen the waveform measured on an inverter for broadband noise.  This is why I suggest using a "cleaner" afterwords.   However, used alone....they make your system sound mucho cleaner.

If you look at the review of the Puritan I linked above you can see OCD guy checked the noise coming out of the Puritan versus coming out of a normal line and also a dedicated line.  The normal line was pretty noisy, his dedicated line was less so and the output of the Puritan would not read anything on the meter.  If you search for Puritan on Youtube you will see a couple of videos of the Puritan guy at shows where he has a display showing the noise coming out of the wall and then he plugs the socket into the Puritan.....and it is just slightly more noise than the residual of the measurement machine (mirroring what OCD shows).  The reviews on the Puritan are all raves......and I don't remember any of them talking about soft gooey sound (your fav....he he)


The only real "problem" with inverters is that they are not simple plug and play and they don't have great WAF (however, you can hide all this very easily).  You have to figure out how much battery you need.....how long the battery bank will last and have a big charger that you take on and off (could be with a switch).  You see, you do not want to be charging the batteries while listening.....degrades the sound.  If you have a class D based system then the power requirements are very low.  Then a single 100 ah battery can last for hours.  But if you have 1000 watts being drawn all the time you need several 100 ah batteries and still you cannot leave the stereo on for hours and hours.  If you just want to leave the stereo on and not listen then you can put the charger on (but to recharge while it is drawing 1000 watt......you need a humungous charger...charging at over 1000 watt.....maybe 2000 watts).  If you search, you can find some 4K+ inverter charger combos.....that would work for this situation and you can set the threshold when the charger kicks in.  Here is one such item:

https://theinverterstore.com/product/4000-watt-pure-sine-inverter-charger-12-vdc-to-120-vac/?gclid=Cj0KCQjw9IX4BRCcARIsAOD2OB0EK1qzISI32zRe0aM4evZg0CW-n1WFCG4hPkZEbCWSQK1M3FX4f-QaAgz3EALw_wcB

This is all dirt cheap compared to things like (not as good sounding) regenerators......and this gets you completely off the grid.  Does not matter what appliances are on, what your neighbors are doing....whatever....same sound all the time...day or night.
You sure are getting defensive about a silly amp. Who gives a hoot whether anyone ever buys a particular amp.

Lots of other kinds of thoughts will give us higher goosebump ratio.

BTW....the usual scenario.....is now buying used....and the used price on a Colosseum is probably what Higher Note is selling these last new ones for.....anyway.....who cares? I want people to tell the truth.....the truth shall set us free......Love is the highest truth.
Tonality by itself means little. You could have a warmer than real amp that is super transparent and fast. You could have a neutral (natural warmth) amp that is super transparent and fast. And you could have a cool and dry sounding amp that is super transparent and fast. You could take the Gryphon and with eq make it sound way warmer.....It would not lose its speed or clarity.....just add some warmth. I think a lossless eq system is ideal. You could eq your system for each recording and keep the eq setting in your digital preamp on a file. This way, you always get the sound you like no matter what the recording.....I thought of this kind of preamp 30 years ago. We have the technology to do it very easily today. We can synthesis all kinds of sounds as well as eq

What I want is to hear every detail possible without it sounding dry, cool and hard. I want natural warmth and super detail....this gives me goosebumps. No one has ever called my products warm or bright. Most say they sound real (for the money...never made anything state of the art except my Ultimate Attenuators....ah the good ole days).....like live music. I mostly test my equipment using live natural music recorded using just two mics. Chesky....Clarity Recordings, etc. Listening to Chico Freeman.....The Emissary.....on Clarity Recordings today (premium gold CD....treated like crazy)......great transparent recording.

Not sure yet as I no longer own an EVS1200 amp. Also, I am listening on a completely different system. I will be A/Bing with the EVS1200 at a friends in a week or so and will then know its (even more tweaked than this moment) status versus the older finished amp. What I have heard, so far, is really really good. I am sure that in its current status it would blow minds. This is not my own amp but modifications that can be done to several amps that use the Purifi module and also have an input board that allows all types of discrete op amps to be rolled (currently VTV, Nord and Apollon). I have totally transformed the amp that I have here. I am trying something today that has maybe been done once in a class D amp in the last 20 years.....I am hopeful for a major class D breakthrough.
Viber6
You know nothing of the differences between the 114 and 118 except what Merrill told you.  Does he really want you to know the truth?  If you could afford the biggies and you wanted to demo them......do you think he would have told you the same exact thing?  Did he play you?  Is the 3.7i very close to the 20.7?  Why would he make a $16K amp that sounds almost the same as his $36K mono blocks.  There might be a world of difference.  The only one who knows is he who has A/Bed on his own....in his own system....both totally burned in and turned on for the same hours and with the same power cord, etc.  I personally never trust a manufacturer or a dealer....they have vested interest.  Yes, I am in the business....do not believe a word I say.  Trust your own ears.  Now maybe if you know the manufacturer/dealer personally and have known him for years then maybe you can trust what he says.  Always, trust your own ears.  You only know what you have heard.....in your system......Thinking you know something without listening is just guessing.  Has anyone besides a dealer done a serious A/B with the 114 and 118s?

Just read a review on the 20.7 where they measured the sensitivity of the speaker at 80db......not the 86 Maggie claims....No wonder these things need such a ginormous amp.  

Two of my friends are crossing over the 97 db 15 inch Lii speaker on open baffle to either a BlieSMa 1.5 inch 97db Beryllium tweeter ($700 the pair) at 1.2K and the other person is digital biamping at 3K? with a 94db open back AMT from Dayton ($119 each).  High impedance...high efficiency....dynamic sound....low cost...super transparent......don't need no stinkin ginormous amp!  Use my super modded Purifi 200 watt amp and add a couple of subs and turn it up baby!
"Pass’s detail is beautiful, but not as revealing of "warts and all" information compared to Merrill. That’s what’s missing." You have never heard these amps compared in the same system.....you are guessing.....not what he said, for sure. You may be right, you may be wrong. Let’s let him tell us what he HEARS!

If you add a bunch of PPT stuff to your system right now, without doing anything else.....your jaw would be permanently glued to the floor.
PPT makes everything better....way faster, cleaner, more air, more dynamic, more space, way lower noise, more real, etc. etc.  Read the threads....most everyone who has tried the stuff says the exact same thing....including me.

Get all you cables off the floor, mount your amps and all your equipment on really great feet and stands......never on the floor.  Get rid of all LEDs and indicators, and change all fuses to latest best types, damp all those heatsinks........and most important of all get your entire system PPT treated......this will blow your mind.
The Lii speakers are not the best in the world.....I am sure the best Cube 10 inch full range drivers are better......you can buy the best versions for around $7K delivered.....then make the box or open baffle augmented on bottom. Read the reviews of the $18K Cube Nenuphar (yes, they charge a lot for a couple of boxes)....nothing but raves.......but for 1K and DIY you are most of the way there with the Lii. For $3K you can have the 10 inch Lii delivered in its big boxes to your door.....flat to 30hz in room....99 db 
I am one of the people that started people modding maggies back in the late 90s. They needed a lot of help then and still need much help now (tho they are using some better parts now).

The frame is terrible. Simply flimsy.....one of the reasons for the lack of snap and drive in the bass. You HAVE to have a superior frame or you will never be fully satisfied with them. Even with a massive dead frame it would still probably be best to brace the speaker to the ceiling. A friend did that with his Acoustats and the bass was like massive and killer.

The grill cloth veils the sound, the fuses wreck the sound (don’t need no stinkin fuse!), the input Jacks ruin the sound, the xover parts are good but nothing special, the wire is junk.

Basically, you want a total rebuild. Massive damped frame, no grill cloths, state of the art xover hardwired with state of the art wire to the drivers and the xover would be separate from the speaker and mounted so it is isolated from the floor. Since you can use my binding post bypass system on the input of the xover.......there would actually be NO connectors whatsoever (every single thing hardwired).

Now you are cooking.

This is why some people are going more and more to single driver high efficiency speakers.....(drivers running full range on open baffle). So simple and so pure. You can even attach your speaker wire directly to the wire coming from the voice coil and eliminate the connector on the speaker. I know 3 people who just ditched their systems (one quad amped, one biamped and one person got rid of his GR Research Xotica speaker) and they are all now using the 15 inch Lii Speaker on an open baffle with nothing else. Yes, you really need subs for bass below 55hz and you can carefully augment on the top end.....but these things have really really good highs and the mids and mid bass are to die for. Right now these 3 guys are so happy with them alone that they have not even added subs they already have. These drivers are $400 a pair plus shipping from China. 97db sensitive.....these are the real deal. Of course, they need at least 300 hours of hard playing to loosen up.

https://www.lii-audio.com/

They make a 99 db sensitive 10 inch driver for $1000 a pair that is suppose to be a little cleaner and faster than the 15.....but not as much fun (does not move as much air). My suggestion is use the 15 on a big open baffle and either bi amp it or use a super large gauge iron core coil on it to roll it off around 300 hz.....then I would mount the 10 inch directly above it by its magnet (no baffle what so ever and mounted so the voice coils of both drivers align). The 10 inch mounted this way would naturally roll off around 300 hz......Now you have the speed and clarity from the 10s and the punch and fun of the 15s. Then add your subs underneath. $1500 for all four drivers delivered.......Some wood.....lots of bracing.....two $800 subs......for less than $3500 this would be better than most anything you can buy. Some of you already have subs....so you can start with the 15 inch drivers and after a couple of months of scraping your mouth off the floor.....get the 10s and have even more fun. With speakers like this you do not need high powered amps.....but it would not hurt. You want the cleanest 50 watts on the planet. Many are using the 2 watt Decware amps on them and are very happy. Here is a demo of the 15s mounted on nice baffle and played with 2 watt stereo amp:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=plMKQCc-7Po&t=3s

His speaker wires are on the floor....bad!!! Who knows about the recording quality or type of cables, etc.....and he is not hardwiring the speaker (the binding post on the speaker is a push in type....and the tab the voice coil wire is soldered to is STEEL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) So, if you remove the speaker post and especially the steel tab and just soldered the voice coil wire a pure copper mini tab and attached it to the phenolic post holder with some wire ties or whatever....wow! what a difference that would make.....highs much more extended and pure. No one has done this yet but I have told everyone about the steel. Plus, if you add my Ground Enhancers (expensive @ $30  he he) to the ground side of the speaker then the clarity and dynamics would be enhanced more.   Anyhoo.....this demo will give you some idea of its potential.....but nothing like what can be done with it. There are other OK videos online using this driver.
zip cord.......ha ha ha ha ha ha ha......i just love the syrupy sound of PVC and the syrupy sound of stranded pitch copper.....just gives me the chills thinking about it. Goosebumps and everything.....ha ha ha ha.

So your zippy sounding electrostats need syrupy warm non clarity cables? You are all ova da place.

Many many high end speaker wires are many small wires in parallel...essentially what the Nordost is.....a flat cable array with each conductor separated. So you have even smaller gauges than 16 but many of them and made with precision metals and insulators. Zip cord is not even in the same universe as this.

If you look at the cross section of the Platinum 8 speaker wire you can see why it might sound warm.....it has all these arrays of single strand silver but then the bundles are encased in two types of extra insulation. I bet if you cut the top two layers off and just used cotton strings every two inches to hold the arrays together you would have much more open sound. It might sound better again if you laid the arrays out in a flat line like the Nordost is (physically, very hard to do). Usually, less is more.

https://www.wireworldcable.com/speaker-cables.html#cablediameter

scroll up to platinum 8 and click on ....look inside
Bridging uses an amp per phase.  The signal path is not longer....you are just using one channel for positive and one for negative....rather than one channel doing both phases.  I am sure there are many reasons an amp sounds the way it does when run bridged.  Most things in audio are complicated.  Simple answers = simple mind.   Pure mind is good.....but simple answers to audio questions is usually incorrect.
Kal Rubinson is not a high end tweaker....he is the Stereophile low end mostly surround sound guy.  I would not trust his "straight wire" bypass test as the "truth".  Years ago I thought my 3 head Sony Cassette Deck made "perfect" copies.  What I can hear today with my very tweaky system is light years beyond then.  I am sure the Benchmark Preamp is very, very good from all the reviews....however, I have not seen a single review or comment of it versus the "serious" stuff.  If you can get one on trial and burn it in for 30 days and A/B versus the $30K preamps it would tell us something.....and you could also do a straight wire bypass test on all preamps under test.  Until then, I doubt whitecamaross or other well healed audiophiles here will pay it much attention.
Not if the microphone is deficient in bass.....then you are compensating for its loss.  No microphone is perfect.  They all "modifiy" what is being recorded.
It looks like the app that works with the Shure mic allows you to eq while recording?  if so, you can boost the low end and now you have the clarity and fullness.  Please investigate.
Again, you are not straying from the original sound if the mic is not picking up what is actually there.....What you want in the end is the reproduction of what Jay hears.  If he has to eq the mic to get it to make a flat recording (flat from his ear standards...not measurements) then it is actually more accurate to the source to use the eq.  Most any mic measures pretty flat....they all sound different....just as all amps measure flat....they all sound different.  
Faxer,
What is the retail price of the new Ref 3 panels....without subs.......and how much are subs?  
Here comes the Mephisto?.....or should we say Meph (beasto)

I sure hope you review the 118 and the JC1+ before you sell them.  We don't know anything about them unless you A/B one component at a time.
And now for a walk on the tweaky very transparent and relatively inexpensive wild side.

http://tweakaudio.com/EVS-2/Purifi_amp_mods.html

Maybe Jay will want to try a pair of the super all out wild guys...Purifi or Nc1200.  "We've only just begun".

http://tweakaudio.com/EVS-2/Ruminations_on_Class_D.html
Here is my prediction. All the amps you have listened to will be boat anchors within 2-3 years.

Class D is progressing fast now. You do not need giant heatsinks and banks of transistors to get class A type sound. One pair of transistors and hardly any heatsink gets you 200 watts a channel.....3 pairs and a slightly larger heatsink gets you 600 watts a channel or more. Switching power supplies that can deliver 3000 watts cost very little....they are very light. What is inside the Merrill....is probably not much. They are expensive because they are making it pretty and using expensive jacks, have dealer markup, etc. The packing box for them alone cost a pretty penny. How much money is in the guts?. Merrill does not allow anyone to look inside.....hmmmmmmmmmmmm. Jay, please take the cover off and show us the beef!!!!!.....he he.

GaN transistors are not expensive....nor is anything else in a class D amp. You do not need any expensive coupling caps, giant heatsinks, rows of transistors, banks of large caps, 1500 watt giant transformers.

Why do class A amps generally sound better than class D....well, for one they are usually made by people who design their own circuit and pay attention to lots of stuff. Class D amps are generally stock modules designed by non audiophiles and then they just stick their own input stage on it. Of course, most of them don’t cost that much, but if you want perfection you cannot just throw stock modules in a box and add a front end and some good wires and jacks. It is much deeper than that. Gryphon knows this....Merrill knows this. D’Agostino knows this. So, we need people to design and modifiy class D amps that listen to every part and think outside the ’Class D..throw it in a box" mentality. Merrill is no throw it in a box thing....not whatsoever.....this is why it is really good. But this is just the beginning. You do not need fancy boxes and shipping containers....you need someone to just pay attention to the stuff inside the box.

If Merrill took all the guts of his amp and put it in a plain box and used a plain shipping box and sold it direct.....what do you think it would sell for? Maybe $8K for the mono blocks? Of course, he wants to recoup all his design time and make the most out of the fact that he is first with a good sounding and sexy looking GaN based amp. I understand business. But I also see the writing on the wall.

There is no reason why a state of the art class D mono block that does 400 watts a channel should be more than $3K (6K the pair) sold direct. Plain but nice box....great jacks, audiophile fuse and super paid attention to everything inside the box construction. Someone who listens and thinks and tweaks. This will happen before you know it. This amp will weigh under 20lbs. Maybe the about to be released $3K 300 watt a channel GaN stereo amp from LSA with super tweaky mods can challenge some mega buck amps....we shall see/hear. And then there are mods that can be done to the Purifi module that can take it to new heights. So much fun coming and so cheap.........boat anchors away!